Ernesto Inarkiev: "Ilyumzhinov is ahead of time"

I visited Elista on personal matters after having not been there for a long time. I managed to take a walk round my favorite places, could not resist dropping into a chess club and, what’s most important, met with my old friends.

A key reason for my moving to Elista was a dream of becoming a world champion. That is where my dream had been supported and I grew up as a player: I won my first European Championship (among juniors up to 16 years old), became grandmaster and was included into the Best 100 Chess Players in the World.

Kalmykia’s chess was greatly evolved thanks to the efforts of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who was ahead of time. Apart of me, two more players, Sanan Sjugirov and Bair Kovanova, became grandmasters. Moreover, Sanan and Bair are among the 100 Best Chess Players. There are also young international masters.
Perhaps the major sporting results of that work are still to be expected. There is a lot of promising children in the country now. I recalled those days, the first difficult victories and people’s support... Elista reminded me of a situation when the bets are made but the title is not yet won. I want to thank all the chess fans of Kalmykia: I still remember and appreciate your support!