Sagaalgan 2019 festival starts as a part of Rapid Grand Prix of Russia 2019 in Ulan-Ude (Buryatia) on 8 March

The Russian chess player, international grandmaster, chess historian and journalist Dmitry Kryakvin commented at the Ekho Moskvy’s Opinion programme on Sagaalgan 2019 chess festival launched as a part of the Rapid Grand Prix of Russia 2019 in Ivolginsky Datsan.

Also, Dmitry Kryakvin told about the appearance of the Russian Ilyumzhinov as head of FIDE.

“There were only seven presidents of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) in its history - they very rarely take turns. Strangely enough, but in Soviet times there was no FIDE President from the USSR. There was Florencio Campomanes (FIDE President in 1982–1995 - Ed.), who was supported by the USSR.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov (FIDE President in 1995–2018 - ed.) headed FIDE when it was close to collapse and breakdown. There was no money, the world championship matches were cancelled and there was a split in opinions about determining the world champion between the followers of Karpov and Kasparov. Ilyumzhinov managed to fix it all. Of course, some people may dislike Kirsan Nikolayevich, but he is, above all, a politician and diplomat, and for what he’s done for chess they could erect a monument during his lifetime. He saved the chess world by investing an incredible amount of both his money and sponsors' money. He managed to hold a unifying match for the title of world champion. As a Buddhist, he was able to resolve all conflicts with his usual calmness and serenity. In order to popularize chess, Kirsan Nikolayevich visited many hot spots like Syria and Libya in the time of Gaddafi. In the end, the US State Department imposed sanctions against him..."

Dmitry Kryakvin takes part in the tournament in Buryatia for the fifth time: “The rapid chess tournament in Ulan-Ude is unique and prestigious. Competitions are held in Ivolginsky Datsan. 600 players participate in it. Everything is taken care of by the lamas. Selected grandmasters have the opportunity to communicate with Khambo Lama and listen to his wise advice. Both Khambo Lama and other lamas participate in simultaneous play sessions. They, together with the Buryatia Chess Federation, have impeccably organized this tournament. They have invited famous grandmasters and do everything to make this tournament successful.”