Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: "All the players are egocentrics"

Chess players and Buddhists are alike. The game of chess is same as meditation. You sit and think. You do not move your hands but your mind works out combinations. You withdraw into yourself. There is a continuous mind game going on inside you.

All players are egocentrics, centred on themselves. The world revolves around them. It happens that some go too far and begin to think that they are great not only at the chessboard. When you constantly use your brain, it leaves a certain mark.

Any bespectacled man is either a smart one or chess player but never a football player. Don’t they say so? I have nothing against the football players. I myself was a president of football club. However, chess players are much more respected. After all, they are always trying to foresee three, five or ten moves and think not only for themselves but try to predict the moves of opponents.
This can be compared with psychic abilities, which can also be developed. There are great opportunities inside a man. We have 64 codons of DNA but we do not use even a tenth part of them. It is because we are not morally mature yet, we are in the embryonic moral state.
If people en masse begin to transmit thoughts over a distance and read other people’s thoughts, my guess is everyone would kill each other. There are about 200 armed conflicts in the world as of today. The God Almighty created man to love and create but we kill instead. We have to wait. We need to develop ourselves, our spiritual and intellectual essence and do less evil.
Psychic always fascinated me. When I was a child, I never was keen on playing with my peers. I liked to sit and listen to my grandparents instead. When I was a student of MGIMO, I took part in the first congress of psychics and magicians held in the Pamirs in 1988. I was fascinated. We conducted experiments with wires and frames and watched other people’s positive or negative aura. I think there is no more or less well-known astrologer in Moscow who is not my pal, boyfriend, or girlfriend. Moreover, all of them consider their duty as friends to create my horoscope for a year, month or hour. Sometimes they call me at six in the morning when I am half-asleep and say, "Kirsan, listen. Cancel all appointments from 9 to 11 am today and don’t talk to anyone from 10 to 12 am…"
One may go mad listening to what they say about dark and bright streaks. Sometimes they are wrong but, generally, their predictions are right. It is because we all live under the stars and everything depends on when and at what time one was born.
Of course, I listen to predictions but take them rather sceptically. You get a piece of information, then another and the third one. You choose for yourself.
I make many decisions basing on intuition. I was at a meeting in the Crimea a week before the 1998 default. I woke up in the morning and felt that something was not right as if a house made of money had collapsed. I knew it was a kind of omen and I had to think it over.
Therefore, it happened that intuition did not let me down. Being on a business trip, I called and told my subordinates to urgently pay all roubles - wages, holiday payments, child benefits. In other word, all the monetary funds. Thus, we have got rid of all roubles within one day. People exchanged roubles for dollars, some went abroad, and a week later Yeltsin declared the default and the entire government resigned. The dollar that was worth six roubles became worth almost 40 roubles.
Afterwards, my friends, colleagues, presidents of Republics and governors called and asked, "Kirsan, how did you know? Why did not you warn us? We could have also warned the people…" Kalmyk people, as it turned out, became 6 times richer. Why? Due to intuition.
Here is another story. I woke up and for some reason envisioned tanks in the Russian cities. It was in the end of March 1994. I spoke in a live broadcast and announced that I resigned from presidency. There should be one President of Russia and all the rest should be called heads. What is the use of dabbling at the sovereignties made of paper? We have one president, one currency, one border, one customs.
I abolished the constitution of Kalmykia; the law of sovereignty; citizenship, and the post of President. What is the reason for playing the game of independence when we are located in Russia that has the army and border? It could only lead to bloody clashes, tanks may enter the cities and the citizens would die on both sides.
I openly said that I had a vision. I did it because honesty is the biggest trick. Thus, six months later, on the 7th of September 1994, the tank division entered Grozny and hundreds of soldiers, citizens of Russia on both sides died in this Russian city.
By the way, I dreamed of dragons recently. They were beautiful and interesting creatures with multi-coloured tails. I do not know what it meant, I have to dig deeper…
I often see the human aura. It has been like that since childhood. I guess, I inherited it from my grandmother. However, due to social activities, one has to meet with people no matter what their aura is. Imagine if I said, "No, I do not want to see him". Baba Vanga could have said this but I am not Baba Vanga.
Incidentally, I brought half of Moscow population to her in my time. Sometimes she refused to accept them and told them to go. When she was in a bad mood, she cursed at me, "Why did you bring them?" Therefore, usually, I entered her premises alone, inclined the guests in her favour and only afterwards brought the visitors.
Sometimes she called me on the phone, saying, "You want someone to come, it is not necessary. Do not let him spend time and money. He must do what I will tell". She foresaw it from a distance. At times, it was vice versa, "Kirsan, come!" I asked her niece what happened. "It's nothing. Aunt is bored." I came and asked her about the reason of my visit. "Sit down; it is time to stop working, just rest for a while". I talked with her for hours. She really loved me and well treated me like a son.
One day one of my friends asked me to bring him to Baba Vanga for he had some question to ask. We arrived, and he and Ivan, her nephew, stepped aside to smoke in the courtyard. I entered her room. She was sitting on the couch. I sat down, we talked, and suddenly Baba Vanga said: "Why is he smoking? His lungs are damaged! He must call home, his father is lying there unable to move. He should take some nettle to make a compress".
By that time, I had already forgotten about the one who smoked. What nettle? Whose father? "Well, the one that you came with. His father! He must not lose time but hurry up and call home for there is no need to put his father to a hospital". In comes the friend, saying that he had been at home two days ago, besides, his mother called yesterday and everything was fine with his father. "All right, you wait. I will ask them!" We let him call his home. On the other end they immediately asked him, "How did you know?"- "Baba Vanga told me so... There is no need to take him to the hospital, just make the nettles compress." His father recovered the next day. The fact is how did she know?
Sometimes she did blurt out something really strange... Once I was planning to install the wool-cleansing machine and we together with Belgians and French specialists could not work out how to make it. Then I came to Baba Vanga - we often met to drink whiskey. She said, "Why do you suffer? Make it with those trousers". I said, "With what"? - "Well, with white trousers!" What white trousers? Then I realized that it was figurative of the French in the War of 1812.
Much of what she said came true. There are many ways to consider her but she did only well. However, if you turn on TV, you would hear 99 per cent of lies. I was in close contact with Baba Vanga and I can count the famous people that visited her on the fingers of my hands. However, I have never seen there most of those who talk about her on TV. It was impossible for Vanga to say that "Kursk" would sink. She never said that!
Basically, there are people who think outside the box. They are called "strangers". I was often misunderstood as well. However, I kept trying to turn dreams into reality during my governing of Kalmykia, being guided by the motto: "Rich President - incorruptible governance".
I was, probably, one of the richest men in Russia at the time. I bought diamond Crown from Garry Kasparov. I never had PR-campaigns or PR-managers.  I have always been my own PR manager, inventing something different. What should I be ashamed of? I had the black 11-meter long Lincoln during the election. Upon my arrival at Elista, the head of the electoral headquarters said to me, "Kirsan, we hid the car on the outskirts of the city in garage". "Why did you do it? Has it broken down?"- "No, everything is all right with it.  I am telling you as a friend: the other two candidates came on Volgas (cheap Soviet cars, -Ed.). Devastation is all over Kalmykia in 1993: no wages are paid, very poor people live here. Imagine you going around in the luxury car".
I said, "In this case I would not go. I would take an airplane and fly away". The car was delivered from garage and we loaded it with candies, chocolates, and lemonade. We went to local villages. While I was speaking, the kids - ten, twenty of them stuffed themselves into the car and the driver took them for a drive around the country club. However, there were virtually no roads in Kalmykia at that time and the car broke down quickly. I came to the next village in Volga. I saw that the road was blocked with the rope; the old people stood not allowing me to go further, "Do not you respect us or what? You came to the neighbouring district in US car but use the bedraggled Soviet Volga to visit us. The hell with you!"
Generally, mainly grandmothers came to listen to my speeches because they were interested to see the young candidate. They sat eating sunflower seeds. One of them asked, "What do you want to build?" I said, "I want to build communism for you. I have provided for myself and my family, bought a house, a good car and want to build the same communism for you. So that you and your children could ride such cars".
I am sure we are our own creators. There are the main directions of life: birth and death. It depends on you how you get from one point to another. Each person has accumulative karma (I live my 69th life now). That karma determines the path. However, while we are on our path, we are perfecting and trying to change ourselves as well as to rectify the path. Not without reason it is said: a man is the creator of his own destiny.
For example, I am a ‘selfmademan’- trying to create myself and do things I like. I like to work and that is why I am working. I am a very lazy person. I like to sleep and relax. However, I tried to remake myself. I never have been on vacation after my graduation in 1989. It was simply because I felt that I had to work. Thus, I turned the lazy one into workaholic.
If you do the work in responsible way, everything will be achieved. It was difficult and interesting to manage Kalmykia. All was new for me. Although Baba Vanga said that I would command the people, I never had such an experience. I had no clue how to lead ministers or elect a parliament.
The crime and gangster wars were in abundance. How was I to deal with it? Yeltsin said in 1993, "Take as much sovereignty as you can". However, next to our country were Chechnya; Dudayev; Nagorno-Karabakh; the war was raging between Ossetia and Ingushetia. It all had fallen on my shoulders, while I was relatively young, having to learn everything in process without anyone to ask for advice or manuals to read.
There was no single temple, either Buddhist or Orthodox, in Kalmykia in 1993. After all, when the Kalmyks were deported to Siberia from 1943 to 1956, everything was burned and Lamas repressed. Buddhism as such did not exist. I had to re-do everything.
I negotiated with the Dalai Lama and I brought dozens of teachers from Tibet and India to give lectures every year. I bought them apartments and houses to stay in. I hosted international forums on Buddhism. Hundreds of Kalmyks went to Dharamsala in India to study the teaching of the Dalai Lama. They also went to Thailand, China, and Mongolia.
Therefore, one may say that Buddhism is revived in Kalmykia and Russia. Today we have the Europe's largest Buddhist temple, built with the blessing of His Holiness the Dalai Lama XIV; the Orthodox churches consecrated by Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II; mosque on the border with Dagestan and Catholic Church.
When I came to the FIDE, everything was falling apart in chess as well. Kasparov was establishing his organization in America, trying to hold championships. However, we still have become the largest international federation. There were four official tournaments at those times comparing with more than 10 thousand now.
I am an irrepressible man, trying to stay ahead of time. I opened the first karaoke and sushi bars in Moscow in 1990. However, it turned out to be the failure, because people did not know then what it was. When friends came, they brought forks with them. "How is it possible to eat with sticks? They are wooden, we may get injured by a splinter, are you kidding? ". However, now it is common thing. Same thing happened with karaoke, "Let's invite a band and sing live. Why would we watch TV?"
I am a fatalist. I'm probably the only one of businessmen who goes around without guards. I did not steal; I don’t owe money to anybody so why should I hide? We all are under the hand of God. Those who are destined to drown will not burn in fire.