The head of FIDE visits the Belgorod region

On September 16, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov visited the Belgorod region. Accompanied by Governor Yevgeny Savchenko, he visited the chess tournament dedicated to the 140th anniversary of the Belgorod State University.

"Two years ago, we set ourselves an ambitious goal: to increase the number of chess players in the world to one billion by 2020. Our slogan is ‘One billion chess players - one billion clever people’". Therefore, the main FIDE programme is: "Chess in Schools". Thus, we will try to make chess a compulsory or an optional subject in many countries," told Ilyumzhinov during the round table.

He recalled how he, being the President of Kalmykia, introduced chess as a compulsory subject in schools. The study, conducted a couple of years later, showed that performance of children had increased by 40 per cent.
Ilyumzhinov stressed that chess is very popular in the Belgorod region and promised that FIDE will assist the region in training chess masters, conducting seminars, as well as inviting talented chess players to participate in international tournaments. "As FIDE President, I have a quota of three places in any international tournament," - he said.
Afterwards, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov awarded Evgeny Savchenko with the honorary diploma for active participation in development of chess. Then, the parties signed an agreement on cooperation between FIDE and the Government of the Belgorod region. Mr. Savchenko thanked the head of FIDE for his attention to the region.
"I am convinced that this will solve a number of tasks: turning chess into a large-scale sport, increasing the talents of professionals and amateurs and improving the skills of teachers and trainers. In general, it would bring the chess of Belgorod to a higher level. I hope that the Belgorod region would be well-known not because of our boxing, volleyball and gymnastics teams, but also for our champions and grandmasters," said the Governor with much confidence.
After the official part, the guests witnessed the chess games of the tournament dedicated to the 140th anniversary of the Belgorod State University. The first game - Kirsan Ilyumzhinov against Yevgeny Savchenko - ended in a draw.
In addition, the head of FIDE played a blitz match with the first-year undergraduate of the Faculty of Physical Education Sofia Belyavtseva.
"It was exciting," admitted Sofia after the game.  "My match with Nona Gaprindashvili also ended in a draw, but it wasn’t the rapid chess and I had a lot of time to think over the next move. And here comes the blitz! However, it was interesting: I played with a person of such a high level for the second time."