Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: Anand proved to be one of the greatest chess players of modern times

The candidates tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk is getting closed tomorrow. Before the official closing ceremony, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and the new World Championship challenger Vishy Anand met the journalists at the press-center.

– Kirsan Nikolaevich, did you expect the result of the tournament? Did you follow the course of the event?

K. I.: – On behalf of the FIDE Presidential Board I would like to congratulate the winner of the candidates tournament Vishy Anand with such a convincing victory. Also I want to thank all the players for their active play and fighting spirit. The tournament brought a lot of attention, millions of people from 211 countries followed the event. I want to thank the journalists for a high quality coverage of the competition. In my opinion, Vishy Anand’s victory is deserved and very convincing. He once again proved that he is one of the strongest and greatest players of modern times.

– Vishy, what are your impressions from the tournament and its organization?

V. A.: – I want to thank the organizing committee for perfect organization of this tournament. I am grateful to the Ugra Governor and the city of Khanty-Mansiysk for their warm reception. I am obviously happy with my result, and also surprised how well everything worked out for me.

– Vishy, you have never been to Khanty-Mansiysk before. Did you have a chance to see the city?

V. A.: – No, I only walked near the Chess Academy, the weather did not allow me to do more. Peter Svidler told me that Khanty-Mansiysk is very beautiful in summer.

– Kirsan Nikolaevich, Khanty-Mansiysk hosted chess events of all levels except the World Championship match. Is there a chance to see it in the capital of Ugra?

K. I.: – As you know, FIDE announced the bidding for the next World Chess Championship match. Today the Presidential Board decided to extend the deadline until the end of April. Unofficially we have two bids so far. Khanty-Mansiysk is a real chess Mecca, FIDE leadership and the players love coming here, the atmosphere here is very special. The region does a lot for promoting chess, both at professional and junior level. I think if Khanty-Mansiysk submits an official bid, its chances to have the World Championship would be quite high.

– Ugra pays much attention to junior chess. Does it guarantee a World Champion coming from Ugra in future?

V. A.: – When I prepared for my games, I was very surprised to see how many key games were played in Khanty-Mansiysk. Of course it is very important for children to have direct access to high level chess.

K. I.: – Quantity sooner or later results in quality. When we are hosting major international tournaments, they influence chess development in the region, popularize the game. The “Chess at Schools” project is underway here. Recently they started another project, “Let’s remove blank spots from Ugra chess map”. Of course it increases Ugra chances to raise a true champion in future.