кирсан илюмжинов

Khanty Mansiysk has turned into a “Chess Mecca”

Chessdom: Here we are with the FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Mr. Ilyumzhinov, Khanty Mansiysk is hosting once again the world’s chess elite.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: Yes, Khanty Mansiysk has turned into a “Chess Mecca”. Since 2005, when I signed an agreement between FIDE and the former governor of Khanty Mansiysk region Alexander Filipenko for promotion and development of chess, all chess activity has been growing – from professional chess to chess in schools. We have organized many chess tournaments.

It is curious, in 2005 Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin played the World Cup here. Norwegian Chess Federation and Ukraine Chess Federation asked me, as FIDE President, to nominate them. Their chess career started growing exactly from Khanty Mansiysk. Now one of them, Magnus Carlsen, is World Chess Champion, while the other is going to play here in the strong Candidates tournament.

For me, it is very nice that the authorities of Khanty Mansiysk support chess on all levels. They have the program Chess in Schools, but they also promote chess in each village, in small cities, and institutions too. For example, this morning I opened a chess hall in one of the buildings of Gazprom, next week I am opening a chess hall in a local bank, three months ago we opened a chess club in the hospital. All this is because the governor of Khanty Mansiysk Natalia Komarova supports chess at 100%, including top level events. Only in one month distance we will have Candidates tournament, Presidential board meeting, a Women’s Grand Prix, after that World Rapid and Blitz.

Chessdom: You mentioned Grand Prix…

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: You remember several years ago many people criticized both men and women Grand Prix. It is a long way, but we have stabilized the process. Talking about the Women Grand Prix series, when several years ago Antoaneta Stefanova was chairman of the WOM commission, she asked me, “Why are there so many events for men, and so few for women?” Now it has changed, Women Grand Prix exists along with many events for women.

With that we have complete cycles for men and women in good countries, beautiful cities, beautiful halls.

Chessdom:… this is true, but what about Men’s Grand Prix? You announced one event for next year, but the calendar starts in 2014.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: The Presidential Board will decide. We have several cities already, but the Presidential Board will take the decisions.

Chessdom: Back to this year’s World Championship cycle. The winner of the Candidates tournament will challenge Magnus Carlsen. Do you have interest from potential bidders to host the match?

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: We have several proposals to organize the FIDE World Chess Championship 2014. I cannot announce where the interest is from, I can only say one of them is a beautiful big city in Europe. But it also depends who the winner of the Candidates tournament is, maybe the country of the challenger will organize the match.