15 years of success: FIDE President accepts congratulations
Wednesday, 24 November 2010 08:10

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was elected President of FIDE at the Paris Congress on November 24th 1995. FIDE was going through a difficult period following a split in the World Championship, poor financial resources and still seeking full recognition by the International Olympic Committee. The major achievement of his Presidency was the re-unification of the World Championship with the Topalov-Kramnik match in Elista in 2006. However, for many years the President had personally supported the World Championship cycle, introducing the knock-out format in 1998 and thereby offering more opportunities for players around the world to participate in high level official competitions. During his Presidency he has been the sponsor and/or organizer of these major chess events:

° 1996 World Chess Championship Karpov-Kamsky, Elista, Russia
° 1998 President’s Cup (International Super tournament), Elista, Russia
° 1998 33rd Chess Olympiad with 110 men’s and 73 women’s teams, Elista, Russia
° 1998-1999 World Chess Championship, Groningen-Lausanne
° 1999 Lausanne Young Masters Tournament, Lausanne, Switzerland
° 1999 World Chess Championship, Las Vegas.
° 2000 World Chess Championship, New Delhi-Teheran
° 2001-2002 World Chess Championship, Moscow
° 2004 World Women’s Chess Championship, Elista, Russia
° 2004 Botvinnik’s Chess Memorial, Moscow, Russia
° 2006 World Chess Championship match V. Kramnik vs. Topalov

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and his team also regularly organised the annual World Youth Championships and World U-20 Championships. Since 1999, World Children’s Chess Olympiads are running under FIDE patronage.

Apart from this the President organised 6 Russian Championships and 8 Russian Women’s Championships.

Chess joined the Olympic family in 1999, when the IOC at its Executive Board meeting in Seoul, South Korea, recognised FIDE as an International Sports Federation.

FIDE today has a strong financial position, able to support activities in all the Continents with seminars for Arbiters and Trainers, help for the chess developing nations and chess in schools programme. The CACDEC budget for 2010 was set at USD 300,000, a far cry from the USD15,000 spent in 1996.

When Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was elected President, there were 100 Women Grandmasters. Today there are over 350, a testament to the strong support for the Women’s World Championship cycle. Also representation on the Presidential Board now includes two women by right so ensuring that the Board becomes more representative of its members.

From Ignatius Leong, FIDE General Secretary, President of Singapore Chess Federation

Dear Kirsan,

The Moscow Congress 1994 saw the closest contest in the history of FIDE Elections. Following this, an Extraordinary Congress was called for in November 1995 in Paris and this turned out to be a blessing in disguise. You, Kirsan, appeared then as an unknown in the world chess community but yet became elected FIDE President.

Immediately upon taking office, you convened your first Presidential Board Meeting in December in Singapore. There, you shocked the chess world with your brave decision to change the traditional system of the world chess championship into a knock out format with a prize fund of USD 5 million.

In the 15 years of your administration, numerous changes have taken place. I am sure several of my colleagues will write of these many changes. However, I believe that your success is not just about these splendid changes which have greatly helped develop Chess throughout all corners of the world.

It is more about your personality and your political style. You always try to embrace those who are even on the opposing side. You are a great listener – always ready to hear and receive ideas and proposals. You have the guts to make sweeping changes even though such decisions might not have been popular with your colleagues or the masses.

After 15 years, we saw a united world championship. We have more youths and women play, rated and titled. We have now a stable FIDE Chess Calendar and with so many federations biding to organize FIDE events. The overall work of the commissions have been improved and a transparent system where players may transfer federations. More importantly, FIDE revenue has increased through the transfer system and the ever increasing number of seminars held for trainers and arbiters.

During your tenure as FIDE President, FIDE became recognized by the IOC as an International Sport Federation. This was a tremendous step forward which helped put Chess as a medal discipline in the Asian Games, Asian Indoor Games, Southeast Asian Games, African Games and Pan-American Games. More than 100 member-federations of FIDE are affiliated to their respective National Olympic Committees. As a result, these federations receive greater financial support and their players became sportsmen.

Lastly, Mr President, it is also under your leadership that I have personally been involved with the work of FIDE and be part of your Team. I thank you for these opportunities. Most importantly, as members of your Team, we are inspired by your passion for FIDE and your tireless energy to promote Chess throughout the world. Your countless contributions in all forms will motivate us, as FIDE Officials and National Chess Federations, to keep up to your pace and expectations to make FIDE truly ONE FAMILY.

Ignatius Leong
Singapore Chess Federation

From Jorge Vega, Continental President for Americas

Dear Kirsan Nikolayevich,

Tomorrow is the anniversary of your entrance in FIDE and I want to express my congratulations for the work done by you during all these 15 years.

I also want to thank you for the oppportunity of working with you during this period in which I have seen how chess progressed under your leadership. The United team that always has backed your work has to be very proud.

I remember the early days when FIDE survived thanks to the economic support you gave, I appreciated your initiative of the knock-out World Chess Championship which gave the opportunity to participate to a lot of players from the developing federations, I have noted the increase in the participation of children and youth in our official tournaments, the Continental growth and all the other things that would take time and space to refer.

The most important work done by you has been your effort in keep chess united against the will of a few persons that tried to split it.

I do not want to add more.

Congratulations again !!

Jorge Vega

From Silvio Danailov, President of European Chess Union

Dear Kirsan,

My sincere congratulations for your 15 anniversary as FIDE President!

We all should be very grateful for everything what you did for chess during those years.
Your contribution for our sport was enormous.

I wish you a lot of health , success and luck and hope that you will continue your work with the same dedication and enthusiasm as always.

Silvio Danailov
ECU President

From Ali Nihat Yazici, FIDE Vice President, President of Turkish Chess Federation

Dear Kirsan,

The President of FIDE and my brother,

I want to congratulate you with my warm and deepest regards, for your 15th year in FIDE President post.

I want to thank you for all your contributions to chess and success in this 15 years could not be dreamed for 30 years at the beginning.

I hope you will be more 15 years in this post and we will have always collaboration for the sake of chess as two colleagues and brothers.

Best regards,
Ali Nihat YAZICI
Vice President of FIDE
President of Turkish Chess Federation

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