By Chess Coach William Stewart (FIDE 2234, USCF 2256)

Original article on FIDE President visits Libya available here.

In a recent article from, it was reported that “Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has claimed in a conversation with president of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) Kirsan Ilyumzhinov that he was ready to proceed in talks with NATO and rebels, but ruled out the possibility of his resignation. Russian eccentric billionaire Ilyumzhinov, who once claimed he hosted extraterrestrials, showed up in Tripoli and sat down for a game of chess with Gaddafi on Sunday.”

Ilyumzihinov summons aliens to battle Libyan rebels, he finds Gaddafi to be in “excellent mental state.”

The Wall Street Journal states “Some suggest that Mr. Ilyumzhinov is too unstable himself to judge anyone’s mental state. He has claimed that he communicates with fellow Russian citizens telepathically, and insisted in several interviews last year that space aliens abducted him from his apartment in Moscow and took him to a spaceship parked above the city. After an “excursion” to a distant solar system, they brought him back in time for a business trip the next day, he said.”

Why is he even there?

Another brilliant move by the reigning FIDE president Ilyumzhinov – enhancing the sane, professional appearance of FIDE and its’ representatives. So what exactly was Ilyumzhinov doing in Libya and why? Is Ilyumzhinov really that hungry for attention? Gaddafi is currently sought for questioning about alleged war crimes by NATO, how does he have time to play a few blitz games when he’s running for his life? I was thoroughly confused before Ilyumzhinov issued the following statement through the FIDE office in Elista:

None of this makes sense

I was confused, now I have absolutely no idea what’s going on. During this visit, Gaddafi himself stated “I am neither premier nor president nor king. I do not hold any post in Libya and therefore I have no position which I should give up.” How is Ilyumzhinov going to close the deal on peace talks with a nobody? These guys are a true match made in heaven – I think Garry Kasparov sums it up best “Mr. Ilyumzhinov’s trip to Tripoli was a meeting of two crazy people…One is on his way down and the other is on his way to alien worlds.”

Gaddafi sponsoring Linares or Amber? Who knows!

Jokes aside – a number of super-tournaments have been cancelled recently (Linares, M-Tel, etc..) due to lack of sponsorship in the tough global economy. While I’m sure every wealthy multi-national out there would absolutely love to foot the check for a huge chess tournament, I believe they would also expect some return on investment (ROI) in the form of positive brand-naming, image enhancement, and all-purpose marketing. Chess players haven’t always had the reputation of absolute sanity (Morphy, Fischer, etc..) and I don’t think our current FIDE president is making a very good case. Maybe Ilyumzhinov should focus more on the organization and regulation of chess tournaments and less on aliens? Or maybe FIDE should get it together and elect a representative who serves with the interests of the general and professional chess world in mind.

For the full article on FIDE President visits Libya along with other great content please visit chess coach William Stewart’s website. Thanks for reading – Will.

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