The 1st President of Kalmykia, President of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) Kirsan Ilyumzhinov visited Syria on 28-29 April 2012. As Mr. Ilyumzhinov noted, on the 29th April he had a three-hour talk with the President of Syria Bachar Assad in Damascus. Mr. Assad underlined during the discussion, that he tasked the Syrian Ministry of Education to sign an Agreement to join the “Chess in Schools” project with the World Chess Federation. Mr. Ilyumzhinov informed the “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” that “in early June, as a dedication to the International Day of Children, we are planning to organize the first international youth chess tournament, where young players of Arab countries, will participate, in Damascus”.
The FIDE President did not exclude the possibility that Mr. Assad might participate in the opening of the youth chess event. According to Mr. Ilyumzhinov, “The Syrian President plays chess very well – since his studies in London”.
Besides, during the same period, it is planned to organize a chess tournament for Syrians graduates of the Soviet and Russian universities, at the premises of the Russian Cultural Centre in Damascus.
During the discussion the Syrian President informed Mr. Ilyumzhinov of his intention to invite H.H. the Dalai Lama to Syria on an official visit. Ilyumzhinov said: “President Assad said that on the Syrian territory there is one of the most ancient Buddhist temples erected about two thousand years ago. He would like to invite H.H. Dalai Lama to sanctify this temple”.
According to President of FIDE, during the discussion, the Syrian President on a number of occasions has pledged his allegiance to the peace plan of the situation in the country, proposed by Mr. Kofi Annan.
Also President of FIDE met with the members of the National Chess Team of Syria and President of Syrian Chess Federation Dr. Hani Al-Bitar.