Post-match interview with Kirsan Ilyumzhinov
By Misha Savinov

Kirsan Nikolayevich, did the unification of the chess world actually take place?

The chess crown has returned home. Strictly speaking, it has never left FIDE, but still, the world of chess was split since Kasparov broke out 13 years ago, and now it’s over. The crown is on a shelf of our safe, well-locked, and we will never give it away to any person. It is the property of FIDE, a public property.

So, you consider this match as concluding stage of the Prague Agreements?

Yes, the Prague Agreements are fulfilled. We also fulfilled the directive of IOC General Assembly of July 1999, which stated that chess is a sport, and FIDE is the only international federation responsible for chess, organizing chess championships and awarding the championship title.

You had a long meeting with Kramnik on the next day after the match ended. Could you disclose what a subject of discussion was?

We talked about many things. His match against the computer, for instance. I will very likely attend its opening ceremony on November 24. Also, as a world champion, Vladimir became a member of the Presidential Board, and he plans being quite active in this role. Next the Presidential Board meets in Amsterdam in December, and he will receive all the documents – the technical work has started. It is too early to talk about the future: the situation has not settled yet, and Volodya should settle to his new position. There is an international organization behind his shoulders now, and one has to weight one’s actions with the interests of chess.

Can one say that Kramnik will accept an active role within FIDE?

Of course. He will be engaged in chess promotion and PR… We are creating a company, Global Chess Corporation, with authorized capital of $10 million, and will probably register it in Amsterdam. This company should work with our major partners, such as Credit Suisse, Intel, Microsoft, etc. A 10-year development plan will be discussed at the Presidential Board. We are expecting receiving about $100 million of investments during that period. This is a major program that will involve everyone.

Have you discussed with Kramnik his claims towards FIDE and possibility of a legal action?

I see no reason for a legal action from both players’ sides. All the decisions taken during the match are legally proper, which is confirmed by the firm of attorneys cooperating with FIDE for more than ten years since I became a president. They are lawyers of International Sports Arbitration Court. This is why FIDE always wins in courts – all our decisions are based on juridical documents, and not emotional statements.

Are you happy with the way the match was played and covered in the media?

Of course I am happy that the match attracted a lot of attention, and everybody realized it was the unification match. Everybody understood it was organized by FIDE, and the crown returned to FIDE. People ask me whom did I support. I supported chess, and one can say the match was won by FIDE. Millions of players being part of FIDE returned the crown.

We looked how many hits there were on the official site of the match – more than 450 million! This is great. More than 200 major periodicals wrote about the match, not mentioning local ones…

Don’t you think that match is the most attractive form for a world championship competition? Apart from other things, it is easier to present and advertise a clash of antagonists…

And chess is also black and white, a struggle of individuals. Brilliant and tense struggle always attracts attention. And attention brings sponsors.

Do you consider the idea to return to a match system? Maybe matches will be alternated with match-tournaments?

We must think this over well. I cannot answer this question right now. The decision has to be taken at the Presidential Board, Executive Committee, and then approved by the General Assembly. Right now there is no need to haste.

But the tournament in Mexico will definitely be played?

Of course! This is not a subject of discussion. And the candidates matches will take place in Elista in April, too. Everything goes as planned.

The rest of the interview can be read here.
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