FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov takes the Hard Line

by Sam Sloan

LAS VEGAS August 28: FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov took the hard line against his critics in a speech to the FIDE Presidential Board today.

Ilyumzhinov began the meeting by expressing his thanks to Steve Doyle and Barbara DeMaro of the United States Chess Federation, since USCF Vice President John McCrary had not yet arrived at the meeting.

Ilyumzhinov expressed his condolences to Vice President Emrehan Halici of Turkey for the earthquake victims in that country.
FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

Mr. Ilyumzhinov said that the players were happy with the conditions provided for the World Chess Championship in Caesars Palace. There have been no complaints. He said that on June 20, the International Olympic Committee had recognized chess as a sport. He has received a certificate from Juan Antonio Samaranch, President of the International Olympic Committee, confirming that chess is a sport. Kirsan said that we have come to the end of the discussion on this issue and FIDE should drastically change its administration based upon this decision.

Ilyumzhinov said that he met with Samaranch one month ago, and we are now equal members of the IOC. Accordingly, Mr. Omuku, the FIDE Executive Director, will go to Sidney, where the next Sports Olympiad will be held, to discuss arrangements for a chess event at the Sports Olympiad. One question which will be raised is whether coffee, whiskey and vodka are drugs. This is a serious matter, said Kirsan.

Kirsan said that as far as the claims of Zsuzsa Polgar are concerned, she is referred to the decisions of the FIDE General Assembly and the Presidential Board. Chess is a sport and all sportsmen and women should accept the decision of the highest sporting body. We should now be united in the new form for the Woman's World Championship.

The players were unanimous, said Kirsan.

This FIDE world championship will be an annual event and will be taking place every year during the last week of November and the first three weeks of December. All national chess federations should include these dates on their calendars, said Kirsan.

Regarding the world championship to be held next year, Kirsan said that interest has been expressed by Hong Kong, Dortmund, Germany and the Sun City Hotel in South Africa, which is similar to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Ilyumzhinov said that he met with representatives of Sun City two months ago in Moscow.

Kirsan said that the new world champion will be the 14th world champion. Since Karpov is calling this the "World Cup", we will ask him if he played last year for the "World Championship" or the "World Cup". Kirsan said, "When Kasparov and Karpov continue to criticize, I have one answer. The Title of the World Champion has to be won and defended in an honest chess fight and not in the courts or at press conferences."

"They have to prove their superiority by playing in the world championship. There will be no matches between the winner here and Kasparov or Karpov. If Kasparov and Karpov have questions, FIDE will be happy to invite them to the 2000 World Championship."

"FIDE will enter the new millennium with the 14th World Champion", said Kirsan.

Kirsan said: "Samaranch said that chess has been recognized as a sport because we have destroyed the monopoly and dictatorships of some chess players. We have given the opportunity for all chess players to fight for the world title. This is the reason why the International Olympic Committee recognized chess as a sport. Samaranch said that the International Olympic Committee will recognize only chess events organized by FIDE."

"We are preparing for the Children's Chess Olympiad which will take place in September in Ukraine, in the Black Sea Region, at 12:30 on September 10. The President of the Ukraine will inaugurate the Children's Olympiad."

"I think we have overcome all of the difficulties of FIDE. A new day starts tomorrow and we will leave all the old burdens behind in the last century."

Kirsan said that three days ago in Elista he followed an old Kalmykian custom when he sacrificed a lamb for the future of FIDE.

Kirsan also said, "There are many girls who are still crying there [in Elista, for the chess players who left them behind after chess event was last held there]."

Kirsan said that they shared their condolences for the people of Istanbul, Turkey. "If another Olympiad is held in Elista, the chess hall is ready now. There is also a small casino downstairs."

Regarding the absence of Deputy President Makropoulos, Kirsan said, "Makropoulos is not here. I still don't know the reason. I have heard about some difficulties. If he has some difficulties, we should help him. Our family will be reunified again in Doha [Qatar]."

Thus, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov concluded his remarks. Executive Director Omuku then said that the new World Amateur Champion is Gaguik Oganessian of Armenia, who is present. An award was presented.

Today is Omuku's birthday. He is 41 years old today. Omuku declared a moment of silence for the chess players killed in an airplane crash in Las Vegas three days ago. (Actually, only one chess player, Ken Horne, was killed. The other, John Trivett, is still alive but in the burn unit of a hospital.)

After these remarks, it was announced that the meeting would proceed to the scheduled agenda. The journalists and others who are not on the Presidential Board were asked to leave the room.

However, as all the journalists (including myself) left, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov also left at the same time. In the hallway, Kirsan was approached by an attractive young woman from Russian TV named Marina Makarytcheva of NTV-Plus Sport. They disappeared into the elevator with her trusty cameraman, Igor. They did not return for a long time. Nobody knew where they had gone. Meanwhile, the other members of the Presidential Board just stood around waiting for them to return.

All 14 members of the Presidential Board were present, with the exception of Georgios Makropoulos of Greece, the FIDE Deputy President, who was said to be absent due to a fall in the Greek stock market, Honorary Vice-President Selivanov, who was campaigning for election in Russia, and Honorary Vice-President Prof. Kurt Jungwirth, who was otherwise engaged in Austria.

Present at the meeting are President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov (Russia), Honorary President Florencio Campomanes (Philippines), Vice President Ummer Koya (India), General Secretary Noureddine Tabbane (Tunisia), Vice-President Stephen Doyle (USA), Vice President Emrehan Halici (Turkey), Honorary Vice-President Vanik Zakarian (Armenia), Continental President (Europe) Boris Kutin (Slovenia), Continental President (Americas) Dr. Pedro Barrera (El Salvador), Continental President (Asia) Khalifa Al-Hitmi (Qatar), Continental President (Africa) Lakhdar Mazouz (Algeria), Executive Director Emmanuel Omuku (Nigeria), David Jarrett (England), Geurt Gijssen (Holland), Ratings Administrator Casto Abundo (Philippines), CACDEC Chairman Israel Gelfer (Israel), Alexei Orlov (Russia), Willy Iclicki (Belgium), and Gaguik Oganessian (Armenia) with his lovely daughter, Tatevik, as translator.

Also present is Polina Tsedenova of Kalmykia, who is the translator for Kirsan from Russian into English. However, she said that she is not important and directed me to cross her name off my list, which I did.

It was later announced that the scheduled World Chess Olympiad in Turkey in the year 2000 will not be affected by the tragic earthquake which just took place in Turkey.

I found it noteworthy that when Campomanes was President of FIDE, there was always discussion and debate, following which a vote was taken if appropriate. However, today, with Kirsan as president, there was no discussion, no debate and no votes. Those present at the meeting just sat and listened as Kirsan read his speech.

The meeting resumes tomorrow at 10:00 AM but is only expected to last about two hours, following which everybody will return home.

USCF Vice President John McCrary arrived just as the meeting was breaking up, saying that he had not been notified of the starting time.

Sam Sloan

There are several photographs which were taken by Sam Sloan during the 1999 FIDE World Chess Championship in Las Vegas. Here are some of the photographs:

Here are links:
Here are links:
Sam Sloan's Chess Page

My Home Page

Contact address - please send e-mail to the following address: