The current leader of the World Chess Federation in Russian will face a challenge from charismatic dissident Gary Kasparov. The election will be held next August during the Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway. His opponent doesn't play world class chess, but according to the New York Times,
Mr. Ilyumzhinov’s devotion to chess seems genuine — but so are his eccentricities. He has said that he believes the game was invented by extraterrestrials, and he claims to have been abducted by aliens in yellow spacesuits on the night of Sept. 17, 1997. He built Chess City, a huge glass dome surrounded by a housing development, in Kalmykia’s obscure and inaccessible capital, Elista, and had the federation hold championship tournaments there.
In June 2011, at the height of the civil war in Libya, Mr. Ilyumzhinov appeared in Tripoli to meet with an old friend, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, ostensibly to discuss opportunities for developing chess programs in the country. The men played a game of chess for the cameras. It was the last time Mr. Qaddafi was seen alive in public before he was captured and killed four months later.
Interviewed by The Times, Kasparov palpated the major sore spot of Ilyumzhinov's tenure: “Anybody Googling FIDE sees he is dealing with someone who is taken by aliens and is playing chess with Qaddafi,” he said." This could be why FIDE, (acronym for Federation Internationale des Echecs), has difficulty landing corporate sponsorships, a situation Kasparov might turn around. FIDE, (acronym for Federation Internationale des Echecs), has difficulty landing corporate sponsorships, a situation Kasparov might turn around. Complete interview, by DYLAN LOEB McCLAIN at the Times.
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