President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good evening, Mr Ilyumzhinov.
First of all, I want to congratulate you on your re-election to the post of President of the World Chess Federation. How do you assess where we currently stand? Are there any questions to the organisers, any additional wishes?
President of The World Chess Federation Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: First of all, Mr President, I want to use this occasion to thank you on behalf of FIDE, the World Chess Federation, which currently unites 181 nations, for the opportunity to hold the world championship final in Russia.
When the FIDE Presidential Board was looking at applications from several countries, the decision by its members was unanimous and, I feel, well justified. Members of the Presidential Board made their decision on the basis of two factors. The first is that Russia is a great athletic power with a powerful chess tradition, and many FIDE world champions were students of the Russian and Soviet school of chess, starting with Alexander Alekhine, Mikhail Botvinnik, Boris Spassky and many other representatives of the Russian chess school. And the second reason why FIDE voted for Russia and made its choice is that everyone was very interested in the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Many athletes, administrators, and members of national chess federations wanted to visit Sochi and see it.
The fact that the match for the title of world champion will be held in Sochi, in the Olympic village, is good for FIDE because one of the Federation’s main goals right now is to join the Olympic movement, to become members of the International Olympic Committee. So it is very important for FIDE that the match will take place in Sochi.
The third factor is that the participants in this match are outstanding chess players. The Norwegian grandmaster Magnus Carlsen is young, only 23 years old; he is called the Bobby Fischer of the 21st century. And the second player is Vishy Anand, a five-time world champion from India, the birthplace of chess. Two generations, the younger and older chess generation, will fight for the title of chess champion in Sochi. The match will garner a great deal of interest.
This match is special in that chess is a fascinating sport. Last week, there was a FIDE inspection in Sochi. For us, the most important thing is modern communications, because the match will be broadcast online. Tens of millions – we have had as many as 400 million people, chess players – have visited the world championship website, and the websites simply crashed. So it is essential for us to have an excellent, up-to-date connection, the best communications, for the Internet to work well. The FIDE inspection was satisfied with all the preparations.
Vladimir Putin: So overall, the preparations are going well, and you have not seen any problems.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: Thank you, Mr President.
Vladimir Putin: Good.