President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon.
President of the World Chess Federation Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: Mr President, good afternoon,
First of all, I would like to thaank you on behalf of the World Chess Federation for last year’s inclusion of chess into the programme for gifted children. Chess, as Mikhail Botvinnik [1911–1995, multiple world chess champion] said, unites sport, science and culture. It also develops both the left and the right hemispheres of the brain in children.
Vladimir Putin: Did you have a holiday yesterday? My congratulations.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: Yes, it was yesterday. Fifty years ago, UNESCO declared International Chess Day. Chess is the only sport with an International Day. In those fifty years, the World Chess Federation has become the largest federation with 188 member countries, over 100,000 competitions held by us, and 600 million chess players. Now we have set a goal to increase the number of chess players to one billion by 2020. One billion chess players means one billon clever people. And the Sirius centre helps us increase the number of smart and talented children.
Vladimir Putin: I congratulate you as an organiser of this process and all the people who love chess and play it, and we have hundreds of thousands of them.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: We now have to produce a men’s and women’s world champion.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, we have to work on it.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: FIDE is to hold the next election of its president next year. I think that Russia should not yield this position, and I decided to run for FIDE president again.
Vladimir Putin: I think it will be decided by those eligible to vote, but as we see it from a distance, I think you are quite worthy, you do a good job with the responsibilities and running the federation. Undoubtedly, you have already gained significant experience and have every chance of winning. At any rate, you have the right to run and fight for it. For my part, I would like to wish you success.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: Thank you very much.