Kirsan Ilyumzhinov about problems at the Chess Olympiad in Khanty Mansiysk

Vuvuzelas will not be allowed at chess competitions

Chess Olympiad 2010

Q: Kirsan Nikolayevich, there are less than towo months to the start of the World Chess Olympiad 2010. There is information that in Khanty Mansiysk there are not enough places for all guests and some teams are even declined acceptance. A coleague of yours from FIDE, during the match for the World Title in Sofia, in a conversation with me even used the word “catastrophe”. Is the situation really so serious?

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: I am not inclined to put so much drama in the situation and talk about “catastrophe”. But indeed the situation is worrying. The organizers of the Olympiad had promised to build 3 hotels. They built only one. But even this one that is built, a month ago was not functioning. I travel a lot around the world, I have been in Asia, Africa, and South America. The chess players from some of these countries are complaining that as far back as May they have been declined requests for Khanty Mansiysk. They have been told by the organizing committee that there are not enough places in the charters, there is no space in the hotels… Can you imagine a situation where, let’s say, at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi the organizers inform the hokey players from Canada or Sweden, “We are sorry, we cannot host you because you do not have a place where to live.”

Q: No, such a thing I cannot imagine!

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: But for example, such are things in Khanty Mansiysk. We are expecting a record participation from the whole world – 160 teams. And the hotel is still not functioning, the sponsors have not yet transfered the money…

Q: So what will we do?

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: I have written an official letter to the governor of Khanty Mansiysk region and to the government. This is already a political issue – the Chess Olympiad in Khanty Mansiysk should not fail! From FIDE we will send a working group to help the Organising Committe, on August 25th we will do one more inspection. I believe in the traditional Russian last minute success and I hope that the organizers will think of a way to provide accommodation for participants, arbiters, delegates, and the journalists. There is more time, after all the opening of the Olympiad is September 20th.

Q: You sad that you travel a lot around the world. What are your brightest impressions from your last trips.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: Yes, I visited more than 20 countries and at least as many I want to visit before the Olympiad. My brightest impression? I am shocked by Africa! In my next 4 years presidential cycle I have the desire to complete several revolutionary changes. The financing of three programs will be increased 10 times. First of all, this will be chess in schools. Second, this will be the preparation of coaches and arbiters. Third, the active help for developing countries. Next year will be declared the Year of Africa, while 2013 the year the Year of South America.


Q: On the FIDE website I saw your foto of you in Ghana with Vuvuzela. I hope that at chess events these annoying whistles will not be allowed?

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: There will not be Vuvuzelas at chess competitions. But we are seriously considering the idea to conduct the Chess Olympiad 2016 in South Africa.

Interview by Yurii Vassilev for Sport Express

Full text in Russian here