Reports | June 14, 2011 23:06

Ilyumzhinov: 'Visit wrongfully politicized'

In a press release, distributed to the biggest chess websites today, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov expresses his disappointment about how people have responded to his visit on Sunday to Libya's leader Muammar Gadaffi. Ilyumzhinov writes that it's "unfortunate that some people are trying to use this trip to wrongfully politicize the situation in FIDE".

On Monday morning we reported on Ilyumzhinov's remarkable visit the day before to Muammar Gadaffi. The FIDE President had a two-hour meeting in Tripoli with the Libyan leader, despite the fact that Libya is currently in a state of civil war, with NATO and allies engaged in bombing raids, and Gaddafi himself accused of war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

Not surprisingly, this visit was frowned upon not just by chess fans, but basically by anyone in the world who follows the news. The reason? Ilyumzhinov and Gadaffi's chat, and their game of chess, were picked up by all the mainstream media. How is it possible to play a game while your country is at war? How was it possible for Ilyumzhinov to reach Gadaffi in the first place? The news agencies wondered about these, and many other questions.

Today, Ilyumzhinov decided to react to the way people had responded to his trip to Tripoli. FIDE sent us, and other big chess news sites, the following press release:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I was asked to visit Libya this past weekend, and I am very satisfied that I saw that chess could play such a critical role in promoting peace at this time of crisis.

I had very serious meetings regarding the objectives I had set, and I am proud that FIDE could contribute to the peace process in the region and the world.

It is therefore unfortunate that some people are trying to use this trip to wrongfully politicize the situation in FIDE and I am asking everybody to show complete solidarity for the peace efforts in Libya.


Kirsan Ilyumzhinov
FIDE President

The press release basically explains everything. The FIDE President is very satisfied that he saw 'that chess could play such a critical role in promoting peace at this time of crisis'. How come we didn't think of that?

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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


bhabatosh's picture

ya , we are all politicizing this, since we don't have anything else to do.
shame for us that this guy is leader of the chess world.

Anthony's picture


More a shame we have dealers......uh......'leaders' like Cameron, Sarkozy and Obama, bombing the hell out of Libya under the motto of a 'no fly zone'.

calvin amari's picture

This thug simply cannot deny that his visit was a political act. How are his clear remarks, like the following, not political speech?

Ilyumzhinov: "it really is true that it’s nonsense when people demand he [Gadaffi] goes. He’s not the president, not a minister, not the speaker of parliament. He’s simply the leader."

Or this disgusting remark: “the world doesn’t hear and doesn’t want to hear the voice of the Libyan people.”

Autocrats like Gadaffi and Ilyumzhinov, the former dictator who has co-opted FIDE, believe quite literally that they can get away with murder. It is hardly surprising that they also believe they can get away with absurd black-is-white denials such as contained in this current press release.

Frits Fritschy's picture

I think that's the whole point with people like Ilyumzhinov: they don't lie to conceal the truth, but to show that they are capable of anything and can get away with it.

The danger is one tends to underestimate people who lie openly or act like a clown. But you won't get millionair or dictator or president of the FIDE by just being stupid.

He may be hinting at that he was doing other things in Libya then promoting chess, as suggested by me (see the previous article on this matter) and before that by others. It might have been for Putin's sake, or for that 4 billion dollar Russian arms deal, or anything else he sees as 'promoting peace'. I admit that that may be overestimating his capacities. But I'm still left with the question: how did he get there? Why take personal risks and spend at least ten hours in a car to promote chess (or yourself)?

calvin amari's picture

When it comes to FIDE, when stupidity is a sufficient explanation there is really no need for recourse to any other. This has the same earmarks as Ilyumzhinov's publicity stunt involving the World Trade Center fracas, his sustained fondness for Saddam Hussein, and countless other embarrassments. The theory that Ilyumzhinov was doing the Kremlin's bidding by trying to get Gadaffi to step down - a fantasy I'm sure FIDE will try to foster - doesn't fly. First of all it is quite clear that the Kremlin has no faith in Ilyumzhinov. Sending a wack-job minor autocrat to be an emissary to a wack-job major autocrat might be viewed has having some perverse logic, but that is not the way the real world works. Moreover, all of Ilyumzhinov's remarks in support of Gadaffi flatly contradict the Kremlin's stated goals. Finally, Ilyumzhinov has said that he only expected to meet with Gadaffi's son, but eagerly seized the opportunity for a joint publicity stunt with the Criminal-Against-Humanity himself when it unexpectedly presented itself. And travelling to Libya is not impossible if you are welcomed by the Gadaffi family and are willing to advance their goals and serve their purposes.

Frits Fritschy's picture

I've commented on this at the prevous article: first, there isn't anymore such a thing as "the Kremlin"; there are serious cracks between Medvedev and Putin. Ilumzhinov's remarks only contradict Medvedev's stated goals – some Russian ministers clearly weren't happy with them. Secondly, not everyone may see him as a complete 'wack-job'. Even if they do to a certain extent, as a prime minister you can't send an offical diplomatic mission tot Tripoli after your president has more or less agreed to an arrest warrant for Kadhafi. Than, someone with some official status and good local contacts may come in handy (as was suggested in the Russian press). This also counts for the Russian arms industry (I didn't make up that 4 billion deal story).
Thirdly, I'm surprised to hear that you seem to trust Ilyumzhinov's words, when he says Kadhafi's invitation took him by surprise.
And last, still unanswered: what was in it for Kirsan? Money? Must have been a considerable sum to be worthwhile for him. Or do you think Kadhafi (or his advisors) will spend his cash on a 'wack-job' now his foreign bank accounts are blocked?
Of course all of this is speculation, but I'm not as sure as you about how that 'real' world works.

Sergei's picture

Unfortunately there are obviously some folks willing to believe Ilyumzhinov's BS that this was something other than one of his typical tone-deaf publicity stunts that are offensive to all. Reading all the relevant materials coming out of Russia it could not be more clear that there is nothing more here than meets the eye. A recent report in China has it accurate: "But if anything, Ilyumzhinov gave Gaddafi some badly needed encouragement, much as he had done by praising Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003." But please free to indulge your conspiracy theories. I'm sure Ilyumzhinov very much appreciates credulous fools casting him as a the international man of intrigue, a diplomatic James Bond.

Frits Fritschy's picture

Well, I've got you all worked up, haven't I?
I'm not Russian, so I haven't read all relevant materials coming out of Russia. Maybe you can provide some relevant quotes? (The Chinese quote is very true, but a bit of an open door.) I just read a few things in the sources that were provided with the last article, like that there was open opposition from within the Russian government against their president's position on the UN resolution. Also see the comment below.
Are you sure how to interprete this? I'm not. But I think it's relevant to ask some questions, look at some more facts then the obvious, and yes, develop theories about them, and maybe in this way get some understanding about what's happening.
People have said a thousand times at this place hat Kirsan is a disgrace and should go, but he's still there (and will be there for some time, I'm afraid). What's the use of comments like that?

Frits Fritschy's picture

You can't read everything. I just saw this comment by Mishanp under the previous article (mark the last sentence):
"A small update on the story: Ilyumzhinov held a press conference today, but there didn’t seem to be any more bombshells (metaphorically speaking). Apparently Gaddafi complained to him about the 160 billion dollars that’s been frozen by NATO (despite not being his money but that of the Lebanese National Bank), and Gaddafi said he’s willing to negotiate with the rebels without any preconditions except the bombing stopping. The Kremlin has said they knew the details of Ilyumzhinov’s trip in advance and that he conveyed the Russian government position."

kaddafi-master's picture

Damn, I've lost against Ilyumzhinov, but I beat you all, n00bs :-) Let's fight:

Bert de Bruut's picture

Kirsan is a puppet of Russian, the only major chess country that is happy with the situation in FIDE as it presently is, since with the mockery of democratic protocol that prevails, Russia will be able ro rule the organisation indefinitely. When are the eyes of the Western Chess Federations finally opened?

Outraged's picture

This idiot has got to go.

He is the FIDE president and as such his actions represent all of chess. If he is so blind to the real world and whats going on it that he can visit a tyrant who has been charged with crimes against humanity, he simply cannot do his job, no matter how good a bureaucrat he is.

He has made a mockery of chess to the outside world. Too bad they didn't bomb Gaddafi while he was there. There would be one less impediment for chess to overcome.

Anthony's picture

oh, oh, oh.....

'This idiot must go'..............

When will you idiots learn that the West's outlook on the world is just that: an outlook.

There are many more and the idea that 'we' represent 'freedom' and 'progress' is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo2010 I just can't believe you are still falling for it.

And let's face it: Chess IS Russia.

Not America, not Holland, Not the UK, not Israel, But Russian and ex-Soviet.

And I'm dutch, so I'm just being realistic here.

But not to worry: soon it will be Chinese, so then our problems will be over!

Frendu's picture

How can our fide president have meetings and gossip and play chess with the MURDERER OF HUMANITY........I THINK NATO FORCES SHOULD ALSO CONSIDER DROPPING A BOMB ON OUR DEAR FIDE PRESIDENT.....

Anthony's picture


How many people have died from US/UK/Israeli warmongering in the Middle east in the last decade?


And you want some more!!!!!!

You are the archvillain here!

Sergio's picture

I guess we are not aloud to politicied it but he admits in his press relise he was helping there using chess as a political goal to establish peace. How can someone be so stupid to even contradict himself in his own pressrelise?

weshouldgetridofhim's picture

Should we remind of the visa affair regarding israeli players before the "world championship" played in Tripoli ? This man has a long negative track record.

How is it that yesterday I have been approached by some friends of mine telling me "hey, the president of your world federation is a good friend of qaddafi!".....

The real shame is that chess players all around the world are still playing under fide flag, accepting this situation. Kirsan knows that the average chess player and also top players are like a lone wolf , passive, almost autistic in their willing to play chess.
We should all boycott fide and all national federations not protesting this behaviour (they are all silent by the way) , from organizers to players for 1 year. No games, no festivals, no sponsors, no financing thru membership fees.

Thomas's picture

"all national federations not protesting this behaviour (they are all silent by the way)"
Just for the record, this isn't completely true: the previous article here on Chessvibes had a press release by the English federation, and the German federation has a similar statement:
"In the current political situation, the directorate of the German Chess Federation considers the FIDE President's visit to Gaddafi completely inadequate and cannot understand it at all." [Original version: "Das Präsidium des Deutschen Schachbundes hält den Besuch des FIDE-Präsidenten bei Machthaber Gaddafi in der momentanen politischen Situation für völlig unangemessen und kann kein Verständnis dafür aufbringen"]
I couldn't find anything similar on the homepages of the Dutch, French and US federations ... well, do such statements by federations who didn't vote for Ilyumzhinov in the first place change much?

Maybe Danailov's apparent silence is surprising, or maybe not: he stimulated chess events in China which isn't exactly known for respecting democracy and human rights. On the other hand, where should a line be drawn??

Anthony's picture

Better a friend of Khadaffi then a friend of those mass murdering fools in London, Washington or Tel Aviv.

At least Ilyumzhinov has only killed one journalist (as far as I know).

The countless victims of the 'leaders' of the 'Free World' are simply forgotten.

More than one million in Iraq. Even more in Afghanistan. Trying to get another war going in Pakistan. etc.

No, anybody in favor of those idiots bombing Khadaffi are simply delusional.

Simmillion's picture

I agree with Kirzan, chess could be playing a major role in the libyan peace process. Aliens could also.

syazrin's picture

why u all did not ask US or NATO,stop blaming other.Do you all have a prove about Gadaffi.The propaganda all become from US and Europe.Behind this two is Israel(Zionis),not Israel(origin Israel)....please open ur mind!!!

Sergio's picture

Even if you are right and we are all listening to propaganda the point still stands that it was unwise (at the vary least) from him to play chess in Libia against Gadaffi.

Anthony's picture

And would it be wise to play Obama?
And if so, why? Because he is powerful and Khadaffi is not?

What does that say? In general and about you?

bayde's picture

Since Kirsan and/or FIDE seems to read this site (as I'm guessing they distributed their Press Release directly to Chessvibes), consider this my open letter to Kirsan.

Kirsan Nikolayevich, I have read, and understand, your argument that you were meeting with the legitimate leader of the state of Libya, and that you would gladly meet with any such legitimate leader in any country, no matter who he might be. According to you, interpreting your and Moammar Gadhaffi's embrace as anything else, is to politicize FIDE.

Sir, YOU are the one who has politicized FIDE with this act. The legitimacy of Moammar Gadhaffi's leadership is very much in question. The fact that half of Libya has taken up arms in order to remove him proves this point. In embracing Gadhaffi, you have not met with a mere state functionary, but have taken a very public stand in support of his leadership. YOU have taken a stand in direct opposition to the Libyan people who are fighting for their democratic liberty. YOU, Sir have brought FIDE into disrepute with this very political act.

Yours Sincerely,

Anthony's picture

And cameron, who got less than half of the vote? Is his 'legitimacy' in question too?

mh's picture

Really unbelievable, Mr.Ilyumzhinov implicitely represents chess players worldwide as chairman of FIDE. Visiting Ghaddafi in this period, is unacceptable. This guy should be removed from this position asap. Is FIDE as corrupt as FIFA or what?

Thierry's picture

Visiting such a country at the moment shows us how foolhardy Mr.Ilyumzhinov is.
Bringing support to Gadhaffi is truly insane .
Moreover , associating peace efforts and the Libyan leader is merely an insult to those who paid too much in giving their life during the current civil war .

Anthony's picture

A civil war that exists only because the 'West' intervened. Had Khadaffi been allowed to stop the unrest, many lives would have been saved.

This is the real world.

Louise Fredericia's picture

So far I agree with all these comments. This act is truly an insult - to chess as well as the people in Libya. But I see absolutely no comments anywhere from any GMs - ? Why?

To be silent is to I´ll break the silence - though not being af GM:


Gilgamesh's picture

What a shame for us all to have such an idiot in front of our nobel sport....TAKE US TO THE COURT TOO!!!

Anthony's picture

Perhaps you should face the fact that we play a sport dominated by Russians and ex Soviets.

These people are not convinced that 'we' are in Libya purely for 'humanitarian' reasons.

Ergo the send one of their pawns to send a message.

Grow up.

There is a war on and Gadaffi is not the bad guy.

Inky's picture

I just read the following: Illyumzhinov's trip was originally designed to convince Colonel Gaddafi to accept impending loss and relinquish power to rebel forces.

Here is the URL:

Of course I am very skeptical about this 'reason' for his visit. I wonder how much money Kirsan took out of Libya for Khadafi...and what part of it will go into Gaddafi's Swiss bank account. Sounds more plausible to me.

Anthony's picture

Ilyumzhinov would never have gone their without either Medvedev or Putin tacitly agreeing.

So this is a message. And the message is that the International Community is more than Wall Street, Washington and London

Henk de jager's picture

lol @ Kirsans´ hopeless 3rd world logic, of the man of another era, another planet.

Henk de jager's picture

Kirsans visit to Saddam Hussein did not lead to anything good for a previous muslim dictator, so maybe kadhafi miscalculated this gambit a bit.

Anthony's picture

Perhaps we should wake up to the fact that Ilyumzhinov answers to Russian/Kremlin orders.

This was not Chess, but Moscow visiting.

Get a life, we are waging a terrible war on Libya and not everybody is happy about that.

iran's picture


Anthony's picture


Wake up. Libya is not being 'liberated'. It is being conquered. And not everybody is happy about that.

And if you don't mind upsetting Moscow, it is probably useful to remember the Chinese have major stake here as well.

Arne Moll's picture

If it was not a political meeting, then why did he visit a politician? If Ilyumzhinov wants to promote chess in the US, is he meeting with Obama? What nonsense.

Anthony's picture

Of course it was politics Arne.

Just face the fact that FIDE is run by the Kremlin and the Kremlin just sent a message.

Celso's picture

Congratulations ChessVibes for this! What else have you got?

Rini Luyks's picture

The man really seems to be living on another planet... and even there he would be out of orbit...

Anthony's picture

Well.........the West is not the entire planet.

You are in the West and mistakenly believe you are 'the international community.

But outside the West everybody is disgusted with what is nothing more but a horrendous resource/powergrab in Libya.

That you people are so much in favor of the West just shows you don't need intelligence to play chess.

Marsss's picture

Could you please stop these non-sense remarks?? If America had not intervened in '45 you would have spoken German now... It cost many lives but we still remember all of them because they died for a good cause.

As for all the replies, we get your view on the matter by now, but most people just seem to disagree. It´s easy to tell others to grow up, like they don´t have a "real" opinion that matters. You seem to me like the driver on the road hearing of a ghost driver and laughing hard: one? hundreds!

But maybe you are alien and better informed than the rest.... Please take Kirsan and fly away.

Frendu's picture

No....i want US/UK/ISRAEL AND REST OF WORLD to sit and watch gaddafi slaughtering innocet civilian......SO THAT U MAY NOT CALL THEM WARMONGERIN.....if eliminating monsters like osama,saddam nd gadafi is called war mongering....then i think warmongerin is pretty holy job...

help's picture

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has been president of FIDE since 1995.

Count the years.

Is anybody still harboring illusions that "things will get better"?

No, of course not.

This is not up for debate.

What's up for debate is this: Why are we still here?

I've said it before: The countries that voted against Ilyumzhinov should leave FIDE for what it is and form their own federation.


Frendu's picture

I m an indian but i think America and nato is doing a gr8 gr8 favour on the world by eliminating terrorists.....though america is doing this for its own safety but in the process they are making this whole world safe..hats off to shame on the other countries who act as a mute spectator while these terrorist go on rampage and kill innocent people elsewhere....these countries wake up from sleep only when one day terrorists strike their place.....ANTHONY U TOO WUD HAVE NOT CALLED THIS WARMONGERING IF ONE OF UR LOVED ONE WUD HAVE DIED IN WORLD TRADE CENTER ATTACK OR MUMBAI ATTACKS......real shame on people like u who support terrorists......because u r objecting the fight against terrorism so u r perfectly eligible to b called a terrorist......

Appaz's picture


Don't call me family [deleted, no swearing at this site please]

Eiae's picture

This is disgraceful and an emergency for the political side of the chess world.
There can be only one move for the executive board, to remove Ilyumzhinov or be part of his madness.
I know that won't happen. Hopefully the UN will act against Ilyumzhinov to force the hand of the executive board.
Meanwhile, its up to the chess journalists and GMs to denounce this madman.

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