Reports | February 14, 2013 14:46

Ilyumzhinov wants to launch a political chess party

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov wants to launch a "chess party". The head of FIDE and former President of Kalmykia wants the party to be an international movement and plans to invite the United Russia Party, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) and even the opposition to join. This was reported by several Russian media.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov talking to Anatoly Karpov at the Tal Memorial in 2010

Ilyumzhinov's latest creative endeavor was first mentioned in this Interfax report back in September 2012, about his visit to the Ukrainian town of Klesov. Not only did the FIDE President announce plans for a new chess school there; he also spoke of a "world chess party".

There are democratic parties and there are communist ones. Now it's time to establish a chess party,"

said Ilyumzhinov, who wanted to have the party's headquarters in the Ukraine. He explained the reasons behind the plan with his usual clear, concrete and crisp formulations:

I thought: why shouldn't we unite clever, intelligent people and create some sort of a community. Our aim is not to go to parliament, we don't really want you to join the party for that purpose. For some people politics is a source of living. However, for us this party is not a way of achieving power. We aim to adapt young people for modern life, we want to teach them to calculate their moves and actions. That's why we want to create this chess party. We are now opening the Ukrainian chess party. It is not a political one.

Now, five months later, Ilyumzhinov seems to have changed his mind. He told the Russian newspaper Izvestia that the main objective is "to lobby for chess all over the world and give more support to the game". As an example he gave the Republic Party of Kyrgyzstan, which prepared a bill introducing chess as a compulsory school subject. (To this we may add that GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili was recently appoined Deputy Minister of Sports and Youth of Georgia, while GM Alisa Maric is the currenty Minister of Youth and Sport in in Serbia.)

Ilyumzhinov, who headed Kalmykia from 1993 till 2010, is a member of Russia’s largest party United Russia. He wants his role in the chess party to be of an "informal coordinator" and intends to invite parties from all sides of the political spectrum to join the Russian branch of his movement. As its first steps the party should be supporting

chess matches between North and South Korea and after that between Palestine and Israel.

According to Izvestia, some Russian politicians, like Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Stanislav Govorukhin, welcomed the initiative. Anatoly Karpov (MP for United Russia), however, was not very enthusiastic. According to the 12th World Champion

chess, like other sports, should not be mixed with politics.

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.


noyb's picture

I've heard of some crazy ideas, but...

Casaubon's picture

Go for it Kirsan! Politics always has room for one more clown

Sergio Henrique Riedel's picture


filiusdextris's picture

So that's what the increased fees have been all about... :/

Anonymous's picture

What is this idiot up to now?

AngeloPardi's picture

It's worth having Ilyumzhinov at the head of FIDE just for those hilarious ideas !

Theo's picture

He just wants publicity

hoi's picture

I am always up for a party

Henk de Jager's picture

Great idea of course, but an UFO-party would have been even better, Ilyumshinov could have called himself president of the universe or something.

Septimus's picture

Ranks right up there with the aliens/X-Files story.

Anonymous's picture

Politics has always been a major part of chess. It was always a key factor with chess popularization and funding. Saying otherwise is plain ignorant or deceiving. That's what I read from all of chess history.

Anthony Migchels's picture

blimey, haven't we got enough politics in chess already, without taking it elsewhere to boot!?!

matches between palestin-isra hell..that'll never happen.'s picture

Israel is the devil-est of human beings that ever existed in this world.

Septimus's picture
evgeny's picture

How comes, that you know howto write?)))))

Anon's picture

Fine, so when is he going to introduce direct elections for the post of FIDE president? The electorate being defined as players with an active FIDE rating.

Harrry_Flashman's picture

May his Alien friends take him away for good..

Mehul Gohil's picture

Want to read something really crazy? Try this: "16 reasons why chess is not good for you" -

Latest articles