The long-standing president of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) is running for re-election. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who has led FIDE for eighteen years, registered earlier this week, making his entrance in the election official. But his opponent, former world champion Garry Kasparov, is determined to defeat the sitting president because he feels public comments about extraterrestrials made by Ilyumzhinov, who claims to be an alien abductee, are negatively affecting the federation.
Ilyumzhinov, who is a former president of the Russian republic of Kalmykia, has been outspoken about his interactions with extraterrestrials. In 2010, he publicly claimed to have met with extraterrestrials in Moscow, where he communicated with them, was shown around their spaceship, and was even taken into space. Ilyumzhinov asserts that he has been taken by extraterrestrials on multiple occasions, and he has spoken publicly about it for more than a decade. And it’s because of this that Kasparov thinks Ilyumzhinov is ill-suited to run FIDE. In fact, Kasparov has plainly stated that he believes Ilyumzhinov’s extraterrestrial comments are a “disaster for the organisation.” He also believes that Ilyumzhinov’s extraterrestrial opinions are preventing FIDE from growing. The Guardian explains that he believes “no western sponsor will ever be with someone who talks about aliens.”
In addition to his claims of personal contact with extraterrestrials, Ilyumzhinov believes that humans are a product of extraterrestrial intervention. And, he asserts that chess was given to humans by these extraterrestrials. In 2006, he told the Guardian, “My theory is that chess comes from space. Why? Because the same rules, 64 squares black and white and same rules in Japan, in China, in Qatar, in Mongolia, in Africa. The rules are the same. Why? I think it seems maybe it is from space.” And he believes his mission in life is to bring peace to the world through chess.
The victor of the FIDE presidential election will be decided in August at the World Chess Olympiad in Tromsø, Norway.