After his recent re-election as president of the World Chess Federation, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov offered to answer questions from readers of The Times about the federation, which is also known by the acronym FIDE (for Fédération Internationale des Échecs), and about his plans for the future of the game. Part one of the interview appeared Tuesday and addressed the federation’s proposal to build a chess center in New York City and the recent election. Part two was Wednesday and focused on the recent history of the world championship and Mr. Ilyumzhinov’s efforts to find long-term sponsors for chess. The final part of the interview is below.

Supporting Chess Development

Question: Some readers say the Committee for Assistance to Chess Developing Countries has done little or nothing to assist some countries or regions where there is little money and few skilled players. Your response?

Fortunately they are mistaken. Thanks to the activities of the committee, all developing countries receive financial and technical help on a regular basis. I would note that at the FIDE Congress in Khanty-Mansiysk, it was decided to increase the committee’s budget from 40,000 euros to 200,000 euros a year.

Mr. Ilyumzhinov said via telephone that he hoped to expand the number of countries in the federation to 200 from 170 currently, and hoped to increase the number of people who play chess to one billion from 600 million. He did not say where that estimate came from.

The readers say that in the past, FIDE has said it would increase its spending on development, but it has not happened. Is FIDE able and willing to increase its spending now? If so, when and by how much? Where will the money come from? Where will it be spent?

FIDE is engaged exclusively in the development and popularization of chess across the world. Nothing else. In Khanty-Mansiysk, the FIDE Congress adopted my suggestion to increase funding for the three core programs I consider critical to the development of chess: the Committee for Assistance to Chess Developing Countries, chess in schools, and the training of arbiters and trainers. In addition, a reserve fund was created that will guarantee the uninterrupted continuation of FIDE’s activities even in the case of a force majeure situation. Previously the FIDE calendar featured three official events per year. Today there are already 18. FIDE receives 20 percent of the prize funds from the world championships, the world cups and grand-prix. FIDE revenues from the Olympiads have also significantly increased. This year, for example, the organizers of the Khanty-Mansiysk games presented us with $900,000. We will continue to seek new ways to increase FIDE’s budget, first and foremost via infusions from sponsors.

One reader asked about what had happened to several construction projects with chess themes, like a Chess City in Dubai, and whether Mr. Ilyumzhinov had plans to follow through with them. He said via telephone that many of these projects were proposed in 2008. “I have some partners who want to work with me, but the financial crisis changed their plans,” Mr. Ilyumzhinov said.

Now he said that he was trying to find new partners and mentioned that he had talked with Igor Makarov, the chairman of the Itera International Group, an energy company, among others.

Belief in Aliens

In the Western press, there are often derisive comments about you because of your beliefs about alien abductions. Will you continue to talk about this belief? Or do you have any plans to stop?

Many in this world believe in God although it would seem that no one has yet seen him. Many people also believe in the existence of extraterrestrials, and I am one of them. But my faith is underscored by the experience of humanity. It is no coincidence that every year NASA registers over 4,000 contacts with extraterrestrial civilizations.

I have decided to write a book about my contact with extraterrestrials, and it will be published in the United States in 2011. In it, I will speak of my personal experience communicating with extraterrestrials and my view on the question of extraterrestrial civilizations.

You have recently stated that chess was given to Earthlings from extraterrestrial visitors. How did you come to believe this theory about the origins of chess?

I do, indeed, consider chess a gift from extraterrestrial civilizations. Chess is one of the world’s oldest games. But where was it invented? In India? But an ancient set of figures was also found at excavations in the Bulgarian town of Plovdiv. And two years ago, the president of Mongolia showed me chessmen discovered when they were searching for the grave of Genghis Khan and excavated a kurgan. There have been similar finds in Latin America and other parts of the world. And in those times, of course, travel was almost impossible. But the rules of chess were almost identical everywhere. It is hard to imagine that people in different parts of the world many thousands of years ago simultaneously thought up an identical game with the same rules just by chance. But again, I will set forth my opinions in the book, and we can discuss my theses in greater detail.

The Murder of Larisa Yudina

Larisa Yudina was editor of Sovetskaya Kalmykia Sevodnya, a newspaper critical of Ilyumzhinov. She was murdered in Elista, the capital of Kalmykia, on June 8, 1998. Sergey Vaskin, an aide to Mr. Ilyumzhinov, and Vladimir Shanukov, a boxer, were arrested and convicted of the killing and each was sentenced to 21 years in prison.

What do you know about the murder of Larisa Yudina? Why don’t you let her widower publish the newspaper she once ran, rather than banning it?

This was the first case in Russia when the murder of a journalist had been successfully investigated and brought to court, and the killer was prosecuted and given a real prison sentence. I am very sorry that such a tragedy happened, and I am glad that the authorities brought the persons responsible for it to justice. Regarding the publication of the newspaper, this is a matter of control of specific government agencies, which did not report to me.

In the telephone interview, Mr. Ilyumzhinov said that he had known Yudina and had helped her out after her newspaper was closed following the fall of the Soviet Union. “At that time, I was member of the Russian Parliament. When I came to Kalmykia, Yudina asked me to help open the newspaper,” Mr. Ilyumzhinov said. “It was political decision to close all newspapers that opposed the coup d’etat. I said that if you are no longer Communist, then it is fine. I met with the prime minister of Kalmykia in 1991 and he agreed with me. And the newspaper was reopened.”

Mr. Ilyumzhinov said that he barely knew Vaskin. “There were 1,000 people on my staff. He was one of the members who worked in my administration,” he said. He then made an analogy. “You have the staff of The New York Times. Tomorrow one of your staff kills somebody. That does not mean that the editor ordered this.”

In Closing

I’m glad of the opportunity to meet with readers of the Times. I want to thank readers of the newspaper for their questions and their interest in chess. I hope to spend more time in the United States and speak personally with chess players and fans.