20th anniversary of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov's Presidency in FIDE 20 years of progress 

With 20 years anniversary of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov’s accession to the office of the FIDE President this November, 24, it is proper to recall his achievements as FIDE President, whose contribution in the history of the world chess cannot be underestimated. 

When Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was elected as FIDE President in 1995, the issues he faced, had been primarily a divided chess world (after Kasparov and Short created the "Professional Chess Association" (PCA) and started to organize their own world championships), a poor FIDE chess calendar, FIDE permanent financial problems and a few major achievements are as follows. 

1) Recognition of Chess as a Sport. 

In 1999 the International Olympic Committee recognized FIDE as an international sports organization, confirming the fact that chess is a sport. The FIDE President's present aim is to include chess in the Winter Games and to join the family of Olympic Sports in the future and he is working hard in this direction. So far chess has been participating in continental (Asian, African), regional (Games of the Caribbean, South-East Asia), Arab Games, Universiade and Maccabi games and many others. 

During the last meeting in June 2015 IOC and FIDE representatives made a decision to meet on a regular basis in order to discuss issues of mutual concern. 

Chess federations are full or affiliate members recognized by the National Olympic Committees in 127 countries, and chess as a sport is recognized in 155 countries. 

2) Unification of the World Chess Championship. 

Since 1993 the chess world fell apart and there had been two different organizations representing chess players with two different world championship cycles and two different world champions. It was unacceptable for the image of chess and FIDE, therefore Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has done his best to unify the chess world. Over years several attempts to re-unify the world championship failed for various reasons. In 2002 the unification agreement has been signed in Prague and in 2006 a unification match between Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov was played. Since then the only chess federation representing chess players from around the world is FIDE and only FIDE has exclusive rights to organize the World Championships. 

3) Stable financial situation of FIDE. 

It's not a secret that Kirsan Ilyumzhinov donated millions of dollars from his own funds for chess development. He was helping chess well before he had become FIDE President, including the sponsorship of the Moscow Chess Olympiad 1994. When Kirsan Ilyumzhinov became FIDE President, there were very few events in the FIDE calendar and FIDE could hardly find sponsors for these events. 
Thanks to the efforts of the FIDE President, the prize funds reached an absolutely different level. Prizes for players and stipends for principles as well as organizational costs have been increased tremendously. The FIDE President managed to attract many sponsors from around the world and at the moment, FIDE has a stable income to its budget also by introducing new events and continuously finding new organizers and sponsorship. Only in the last two years the total amount of the prize funds for the FIDE events reached approximately 10 million dollars. The FIDE budget has also increased accordingly and nearly doubled in 2014 as compared to 2008. 

4) Complete FIDE calendar 

The moment when Kirsan Ilyumzhinov became the FIDE President the calendar included only few events (World Chess Olympiads and World Championships). Being a huge chess supporter, numerous events were introduced by the FIDE President to the FIDE calendar not only for chess professionals but also for amateurs and young players, including absolutely new events as World School Championships, World Cup, Grand Prix series, World Rapid and Blitz Championships etc. Nowadays the FIDE calendar is full of tournaments. 

5) The number of people playing chess increased more than ten times 

In July 1995 there were 18162 FIDE rated players and in November 2015 the number reached 227751 players, thus, the number of active chess players increased more than 10 times in the last 20 years. In November 2015 there are 547747 registered players. 
In 2010 the FIDE President announced his main target - to reach 1 billion people who can play chess. (According to a study of British company YouGov, more than 600 million people play chess in the World (March 2012)). Every year he visits many countries promoting the ‘Chess in Schools’ programme, inspiring people of all ages to play chess. 
Since the FIDE President launched the knockout system a lot of players have been taking part in all knock out events during all these years. The new World Championship cycle system allowed many more chess players to make their living and benefit from chess. This was not possible before 1995, when only a dozen of top players were enjoying the advantages of elite players. 

6) The FIDE family has substantially increased. 

In 1995 in Paris, France 149 federations were present. In 2015 there are 186 federations members of FIDE, making FIDE one of the largest sports organizations in the world. 
In 1996 during the 32nd Olympiad in Yerevan 114 teams representing 111 nations participated in the Open section and 74 teams representing 72 nations in the women’s section took part. 
In 2014 in Tromso there were 177 teams from 172 countries in the open section and 136 from 131 countries in the women's section. 
However, the FIDE President doesn't intend to stop at this stage: he believes all nations should join the international chess community. The main target is to achieve a significant growth in the number of people of all ages participating in chess events at all levels and to develop chess by increasing the level of tournament participation globally. 

7) Development of women’s chess 

The data of Elista FIDE office shows that the number of women players increased from 1650 women players in 1995 to 22046 in November 2015! The number of female players with titles was 545 in July 1995 and reached 3056 in November 2015. 
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is a huge supporter of women’s chess. He has done a lot to attract the sponsorship and media to the women’s chess. The current Women’s championship circle system, which includes a knockout tournament, Women Grand Prix series and the Women World Championship Match with a decent prize fund always attracts the strongest women players.

World Championship Match Sofia 2010
World Chess Championship Match, Sofia 2010

Doha Qatar 2011
Doha, Qatar 2011

Moscow 2012 World Ch Match with Vishy Anand
World Chess Championship Match, Moscow 2012

Primery school Shenzhen 2012
Primary School, Shenzhen 2012

with golden Russian Women team in Istanbul 2012
With golden Russian Women's team, Istanbul 2012

Part 02
Candidates Tournament, London 2013

Beijing 2013 GP. with Boris Gelfand Xu Yuhua and Xie Jun
Beijing 2013: GM Boris Gelfand, GM Xu Yuhua, FIDE President and GM Xie Jun

Beijing 2013
Beijing 2013

Chennai 2013 World Ch Match
World Chess Championship Match, Chennai 2013

Grand Prix Zug 2013
Grand Prix, Zug 2013

Baku 2014 Cup from Igor Lobortas
Grand Prix, Baku 2014

2014 Candidates 2014 with Vishy Anand and Natalia Komarova
Candidates Tournament, Khanty-Mansiysk 2014

Elections in Tromso 2014
Elections in Tromso 2014

Tromso 2014 after victory elections
Tromso 2014, after the victory

Tromso Olympiad closing ceremony 2014
Closing Ceremony of the Olympiad, Tromso 2014

Sochi 2014
Sochi 2014

World Rapid and Blitz Championship Dubai 2014
World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championship, Dubai 2014

with Maria Muzychuk Sochi 2015
Women's World Chess Championship, Sochi 2015. Maria Muzychuk is the new Women's World Champion.

Women W Ch with Andrey Filatov and Maria Muzyhcuk 2015
Women's World Champion Mariya Muzychuk, Andrey Filatov and FIDE President

Bach Kirsan
IOC President Mr. Thomas Bach, 22nd June 2015 in Lausanne

Jacques Rogge 2007
Former IOC President Mr. Jacques Rogge, 1st February 2007 in Lausanne

Samaranch Kirsan
Former IOC President Mr. Juan Antonio Samaranch, Lausanne 1997

November 1995 Paris
GM Bachar Kouatly, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, former FIDE President Florencio Campomanes, IM Joaquim Durao

Dear Kirsan Nikolayevich! 

On behalf of the Supervisory Board of the Russian Chess Federation and me personally let me extend our congratulations to you on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of your FIDE (World Chess Federation) Presidency. 

The two decades of your leadership in one of the largest and most prestigious international sports federations, have been marked with a number of milestones in the planet’s chess life. Chess has been recognized as a sport in 155 countries of the world and eventually, by the International Olympic Committee. The number of chess federations in the world increased from 149 to 186 while the number of players in the rating-list has increased in 11 times. 

During this period under the aegis of FIDE hundreds of the world level chess tournaments have been successfully organized with many of them hosted by our country. This has significantly reinforced Russia’s place as one of the leading world chess powers and has provided an additional impetus to the development of the progressive Russian chess school. 

FIDE under your leadership has always given special attention to Russia. The number of the Russian chess players in the FIDE rating-list has been constantly increasing. 

Please accept my assurances that the President of Russia follows the chess successes of our country at the international arena with interest, and greatly attends to the task of attracting our young generation to chess as chess is a brilliant educational resource and an effective tool in striving healthy life style in our society. The presence of the Russian Head of State at the finals of the All Russia Youth Tournament “White Rook” in Dagomys, June 2014, as well as the closing ceremony of the World Chess Championship match in November 2014 in the Olympic city of Sochi, proves that FIDE’s efforts to promote chess in our country are very important for us. 

Let me wish you, dear Kirsan Nikolayevich, further success in your noble task for the sake of the development of chess in the entire world. 

Yours sincerely, 

Dmitry Peskov 
Supervisory Board 
Russian Chess Federation

Dear Kirsan, 

I wish to extend to you heartfelt congratulations on the special occasion of your 20th anniversary as FIDE President! 

During all these years you have worked restlessly towards the development of chess around the world. Your passion and commitment have brought remarkable results. 

I am grateful to know you and share your love and dedication to the chess world! I wish you continued success in the years ahead! 

Yours sincerely, 

Georgios Makropoulos 
FIDE Deputy President

Dear Mr. President ! 
Happy day, Kirsan ! 

Twenty years ago, 20 November 1995. I remember Paris. Campomanes had resigned. The General Assembly elected you FIDE President. In a first short talk on the Seine river I approached you as Continental President of Europe. You explained to me that Kalmykia, your home country, is situated on the European side of the Caspian Sea and that Kalmyks are the only Buddhist nation in Europe. 

Your task was heavy. FIDE was in a crisis: financial problems, rivalries, two parallel World Championships, politics, organised oppositions. Your performance as FIDE President is highly impressive. Your tenacity, your love of the game have helped you to put the World Chess House in order, to create a new spirit of unity in FIDE. 

My congratulations on this day and best wishes for good health and success in future activities ! 

Kurt Jungwirth
FIDE Honorary Vice President

Dear Mr. President, 

Our heartiest congratulations on the 20th anniversary of your election as the President of the World Chess Federation.

You have always helped our sports society members and found appropriate solutions for chess & FIDE, whenever needed. Even while it was not your duty, you have always extended a helping hand towards the Chess Players and have acted as a pillar to maintain unity in the chess world.

We are fond to receive your selfless service for the members of our chess family and hope that you will continue justify the expectations of all the dedicated society members. 

Zurab Azmaiparashvili
ECU President

Dear Kirsan Nikolayevich! 

On behalf of the Russian Chess Federation and myself please accept our congratulations on the 20th anniversary of your Presidency of the World Chess Federation. 

In the last 20 years under your guidance FIDE has unitied Chess Federations of 186 countries of the world, organised a great number of tournaments and matches of top level, and confirmed the status of the most intellectual sport for chess. 

One needs perserverance and total dedication in order to successfully lead such an organisation for a long period of time, to be a leader and to enjoy respect of millions of people. 

For me and the Russian Chess Federation it is a special honour and pride to be able to develop chess on a national and international level together with FIDE. With our joint efforts we will be helping chess acquire a well-deserved place in sports, art and life of the people in the entire world. 

Yours sincerely 

Andrey Filatov 
FIDE Vice President 
Russian Chess Federation

Dear Kirsan!

On 24th November 1995, there were two World Champions, there was no World Championship cycle, there was little women’s chess, only the very few top players earned reasonable money, there was no FIDE calendar, there were only 149 Federations in FIDE, there was difficulty finding bidders for the Olympiads, FIDE was in a financial mess and chess was not recognised as a sport by the IOC. On 24th November 2015 none of this was true. Congratulations Kirsan Nikolayevich on being in charge of FIDE during such momentous 20 years for chess! 

Best regards 
Nigel Freeman
FIDE Executive Director

Dear Kirsan Nikolayevich!

20 years since the day of your becoming FIDE President have passed, when you took the responsibility for the world chess development. These were diverse years: years of achievements, years of struggle for the chess unification and consolidation of chess movement, years of overcoming difficulties, and of hard work. What was always there during these 20 years – your unlimited love for chess, your dedication and perserverity in reaching your goals and your tasks. 

During these years a lot of glorious pages have been added to the FIDE history. Thanks to your activities, the chess world escaped the schism. Thanks to you a number of chess countries members of FIDE has increased and the number of people who play chess in the world is approaching one billion. Chess has become a part of a curriculum in many countries. 

The Rules Commission since the very start of your activities as FIDE President has always felt your constant support and tried to carry out all the aims set by you in the field of regularizing and unifying of chess rules. Set dates for rules corrections were introduced, they were separated and finalized. The rules demanded by technical progress were considered in time and fulfilled. 

On behalf of all the members of our Commission I sincerely congratulate you with your anniversary! I wish you the best of health, permanent energy, personal happiness and achieving of all the goals set by you for the development and prosperity of chess in the world.

Ashot Vardapetyan
FIDE Rules Commission

Dear Mr. President, 

Please accept my most sincere congratulations on this day, 20 years of your Presidency of the World Chess Federation, which is being led by you to further successes in all the spheres of its wide spectre of actions. 

The Arbiters’ Commission has always been enjoying your permanent interest, guidance and appreciation. In this period of 20 years the number of Arbiters has been increased enormously. More than 8.700 International Arbiters, FIDE Arbiters and Arbiters of National Levels have been registered to FIDE, while in 1995 the total number of Arbiters was 1.500. Under your leadership now we have Arbiters in 167 Federations. 

On this remarkable day, which is a milestone in the history of world chess as a symbol of 20 years of progress and constant improvements in the life of chess players, arbiters, trainers and all chess loving persons, I would like to wish you the best of health and future achievements of all of your important goals and aims, on behalf of all the Members of the Arbiters’ Commission and all chess Arbiters. 

Yours sincerely 

IA Takis Nikolopoulos 
FIDE Arbiters’ Commission

Dear Mr. President, 

I am sending you many regards and would like to congratulate you and thank you for your 20 years work at the position of president FIDE! 

You made a lot of good things for chess and I wish you the pleasure from your work to the future and enjoy to meet you. 

Have a good time, 

With best regards 

Petr Pisk 
Delegate Czech Republic

Dear Kirsan Nikolayevich! 

Please accept our sincere congratulations on the 20th anniversary of your election as the President of the World Chess Federation. 

In this high office you became a successor of a legendary Florencio Campomanes, and you had taken an important mission of unifying chess movement, developing world chess and expanding the geography of this ancient sport. In the past years we have written many glorious pages to the history of FIDE, thanks to your undefatiguable activity Elista, the capital of Kalmykia, has become a world chess movement centre. 

I am sure that your perseverity in achieving your goals, love and devotion to chess will help in fulfilling your dream - to make chess an Olympic sport and increase the number of the chess players up to one billion. 

Congratulations on this remarkable day, wishing you the best of health, personal happiness and achieving of all your goals and plans. 

Yours sincerely 

Yuri Dzhapov 
The Arbitrage of the Republic of Kalmykia

Dear Kirsan Nikolayevich! 

On behalf of all employees of the Elista FIDE Office, please accept our warmest congratulations on your 20-years presidency! 

It is a great honor for all of us to work under your wise guidance. Your invaluable devotion and contribution to chess are highly acknowledged by the world chess community. It is not a secret that you are a man with tireless efforts and limitless vision. 

We wish you good health, prosperity and success in all your endeavors! 

Gens una sumus! 
Elista FIDE Office 


Dear Mr President, 

On your 20th anniversary at the helm of FIDE!

Hearty congratulations from the Medical Commission!

Dr Jana M Bellin
FIDE Medical Commission

Dear Shri Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, 

On the successful completion of two decades as President. 
My Best Wishes for good health and success in future activities. 

With Regards, 
R.Srivatsan, IA 

 Dear Kirsan, 

ongratulations for your 20th anniversary as the FIDE President! 

In these years the situation in the chess world has improved a lot! Chess is getting worldwide attention and tournaments are hold everywhere. 

In the past years I enjoyed my participation as a player in several Olympiads and World Cups. Now I am happy to organise events on behalf of FIDE and the Commission for Disabled. 

I would like to thank you for your help and your good work for FIDE. I wish you good luck for the years to come! 

Yours sincerely, 
Thomas Luther
FIDE Commission for the Disabled

Dear Mr. President!

The FIDE General Secretariat congratulates you on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of FIDE Presidency!

It is an honour for us to work under your guidance. We appreciate your devotion and invaluable contribution to the world chess community. 

We wish you best of health, prosperity and success in all your endeavors and stay ready to fulfil all the tasks!

Gens una sumus! 
FIDE Secretariat 
Athens, Greece 

Dear Kirsan Nikolayevich! 

The Chess Federation of Armenia is hereby expressing their deepest respect and gratitude for 20 years of your work. 

Indeed, during these 20 years a lot of positive changes have been taking place in the structure and international relations of chess, and your contribution to this is very substantial. Your service for chess will remain in its history. We are happy for your strength,enthusiasm, hard work, which serve for the sake of mankind and chess. Wishing you best of health and new achievements in all your endeavours and success in your important mission. 

Yours sincerely 

GM Smbat Lputian 
Deputy President 
Armenian Chess Federation

Dear Mr. President!
Dear Kirsan Nikolayevich!

Twenty years working for the World Chess Federation is a long period of ups and downs, pleasure and sorrows, success and disappointments. In these two decades, the Fide developed into a powerful sports organization that deserves respect and recognition. You brought the world chess on the current level and we can all be very proud of our achievements. 

Thank you for your excellent work and congratulations on the anniversary. 

Best wishes, lots of joy, health and strength for the successful continuation of your work for the chess, the game that you love. 

Gens Una Sumus 

Robert Zsifkovits 
President of FIDE Zone 1.2

Dear Kirsan Nikolayevich!

The Ugra Chess Academy staff and all chess players of Ugra sincerely congratulate you on the 20th anniversary of your election as the President of the World Chess Federation.

Your contribution to the development of chess is invaluable. For the last 10 years thanks to your support, the chess players of Ugra had an opportunity to witness the games of famous chess players who participated in the world events in Khanty-Mansiysk. We wish you success and achievements, fortitude, prosperity, the implementation of new ideas and plans. 

Galina Kovaleva 
Ugra Chess Academy



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