Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the President of Kalmykia since 1993, has requested not to be considered for another term as head of the republic.
Ilyumzhinov intends to focus solely on developing chess around the world as President of the World Chess Federation (FIDE).
“I served as President of Kalmykia for a very long time. Now I hope to apply my 20 years of political and government experience as well as my connections and friendship with heads of state and regional governments to the efforts of making chess more popular and a successful game,” said Ilyumzhinov in an interview.
Russian and western media discuss Ilyumzhinov’s resignation and acknowledge that it’s quite rare in Russia for a top politician to walk away from his post.
“I made this decision because I realize that promoting and developing chess around the world is a full-time job and it requires all of my attention. At the moment we are implementing such important programs as ‘chess in the school curriculum’ ,“ said Ilyumzhinov, adding, “I remember that my predecessor, 5th FIDE President Florencio Campomanes, asked me to run for FIDE President back in 1995, in Paris. It was then that he told me that chess was his life, that he lives and breathes chess and that if I felt the same way, that I would love this job too. I thought it over and agreed. Thinking back on this now, it is not even a hard decision to leave politics. I am extremely happy to be able to spend my time promoting and developing this great game.”