Person of day - 5 APRIL 2023
Kirsan Nikolayevich Ilyumzhinov was born on 5thApril 1962 in Elista, the capital of Kalmyk Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. At the age of 14, he became the chess champion of Kalmykia and in 1979, he graduated from middle school with a gold medal. From 1979-1980, he worked as a locksmith-mechanic at the “Star” factory and between 1980 and 1982, he served in the Soviet Army in the North Caucasus region.
In 1982-1983, Ilyumzhinov returned to the “Star” for one year. He worked as a locksmith and became the brigadier of the junior brigade. That same year, Ilyumzhinov was accepted to MGIMO. At University, he was the captain of the chess team. In 1989, he graduated from university with the title of “Expert on Japan and Economic Ties with Eastern Countries”. Soon after, he commenced his business and political career simultaneously.
On 18thMarch 1990, Ilyumzhinov was elected a People’s Deputy from Kalmykia. By April 1993, he headed more than 50 firms, banks and stock markets in the CIS and beyond. In January 1993, Ilyumzhinov was elected President of Russia’s Chamber of Businessmen and President of Kalmykia’s Chamber of Business. He announced his candidacy for Kalmykia’s first presidential election in that same year. Ilyumzhinov campaigned under the slogan of “A Wealthy President is a Safeguard Against Corruption”. He won the election with 65% of the vote and he would lead the Republic for more than 17 years.
In November 1995, Ilyumzhinov was elected the President of FIDE. He would be re-elected multiple times, the most recent one in 2014. In the first years of his presidency, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was the sponsor of most chess competitions. According to his estimate, he invested about 60 million dollars into chess. He reformed the chess world comprehensively and the state of contemporary chess is largely the result of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov’s leadership.
The FIDE President has many awards and official titles. Ilyumzhinov is an incumbent member of the Academy of Social Sciences (from 1997), an honorary academic of the Interregional Academy of Sciences (from 1997) and an honorary doctor of Russia’s National Academy of Applied Sciences (from 1998). In April 1997, he was awarded the Order of Friendship for “his services to the state and his contribution to the cultivation of friendship and cooperation between peoples” by the President of Russia. Ilyumzhinov has also been awarded by several NGOs, including FIDE’s gold Medal of the World for his humanitarian activities and the Order of Holy Prince Daniel of Moscow, which is the highest award of Russia’s Orthodox Church.
Beside Kalmykian and Russian, Ilyumzhinov speaks Japanese and English, as well as a little Korean, Mongolian and Chinese. Ilyumzhinov is married to a woman he attended school with. In 1990, they had a son, David.