29 Jan 2019 18:32

Lukashenko, FIDE head Dvorkovich discuss hosting Chess Olympiad in Belarus

MINSK. Jan 29 (Interfax) - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and World Chess Federation (FIDE) President Arkady Dvorkovich have discussed the development of chess as a sport and Belarus' hosting the 45th Chess Olympiad at a meeting in Minsk on Tuesday.

"I met with the former head of the federation [Kirsan Ilyumzhinov] several times and knew him well. We discussed the development of chess in Belarus. We pursue this policy. I am an 'omnivore'; any kind of sport, from hockey and figure skating to chess, is very important to me. Especially as it happens that Belarus, you could say, is one of the powerful chess nations, and our school has always been respectable," Lukashenko's press service cited him as saying.

"I see that things have started moving, so our meeting is very timely," he said.

Lukashenko congratulated Dvorkovich on his election as FIDE president in October 2018.

"We take a favorable view of that. To speak bluntly, having our guy as the head of the federation is very important for us," he said.

"There are things to discuss. You should tell us what to do and the minister will accept recommendations. You know from last week that officials are sometimes slow to act. But if you clearly determine [what needs to be done] and tell us what to do, we'll definitely do it," Lukashenko said.

According to Dvorkovich, FIDE is planning to reorganize its work to ensure the development of chess in the world in general rather than in individual countries. "Chess is indeed gradually starting to rise in Belarus. What is crucial to that end is the development of chess in schools. And that's probably the largest project, it should be the center of attention," he said.

"The next level is the chess academy, where talented children could perfect their skills. Then training professionals. Such a ladder should be established in every country, and we will help with that," Dvorkovich said.

Belarus was granted the right to host the 45th Chess Olympiad and the FIDE Congress in August 2022, as well as the Women's Chess World Cup in 2020 and the men's in 2021.