WORLD Chess Federation (Fide) president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is set to travel to Zimbabwe next week for a high profile three-day visit ahead of the prestigious African Schools Individual Chess Championships to be held in Harare from August 19 to 28, Sports World can exclusively reveal.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
Ilyumzhinov, who has been at the helm of the international governing body for the game of chess since 1995, is a multi-millionaire businessman and former president of the Republic of Kalmykia in the Russian Federation, from 1993 to 2010.
Although details of his visit are being kept under wraps, Sports World has gathered that the Fide boss will be coming to Zimbabwe on Friday.
Ilyumzhinov is also expected to pay a courtesy call on President Robert Mugabe after meetings with Sport and Recreation minister Makhosini Hlongwane, Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora and the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee president Admire Masenda.
He will then grace the opening ceremony of the 2017 African Schools Individual Chess Championships at the Rainbow Towers next Sunday.
Prior to his coming to Zimbabwe, the Fide boss will also go to Botswana for a two-day visit where he will discuss, among other things, a unique educational project called “chess in schools” which aims to implement the game in schools.
A similar programme will be launched by the Zimbabwe Chess Federation with the assistance of Fide.
Ilyumzhinov’s high profile visit comes after the African Chess Confederation awarded Zimbabwe, through the Zimbabwe Chess Federation (ZCF) the hosting rights for the 2017 African Schools Chess Championships.
ZCF is hosting the championships together with the National Association of Secondary Schools Heads and the National Association of Primary Schools Heads.
The event is a Fide and African Chess Confederation initiative aimed at aiding the African national federations’ grassroots development efforts through high profile tournament play, coaching and exposure.