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Qaddafi meets with Chess king

Between dodging NATO airstrikes and international opprobrium, Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi is having a hard time getting people to meet with him today. But he did have time to sneak in a game of chess with the visiting Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, head of the World Chess Federation, former autocratic ruler of the Russian republic of Kalmykia, ...

Between dodging NATO airstrikes and international opprobrium, Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi is having a hard time getting people to meet with him today. But he did have time to sneak in a game of chess with the visiting Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, head of the World Chess Federation, former autocratic ruler of the Russian republic of Kalmykia, and extraterrestrial encounterer:

The men met for about two hours, playing chess on a board crafted by artisans in Kalmykia, the small, Buddhist constituent republic in Russia that Ilyumzhinov governed from 1993 to 2010. On Sunday night Libyan state television broadcast a clip of the match, with Gaddafi, who was wearing his trademark sunglasses, appearing relaxed despite his predicament.

Gaddafi has been in hiding with his family for many weeks, fearful of being hit by one of NATO’s bombs. But Ilyumzhinov told the Russian Interfax news agency that their meeting "was not held in some kind of bunker", but rather an administrative building in Tripoli.

Ilyumzhinov, a chess fanatic who has been president of Fide since 1995 — with some controversy — later met Gaddafi’s eldest son, Muhammad, who heads Libya‘s Olympic committee.

"We also played chess, using Sicilian defence," Ilyumzhinov said.

The Sicilian is known as a particularly combative defense. Sounds appropriate. 

 

Between dodging NATO airstrikes and international opprobrium, Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi is having a hard time getting people to meet with him today. But he did have time to sneak in a game of chess with the visiting Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, head of the World Chess Federation, former autocratic ruler of the Russian republic of Kalmykia, and extraterrestrial encounterer:

The men met for about two hours, playing chess on a board crafted by artisans in Kalmykia, the small, Buddhist constituent republic in Russia that Ilyumzhinov governed from 1993 to 2010. On Sunday night Libyan state television broadcast a clip of the match, with Gaddafi, who was wearing his trademark sunglasses, appearing relaxed despite his predicament.

Gaddafi has been in hiding with his family for many weeks, fearful of being hit by one of NATO’s bombs. But Ilyumzhinov told the Russian Interfax news agency that their meeting "was not held in some kind of bunker", but rather an administrative building in Tripoli.

Ilyumzhinov, a chess fanatic who has been president of Fide since 1995 — with some controversy — later met Gaddafi’s eldest son, Muhammad, who heads Libya‘s Olympic committee.

"We also played chess, using Sicilian defence," Ilyumzhinov said.

The Sicilian is known as a particularly combative defense. Sounds appropriate. 

 

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

Tag: Libya