LIBYA: Moammar Kadafi plays chess with visiting World Chess Federation president
Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi, besieged by rebels and Western-led bombing runs, took time Sunday to play some chess with Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, president of the World Chess Federation, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported.
Kadafi told Ilyumzhinov that he had no intention of stepping down as leader of Libya, Interfax said.
“I am neither premier nor president nor king,” Interfax quoted Kadafi as saying during the meeting. “I do not hold any post in Libya and therefore I have no position that I should give up.”
Kadafi, referred to simply as “the Leader,” indeed has no official position in the Libyan government. However, he has wielded near-supreme power for more than 40 years in the North African nation.
The chess federation chief, who is touring African states, said he also played chess with Kadafi’s son, Muhammad, who heads the national Olympic Committee, Interfax reported. The two used the Sicilian defense, he said.
Like Kadafi, Ilyumzhinov is somewhat of an eccentric. The multi-millionaire businessman made headlines in Russia after saying he had been abducted by aliens from the balcony of his Moscow apartment.
Meantime, the Algerian Foreign Ministry issue a denial Sunday of reports that Kadafi had fled there.
— Patrick J. McDonnell in Tripoli
Photo: Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, president of the World Chess Federation, left, awaits a chess move by Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi in an image taken from video broadcast on Libyan state television. Credit: Reuters