On August, 6 Head of Republic of Kalmykia, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov arrived on a working visit to BEIRUT, LEBANON, where he met with the leadership of the Lebanese Chess Federation to discuss the development of chess in this country.
On August, 7 Kirsan Ilyumzhinov arrived on a working visit to DAMASCUS, SYRIA. In Damascus he met with the leadership of the Chess Federation of Syria and representatives of the government of this country. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov visited the chess club of Damascus where he had a meeting with Syria's young chess players and fans. This event was attended by President of Syrian Chess Federation Hani Al-Bitar and Charge d'Affaires of the Russian Federation in Syria Dmitry Dogadkin.
The highlight of the visit of the President of the World Chess Federation to the Syrian Arab Republic was a meeting with the Minister of Sports and Chairman of the National Olympic Committee of Syria Mowaffak Joumaa.
At beginning Mr. Joumaa welcomed Kirsan Ilyumzhinov as the leader of Kalmykia and the President of the Federation of the wisest game who came to an ancient capital of the world. During the conversation Mr. Joumaa described in details the development of sports in Syria. According to Mr. Joumaa system of physical culture and sports in Syria is similar to the Soviet system with some specific national features in accordance with government policy of the President of the Syrian Arab Republic, the General Secretary of the ruling Ba'ath party Bashar al Assad.
As pointed out by Mr. Joumaa chess is the the most popular intellectual game of Syria after the football and basketball. Moreover, the Syrian leadership intends to intensify efforts to develop and popularize chess in the country. In particular Mr. Joumaa said that he is very interested in the experience of Kalmykia on the introduction of chess in the compulsory general education programme. In connection with it he intends to send a delegation to Kalmykia to study the experience. Also Mr. Joumaa suggested to study the possibility of twinning between the Republic of Kalmykia and the province Damascus (Damascus Rif) within the friendly relations between Russia and Syria. In turn Kirsan Ilyumzhinov told in details about the development of sport in Kalmykia, chess education and the influence of chess on intellectual level of the Kalmyk pupils. In addition FIDE President noted that in accordance with FIDE programme "Chess in School" World Chess Federation is ready to render methodical assistance in implementing this program in Syria. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov officially invited Mowaffak Joumaa to come to the Republic of Kalmykia on a friendly visit.
Another topic of conversation of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Mowaffak Joumaa was the forthcoming 39th World Chess Olympiad in the September 2010 and the preparations involved.