May 19, 2023 I Paul Seaburn

Russian Chess Head Met With Aliens and Thinks They Brought Us Chess

Chess is an ancient board game and, while not the first, it has certainly survived longer and at a higher level of worldwide popularity than any other. It is almost as if someone looked at the interest, ability, competitive nature and other traits of humans and developed a game specifically for this species. Could that ‘someone’ have been an extraterrestrial? A world chess expert and proponent is one of many people who believe this and he’s back in the news promoting his theory – along with his accounts of being abducted and taken to a UFO – to anyone who will listen.

“It's fashionable to stir hype now. But there was no such thing at that time, and I myself was popular already. Why would I need negative fame? I just thought I'd tell the truth about it, moreover, they asked for that themselves."

In a new interview with the Russian language website, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov - the former head of the International Chess Federation (FIDE), the former democratically elected President of the Republic of Kalmykia and the founder of the Russian publishing house Novy Vzglyad – was asked again about chess and aliens … stories he has been telling since 2010 about being abducted by extraterrestrials in September 1997. As he notes, he wasn’t looking for publicity and was certainly aware of how this unusual tale would be received by Russians and chess lovers.

The Horsehead Nebula - did it inspire aliens to create the knight chess piece?

“(It was in) September 1997, Moscow. They called to the balcony. I went out and soon found myself on their ship. Everything is simple. I asked why they don’t open up, tell everyone about themselves. One of them replied: “Well, you don’t communicate with ants. Your level of civilization has not matured yet.”

That is not exactly what one wants to hear from an extraterrestrial, but it is the story that Ilyumzhinov has told consistently since 2010. In one of his first revelations on his abduction back in 2011, he said he was taken to a spaceship and “went to some star.” There, he met for eight hours with aliens he described as being “a little taller than our height” and wearing yellow spacesuits. Ilyumzhinov noted that despite the ‘ants’ comparison, the ETs seemed to ask him a lot of questions as well. After that, he was returned to Moscow.

“When I got home, at first I thought it was a dream. But then the assistant and the driver said that they had been looking for me in the apartment for an hour - they had searched everything. Managed to panic. And then once - and I materialized. Most likely, the version about the dream was their suggestion - so that I would not go crazy. Yet they react differently.”

That last comment is interesting because by then Ilyumzhinov was a well-known political leader. He seems surprised that he was so calm after such an experience. A recent revelation about former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, who also went public about seeing a UFO, has a different ending. When Carter was allegedly shown evidence from the CIA suggesting that aliens have long been on Earth and formed the world’s religions to control humans, he was said to have wept for weeks. Ilyumzhinov says he talked to other world leaders and famous people about his experience, and some shared theirs with him.

“I was told by several presidents of states that they had contact with aliens. They do not talk about it publicly, because they are afraid that they might be mistaken for crazy people. Vasily Smyslov confessed to me that he and his wife Nadezhda were also taken away. In fact, there are not many such people.”

Vasily Smyslov was a Soviet and Russian chess grandmaster and World Chess Champion from 1957 to 1958. Ilyumzhinov knew him because he himself won the Kalmykian national chess championship in 1976 at the age of 14, and in 1995 became President of the International Chess Federation, investing a large amount of the fortune he made after the collapse of the Soviet Union into FIDE. It was shortly after that meeting with Smyslov that Ilyumzhinov revealed his theory about the origin of his beloved game.

“From the United States every year, it is an official statistic, more than four thousand people are contacted in such a way. My theory is that chess comes from space. Why? Because the same rules, 64 squares, black and white, and the same rules in Japan, in China, in Qatar, in Mongolia, in Africa. The rules are the same. Why? I think it seems maybe it is from space.”

Your move, human.

The earliest written accounts of chess date back to the 7th century and appear at about the same times in Persia, India and China. Ilyumzhinov notes that it also appears shortly after that in Africa, Europe and even South America, yet travel to those areas was infrequent if not improbable. How did this ancient board game spread to so many places so quickly with the same rules, board and pieces? He believes “it was brought from somewhere” and gives his theory about how it may have been specifically designed by aliens for humans.

“He also insists that there is “some kind of code” in chess, evidence for which he finds in the fact that there are 64 squares on the chessboard and 64 codons in human DNA.”

A “codon” is a sequence of three nucleotides which form a unit of genetic code in a DNA molecule. Is this connection to the 64 squares on a chess board a coincidence … or is Ilyumzhinov correct in his belief that it was developed and delivered by aliens … possibly the same ones who abducted him?

“I believe that chess comes either from God or from beings flying a UFO. I should know! They took me aboard their airship while I was on a business trip to Moscow, in 1997, to a distant star.”

Ilyumzhinov concludes his interview about chess and aliens by admitting that he wishes he could be abducted again because he has so many more questions to ask the extraterrestrials.

“I would ask why they are still not disclosed. There are plenty of them around us. Even Tsiolkovsky wrote that our galaxy is teeming with different civilizations.”

(Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was an early Russian and Soviet rocket scientist.)

Could AI chess defeat aliens at their own game?

Is chess expert and alleged alien abductee Kirsan Ilyumzhinov right? Did aliens develop chess for humans? Is it a way of learning about us? Controlling us? Testing us? What might happen if we advance to the point that we can defeat these extraterrestrials in their own sport?

Would they let that happen … or destroy us first?


Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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