And I thought Bobby Fischer was crazy

Well, Fischer is still plenty crazy, but it turns out that even within the world of competitive chess, they come far crazier. Case in point, Kirsan Nikolayevich Ilyumzhinov, president of the Russian Republic of Kalmykia (a tiny former Soviet republic which is Europe’s only Buddhist nation)and of the world chess body. This article from German’s Spiegel Magazine is so impossibly absurd that I almost have trouble believing it, but then again we are talking about chess masters here.

He claims that he can communicate with aliens. Once, he says, he was even taken on a tour of one of their UFOs. “The extraterrestrials put me in a yellow astronaut suit and showed me their spaceship. I was on the bridge. I felt quite comfortable in their company.” And who is the lucky space tourist? None other than the president of the Russian Republic of Kalmykia, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

The 44-year-old multimillionaire has other interests than just space aliens. In the past, he regularly consulted a Bulgarian fortune teller named Babushka Vanga. About 13 years ago, the blind psychic told him that he would be appointed leader of Kalmykia and elected president of the World Chess Federation (FIDE), would open a factory to clean the wool of Kalmykian sheep and, last but not least, would have an oil pipeline built through the Caucasian steppes.

The pipeline doesn’t exist yet, but the psychic’s other predictions have all come true.
And what about the extraterrestrials? “The day will come when they land on our planet and say: ‘You have behaved poorly. Why do you wage wars? Why do you destroy each other?'” the president says. “Then they will pack us all into their spaceships and take us away from this place.”

Given his psychic’s success rate so far, we may want to start packing.

Unsurprisingly, Ilyumzhinov is an admirer of Bobby Fischer. Please do yourself a favor and read the entire article.

Bobby Fischer update

I mentioned Bobby Fischer’s flight to Iceland all the way back in March of last year and hadn’t heard anything new about him since then until now. Thankfully, the AP (article via WaPo) has cornered his maybe fiance/maybe wife and gotten a status update from her.

Bobby Fischer is still living the quiet life in Iceland, the home he adopted after being held in Japanese custody for nearly a year.

He still refuses to play chess _ at least the version that everybody else plays. And he’s still a wanted man, as far as the U.S. government is concerned. Beyond that, there are many things the world may never know about the reclusive chess icon _ and Miyoko Watai, Fischer’s longtime companion, says she isn’t going to break the silence.

“I prefer not to talk about private things,” said Watai, who is in Qatar to manage Japan’s chess team at the Asian Games.

Watai got swept up in the Fischer saga after he was detained _ “kidnapped” is the word she and Fischer use _ by Japanese authorities at Tokyo’s Narita airport in July 2004. He ended up staying in a Japanese immigration detention center for nine months fighting extradition to the United States before fleeing with Watai to Iceland.

While he was in Japanese custody, Fischer and Watai, who is also head of the Japan chess association, got engaged. At a news conference before leaving Japan, she denied allegations the engagement was a ploy to confound Japanese immigration officials, saying Fischer was her king and she wanted to be his queen.

Off to Penang Again

I’ll be in Penang once again (this time with Mrs. Adamu), so expect more sweet photos. I’ll be doing more of the touristy stuff and less random wandering this time around. Before I go, I’ll show you one highlight of the trip:


That’s right, they stuck a whole Kit Kat right in the middle of the ice cream cone. Genius!

I got this at the 7-11, which is a lot like the Thai 7-11 except with less sausage-related stuff, more spicy nut kind of stuff, and more Muslim stuff.

The top part tastes like cake frosting, which was kind of a surprise. It wasn’t even really ice cream on top, just frosting with a little bite of Kit Kat. The rest of it was pretty standard, except on the bottom which was full of crushed Kit Kat crumbs instead of the usual bit of solid milk chocolate. All in all, not bad, though my personal favorite is the Cookies and Cream cone available in Bangkok 7-11s.

Here’s the ad copy from Nestle Malaysia:


Discover a real “KIT KAT bar” and “KIT KAT ice cream flavour” in your favourite DRUMSTICK.

Available NOW!

Expect more of this kind of thing when I get back.