State television showed footage of Muammer Gaddafi playing chess with the head of the World Chess Federation, as fighting between the Libyan strongman’s forces and rebels raged on many fronts Monday.
The images broadcast late on Sunday showed the chess game between Gaddafi and FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov being watched by the Libyan leader’s eldest son Muhammad.
Gaddafi, who was last seen in public when was shown on TV welcoming South African president Jacob Zuma to Tripoli on May 30, wore a brown cloak and dark sunglasses. The television did not say where the chessboard meeting took place but Ilyumzhinov told Russia’s Interfax news agency that he had played against Gaddafi in Tripoli on Sunday.
The Russian eccentric who once claimed he hosted extraterrestrials, also sat down for a game of chess with Gaddafi’s son Muhammad and the two played the Sicilian defence, Interfax said.
“The meeting lasted around two hours, we played some chess with Kadhafi,” Ilyumzhinov, who is on a visit to Tripoli in his capacity as FIDE president, told Interfax. “Gaddafi stated that he is not going to leave Libya, stressing that it is his motherland and a land where his children and grandchildren died. He also said that he does not understand which post he needs to step down from.”
“I am neither premier nor president nor king. I do not hold any post in Libya and therefore I have no position which I should give up,” Ilyumzhinov quoted Gaddafi as telling him. Ilyumzhinov, who also met with foreign and education ministers, said he saw a lot of destruction in Tripoli. The chessboard encounter came as fighting between Gaddafi’s forces and rebels raged across Libya.