Russian chess master bids on mosque site

September 16, 2010 02:30PM

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the Russian head of the World Chess Federation offered a $10 million bid to buy the Park Place site of the planned mosque and Islamic cultural center two blocks from Ground Zero, in a letter he wrote to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the New York Post reported. Ilyumzhinov chose the sum of $10 million because he wanted to beat out the $7.5 million bid offered by Donald Trump last week, which was rejected. An online sports wagering site, YouWager.com, is taking bets on which individual or group will be next to offer to
purchase the Lower Manhattan site. Ilyumzhinov wants to use the land for an international chess center and academy, he said. The eccentric Ilyumzhinov — who is famous for claiming in interviews that he has met aliens — last week stepped down as president of Russia’s Buddhist region of Kalmykia, where he built a complex devoted to chess called “Chess City.” [Post]