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Thursday, September 30, 2010 

The truth isn't out there.

Back in the 90s I was a fairly major fan of the X Files. Quite why I fell for the show in such a way I'm still uncertain about - it certainly wasn't down to any sort of belief in aliens or the paranormal, and it wasn't solely down to fancying Gillian Anderson, although the power dressing Agent Scully certainly helped. Having bought the box sets to remind myself, for the most part it couldn't have been the writing either, with some honourable exceptions, even if the show in the main was always tightly paced. Others have since suggested that it was the right show for the right time, taking advantage of the rise in conspiracy theorising that escalated at the end of the cold war, George Bush Snr's "new world order" and all. With the return of a real supposed existential threat, the series rapidly fell out of favour following 9/11 and was cancelled in 2002.

Even by the outlandish standards of the series as it became obvious that the writers had ran out of ideas, with Mulder coming back from the dead in series 8 having been buried not quite alive, nothing quite matches what Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, possibly inspired by the adventures of the two FBI agents, has been claiming happened to him back in 1997, around the time of the series' peak:

In an interview this year with Russian state-run TV, Ilyumzhinov recalled how aliens wearing yellow spacesuits had appeared on his balcony. They invited him aboard their UFO and took him to the stars, he said. This encounter took place in September 1997, he went on, adding that three people, including his personal driver, had witnessed it.

Ilyumzhinov has just been re-elected the president of the World Chess Federation, in highly controversial circumstances, with his rival Anatoly Karpov alleging "blatant corruption". He has some original ideas about how chess became a global game as well, as the Independent found:

You do realise, he asks, that chess is a "cosmic game"? Excavations have shown that chess was played with similar rules, in various continents, centuries ago, he says, adding: "There was no internet before, so how did it get across the world? It means that it was brought from somewhere."

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. He then explains why he believes sweetcorn was brought to Earth by a different civilisation. "I'm not ill. I'm psychologically normal," he says. "I didn't hide it [the contact with aliens] even though I knew that people would laugh at me and say I was crazy. Maybe it was a form of self-sacrifice."

If it was, then it didn't stop others from being worried about what Ilyumzhinov had potentially told his alien friends. The MP Andre Lebedev wrote to President Medvedev pointing out that if the abduction had taken place, it was a historic event and the Kremlin should have been informed. Considering Boris Yeltsin probably saw little green men most days of the week, just how seriously it would have taken the revelation remains to be seen.

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