Gadhafi 'Alive and Well' in Tripoli: Russian Chess Chief
Says he spoke to leader by phone today
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 23, 2011 11:44 AM CDT
The Russian head of the World Chess Federation Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is seen during an interview with The Associated Press Television News in Moscow, Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011.   (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)
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(Newser) – The Russian head of the World Chess Federation says longtime friend Moammar Gadhafi is "alive and well," "still in Tripoli," and planning to stay in Libya. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov says he spoke to Gadhafi on the phone at 6pm Moscow time today, the AP reports. The chess chief—a man known as an eccentric who has claimed he was abducted by aliens—added that Gadhafi’s son Mohammed, who translated his father's words into English, pledged to "drive the rats out of the city."

So why are we getting information on Gadhafi from a chess expert? wonders Uri Friedman for the AtlanticWire. The two men have been friends since meeting in 2004 at the World Chess Championships in Tripoli, and it may be that Gadhafi chose to call Ilyumzhinov because the chess chief is one of the only friends he has left—or the call may not have happened at all, Friedman adds. (Click to read about the pair's last chess game.)