FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos on a possible match delay
What happened is known to everybody. The volcano in Iceland erupted, a lot of airports are having problems, a lot of flights are cancelled. Sofia is also one of those airports that partly has problem. We have late arrivals not only with Anand, but also of officials of FIDE for the Presidential board and for the match – the second arbiter is not here, the members of the appeals committee are not here as well, we do not know yet exactly when they are going to arrive. We are giving instructions and helping everyone with how to move and what transportation to take if airports are closed. For example, to fly to either Thessaloniki or Istanbul and drive from there. We are not sure if the FIDE President himself will arrive.
Two days ago we received a letter from Viswanathan Anand, asking a postponement of three days because he cannot arrive on time. Now, it is clear that here we’re facing a force majeure situation. Of course, based on the agreement we have signed, all sides should do their best here to solve this problem, FIDE, the organizers, Anand should also try to come up with other transportation. He is actually on his way by car, as far as I know. From what I know they have already left to Sofia, so we are expecting them probably Tuesday early in the morning or in the afternoon.
He has the responsibility to be here. Of course, we understand that this creates big problems for his preparation because in such matches you need to be there several days before the start. You cannot just go the day before and start playing. You come with your people, you start to adjust to the conditions, and you try to be organized in order to play the match. I understand this very well, he needs several days, therefore in the contract it says that he can come seven days before (last Friday). And he was preparing to come last Friday via Madrid-Frankfurt-Sofia flight. He could not get the connection from Frankfurt because it was cancelled.
I believe we have very good understanding, with all sides helping resolve the situation. [Chief organiser] Sergiev is very cooperative, Danailov as well, Aruna and Anand too. Everybody understands and cooperates. They see the problems of the other side. The one of Anand is obvious, this is force majeure. But on the other side, to postpone the match for three days will create very big problems for the organizers because they already have their contracts with TV, people that are involved with the organization, hotels, transportation agencies and they have already published the brochures and posters, the original schedule is everywhere. The politicians and everyone who want to attend the opening ceremony or will come for the first move of the first round, knows the schedule, they have arranged their time, so everybody will be forced to make radical changes if we go for postponement. All of us understand very well what is going on and we have good communication.