FIDE awards World Championship Match to Moscow

by ChessBase
8/10/2011 – It seemed all settled, the South Indian city of Chennai made a bid to stage the World Championship Anand-Gelfand. Now we receive word that a rival bid from the Russian Chess Federation with a US $2.55 million prize fund has been accepted by FIDE. The women's world championship Hou Yifan vs Humpy will be in Tirana, Albania. Updated press release and first reactions, including Anand.

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We received the original press release on the World Championship match in May 2012 around noon on Monday, and immediately published it as "breaking news". A few hours later, at 4:14 p.m., we received a message saying: "FIDE will issue a new Press Release in the next few hours. Please refrain from publishing the Press release sent earlier this afternoon as there will be further announcements to be made." We dutifully took the original release down, but republished it later that evening when we saw that all the chess blogs had taken it and it was all over the Internet.

The new version, which was released on Tuesday, has two minor changes, which we have highlighted in italics in our text version below. One is that the event will take place "in Skolkovo", Moscow, the second a paragraph saying that the FIDE President "showed his appreciation for the significant commitment that the Russian leadership was also making to introduce a national chess in schools program at regional and Federal levels, with substantial investment to be made in this key development area."

Text version with changes highlighted:

Tuesday, August 09, 2011
Press Release

The Federation Internationale des Echecs is pleased to announce that following the evaluation of the bids for the World Chess Championship Match 2012 and the recommendations by the World Championship and Olympiad Commission, it has awarded the organization of the match to the Russian Chess Federation.

The match will be held in May 2012 in Skolkovo, Moscow, Russia and offers the World Champion Vishwanthanan Anand from India, and the Challenger Boris Gelfand from Israel, a prize fund of 2,550,000 US Dollars.

FIDE thanked the Russian Chess Federation for its winning bid and will work together with the RCF to ensure that the match is organized under the best conditions for both players.

FIDE President showed his appreciation for the significant commitment that the Russian leadership was also making to introduce a national chess in schools program at regional and Federal levels, with substantial investment to be made in this key development area.

The FIDE President, Kirsan llyumzhinov expressed his gratitude also to the All India Chess Federation who worked very hard to put in a very competitive bid with the support of the Government of Tamil Nadu.

In view of the commitment shown by the AICF and the appreciation of FIDE towards the development of chess in India, the AICF would be given a first option of three months following the match in Moscow, to make a proposal for the organization of the World Chess Championship Match 2013.

FIDE is further pleased to announce that the Women's World Chess Championship Match between Women World Champion Hou Yifan from China and the Challenger Humpy Koneru from India, will be held in Tirana, Albania in November 2011 for a prize fund of 200,000 Euros.

The Interfax news agency in Moscow reported that "part of the games of the World Championship match will be held in the suburban Innovation Centre in Skolkovo. The other part will take place in "one of the major metropolitan museums of the city (Boris Gelfand, we are told, expressed a desire to play in Pushkin Museum in the very centre of Moscow).

We may be wrong, but this would appear to be the venue of the World Championship

The Skolkovo Moscow School of Management, a graduate business school located in the close vicinity of the capital. The school, which was founded in 2006, is a joint project by major Russian and international business leaders.

Skolkovo is also a rural district in Odintsovsky District of Moscow Oblast, west of the capital. It has a population of around four hundred, and is the location of the School of Management. In March 2010, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced plans to create the Skolkovo Innovation Center, a modern technology complex to encourage scientific research and development. But it is unclear whether it will be finished in time for the World Chess Championship.

Design drawing of the Skolkovo Campus [Source of images: Wikipedia]


Times of India: World champion Anand to defend title in Russia

The Fide announcement has come as a shock to Indian in general and Chennai in particular as the Tamil Nadu government had given the financial backing to All India Chess Federation (AICF) to organise the match in Anand's hometown. It is learnt that the Indian Federation's bid of $2.25 million lost out to Russia's winning offer of $2.55 million. "Yeah, we are a bit disappointed, but then FIDE has given us the option of hosting the 2013 world title match," said DV Sundar, FIDE Vice President. "I am looking at the positive. This gives us more time to plan our preparations. Let us hope Anand wins the match in Russia and play in India next time," added Sundar. The challenger, Boris Gelfand, liked the idea of playing the match in Moscow: "I wouldn't say that I will be playing in Moscow like I was at home, but I'll feel very comfortable in the Russian capital. I'm sure Anand will like it there too. The World Champion has many fans in the Russian capital," the challenger was quoted as saying.

Hindustan Times: Anand robbed of home advantage

For the first time in the history of Indian sports, a sponsor was ready to put in Rs 20 crore for a chess event. The Tamil Nadu government pledged that amount and also promised to provide other facilities. But, in the end, that was not enough to get Chennai the right to host the World Chess Championship final match between its favourite son, Viswanathan Anand, and Israeli challenger Boris Gelfand in May 2012. At the current exchange rate, Chennai's bid works out to around $4 million. However, FIDE, the sport's world governing body, on Tuesday announced that it had accepted the bid by the Russian Chess Federation to host the event at Skolkovo, near Moscow. The Russians have pledged a total prize fund of $2.55 million (R 11.52 crore approx).

Though the Indian bid would also work out to the same prize fund after deducting FIDE's fee and other expenses, one reason why the Russians got the nod was that the Israeli Grandmaster wanted to avoid taking on Anand in India. "It could be a reason that Gelfand wanted to play the match on neutral territory and that's why FIDE favoured the Russian bid," said Bharat Singh, honorary secretary, All India Chess Federation (AICF). The AICF had high hopes of hosting the biggest chess event in the country after FIDE president, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, had met Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa and expressed support for the Indian bid. "It's a big shock for us. For the first time a sponsor was ready to put in Rs 20 crore, but we still failed to get the match. It would have been a great opportunity to promote chess in the country," said Bharat Singh.

Anand took the news with equanimity. In a press statement the World Champion said: "I think the venue is important but in the end it depends on your form and how well you play. Also once the match starts, somehow only the opponent is visible. I have played in Moscow on many occasions and have always had pleasant memories, especially to play in front of such a knowledgeable and appreciative audience."

In a message to us Vishy elucidated: "I remember playing Tkachiev in 2001 Moscow and during the game the audience broke into applause. This for me was one of the most satisfying moments as a chess player. I do look forward to a very challenging match as Boris and me have been playing each other for a very long time . Its still too early to think about it. But a match is always something where your opponent becomes 100% of your mindspace.

Previous ChessBase report

Breaking news: World Championship 2012 in Chennai
13.07.2011 – There was a bid from Russia, but now the Tamil Nadu Government has placed a winning bid for the Chess World Championship match between reigning Champion Viswanathan Anand and Challenger Boris Gelfand. The match will take place in April or May of 2012, the total budget is Rs. 20 crores (= 3.2 million Euros or US $4.5 million). Press release.

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