No bids for World Championship 2014

by Frederic Friedel
5/6/2014 – It is quite amazing: World Champion Magnus Carlsen, a real sports superstar, is to be challenged in a title match by former World Champion Viswanathan Anand, an Indian with 1.3 billion fans, in November this year. But the deadline for the bidding process to stage this match ran out on April 30, at 13:00h, without a single bid being received by FIDE. What are the reasons?

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


No bids for World Chess Championship 2014

On March 30, to everybody's (including Anand's) surprise, the former World Champion, relegated to the retirement bench by so many, had won the Candidates Tournament in Khanty Mansiysk by a full point. The Indian GM and former World Champion had thus gained the right to challenge the current World Champion, Norwegian GM Magnus Carlsen, in November this year.

The bidding process for staging this for all intents and purposes very attractive match was already opened and the deadline for handing in bids had been set for March 10. This was unrealistic, since a lot hinges for potential organisers on who would be the challenger. If it were Kramnik, Karjakin, Svidler or Andreikin then a Russian sponsor might be tempted; if it were Levon Aronian one could probably book tickets for Armenia; Shakhriyar Mamedyarov would certainly have mobilized Azerbeijan's oil riches; and Veselin Topalov may have enticed someone in Bulgaria to do a repeat of the 2010 World Championship match.

In view of this uncertainty FIDE decided to extend the deadline to April 30, 2014, 13:00h. That gave potential organisers a month to make a bid for the Championship, which was to be staged six months later.

On April 30, 2014, at 13:05 – just five minutes after the deadline for bidding had elapsed – we found the following terse announcement on the FIDE web site:

There is quite a bit of surprise and consternation over this turn of events. Not a single bid? How could that be? Well, taking a closer look will make certain aspects a bit more understandable. Our discussions with friends and colleagues, some of them organisers and chess dignitaries, most strong chess players, some even close to being challengers themselves, produced the following theories and arguments:

  1. India had just staged a World Champion for their chess hero in Chennai, in November 2013 with a prize fund of 1.8 million Euros and a total cost of Rs 20 crores. That's 200,000,000 Rupees = 3.2 million Euros or US $4.5 million, at the time, that the organisers had to pledge for staging the event. The chances that a similar amount would be available for a return match in India, just twelve months later, were slim.

  2. Norway was the obvious place to look to – we did so ourselves, but unfortunately only as an April Fool's jest. Norway is awash with oil revenue, it is gripped in chess fever (actually "Magnus Carlsen fever" would be a more accurate description), television channels are battling each other for full live coverage of Carlsen matches. However Norway is already staging a Supertournament – Chess 2014 – in June and the 41st Chess Olympiad in August, the latter with a total budget of 40 million NOK (€4.8 or US $6.8 million). The Olympiad is not fully funded yet, and the organisers are still negotiating with sponsors. In that situation they are very upset to have a rival event competing for the sponsorship money. You can read about the "scandal" in this Nordlys article, or if you do not speak Norwegian, in this Google translation.

    Addendum: We have been informed that the total budget for Tromsø is far beyond 40 mil NOK, in fact it is several times larger. 40 mil NOK was the figure given for the November match.

  3. FIDE critics – and especially Garry Kasparov on his Twitter feed (Kasparov is running against incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov for FIDE President) – blame it on the unprofessionalism of the International Chess Federation and their World Championship company. Kasparov: "Many western sponsors don't want to deal with Kirsan's FIDE & some of his usual backers are facing sanctions."

  4. The World Chess Championship might be overvalued?! This is an argument we find difficult to accept. Events like these have in the past sometimes draw just a handful of spectators to the venue. But on the one hand recent tournaments (like the Zurich Chess Challenge or the London Chess Classic) have drawn sizable audiences; and on the other the real audience is to be found world-wide on the Internet, where potentially millions could be watching the games on chess servers, with live GM commentary and discussions. And on the third (sorry) we can see an interesting trend of showing games on television, live and in full length, as Norwegian TV did during the Chennai match. And all this for a fraction of a fraction of the costs for a soccer game, a tennis match or (a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a) motorsport Grand Prix race.

If you have comments or additional talking points please feel free to post them in
our discussion section at the bottom of this page (but please no gratuitously
aggressive or insulting postings – they will be simply deleted).

Anyway, all is not lost, and we assume that FIDE will extend the deadline again (what else?). In case anyone knows a sponsor, below are full details of the bidding procedure. Incidentally FIDE will pay a handsome finder's fee for anyone who can come up with a host.

Bidding procedure for the FIDE World Championship Match 2014

1. Following the success of last year's World Championship match in Chennai, FIDE and its commercial partner AGON are searching potential venues for the 2014 FIDE World Championship match, where the world champion Magnus Carlsen will defend his title against a challenger to be determined from the Candidates Tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk this March.

2. The World Championship Match 2014 shall take place from 6 November (game 1) to 25 November 2014 (possible tiebreaks/closing ceremony).

3. Each bid shall contain the following particulars as minimum:

a) Proposed venue of the event.

b) Proposed prize fund for the players (should be offered net of any applicable local taxes). The prize fund for the 2013 event in Chennai was 1,850,000 euros.

c) The contribution to FIDE (net of any applicable local taxes and not less than 20% of the prize fund), as stipulated in article 13.2, as well as the financial obligations stated in article 14 of the World Championship Match 2014 regulations.

d) Commitment to cover all the other financial obligations to FIDE, in accordance with the regulations of the World Championship Match 2014.

e) Commitment to cover all organizational costs, in accordance with the regulations of the World Championship Match 2014.

f) Category of official hotel (minimum 4 stars), and name if possible, with special room rates for visitors, including meals.

g) A statement that the applicant accepts the regulations of the match without any reservations.

h) An invitation for 2 (two) members of the FIDE Commission for World Chess Championships and Olympiads to inspect the proposed venue and examine the other conditions, with all travel/hotel expenses paid by the bidder.

i) The applicant's name, signatures and authentication.

4. In order for a proposed bid to be considered, it should be accompanied by a 9-month term bank guarantee covering the amount of prize fund (in Chennai 2013 this was 1,850,000 euros), the FIDE contribution (20% over and above the prize fund), 5% for WCOC budget and 5% for the commercial rights plus 32,500 euros covering stipends of Principals as described in article 14.5 of the match regulations. This guarantee should be from a bank that FIDE bankers, UBS of Switzerland, are able to confirm as acceptable.

5. Alternatively to the above paragraph, a bidder can deposit in FIDE's bank account the amount of 200,000 euros by the deadline of 30 April 2014 (refundable if the bid is rejected), another 50% of the prize fund before 31 May 2014 and the balance of all remaining obligations before 31 August 2014.

6. A bid is considered valid if it is accompanied with a non-refundable Bid Fee of 2,000 euros payable to FIDE.

7. No bidder can propose a sponsor which shall be in conflict with the regulations of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

8. The bids, including all original documents and particulars, should arrive by registered post to the FIDE Secretariat, post address: 9 Syggrou Ave., 11743 Athens -Greece. The bidding process will close on 30 April 2014, 13:00 GMT.

9. When the deadline has expired, the FIDE President or his representative shall open the received envelopes in order to assess the bids. FIDE will inform the bidding parties of the results within 3 days after the deadline. The final contract with the successful bidder shall be signed within 10 days afterwards.

10. FIDE reserves the right to accept a bid based on the evaluation of all criteria under article 3 of the present bidding procedure and not only that of the prize fund. FIDE also reserves the right not to award any bid at all, however favorable it might be.

Released by the FIDE Secretariat, 9 January 2014
Updated by the FIDE Secretariat, 11 March 2014

Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the ChessBase News page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register