June 11, 2014 18:49

Ilyumzhinov: “Anand-Carlsen Match to be Held in Sochi”

The FIDE World Championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen is going to be held in the city where the Winter Olympics took place earlier this year: Sochi, Russia. This was announced by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov today at a press conference for Interfax in Moscow.

Photo: Russian Chess Federation

The FIDE website reports today that, at a press conference for Interfax in Moscow, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov announced that the match between World Champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway) and the Challenger Viswanathan Anand (India) will be held in Sochi. The dates are 7th November to 28th November of this year, and it will take place on the territory of the Olympic village. Ilyumzhinov also announced the budget: US $3 million.

The website of the Russian Chess Federation gives more details: an agreement was made with the Governor of the Krasnodar Region, Alexander Tkachev and in the next week or two all formalities will be taken care of: FIDE expects to receive a bid to host the match and bank guarantees from sponsors.

Prize fund
It was also mentioned that from the $3 million budget, “one to one and a half million” will be used for the prize fund. 
However, the Rules & Regulations in the FIDE Handbook (in PDF here) speak of a minimum prize fund of one million euros, so right now we're talking about a smaller margin: US $1.35 - 1.5 million. This is one million dollar less than the prize fund of the previous match, which was 1.85 million euros (US 2.5 million).

Andrei Filatov, the President of the Russian Chess Federation, reacted as follows: “Holding in the Russian Federation the most important chess events such as a match for the world title is becoming a good tradition and is evidence of the revival of Russia's status as a chess power. I am grateful to the governor of the Krasnodar Region, Alexander Tkachev, for his willingness to take responsibility for organizing and carrying out the most important event in world chess calendar in Sochi. The Russian Chess Federation is awaiting approval from the sponsors to submit a bid to host the match.”

Anand & Carlsen last November in Chennai

The announcement by Mr Ilyumzhinov makes an end to a period of uncertainty around the upcoming world title match. As reported by Chess.com last month, the World Chess Federation had not received any bids by the extended deadline of 30 April, 2014. The Norwegian Chess Federation had made some attempts to try to get the match to Norway, but no official bid emerged.

Jøran Aulin-Jansson, the President of the Norwegian Chess Federation, said to to Norwegian newspaper VG that, because this is about Russia, nothing is certain yet: “As far as I know they are still negotiating with the players, which can be of influence on this. The situation we have in Ukraine now makes that things may escalate and that for political reasons someone cannot participate. It depends on what sanctions Norway and the EU will impose against Russia.”

The choice of Sochi might be related to a visit to the city by Russia's President, Vladimir Putin, earlier this month. At the Belaya Ladya children's chess tournament Mr Putin met with Mr Filatov and Mr Ilyumzhinov. In his speech he said: “There was a time when chess lessons were held in every school at every district. It is great and pleasant that this tradition is being revived. Chess is the most intellectual sport; we always took the leading positions in all international ratings.” 

After announcing the location for the World Championship, Mr Ilyumzhinov used the press conference to speak about the upcoming FIDE Presidential elections. As the website of the Russian Chess Federation mentions,

In particular, the question was raised about potential violations of the Code of Ethics of FIDE and the United States and the laws of Singapore in connection with the infamous agreement between Garry Kasparov and FIDE General Secretary Ignatius Leong. According to Ilyumzhinov, this issue is currently studied by the independent Ethics Commission of FIDE, which is soon to deliver a verdict.

Apparently Mr Ilumzhyinov said that the Commission may prohibit Mr Kasparov from participating in the presidential elections, which would mean an automatic re-election for himself. Mr Kasparov's aide-de-camp Mig Greengard tweeted (referring to this leaked document):

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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


jimknopf's picture

Sorry observer, I got you wrong.

I should have added, that my impression of Thomas is that he not generally supports Ilyumzhinov, but rather 'tolerates' him in some way which I still can't share.

In my view Ilyumzhinov is a dedicated antidemocrat like Putin, an oligarch playing dirty games all the times, in each public role he has ever had, as governor, as FIDE president or whatever, not suited for ANY possible public office in the democratic world.

Now I see I got your point wrong: you were not talking about the complicated Sochi setting including Putin, but about supporting Ilyumzhinov.
I should have read better. :-)

Witkacy's picture

The Germans have become pussies!

Thomas Richter's picture

The basic premise that I do sympathize with Ilyumzhinov is simply wrong. I just don't use as strong language as some other people on this forum, and do not automatically consider everything wrong just because "Kirsan did it". And ... I do not think that alternatives are necessarily better. This refers to the venue of the WCh match (apparently no alternatives) as well as to the FIDE presidency - where Kasparov may well be(come) as bad a dictator as Ilyumzhinov.

The German magazine "Schach" quoted Gelfand during the Zurich supertournament along the lines of "Kasparov says that 'whoever is against me is against progress' " - IMHO progress isn't a synonym for improvement, and such an attitude by Kasparov reveals a lack of respect for other people with other opinions.

jimknopf's picture

Here we disagree. We all know that Kasparov showed weaknesses as leader for an organisation as well, even he himself admits that.

But still I think it is plain silly to compare his level of casual autocratic behavior in former times (he definitely has a more mature view nowandays) even remotely with the level of dirty misuse of power (for a long time!) by someone like Ilyumzhinov. They are worlds apart from my view.

Anonymous's picture

The thing is though, that people that support Kirsan tries to convince themselves that this is because they mean that it is not impossible that Kasparov in done ways might become similar to Kirsan in some ways. They just can't make themselves be honest with themselves and simply admit that they prefer Kirsan. He has been FIDE dictator for 20 years, no reason to be against change for such shady reasons as imagining that it doesn't have to get much better.

Thomas Richter's picture

Cynically, one could argue that the main difference between Ilyumzhinov and Kasparov is that Kasparov wasn't yet elected (and re-elected and re-reelected). There are other differences: Kasparov doesn't believe in aliens (or at least never said so in public), Kasparov is a big Carlsen fan, ... .

I don't know what you mean with "casual autocratic behavior in former times", but would put a question mark between "more mature view nowadays". I attended Kasparov's press conference in Wijk aan Zee, for sure he is extremely self-confident to use a mild and positive phrase. One excerpt (paraphrasing, not exact words): Press conference host Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam  asked Kasparov "how will you remove lingering doubts of some professional players?". Kasparov: "They are mostly Europeans, I want to be elected with votes from Africa and SE Asia, then they'll have to deal with me." - I need power, then I don't need to convince people!!? And it's known how Kasparov made Leong switch sides to secure votes from SE Asia.

BTW "duel of chess dictators: Kasparov wants to replace Ilyumzhinov as FIDE president" is a phrase I 'borrow' from German chess (and mainstream) journalist Hartmut Metz: http://www.rochade-kuppenheim.de/russe-kasparow-fluechtet-nach-kroatien/ This doesn't make Metz an Ilyumzhinov fan, but like me he's clearly a Kasparov skeptic - refuting observer's claim that I am the only (German) one.

observer's picture

@ Thomas:

I didn't say you were the only one, I said you were "one of the few". This still stands. (Why do you find it necessary to misrepresent what I said?)
Do you deny that most German chess journalists would be against Ilyumzhinov?

You are not neutral. It is very clear that you don't want Kasparov to become FIDE President.
One of the big reasons for this is one you yourself give above: "Kasparov is a big Carlsen fan".
Another is that Kasparov is at loggerheads with your Great Hero Kramnik.

You are NOT neutral. That's fine, we all have our opinions, but why are you afraid to admit yours, and pretend something else? You very much want Ilyumzhinov to retain the FIDE Presidency.
You are a lot easier to read than you think you are, Thomas.

Thomas Richter's picture

You are right that, IMO, persons aiming for a prominent role in chess politics shouldn't have close ties with one world-top player, and a difficult relationship with to open hatred for another world-top player - for me this disqualifies both Kasparov and Danailov (and would also - hypothetically - disqualify managers and/or dedicated fans of Kramnik with a strained relationship to other players). In that respect, for me Ilyumzhinov is the lesser evil, which doesn't make me a fan of him.

You are - obviously - right that you wrote "one of the few" rather than "the only one". When replying to one comment, one doesn't see other ones any more and I didn't double-check. In your earlier post, you didn't limit that statement to journalists. How can anyone make such categoric statements about big majority opinions in other countries, or even in his own country?

"Do you deny that most German chess journalists would be against Ilyumzhinov?" - frankly, I have no idea, and even some who dislike Ilyumzhinov might still consider him the lesser evil.

observer's picture

That if Kasparov was FIDE President he would deliberately rig things for or against certain players remains to be seen. Personally, I think he has more integrity than that; and in any case FIDE would be a more open organisation under him.

On the other hand, Ilyumzhinov has a very sorry track record in that respect:
- Kamsky was endlessly mucked around to Karpov's favour re their 1996 FIDE World Championship match, and this definitely affected his performance.
- Topalov was ridiculously given a game by default in the 2006 World Championship match and was certainly favoured by the stacked "appeals committee"
- Kramnik was gifted a free World Championship match in 2008.
- Topalov was gifted a free Candidates Final spot in 2009 for the match against Anand
- Ilyumzhinov was openly rooting for a Russian winner in this year's Candidates (even prayed for it, asking god to rig it this time)
Ilyumzhinov has consistently acted against Carlsen's interests:
- refused to alter the 2011 Candidates from a ridiculous 4-4-6 system to a more reasonable 6-6-8 system knowing that if he did not, Carlsen would not play
- Forced Carlsen to play last year's World Championship in India (where he knew he did not want to play) without even allowing bidding
Frankly, Ilyumzhinov has already many times proved he is the greater evil in this respect.

Not to mention that the 19 years of his rule have been a freaking disaster, or at best far less good than they should have been.
Not to mention idiotic rules like the zero tolerance lateness rule, etc
And someone who is seriously suspected of ordering the murder of a journalist; who consorts with the likes of Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi and Assad, etc is the lesser evil!? Kasparov may have his faults, but he has not done stuff like that.

That you cannot see the other comments when you are replying to one, I accept.
You seem to be very well informed, so you must read the German chess magazines, etc. - you must surely have some idea as to the overall sentiment in Germany regarding this election?

Ok, you are not particularly a fan of Ilyumzhinov, but you clearly regard him as a much lesser evil than Kasparov. That is, you are, as I said, not neutral as to who you prefer to be elected.
Let us put our neutrality or not into percentages. I am about 95%-5% in favour of Kasparov being elected. The 5% comes from Ilyumzhinov directing some money towards chess, however tainted; and certain doubts about Kasparov.
I would surmise that you are about 75%-25% in favour of Ilyumzhinov. Would this be about right?

David Korn's picture

Well said Thomas. Totally Agreed!

Sunny's picture

I dont think Anand will ever get the title on default. Thats not going to happen. Carlsen is not eccentric like Fischer. Even if it does what makes you think we would lose ALL respect for Anand.What did he do?
Did you feel that way when Karpov got the title by default ????Vishy is a 5 time world champion who's achieved pretty much everything that needs to be done in chess. If he's a miserable clown ,who are you keyboard warrior?

Jitendraa Singh's picture

What courage ,you are talking about? Nobody else was willing or able to sponsor the match. Anand was never into politics and never will be. He will play the match ,regardless of situation.

Anonymous's picture

Carlsen knows he wouldn't stand a chance against newborn Anand, so understandable that Norwegian chess bosses say that Carlsen might not participate.

jimknopf's picture

At least you are more funny than FIDE :-)

Anand is a serious challenger, but certainly no one Carlsen would avoid a match for.

Anonymous's picture

"newborn Anand"

Anand has had another kid? I'm sure he'll be a good player in time, but he probably needs to be weaned off mother's milk before taking Magnus on.

Greco's picture


AAR's picture

Instructions to dumb people who couldn't give any valid and appropriate comments - Just type "S3".

observer's picture

AAR=S3 More algebra.

Hobo's picture

Fishy is just in it for the rupees.

Leo's picture

I'm sure the arrangements would be fully satisfactory, but given recent developments in Russia, I would certainly prefer another venue. Under the circumstances, talk of "reviving Russia's status as a power" in any sense has an ominous ring to it ...

David Korn's picture

Lets take a moment and appreciate what we have--a continuation of the cycle without undo delay, a young, fit, motivated champion, a challenger of great legacy, against great and fierce odds. We have the new and the older. We have free media, great chess, a wonderful blog here, compliments of ChessVibes, chess.com, and Peter, we have a well informed community of knowledge here. We have great chess, chess beauty. As Gurdjieff once said, people love their hate. Please stop winning and disparagement. Much as I love this place, I do put the burden on the owner-operators for excessive liberality in allowing rampant, free speech. The hatred is unbelievable. Read the comments above. What is about chess here. I am so thankful for what is to come, thankful for the free website, thankful for chess tempo, chess tactics server, chessgame.com, chessbase, so much to appreciate So much hard work, imagination. Climate change will erase so much that has been gained, enjoy this time while you have it. I am thankful for great chess, this is evanescent beauty, which will pass like a haiku like dewdrop, a moment in time. Gossamar beauty. The world you see is ending. Anand, Magnus, you, me, we are visiting this place, lets not hate each other. Does imperfection exist? Yes. Do I have it? Yes. Others here? Yes. Lets not throw stone but bring flowers. Hate is too easy. We are about to see more great chess, that is the subject, not Kirsan or a toupee or aliens or buggers being thrown or who had sex with who. So whats wrong with a champion finding love. Let him, no more than you would hate Karjakin for finding a lovely young women he married, or Kramnik or Anand being dad. Let the young man live. As you have. Great chess. Thank you.

Leo's picture

Indeed, as you say, there is a lot for us to appreciate, such as great chess tournaments, and a free press. Not everywhere in the world does one get to enjoy both, however.

jimknopf's picture

I appriciate your good will and like haikus and peace as much as you do, just like I share being thankful about all the good things in chess.

But I regard letting yourself being instrumentalized by dictatorship minds as utterly naive. You can't seriously separate chess in Sochi from it's dirty context: rules of Putin and Ilyumshinov. That would be like finding beauty in the the light shows of the Berlin Olympiad 1936 (which many people did back then) while ignoring that in fact they came from flak lights sonn playing a very different role in the lifes of people.

B L 's picture

Well put :)

Tyke's picture

Wish more people could think like you

Brecht's picture

Russia at the moment should be banned.

After D day commemoration , nothing has changed in Russian politics, they just want to claim more land of Ukraine...check the news on the Gas price conflict...

I m not interested in Sushi!

Anonymous's picture

Checked the news, Russia offered them the same conditions as under Janukowitsch which were with reduced price lower than market price. One should question why the Ukraine didn´t pay it´s bills before and steal the gas which was supposed to go to Europe. Maybe you should dig there Brecht.

Brecht's picture

it's not that all so clearly....Russia did send troops to the Ukraine to proclaim Russian sovereignty...perhaps it' is filter out in your news ??

Anonymous's picture

No, you seem to have some sort of a filter. There were Russian troops already in Ukraine under an international treaty in Crimea, Russia has a military base there since long ago if you didn´t know. After the people of Crimea made their referendum and decided to be no part of Ukraine anymore, but Russia instead, they decided according with the right of self-determination to accept their will and teke them as a part of their territory. It´s a matter of which international right you put above which, the right of self determination or souvereign territory. Also what does this have to do with the gas talk from before?

Anonymous's picture

Did the Russians let the Chechnyans arrange any referendum while Chechnyans troops were holding Groznyj and counting votes? Didn't think so.

Anonymous's picture

If they would have had a referendum then the majority of the people would vote to stay in Russia, lol. There were Islamistic terrorist forces which fought the army, compared to Crimea and you can´t say that most people sympatized with them.

Brecht's picture

By the way, according to international law, the crimea still belongs to Ukraine...http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116819/international-law-russias-ukra...

Brecht's picture

but i guess...lately Russia doesn't care too much about international law, but prefers intense relations with Syria instead, where they are told to learn to Russian language??

Brecht's picture
Anonymous's picture

Russia is the land of the future, and so it shall always remain. (Old Russian proverb)

Brecht's picture

Russia is on the verge of collapse..the whole western world is acting against Russia..slowly but steadily..

Dirk8231983's picture

I don't understand this announcement. Shouldn't the players agree first? I guess it's better than in Syria.

Leo's picture

Since when should we expect to settle our bills at gunpoint, though? Whatever is behind this, perhaps the digging will have to be a little deeper than "checked the news".

Anonymous's picture

What gunpoint? If you refuse to pay and ignore overdue notices, but continue to warm yourself in gas, then the only thing that will happen is that the gas tap will get shut down at some point. You look at the side which violates the agreement, not the other way around.

Leo's picture

Obviously I would expect the gas tap to be shut down at some point; however, I would not expect the violation of my sovereign territory, which is what I meant by "gunpoint". Of course, I am not really in a position to tell in what way or to what extent the two are related, but never mind: the discussion, as far as I'm concerned, is about the bigger picture of Russia's illegitimate claims to neighbouring lands (and also intolerance and repression within her own borders). But perhaps this is not the time or place to expound on regional politics; please excuse if I revert to chess matters :)

Anonymous's picture

No problem, just a last note about legitimacy. There is the right of sovereign territory and of self determination. If one compares few years ago Kosovo was stripped of Serbia with the reasoning of self determination, now for Crimea they don´t want to grant this right with reason of souvereign territory, despite people had a referendum (in Kosovo there wasn´t even one). In the end it matters what the people who live there want and they don´t want to live in an Ukraine like it is now. back to chess, heh ;)

Leo's picture

Thank you for the explanation. Being not an expert on these things myself, I will just assume that you know what you're talking about. However, my opinion remains that the (Western) world - and by this I mean not only the political/diplomatic stratum, but also that of human rights, journalism and culture, etc. - has had good reason to react strongly to Russian actions and rhetoric both within and beyond her borders, and that, for these reasons, playing a WC match there is questionable at least. (I'm not exactly sure that we even disagreed on this to begin with; we seem to have approached this from slightly different angles.) Anyway, good night to you :)

observer's picture

So is Russia going to allow Chechnya, Dagestan, and Karelia, etc referendums then?

Anonymous's picture

It´s pointless, the majority would vote to stay in Russia. There is also no need for it, since the people don´t have to fear getting bombed, like the people in South-East Ukraine now.

observer's picture

Utter tripe.
You don't even know where Karelia is, do you?

Anonymous's picture

You mean Republic Karelia? 80% Russians live there, you expect this region to seperate itself? hahaha

observer's picture

As you will have informed yourself perfectly well, a good part of Karelia that is currently in Russia is populated by a people that are very close to the Finns. They would join Finland at the drop of a hat if allowed to.
Stalin recognised that in 1939 when he offered some of this area to Finland in exchange for territory close to Leningrad [which he then reneged on to start the Winter War].

Anonymous's picture

There are a lot of minor seperatist groups, not only in Russia btw. Not all of them would like to seperate themselves from the country itself, some of them want more autonomous rights or a federative system. Despite that those minor seperatist groups have too little influence or backup by the majority of the pupulation in the region, like those in Karelia.

observer's picture

Karelia is a big area. PART of it on the Finnish border definitely has a big majority Finnish population. It was part of this part that Stalin offered, for a reason he knew well.
Why is this different than saying PART of Ukraine with a majority Russian population should go to Russia?

You cannot seriously tell me that the Chechen people do not want to separate themselves from Russia. They fought two wars to do so and managed to for a while.

Anonymous's picture

The people in Crimea feared to be surpressed by the new facist regime which established itself through a coup, the results of the coup you can see in South East Ukraine now. Also there is a big majority of Russians in Crimea. It is different to Republic of Karelia since there is no threat to the people and the majority is Russian.. whats so hard to understand?

If you seriously see the Islamist groups which had connections to Al Kaida and are considered internationally as terrorists, who fought there against the Russian army and also weren´t as friendly to the civil people there as all the people of Chechnya you seriously have some damage in your brain my friend.


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