May 05, 2013 23:08

FIDE confirms Chennai as venue for Anand-Carlsen match

On the first day of the Presidential Board meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan the World Chess Federation officially granted the World Championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen to Chennai, India. This was tweeted by several FIDE officials on Sunday, and later confirmed by a press release by the All Indian Chess Federation.

After the open letter from the Norwegian Chess Federation and especially the bid from Paris, it came as quite a surprise: FIDE has confirmed the deal with Chennai. FIDE Vice President Ali Nihat Yazici broke the news with a tweet:

Later Silvio Danailov, President of the European Chess Union and FIDE's Continental President for Europe, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and his assistent Berik Balgabaev would also use Twitter to throw the news into the world.

Later today the All Indian Chess Federation sent a press release and posted the news on its website:

World Championship Match to take place at Chennai.

FIDE Presidential Board which is in progress at Baku, Azerbaijan today confirmed Chennai as the venue for the World Chess Championship match between defending champion Viswanathan Anand and World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen from 06-26 November 2013. The agreement was signed today at Baku by Bharat Singh, Hony Secretary All India Chess Federation and FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

Shri.Bharat Singh, Honorary Secretary of the All India Chess Federation and FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov signing the contract in presence of Shri. DV Sundar, FIDE Vice President and Shri. RM Dongre, Treasurer of the All India Chess Federation

The decision is surprising, and FIDE has something to explain. To skip a bidding process is at least remarkable, and to decline a higher bid is simply strange (but logical if the first premise is accepted). Unfortunately on Sunday night we couldn't reach anyone at FIDE to give a statement.

We did speak briefly to Espen Agdestein, the manager of Magnus Carlsen. Last Wednesday he told us he still expected a bidding process. Tonight he said:

The information isn't official yet, but we take it that it is accurate. However, we'd prefer to wait until we get more accurate information. Besides, we need to digest this a bit before we can talk about it.

Earlier today, Agdestein told Norwegian newspaper VG that he's "surprised".

FIDE should have followed its own rules. We think it is very important to make sure that the world championship cycle is predictable, transparent and orderly processed.

We also contacted Andrew Paulson of AGON, the company that should be involved in finding sponsors and organizing the events of the world championship cycle, including the world title match. However, AGON wasn't actively involved in the organization of the last Grand Prix, last month in Zug, and it wasn't the one who closed the deal with Chennai either. Paulson sent us the following statement by email:

I couldn't be at the Presidential Board (as I am in LA at the moment), so I am not sure exactly what happened. But before the Candidates, the Interface, which is the body that regulates the AGON/FIDE relationship on a day-to-day basis, agreed to give the Indians a window of opportunity to confirm their interest and make a bid, and they did. I think that time is short already for organising a great match, and even more important, it would have been unwise for FIDE (and AGON) to go back on their word.

Apart from using the intriguing word "Interface", Paulson seems to imply that it wasn't really an option for FIDE to disappoint the Indians a second time. For the previous World Championship match, Chennai had lost the bid but was promised a "first option" for the next match.

Last Wednesday Espen Agdestein said about this:

It seems FIDE is trying to fix a mistake by making another mistake.

Last Friday the Norwegian Chess Federation urged FIDE to

have a fair and transparent procedure and competition for the selection of the organizer and also for the reputation of chess in general.

On the same day, the city of Paris came with a bid that was significantly higher than the Chennai bid. Two days later, FIDE went for Chennai anyway. We'll probably hear more from the Carlsen team soon. At the moment the ball is in their court.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


h8dgeh0g's picture

and the drama begins! let me predict, carlsen walks out and kramnik gets a shot at the title!

calvin amari's picture

FIDE is begging for a lawsuit. More notably, it is doing what it can generally be counted on to do -- whatever is bad for chess. In the game's most important moment in a generation, Kirsan the whacked out despot, flushes it down the toilet.

popper's picture


RealityCheck's picture

Dear Carlsen fans!
We are sad to inform you if Mr Carlsen does not want to play in Chennai we are happy to inform you that Mr Kramnik will replace him.

Good day

Anonymous's picture

was it a goal of the intrigue?

Remco G's picture

And the chess world at large will then not consider the winner of the match to be the legitimate world champion, just like Karpov wasn't the world champion after he beat Timman.

S3's picture

The analogy with Kasparov doesn't hold as he already was world champion when he left FIDE. The " chess world at large " will consider Anand world champion and after that the one who beat him. Carlsen knows it and that's why he won't walk away this time. All the more so cause his chances have improved since the last cycle.

Remco G's picture

They would, except that Anand's status is already being discussed a lot because of his poor form, his very tight win over Gelfand who was #14 or so on the rating list at the time, and the much higher rating of Carlsen.

And Carlsen has the moral high ground, he's dropped out before because of FIDE changing its own rules during a championship cycle, he would be acting consistently if he dropped out again because of FIDE not following its own rules.

Although I really hope they come to some sort of compromise and the match takes place.

RealityCheck's picture

@Remco G. "MC has the moral high ground". You make me laugh. Where did you learn your moral philosophy, on Wallstreet, in the White House?

ravi's picture

Thats ignorance....Gelfand proved tougher opponent than Kramnik or Topalov to Anand. Had the candidates been a knock-out format, I wonder if Carlsen would have made it. He still has few years to go when it comes to matches and who knows had there been a tie break match, Kramnik might have been the challenger.

Ricitos's picture

Are you trolling, or do you actually think it is OK to decide the venue without having an open, transparent bidding process? Why?

Anonymous's picture

What a stupid comment.

Anonymous's picture

GOOD DAY anand fan ! Carlsen team will not play in chennai since this "bidding" is scandalous !! Carlsen will have a match with Aronian in French !! let anand keep FIDE title like khalifman !!!

AndroidMarsMan's picture

You will of course be unhappy to hear that Mr. Carlsen has graciously, though not without disappointment in FIDE's unprofessional behavior, accepted the agreement, and will be preparing to play in Chennai come November. Perhaps Mr. Kramnik will have better luck next time and actually qualify for a World Championship match.

Anonymous's picture

yes its nothing but absolute scandal FIDE not only sinking chess to lowest depth, but want to remove chess from being played professionally

Anonymous's picture

If an organization promises one of its units a commitment, then it must do, otherwise nobody will believe that organization.

Anonymous's picture

FIDE is an organization that needs to change top management, soon!

Thomas Oliver's picture

Yeah, maybe Espen Agdestein should run for a FIDE office, Danailov already is ECU president and has ambitions within FIDE. Then they can endlessly debate whether WCh matches should be held in Norway or Bulgaria.
What's good for certain top players isn't necessarily good for chess in general.

redivivo's picture

"maybe Espen Agdestein should run for a FIDE office, Danailov already is ECU president and has ambitions within FIDE. Then they can endlessly debate whether WCh matches should be held in Norway or Bulgaria."

The question isn't about Agdestein urging FIDE to hold the match in Norway, it is about FIDE not being transparent enough.

Zeblakob's picture

MC and Anand can play a match outside FIDE.
FIDE name is not written in the Bible.

RealityCheck's picture

Perestroika is for the birds and the bees. No wait, what we need is an honest, open (transparent) governing body like that of the United States of America, like Union Carbide, like Apple.

Anonymous's picture

Where is Paris in your opinion? Bulgaria or Norway?

RealityCheck's picture

Paris is at the Hilton hotel. Leave her alone.

Ricitos's picture

Do you think the process of giving the match to Chennai is good for chess in general? I don't think the fuss is about single players. Anand would surely have protested if the situations were reversed. Before facing Topalov in Bulgaria, he even had a veto.

RealityCheck's picture

@Ricitos You're darn right I do. I think a WC match in the home town of 5 times WC Vishy Anand can only be good. Not just for Anand or Carlsen but for all chess enthusiasts.

By the way, the match wasn't "given" --like some welfare check from the west or some hand out from the first world-- to India.

The match was "promised" to the AIl India Chess Federation long ago by Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the president of FIDE.

A promise honored by the man who has, more or less, single handedly financed the most important chess events over the past 30 years. A promise honored by the man who calls the shots, gets the job done.

Forget the whiners and rabble rousers. All they do is talk. That's the down side of this hypocracy called democracy. All they do is complain. Ask 'em to put up there own money they walk. Now, if they get a chance to spend your money they're all over you like flies on sh......

Chess Fan's picture

I do not know who you are, but you have got a fan in me. And I am not anti-Magnus at all (I think highly of him so far), though I do dislike Danailov who conducted quite badly till the end of the Anand-Topolov match.

cancrizans's picture

FIDE is like FIFA - corrupt to the core! They rushed this through because the individuals in FIDE are personally receiving kick backs from this deal.

Be that as it may, Carlsen should not pull out, because he'll win whether the match is played in the Arctic Circle or the Sahara Desert. He only has to watch out for Delhi Belly.

Unanimous's picture

Carlsen and Kasparov should play a match, create a rival organization to FIDE, and crush FIDE once an for all. These guys have to be crushed.

Anonymous's picture

Been there, done that. It didn't work the first time, what makes you think it will this time?

Anonymous's picture

The organization which is not followiing its rules is going to collapse

Anonymous's picture

GOOD DAY anand fan ! Carlsen team will not play in chennai since this "bidding" is scandalous !! Carlsen will have a match with Aronian in French !! let anand keep FIDE title like khalifman !!!

slymnlts's picture

So, the World Championship between Anand v Carlsen has officially started today! And the first-move honor goes to FIDE, who move 1.e4?! (a speculative move) for Chennai!

FIDE has never been a transparent institution but I like the Chennai idea! With a population way over 1 billion people, India is a huge market for chess! I hope Carlsen will eventually agree and the actual match will be played in the scheduled time frame.

arkan's picture

Why does FIDE have to make awfu and controversial decisions like that everytime? Somehow i get the feeling they like to create drama like that, it hardly makes sense

fen's picture

Awful and controversial decisions generate media interest and publicity. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if it was intentional - FIDE just seems so incompetent when it comes to PR.

Question for anyone: If Carlsen does drop out, does Vishy automatically retain the title or does he play someone else?

Xenyatta's picture

Anand will probably play somebody else, probably Kramnik (again). However, let's not discount the possibility that FIDE will change its mind to accommodate the Carlson demands. Perhaps FIDE will do this at a late date, with little warning. Anand has always played ball with FIDE, including defending his title in the home country of his challenger. This is probably Anand's last opportunity to contest a Championship match in India, and he might not be too pleased if FIDE renegs.

Finally, there have been many "big money" offers to host the World Championships. Not all of such bids were "bona fide", and many bids that were failed for some reason or another.

Paris may be worth a mass, but is Paris worth a Match?

Anonymous's picture

Hopefully they will agree upon an alternative, mutually agreeable venue for the match during the upcoming tournament in Norway. That would save chess from the major upset and drama involved. Anand might agree if doesn't have to speak out explicitely against playing in his home town.

Anonymous's picture

happy to hear chennai as venue

oval's picture

dont be happy too early. its not over till its over. no contract be signed. we will encourage Garry and Magnus to do a official strong protest

h8dgeh0g's picture

last time chennai was robbed. this time fide is trying hard, actually too hard, to fix the damage done last time.

Anonymous's picture

I agree, damage had been done already and no good way to get out here. Since FIDE isn't able to, perhaps Anand and Carlsen can solve the problem on their own. This way FIDE kept their promise, and both players might get what they actually want :-)

GuyFawkes's picture

Bad News for the free world.

eric's picture

Free-world? What do you mean? India is not from the free-world, because it was colonized by the "free-world" for years?

oval's picture

how much of an "idoit you are! anyone said india is not from free world in the first place?

GuyFawkes's picture

@ eric: The FIDE dictator is a threat to the standars of the free world with his little democratic actions .I did not mention India in this context. Or I do have to give you that with a spoon?.

GuyFawkes's picture

Should Carlsen refuse to sign the agreement and institute a prosess in Law ?

Anonymous's picture

As a last option only. He wants to be world champion in first place.

Remco G's picture

It depends on whether he's willing to risk not playing the match. Up to him.

Anonymous's picture

With all happening, I wouldn't be surprised if Anand declines to play (and not Carlsen). Then Karlsen & Kramnik will play in Chennai, right?

eric's picture

Come on, Anand played in Bulgaria! Now Carlsen should do the same, or we will turn back to the double-champ times.

Anonymous's picture

Bulgaria is an interesting alternative ;-)


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