FIDE confirms London Candidates, announces 4-year schedule - players' comments
The FIDE Candidates Tournament will be held October 24th-November 12th, 2012 in London. This was announced in a brief press release published on Monday on the FIDE website. In another press release, FIDE gives a 4-year schedule for two World Championship cycles, and names cities like Paris and Madrid as locations for new Grand Prix tournaments.
FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov had already mentioned it in an interview on February 10th, and now FIDE has finally announced it on its website: the 2012 Candidates Tournament is going to take place in London.
AGON: Chess Candidates Tournament to Take Place in London from October 24 - November 12, 2012
Athens/Moscow – March 3, 2012 – After consultations with FIDE, Agon, the World Chess Federation's new partner for organizing the World Chess Championship Cycle, is pleased to announce that the Candidates Tournament will take place in London, UK, from October 24 – November 12, 2012.
Andrew Paulson, General Director of AGON, said, “I am glad to be bringing one of the main Chess events to London and hope that both players and spectators will enjoy it.”
Contact: Agon Ltd.
Despite criticism from players and tournament organizers, it will be held in October-November, very soon after the Grand Slam Masters Final in Bilbao and not long before the London Chess Classic. Earlier, Ilyumzhinov had mentioned October 23-November 13. As if FIDE wanted to make a symbolic concession, it will now start one day later: October 24-November 12.
As FIDE vice-president I apologize to M.Pein and J.C.Fernández that I can't change the dates of the Candidates tournament. I hope your wonderful tournaments will survive.
In Chess Today 4136, Mikhail Golubev compared the situation to what happened eleven years ago.
The situation with the London Candidates makes us recall how the then FIDE Commerce president, Artem Tarasov had threatened to organise FIDE events in the same terms when the top private events take place. He said this after organizers of Dortmund, Linares and Wijk refused to co- operate with a FIDE Grand Prix in 2001. ("Yet, if you don't join us, we shall have only one way out: to hold our Grand Prix tournaments at the same time with your events. War is war" - Tarasov). The most important difference is that now the threat is executed.
Last Friday, the Bilbao organizers had in fact attempted to come to a solution by proposing a meeting between FIDE and the organizers of the main private tournaments. In a press release, they wrote:
FIDE and the top tournaments should work together and harmoniously to decide the tournaments yearly calendar. We are already in March, and FIDE has still not announced officially the dates for the Candidates Tournament. In this respect, several Grand Masters, like current number one Magnus Carlsen and former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik, have already declared his preference for playing the Candidates in the first half of 2013, when there are enough dates to place it without affecting the top tournaments.
Comments by participants
We asked a number of participants of the Candidates Tournament for a comment, now that the location and the dates have been confirmed.
Vladimir Kramnik, who qualified by rating:
The location and dates are fine, but I agree that there must be a meeting between organizers and FIDE a.s.a.p. in order to clarify the calendar from next year on. Besides, we all have our experience in the past so let's see if the event in London really takes place. Finally, I think that Mr. Paulson will have to say openly and publicly what he is going to do next. I mean: what is his programm, etc, not just general words. Because nobody knows him and his plans and his reasons to be involved in chess.
Levon Aronian, who qualified by rating:
I still have not got any emails or contracts from FIDE. So for now i just have an agreement with Bilbao. Once there is an update, I will be able to comment.
Peter Svidler, who won the World Cup:
Love London, not ecstatic about the dates, but not as big a deal for me, obviously, as it is for the organizers of the LCC, Tal Mem, Bilbao and so on. Know next to nothing about Agon, and - a rarity - tend to agree with Silvio's point: the bidding procedure has been somewhat subverted. Interesting wild-card choice, too, considering the venue.
Teimour Radjabov, who got the wild card:
I do not have any special opinion about it, didn't think about it deeply. I will of course inform you if I have any specific opinion on this matter.
I would say that I am very satisfied with both dates and place. Both are pretty much excellent. Of course, the situation is a bit weird with Azerbaidzhan-England stuff, but it's none of my business.
Apparently for FIDE it was not an option to hold the Candidates Tournament in for example March 2013. It is now clear why: it wouldn't fit in the bigger plans the World Chess Federation has cooked up together with Andrew Paulson's Agon. In a separate press release, a 4-year schedule for two World Championship cycles was announced:
Athens – March 6, 2012 – FIDE, after consultations with AGON, its new partner for organizing the World Chess Championship Cycle, is pleased to announce a draft calendar of event dates for the next two cycles over four years. Once finalised, FIDE and AGON intend to retain the 2014-15 competition schedule as the model for the indefinite future.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, President of FIDE, said, “I am pleased finally to be able to bring a grand European Tour to our European colleagues! And, even more important, players and fans are already excited and energized.”
Andrew Paulson, Director of AGON, said, “We are glad to be bringing a series of World Chess events to the capitals of Europe. In the future we will be progressing continent by continent, bringing great competitions to the world’s capitals in a regular and predictable schedule.”
We have to give credit to FIDE/Agon for introducing something new into the World Championship cycle: consistency. However, we'll have to wait and see whether all this reflects a realistic future for top chess. We vividly remember that three of the original six cities (Montreux, Doha and Prague) all disappeared from the first Grand Prix Series and had to be replaced for other locations.
It would be wonderful if the majority of these tournaments would indeed take place in major European cities (or take place at all), but taking into account the developments in the last decade or so, it's hard to be optimistic. It probably won't come from Mr Ilyumzhinov himself, so it has to be Mr Paulson to prove us wrong!
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