Reports | August 08, 2011 23:17

And the 2012 World Title Match goes to... MOSCOW (yes, the UPDATE)

And the 2012 World Title match goes to...Several chess media published a FIDE press release earlier today with the news that the 2012 World Championship Match between Vishy Anand and Boris Gelfand has been awarded to Moscow. We were about to go live as well, when we received an intriguing follow-up email: "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." UPDATE: Moscow it is.

At the end of June we brought the news that the Russian Chess Federation had placed a bid to organize the 2012 World Championship Match between Vishy Anand and Boris Gelfand in Moscow. The sponsor was Andrei Filatov, a self-made billionaire with a net worth of 1.1 billion dollars (according to Forbes). The Ukrainian-born Moscow-based businessman is co-owner of a transport infrastructure company, but is said to be a genuine chess fan. He was willing to spend around US $3.5 million, which includes a $2 million prize fund (after taxes).

Two weeks later it became clear that India had placed a bid too, as was reported on the FIDE website. The bid was announced on July 12th by the FIDE President and the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu State Mme J. Jayalalithaa. Chennai was planning to spend 200 million rupees (approximately $4.5 million). Based on a press release in Tamil, Chessbase wrote that the Tamil Nadu Government "has placed a winning bid" which "is likely to go through on July 31, 2011". This was the closing date for bids for the 2012 World Championship Match, so there were still eighteen days to go. In our report back then we wrote: A bid from Israel might pop up, an improved bid from Moscow, who knows!?

Today at 11:44 CET we received the following press release from FIDE:

Monday, August 08, 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 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.

The FIDE President, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov 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.

This press release was published by several chess media, including Chessbase, TWIC and Chessdom, and on the FIDE website. We were about to go live as well, when at 15:14 CET we received another email from the FIDE Secretariat:

"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 then noticed that the press release was removed from the FIDE website, and also from the Chessbase homepage (Update 23:40 CET: now back up.) We discussed the matter with TWIC's Mark Crowther, who decided to leave it online. We agree with him that it's way too late now to remove it. The Chessdom site is still showing the news as well, so by now many chess fans will have seen it anyway.

All in all, intriguing stuff. We can't wait for the new press release and when it's there, we'll post it here. Keep an eye on our regular 'UPDATE' in capitals in the headline...


Update August 9, 13:18 CET by Colin McGourty:

Despite yesterday's confusion over a subsequently "unreleased" press release from FIDE, Moscow has been confirmed as the venue for the 2012 World Championship match between Vishwanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand. Tirana, Albania, has also been confirmed as the venue for the Hou Yifan-Humpy Koneru match later this year. 

FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov made the announcements in a press conference today, after previously also informing Sport Express journalist Yury Vasiliev. The men's World Championship match will take place in the Skolkovo Technology Centre ("Russia's Silicon Valley") near Moscow. The prize fund is $2.55 million.

Ilyumzhinov told Vasiliev:

We contacted Anand's wife and manager Aruna by telephone and informed her that the prize fund for the Moscow bid was almost 400,000 dollars more than the one guaranteed by Chennai. She gave her agreement in Anand's name for the match to take place in Moscow. We also received the same agreement from the challenger, Boris Gelfand.

The futuristic landscape where the match is going to be played

The futuristic landscape where the match is going to be played

Update August 9, 13:45 CET:

The new press release is now up on the FIDE website, which looks strikingly similar to the first. The extras are in italics, by us:

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 Ilyumzhinov 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.

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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of ChessVibes.com, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.

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Comments

Cap'n Crunch's picture

Whose home turf? Those native Russian speakers, they all look alike to you? Gelfand's from Belarus, not Russia, and has been an Israeli citizen for a long time. And why, dear hypocrites, is it tragic for Anand to play in Russia but sweet goodness for Gelfand to play in India?

HowManyGames?'s picture

So new chess interested people shouldn't have all information now, because some was mentioned long ago...Give me a break.

Didn't a happy Anatoly Karpov tell after the Chess Olympiad last year that Kirsan had promised him to let the finalists play more game than 12 in a World Championship final?

Coco Loco's picture

I can't really blame FIDE on this one. Given the difficulty of finding any sort of sponsorship in the last 18 years or so, the possibility of multiple high bidders never crossed their minds. It is not as if this forum had shown a whole lot more confidence either, especially after Gelfand won the candidates'.

These bids are heaven-sent, but is there any long-term interest in sponsoring the WC *cycle* in the future from either sponsor? Imho, the bids are also simply too high. That sum of money could go a long way toward propping up the entire WC cycle, and could benefit the sponsor much more through increased exposure. A one-off event (even if it is the title match) seems like a stunt. The India bid reminds me of the Bulgarian bids from before. They want their guy to win, so they can profit politically, and that's it. Filatov's bid seems more chess-centered than person-centered (though obviously he would want Gelfand to win) and seems like the better bid for chess overall to me. Of course, any discussion on the relative merits of the bids is largely irrelevant since what matters more to the FIDE guys are the kickbacks...

gg's picture

"Filatov’s bid seems more chess-centered than person-centered (though obviously he would want Gelfand to win) and seems like the better bid for chess overall to me"

I think his bid is based only on him being Gelfand's friend so I wonder if it's less person-centered. My opinion is that since Moscow already had a dozen title matches and all other events in the cycle are held in ex-Soviet countries it could be nice with some variation, holding events at other places could also be good for chess. But good for the players that they get lots of money. If Moscow's second bid had a prize fund of $2.550.000 I bet Chennai's was $2.500.000 but we'll see.

mishanp's picture

Have a look at the link Peter gives to earlier news on this. Andrei Filatov was born in Ukraine and lives in Moscow, but he studied chess at the Minsk Sports Academy (Belarus) - where he also met Boris Gelfand (who grew up in Belarus before moving to Israel). Filatov also apparently funded the repair of the Alexander Alekhine memorial in Paris. In any case, a rich businessman with a genuine interest in chess wanting to fund the match strikes me as one of the positives here.

Janis Nisii's picture

It would be funny if it weren't sad.
FIDE can be entertaining sometimes. And it's not meant as a compliment.

unknown's picture

I heard it will be in NYC Ground Zero

guitarspider's picture

Can't wait for FIDE's punchline.

Harish Srinivasan's picture

It is unlikely Chennai or even Vishy Anand will accept the Moscow bid without clear reasons for the shock announcement. Vishy Anand was very optimistic of playing in Chennai and made a remark about that during the speech he gave at the world junior opening ceremony http://www.wjcc2011.org/Videos.aspx

that "there is a good chance I might play the world championship here"

A retaliation from the Chennai bid might well be the reason FIDE decided to step back a bit in its announcement.

mishanp's picture

You could imagine them asking how come the Moscow bid increased after the deadline... though the whole bidding procedure was spoiled by both bids being announced before the deadline - and it's hard to imagine FIDE didn't tell Chennai exactly how much they needed to bid to win.

Thomas's picture

Both bidders went public themselves before their deadline, and Chennai called their bid "winning" (but you don't win just by saying so). Is, or should money be the only thing that matters? Does a bid have to be "accepted" by the players, let alone by the other bid that didn't make it?

mishanp's picture

Ilya Levitov's a FIDE VP and he said in an interview that he had no idea what the procedure was for FIDE deciding between rival bids. Most of the top people in FIDE have been meeting in Moscow this week (for the "Modernisation Committee") so it's fair to assume there's been a lot of discussion...

bayde's picture

>Most of the top people in FIDE have been meeting in Moscow this week (for the “Modernisation Committee”)

Oh, the irony in this is beyond words. Utterly beyond.

noyb's picture

It's hardly a "shock" announcement. The Russian bid was guaranteed, the Indian bid was not. FIDE's been bitten enough times to know to go with a guaranteed prize fund vs. one that's "promised". Of course, it IS FIDE...

harami's picture

What crap, the Indian bid was backed by the State Govt, what more guarantee you want?

Zeblakob's picture

>>>>> 'The match will be held in May 2012'.
Based on earlier experiments, the mactch will be hel in May 2013. Calenders are rarely respected in WCCs.

ps. I think that Moscow is too cold for Anand.

ebutaljib's picture

They have to held the match in earl 2012 if they want to held the Candidates for the next cycle in 2012 too. that is the plan for 2011-2013 cycle (World cup in 2011, Candidates in 2012, World championship match in 2013). There can't be 2012 candidates without knowing who won/lost 2012 World championship match. But yeah, I also think that next World championship match won't be played until 2014.

mishanp's picture

Don't know if it was a joke about Moscow being cold, but of course it's cold in winter but hot in summer, and hopefully pleasant at some point in-between :)

TMM's picture

I'd say that "bidding" is mainly about money (prize funds), and it seems India's bid was simply higher. At least some reasons should be given why the Russia bid is better (except for the fact that Kirsan is from Russia...).

CAL|Daniel's picture

How do you know that the India bid is higher? 2million prize fund AFTER TAXES, FEES AND ORGANIZATIONS COSTS could easily be much much much higher than "4.5million for prize fund, taxes, fees and organization costs." There is no way to compare the two numbers without more information on the formal bids. One was guaranteed and the other was not.

Unknown's picture

Moscow's bid was backed up by guarantees. Chennai's was not.

harami's picture

The Indian bid was backed by the State Govt, what more guarantee you want?

Septimus's picture

This is a bit weird. How can you increase your bid after the deadline? Do these guys ever do anything with total transparency? How hard is it to lay it all out on the table??

Thomas's picture

Actually, what makes you - and mishanp, unless he has inside information - confidently think that the Moscow bid was improved _after_ the deadline? The Chennai bid was announced 13th July, more than two weeks before the deadline. Plenty of time left for Moscow (Filatov) to find some extra money: he didn't even need to search for co-sponsors, just check how much more he can spare from his own pocket. And he wasn't obliged to say in public that the bid was improved, giving the other side a chance to strike back ... .

mishanp's picture

Fair point, but unless people were lying a bid with a $2 million prize fund was submitted to FIDE. So even if it wasn't changed after the deadline, is it ok to change a bid you've already submitted before the deadline? Perhaps it is. In any case it was odd that both bidders were announcing their bids publicly before the deadline.

harami's picture

Heh, so round 1 (or 0?) goes to Gelfand and his team (friends! )..

Just wait and see what Anand will do to Gelfand in the coming rounds :)

PircAlert's picture

Anand should NOT play in Russia.

Many people are intent on getting the title away from Anand by hook or crook - either to take it to Russia or to take it to a Western country. So we will have to get into the motive of this organizing this event in Russia. Why is non-Russians title match being funded by a Russian? If it is for profit motive, then fine, but otherwise what is the idea of funding this event?

noyb's picture

Ah, Anand played in Bulgaria on Topalov's home turf and won, why not Russia?

PircAlert's picture

Bulgaria is a small country and could not afford to cheat. They had lot of pressure already on the cheating front. But that is not the case with Russia. How is Russia a neutral country? This venue is only as much neutral as the New York venue for 1995 Anand-Kasparov match. I can see the title gone already from Anand.

CAL|Daniel's picture

Your post represents some of the most repulsive diatribe baloney I have ever read.

PircAlert's picture

What is so repulsive in my post? How repulsive it looked to you when people here blamed "third" world countries for corruption in FIDE elections? It is a fact that for a share in mere $10,000 or so first prize money, GMs wanted to fix games. Where did that happen? Technologically advanced countries have done illegal phone tapping to take away businesses from other competing countries. You can keep on going with such things. But you seem to be pretending. You seem to prefer such things to be kept under the carpet so you can carry on. The stake here is very high. You can't take chances. What is wrong in telling all concerns and forcing FIDE to take all necessary precautions?

noyb's picture

ROTFLMAO! You must be INCREDIBLY stupid, naive or both!

johnxy's picture

"Anand played in Bulgaria on Topalov’s home turf and won, why not Russia?"
Remember Topolav played in Russia and lost. Playing in Russia for a championship means one has to withstand lots of stress.

Arne Moll's picture

Utterly weird and vague. As expected.

welwitchia's picture

Your proposal was the weirdest and silliest
.

Septimus's picture

What exactly did Arne propose? Unless there is some magic text that you alone can see, nobody here knows what you are on about?

adam's picture

I was willing to bet any money on this one. :D

mishanp's picture

Gelfand's already responded to the decision (or apparent decision...): http://www.whychess.org/en/node/1284

Abba's picture

To Boris Gelfand: how do you gain experience when your bid is rejected for mysterious reasons? i think all you gain is a "terrible experience".

Septimus's picture

I'm not sure about India lacking experience in organizing big events. They organized the Kamsky-Anand match, have held some very large open tournaments and have organized lots of other complex sporting activities.

I don't think experience is an issue here.

LMedemblik's picture

Not only by name will Filatov be the biggest Philanthropist.
Be assured it will be hold in Russia.

baladala's picture

Women’s World Chess Championship in Albania ??? A surprising venue for a match between two non europeans. Prize fund seems to be low as well. No real progress for woman chess it seems.

CAL|Daniel's picture

I too thought Albania a weird choice but then I saw the prize and said "ah" what an ENORMOUS!!! prize fund! 200,000?! Insane! Has anyone woman ever earned this much in her life for playing chess (Judit excluded!).

Arctor's picture

Has any 2600 rated male GM ever earned that much in their life for playing chess?

bhabatosh's picture

I wish there was no FIDE.

ketchuplover's picture

Is that you Bobby?

gg's picture

Kirsan-FIDE is like having the Marx Brothers in charge but not nearly as fun. Maybe they want to "keep it in the family" and discourage bids from the outside. Where are all Grand Prix tournaments, World Cups, Candidates before and after the move, title match held now again?

It isn't just because money only exists in the ex-Soviet countries as Chennai showed, but something often happens with other places. The Germans had a too small FIDE logo, Bulgaria wanted Topalov-Kamsky but then Kirsan's friend got private extended deadlines many times and managed to postpone the match for almost a year without ever making a proper bid. And now the bid from Moscow is changed after being submitted so it can trump Chennai. I guess FIDE won't give any details about how that one happened. :-)

Bartleby's picture

Clowns.

gg's picture

My guess: After the deadline passed FIDE faced that Chennai's bid was higher and told Filatov that he had to come up with more to get the match. Filatov or FIDE added money and announced the result of the bidding (but missed something and withdrew the announcement). I'm curious if they will say 1: Moscow made a second bid, or 2: There was only one bid and the official statements about how high it was were lies. I wonder if these bids will exist in any type of visible form.

gg's picture

Well, maybe that's too much of a conspiracy theory :-) I'm sure Moscow will arrange things excellently by the way.

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