The World chess championship match between Magnus Carlsen of Norway and India’s Viswanathan Anand, FIDE (world chess governing body) says, will be held from November 6, but it is not yet sure where.
FIDE’s deadline for receiving bids ended recently without a single bid. FIDE vice-president D.V. Sundar, however, assured that the Word championship would be held as per the schedule. “We will find a venue soon,” he said. “Sometimes, such things do happen, but FIDE is confident of staging the World title match at the proposed time.”
That FIDE has not found a venue, or a sponsor, for a World championship match involving a charismatic reigning champion like Carlsen and a popular challenger like Anand has surprised the chess world.
“It is surprising that a match featuring Carlsen hasn’t any takers at all,” said veteran Grandmaster Pravin Thipsay. “We can understand why Norway has not bid. If there is no match, Carlsen could retain his title, so it is not the headache of Norway to find a sponsor.”
India ruled out
Since Chennai had hosted the last World championship match last November, India could also be ruled out.
“I think FIDE should have tried to market this match more, though we have to consider the fact that there never has been too much interest from business houses to sponsor World title matches,” said Thipsay. “I believe the sport is becoming even more marketable with it is being played in schools across the world.”
Not surprisingly, former World champion Garry Kasparov, never a fan of FIDE or its current president Kirsan Ilymuzhinov, has criticised sharply the world governing body’s inability to find a sponsor for the Carlsen-Anand match. “It says everything when Ilyumzhinov’s FIDE cannot find sponsorship for a World championship match with charismatic young World champion,” he tweeted.
Kasparov, who is fighting Ilyumzhinov in the FIDE elections, also tweeted that “Many Western sponsors don’t want to deal with Kirsan's FIDE and some of his usual backers are facing sanctions.”
Thipsay, however, believes that the World championship would go ahead. “Kirsan has been the biggest sponsor of FIDE ever since he took over as its president,” he pointed out. “If he does not find a country or sponsor for the World championship match, he would organise it himself. It is too prestigious an event for FIDE and Kirsan.”