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No Bids Yet For Anand-Carlsen Rematch

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 5/6/14, 9:44 AM.

The World Chess Federation (FIDE) is stil looking for a host city to organize the second world title match between Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen. The match is scheduled for November 2014, but on the deadline of April 30th, 2014 FIDE had not received any bids.

It's a disturbing and perhaps unique situation for the chess world, at least in the past few decades: there are no bidders for the next World Championship. One week ago a brief note was posted on the FIDE website about the Anand-Carlsen rematch:

FIDE has not received any bid by the deadline of 13.00 GMT of April 30th, 2014.
A further announcement will be made by FIDE in due course.

FIDE Secretariat

Mid-March FIDE had extended the deadline by a month and a half. Back then FIDE Executive Director Nigel Freeman told Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet:

“There are probably many who wait and see how the Candidates’ Tournament goes, and if one of their players will play the World Championship match.”

In the mean time Viswanathan Anand has won the Candidates’ Tournament convincingly but now, in early May (and six months before the match should start!), the situation hasn't changed.

This can hardly be the fault of the players, or chess itself. Mr Freeman made a somewhat controversial statement when he said in March (in the same Dagbladet article):

“If we have not received any bids within the new deadline either, we just have to recognize that the product is not marketable enough.”


Update: After seeing this article Mr Freeman told Chess.com: “I believe my comment was that the match was not marketable enough with such a prize fund, obviously it is marketable.” Note that the bidding rules do not require a minimum prize fund, but the fund of the previous match in Chennai is mentioned: 1,850,000 Euros.


Update 2: The Rules & Regulations in the FIDE Handbook (in PDF here) do speak of a minimum prize fund: “13.1 The prize fund of the match, provided by the organizer, should be a minimum of 1,000,000 (one million) euros, net of any applicable taxes.”


With a World Champion who models for G-Star, from a country where TV stations are fighting for the rights to broadcast his tournaments, and with an Indian challenger who is one of the most successful sports stars from his country, it's hard to believe Mr Freeman.

Espen Agdestein, manager of World Champion Magnus Carlsen, said that he is “not surprised” that there are no bidders yet. He told Chess.com:

“In my opinion the reason is twofold. The first is time frame that FIDE operates with, which has has been extremely short, so it has been very difficult for potential organizers to organize a bid.

Second, we know from the last match that the global interest is huge, but the commercial concept of a WC match has not been systematically developed. I think FIDE needs a new approach to selling the match. You need to look to other sports and how they commercialize big global events. The chess match is defined, but the package around and how to present it is not.”

Aruna Anand, wife and manager of Challenger Viswanathan Anand, also gave a statement to Chess.com:

“As soon as Vishy won the Candidates, FIDE has been in touch with us and updated us on the bids. In the past a bid had always been confirmed  along with the match announcement. FIDE will revert back to us after their world championship committee reviews the situation and decides on plausible bidders.

For us personally, we are looking forward to the match. Winning the Candidates was definitely a morale booster for Vishy and he will soon start his preparations for the match. When and where should get cleared up soon.”

Only a year after the match in Chennai, a new bid from India seems unlikely. And although the popularity of chess is rising fast in the country of Carlsen, a Norwegian bid might be complicated because two major events are already scheduled for 2014: the Norway Chess tournament in June and the Olympiad in August.

Nonetheless, as Norwegian newspaper VG reported last week, the federation has made some attempts to try to get the match to Oslo. According to VG, they worked together with an events company and a communications agency, and intended to go with a budget of 40 million Norwegian Krone (4.85 million Euro / 6.76 million dollar). Without any bids so far, the Norwegians might have some extra time to attract commercial sponsorship?

“FIDE is currently examining all possible solutions, including (another) extension of the deadline or direct negotiations with organizers of the contesting duo,” Mr Freeman told The Times of India last week. “It is a situation which has occurred in the past with other World Championship events and were positively resolved.” 

FIDE's optimisim might sound surprising to some, since the World Championship is not the only official event that is lacking sponsors. The FIDE Grand Prix Series is also in serious danger. Whereas the first two Series were held over six events, FIDE was forced to shrink the third Series to only four tournaments. Meanwhile, the first tournament, scheduled for May 2014, has been quietly removed from the FIDE Calendar

Garry Kasparov, the Challenger of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov at the upcoming FIDE Presidential elections, once again used social media to blame his opponent. On Facebook Mr Kasparov wrote:

“A young charismatic world champion in Magnus Carlsen and a popular veteran from India , Anand, looking for revenge, but no bids to host this match at all! What a shame. Chess does not have a "product problem." It has a Kirsan's FIDE problem! Chess is popular at the grassroots level and in education and has a great reputation with politicians and businesses, that is, with potential sponsors. And these sponsors are eager to support chess when approached by professionals. The common denominator of the problem is today's FIDE, which has none of the transparency and long-term planning required to deal with serious commercial sponsorship.”

The published dates for the 2014 World Championship match are 6-25 November. With exactly six months to go, the World Chess Federation is getting into time trouble.

9371 reads 67 comments
11 votes

Comments


  • 3 months ago

    Milad_Avazbeigi

    What a shame!!! This World Championship Match is probably the most exciting one held in the last few years and there is no bids! I agree with Kasparov. This is absolutely failure of FIDE that has failed to attract any sponsor. FIDE people have proved in the last few years that they do not care as much as they should about popularity of chess.

    Besides, what really confuses me is that why it is so difficult to see that Kasparov is the best option for FIDE presidency. He knows both chess and politics very well. Besides, he is a kind of celebrity with a lot of connections out there. He can absolutely change the future of chess. This is becoming more of a personal issue rather than a professional one.  

  • 3 months ago

    D_Ostwald

    I suppose a key question would be: "Did they request bids from anyone?  And if so, who?"

    This is clearly an 'organizational' problem ... seems potential sponsors may not be very excited to work with the current organization?  A shame, really.

  • 3 months ago

    DonOfDubai

    Kasparov is of course right - FIDE just doesn't have the marketing ability. Kasparov is the guy to vote for if FIDE wants corporate funding to flow into the game.

  • 3 months ago

    Marcokim

    Sometimes Journalists make news out of a non-issue... real "news" is hard to come by.

    April 30th is an abitrary deadline creatd by FIDE, but it means nothing in of itself. A 6month pre-contract for a hosting city and sponsors is a bit much for a chess match. Give me a budget of $1,200,000 and I can organize that match in 10weeks - this is not a world cup here. The hosts and sponsors want to make sure there is enough publicity before they commit. Carlsen makes $2,000,000 a year from his sponsors with Microsoft giving more than half of that, so sponsorship won't be a problem.

  • 3 months ago

    fabelhaft

    "This just goes to show you that Carlsen doesn't have the appeal that people think he does. He is no Kasparov. His poor attitude toward the game and other chess players will be his down fall. Go back to 2 or 3 years cycle, and 24 games"

    I don't think this has anything to do with Carlsen not having as much popular appeal as Gelfand, Topalov, Anand and the other title match players of late, or his "poor attitude towards the game" etc. The title match between Kasparov and Shirov fell through because no one wanted to fund it, and that is considerably worse than just a delay. Carlsen played Anand just a few months ago and won very easily, and having to put up so much money immediately after the previous match doesn't make it easier to find sponsors. FIDE had World Championships 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013 and now supposedly also in 2014. That's many World Championships in a few years, and it's not a little money FIDE ask to let an organiser arrange another 10-12 games.

  • 3 months ago

    Phlox

    SirFlintstone, I believe you are referring to the Olympiad bidding in this article: http://www.chess.com/news/fide-extends-deadline-for-olympiad-bidding-south-africa-protesting-6335.

  • 3 months ago

    iplayedgarry

    I love 64 squares pretty girls making the moves idea!

  • 3 months ago

    rTist21

    Can we place a bid to have the match in Anchorage, Alaska? Wink I could put up $25k if people wanted to stage it there.

    All joking aside, if there are no bids by the deadline, then FIDE will know that the problem is with THEM (and it's dubious president) and not with prospective cities.

  • 3 months ago

    bigbikefan

    Ilyumzhinov must go!

    Open word to the FIDE President: Kirsan, it's time to recognize there are professionals out there. You've done what you could, and the chess world appreciates that. There is absolutely no compelling reason to follow the steps of the Russian President to do whatever it takes to stay in power for as long as possible. Be a Man. Step down like a Man. For the good.

  • 3 months ago

    kon_artist

    They can play at my house... as long as they're cool with IOUs.

  • 3 months ago

    Twobit

    "The product is just not marketable enough..." I think it is a tough sell indeed. The top players are simply so far above an ordinary human being, their moves, strategies incomprehensible to 99.99% of the population. There is no compelling narrative: no cold war theme ("Bobby against the Soviets") or "The youngest ever player against the establishment", no emotional involvement and, looking back at the last championship game, no tactical fireworks or dazzling games. It is also too soon ("Did not we just have one of these recently?"). Even UFC struggles to sell rematches, unless the original match was unbelievably exciting. You would need a marketing wizard, a strong sponsor and a compelling theme.

  • 3 months ago

    kamalakanta

    Atomic, when the Gelfand-Anand WC was given to Moscow, FIDE promised Chennai the rights to the next match. That is the reason.

  • 3 months ago

    kamalakanta

    I think India should definitely bid for the match, and also Norway....

    what are they waiting for? I cannot believe that either country has no

    interest in a re-match.

  • 3 months ago

    ai36

    lol 64

  • 3 months ago

    sixtyfoursquares

    Let Carlsen and Anand decide their moves of a Chess Game; but two ATTRACTIVE girls will make the moves and also discuss shopping/fasion/movies etc in the time when the players are thinking!!

    That should get some sponsorship and money and also keep the viewers interest intact over six hour games!!

  • 3 months ago

    joshdenton

    "Kasparov will be hard to handle, with a one man "Hitler"platform: Everyone is required to become a chess player, by the age of six in this world!"

    What?!? 

    I fail to follow the logic and comparison between Kasparov, who wants to market chess to the world, and Hitler, a person responsible, in part, for the murder of over 6 million people. 

    In regards to the topic, chess is having a similar problem that other sports have encountered: how to market to mass appeal. I am most familiar with golf, which started the First Tee initiative when Tiger Woods was making his way up the amateur ranks. They bet it all on Tiger, which worked until a few years ago when the economy tanked and Tiger with his issues. Although not blaming Tiger for the problem, golf didn't rebrand from being a game for everybody, but continues to stick to the stereotypical position: a game for old, wealthy White men. Tiger seemed to be the exception, which helps with marketing the outlier--the one case everybody can latch onto because that person resemebles the world more so than, well, old White men.

    This is true for chess and many other sports. But, that is only a problem if the goal is for a vision in which the popularity of chess is more broad than what is perceived today. 

  • 3 months ago

    FM gauranga

    Yes, a match every 2 years would be much better indeed. Probably only India will bid for this as this is just not a very attractive match.

  • 3 months ago

    herbie53

    This just goes to show you that Carlsen doesn't have the appeal that people think he does. He is no Kasparov. His poor attitude toward the game and other chess players will be his down fall. Go back to 2 or 3 years cycle, and 24 games.

  • 3 months ago

    chessdoggblack

    The "Chess reporter" here: Chess time trouble, should be a quick fix. Extend the bidding to one year, keep the same cycle. Problem solved - maybe. Kasparov's assumed position is,...[I understand chess better than Kirsan]. Will this get him the station of president of FIDE? I don't think so, and it should not. Many people would like to be a president of any country or chess. Not everyone will make it because, they feel that they deserve it outright. Kasparov will be hard to handle, with a one man "Hitler" platform: Everyone is required to become a chess player, by the age of six in this world! Norway is ready to put up their bucks. China seems fair. Paris may step-up again. Anand did his part, and deserves his right to return to the WCC board. However, we must now hope that chess does not slip, into a pit of quicksand for lack of worldwide popularity. Believe it or not: "It's up to Anand to keep the flames of chess ablaze, by beating the world chess champ in: Anand vs Carlsen II." Cool  Peace out! 

  • 3 months ago

    Melchizedek10

    China or any other countries who has never offer one should be a good candidate..sad no one came up yet!

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