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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.

9719 reads 67 comments
11 votes

Comments


  • 4 months ago

    drumdaddy

    St. Louis might be good place. Instead of a grand venue for a few dozen in-person spectators, tailor it for the hundreds of thousands of online viewers. On site expertise, analysis and anecdotes are what the chess public crave. Save the pomp and native entertainment for the Olympic Games which always lose money. We don't need a stadium, we just need comfortable playing conditions, prize money, and a reliable livestream. This is not rocket science so it should not cost much.

  • 4 months ago

    Paulzzz

    One World Championship match in two years is a better idea that what it is now. Just as it was in the good old times.

  • 4 months ago

    albatrosses

    The days of spectacular Tal are over because modern super GMs won't lose to positionally unsound attacks or crazy tactics.

  • 4 months ago

    nitotech23

    It's going to be more or less the same result. Anand goes for the obvious draw every fucking game and never risks anything and Carlson risks some games and becomes succesful because he is the far better player. Unless something unexpected happens like Carlson meets Kate Upton and decides to quit Chess forever he is going to win. Chess fans in general will not get anything from this but theory (more theory). God I miss the days of Tal.

  • 4 months ago

    the_aleph

    I vote London! How about having it at Simpsons-on-the-Strand?

  • 4 months ago

    SirFlintstone

    What happened to the two bids that were submitted in the first cycle of bidding ?

  • 4 months ago

    Practicality

    Maybe they could just reduce the ridiculous cost. A lot more venues would be willing to host if it didn't involve coming up with ~2 million euros, a good chunk of which goes to FIDE.

  • 4 months ago

    AtomicJoshh

    FIDE ended up going with Chennai to host the match last year, when Paris had bid a larger budget and a larger prize fund. If I'm a potential host, why bother bidding when FIDE will simply choose the host it wants and not the highest bidder? 

  • 4 months ago

    CP6033

    Leave it to Kasparov to take advantage of a situation like this! well, as Carlsen said, something has to be changed, not sure what though...

  • 4 months ago

    Ranx0r0x

    Two years makes much more sense.  One year for the candidates tournament/match to select the challenger and the next to actually play the match.  Or as others have pointed out a three year cycle which would permit for qualifying tournaments, candidates matches, and then the final.  A bit more drama and build up that way.

  • 4 months ago

    Crazychessplaya

    Chess.com should host it at Erik's home. Every chess.com member should contribute $1.00; that's nine million dollars no less. Think of the publicity!

  • 4 months ago

    Bryan_Urizar

    I agree. China would be perfect.

  • 4 months ago

    iMacChess

    I agree China should bid on it...

  • 4 months ago

    pulpfriction

    China should bid for this event to give a boost to chess as no major event has taken place there in spite of China fast becoming a powerhouse in chess

  • 4 months ago

    Bryan_Urizar

    GargleBlaster: LOL

  • 4 months ago

    albatrosses

    No one is interested in Anand.  Carlsen beat him overwhelmingly last time and another challenger would have sparked more interest.  I guess we all have to wait for a more interesting Carlsen-Aronian, Carlsen-Kramnik, or Carlsen-Caruana match in the future.  In the meantime, let's suffer through this rematch.  A Carlsen victory won't even add to his greatness.  It will just mean the end (delayed for a long time) of the Anand era.

  • 4 months ago

    NM GargleBlaster

    I can hold it at my house if you give me time to vaccum the living room a bit.

  • 4 months ago

    maturner

    Yeah I agree with going back to a 3 year cycle because its more traditional and defending every year sort of waters down the specialness of the title.

  • 4 months ago

    yogiOK

    Yeah, once each year is too often for the WC matches, with 2-3 year cycles being better.

  • 4 months ago

    e2-e4_1-0

    I agree with Pastuszek, I think the reason there haven't been any bids is because people aren't that interested in this match.  A rematch is only exciting when the first match was close, but it wasn't.  If Kramnik or Aronian had won the Candidates I think we'd see a bid by now.

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