Anand reaches Sofia after 40-hour road journey

Anand reaches Sofia after 40-hour road journey

Apr 20, 2010, 11:18 AM |

 My Photo of Sky.


Anand reaches Sofia after 40-hour road journey

Viswanathan Anand
NEW DELHI: World champion Viswanathan Anand on Tuesday reached Sofia after a strenuous 40-hour road journey from Germany as flights were cancelled due to the volcanic ash floating across European airspace. 

The 40-year old world champion had requested to postpone the game by three days. But Anand's appeal to postpone his World chess championship match against Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria was rejected by the organising committee. 

Anand is not used to travelling such distances on road and not giving a three day postponement could give challenger Topalov a significant advantage. 

Anand had planned to reach the venue on April 16 which is one week before the first game on April 23. Now he arrived four days behind due to factors beyond his control. 

Anand might miss the press conference but will attend the opening ceremony according to his wife Aruna Anand. Not rescheduling the games will mean Topalov could have the same advantage which Anatoly Karpov enjoyed in the World Title match at Lausanne in 1998. 

"The news from us is that we reached here safely," said Aruna Anand on the phone. 

Had Alexander Alekhine been in Anand's place, he would have sought a postponement of at least a week as world champions ruled and challengers were at the mercy of champions. 

Sometimes a handicap is a better way to start a match and Anand can turn the disadvantage into a driving force in the 12-game series. 

Earlier, the organising committee had received an e-mailed request for a three day postponement from Anand and also a word from FIDE about the situation. 

However, the committee said they can postpone the press conference but cannot postpone the opening ceremony scheduled on April 21 at 6 pm as invitations to all official guests, sponsors, politicians, TV stations and the media was already sent and also many commercial contracts have been signed and there would be serious penalties if any changes is made. 

The championship is to be formally inaugurated on April 21 with the first of the 14 games to begin on April 23.