Is Magnus Carlsen's World Title at Risk? | Update: Anand Has Signed the Contract

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 8/27/14, 10:04 AM.

The players' contracts for the world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand need to be signed within a week, but Carlsen wants to postpone his decision until after the Sinquefield Cup, which starts today.

“The deadline is 31 August 2014. A signature on September 1st or 2nd is tolerable, but we cannot wait longer,” FIDE spokesman Israel Gelfer told

[Update: at the bottom of this article, comments from the Anand team have been added.]

At a press conference last week, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov said that FIDE had denied a request from Carlsen to postpone his world championship match with Anand. Carlsen's manager, Espen Agdestein confirmed to that a letter was sent to FIDE asking for a postponement.

A few days later Agdestein made another request to FIDE: he asked if Carlsen could postpone the decision to sign the contract or not until after the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis. 

“We think it's silly to force such a decision, because there have been so many uncertainties around Sochi and the match,” Agdestein told NRK.

However, FIDE is unlikely to accept that.

“The players' contracts for Anand and Carlsen have a deadline of 31 August 2014, because FIDE is also under a contract with the sponsor,” FIDE Vice President Israel Gelfer told “The company has the obligation to send a first transfer to FIDE by September 1st. It's logical that they want to have the signatures of the players first.” 

Gelfer couldn't share any more information about this company: “All I know is that AGON helped finding the company. They were involved.”

Israel Gelfer

AGON is a company that 2.5 years ago obtained the rights for events in the world championship cycle. At the moment, it is unclear who owns the company; a statement from AGON/FIDE about the situation was supposed to be made at the end of last week.

Another uncertainty about Sochi seems related to AGON: two months ago Ilyumhinov stated that an agreement was made with the governor of the Krasnodar Region, Alexander Tkachev, who is now on the EU blacklist.

Gelfer: “I don't know this name. The sponsor is a company.”

Gelfer doesn't think Sochi is a problematic location. “If it was on the border of Ukraine/Russia I could understand it's not a proper place right now, but Sochi is out of it," said Gelfer.  "Russia is not a problem. We don't want to make this political.”

Anand and Carlsen at the 2013 world championship match in Chennai, India (via

Yesterday, GM Emil Sutovsky, the president of the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP), published an open letter in which he expresses his conceirn about the Anand-Carlsen match:

Unfortunately, I have to admit, that even being a member of the Commission for World Championships and Olympiads of FIDE (hereinafter referred as WCOC), yours truly is not updated with the real situation, and greatly concerned about the lack of transparency and the possible consequences," wrote Sutovsky.

The match between Carlsen and Anand is scheduled for November 7-28 of this year. Whereas top events were often moved or cancelled in the past, this time FIDE is holding firm to the dates. 

“FIDE was criticized many times for changing dates, venues, et cetera and not keeping its cycle,” said Gelfer. “Magnus's team was also criticizing this, and in fact in 2010 he withdrew from the cycle because of this. FIDE is now trying to have a very stable calendar.”

If Carlsen won't play, he will lose his FIDE world title as Sergey Karjakin of Russia will play Anand instead. Something similar happened in 1993, when Garry Kasparov and Nigel Short played the world championship outside FIDE.

Update August 28, 08:30 CET: received answers from Aruna Anand, the wife & manager of Viswanathan Anand:

Have you signed the match contract already?

“Yes, we have signed the contract and sent it to FIDE as per the regulations stipulated in the contract.”

How do you feel about playing in Sochi? Do you share Carlsen team's worries about the many uncertainties?

“Like we have said before, a world championship match in Russia always has a special place. In 2012 the RCF treated Anand with the respect befitting his status. We should place on record our gratitude to the Government of Sochi for sponsoring the match. The RCF under the Presidentship of Mr. Filatov and his team which comprise of the captains of Russian industry and government will ensure the smooth functioning of the championship.

We would certainly look forward to the match and I am sure the organisers will ensure that the the conditions of the match are commensurate with the prestige of the title that is being contested. The logistics and venue are being worked out and we hope that as per the contract we will have a clear picture by the time of the team inspection.”

39227 reads 168 comments
15 votes


  • 2 years ago


    @lajf You talk about "huge interest in chess worldwide", but if it's so simple, why didn't Kasparov and Short succeed when they tried? You know, if one is obsessed with competing with others sports in terms of money and so on, I don't know if chess is the right arena, because it just happens that chess doesn't generate the same audience as for example football.

    And anyway, history teaches us that one shouldn't mix chess and politics, so Kasparov is certainly no alternative as president. However, I can easily imagine a candidate other than Kasparov that I would prefer as president (and I'm not talking about Carlsen). However, apparently there isn't yet enough dissatisfaction with the current president for such a candidate to present herself/himself, and it should be a candidate without ties to Kasparov who isn't detested by Russia (it seems to me Karpov would have been even better without ties to Kasparov - and even with ties to Kasparov, Karpov did better than Kasparov did this year).

    But hey, this is about Carlsen playing against Anand or not, nothing else. Obviously, nothing prevents Carlsen from saying that he finds it disappointing for chess that the prize money is less than last time and so on or that he hopes that it will be Europe or the US next time, but he shouldn't take this match as hostage, that's disrespectful towards Anand and the chess world.

  • 2 years ago


    @lajf OK, could you come with a recent example where FIDE has put politics before sport "when it comes to organizing scheduled events and to see that they run smoothly"?

  • 2 years ago


    Aspergr is right. People are blaming FIDE when its Carlsen who doesnt want to defend his title. If he keeps refusing Carlsen will lose his title and most serious chess players will consider the winner of Anand Karjakin the legitimate world champion, in spite of teletwisters wishes

  • 2 years ago


    @aspergr: ever wondered why it is so difficult to find venues, sponsors, etc under the current FIDE leadership? Given the huge interest in chess worldwide, don't you ever think it could be quite different provided decision making were transparent and fair, and not as secretive and murky as it is now?

    FIDE putting sport before politics? Now that's the funniest comment I've read in the whole thread...

  • 2 years ago


    An Anand-Karjakin match would not be the result of FIDE corruption, but of team Carlsen's behaviour and disrespect towards Anand and the chess world.

    One might question whether it's a coincidence that this match takes place in Russia this time (but it obviously was difficult to find venues), but there's no doubt that today's FIDE puts sport before politics when it comes to organizing scheduled events and to see that they run smoothly.

  • 2 years ago


    fide will be the only one who believes the winner of a Karjaken - Anand match is the world champion. the corruption in fide is worse than professional boxing.

  • 2 years ago


    @inginerul So according to you, what was supposed to be a match for the crown is being used as a kind of prolonged FIDE battle? Anand and Carlsen had the exact same conditions before team Carlsen began this mess that Anand doesn't deserve. Sure, everything's not perfect about FIDE, and certainly the campaign was kind of fishy on both sides, maybe especially Kasparov's campaign (he has a way of blowing things out of all proportion, which certainly helped Ilyumzhinov a lot), and I certainly hope that someone who doesn't mix chess and politics will present herself/himself against Ilyumzhinov next time (and not Kasparov yet another time), but hey, team Carlsen shouldn't mix chess life and chess politics like this.

    @vaiuuii Well, you know, what on earth has this to do about a chess match? Maybe NATO/USA isn't lying this time, maybe Russia is actually going to do something powerful to help these poor people in "Eastern Ukraine", but so what? Soviet invaded Norway and chased away the nazis before retreating, I don't see any Norwegians complaining about that. As I see it, the best would be if Russia actually invaded Eastern Ukraine and then retreated after having stopped the aggression, so that Ukraine could be cut into two separate states (but, alas, I doubt it). You may have another opinion, but I hardly see why us disagreeing in this matter should prevent this match from being played. After all, there are all kinds divergent opinions in this world, and certainly one has no right to arrange sports events in for example the US or any other NATO country if Russia is considered "too immoral a country" and so on.

    I think we need to separate politics and sports here, sport should be something that gives people hope, not something that divides them. Let's not mix these arenas more than necessary, some people might think that it's a way to promote chess, but they're wrong (just see what happened to chess after the cold war).

  • 2 years ago


    Apples and oranges are compared in this discussion. FIDE delayed the announcement of the Grand Prix Series because they apparently had problems finding organizers/sponsors. Blame FIDE as usual, or look a bit further: Private events are inherently more attractive to sponsors (full control over the field), yet this year some private supertournaments wre also downscaled (Wijk aan Zee, Bilbao) or might not happpen at all (Tal Memorial, Bucharest).

    Russia delayed giving the names of their female Olympiad players - they had registered "a team" at an earlier stage - because Ukraine delayed Lagno's federation change as much as possible, compared to the rather smooth transfers of Anna Muzychuk and Nisipeanu. The attempt of the Norwegian organizers to exclude the Russian women team certainly had political reasons, maybe it even was an intended advanced justification for what Carlsen is doing now. Not sure what Carlsen really wants to achieve: If he doesn't want to play in Russia, that's understandable - but the legitimate reasons won't change between now and 7 September, or even (they first asked for a postponement) between now and spring 2015. And there's nothing Sochi can do about it, other than (weird idea) declare its independence from Russia.

    BTW (somewhat related): What's going on at the upcoming European Club Cup? In the Women section, Cercle d' Echecs de Monte Carlo first had Hou Yifan, Anna Muzychuk and Kateryna Lagno (!!?). Now their club name is the only one that isn't clickable, and the club homepage seems to be down.

  • 2 years ago



    "...if all common sense arguments dont matter in your opinion..."

    You are talking about common sense arguments? Ready to bomb the country based on rumours and you are talking about "the common sense arguments"...

    Comparing world peace during The Roman Empire, Nabucodonosor and in the 21st century - and then asking for the common sense argument?

    Perhaps, you should make an understanding with yourself fisrt and then ask for a common sense discussion.

  • 2 years ago


    @ a darkhorse a match with Karjaken would enhance Anand's bank account but not his reputation, especially if he either case, he could then be known as The Paper Tiger.

  • 2 years ago


    Vaiuuii what's that? You promised no more posts man, control yourself. Still no proof on Tkachev, eh?

  • 2 years ago


    Pathetic man, according to you the Grand Prix from which Topalov and Mamedyarov qualified is a women's event? :)))) Do you use your brain or do you ever read what other people write or you just start accusing others and throwing insults without thinking and reading? You think that makes you smart?

    THE MALE GRAND PRIX SHOULD HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED TILL THE BEGINNING OF 2014 AND IT WAS ANNOUNCED IN AUGUST 2014. CAN YOU READ OR NOT? IS THIS A FEMALE EVENT FOR YOU? Do I need to write in caps just because you cant read? I wrote that in the last post and you start talking about the women's championship. LEARN TO READ!!! How pathetic can you get?

    Do you ever use your brain or you are just here to attack others?

    I wrote 3 praghraphs of arguments and you just write" ah, those dont matter to me" as you dont have any counterarguments and then start personal attacks. If for you this is common sense, then I am very sorry for you!

    Pathetic human being!

    PS: You only team on this site is Team Soviet Union. Congratulations for your political points of view. That speaks for itself. QED

  • 2 years ago


    What a sad little attempt to wiggle out. Prolly your real reason for no more posts is that there is no evidence for Tkachev being involved that way in the Crimea. Not even on chess4.

    And yes, I don' t see how the wch should disregard deadlines -without proper reasons-just because FIDE didn't exactly follow their own rules in a women event.

  • 2 years ago


    Totally different event? But it's the same person having completely the opposite attitude in totally different events!!! That is the problem! Or you fail to see that, too??? If you want an objective discussion fine, if all common sense arguments dont matter in your opinion just cause you dont have any arguments in those cases, then why on earth are you posting on this site??? In 4-5 other cases FIDE doesnt care about organizing and about deadlines and in one they do. But that is not an arugment according to you. That is pathetic!

    As for who owns Agon, no, it is NOT answered! all Agon has is an office in Moscow although it was created by Andrew Pawlson who is anything but Russian (and who wanted to vote for Kirsan in spite of the British Chess Federations decision to vote for Kasparov!)and who now doesnt want anything to do with Agon. But then again, maybe you know something which the entire chess world doesnt!!!

    This is my last reply here, you can find about the Krasnodar governor on chess24. Any argumented discussion with people like you is a waste of time as all the arguments which you cant find a counterargument to dont matter in your opinion. Pathetic attitude.

  • 2 years ago


    Vaiuuii. i have been trying to verify that story of Tkachev being self proclaimed leader of Ukrainian territory but I have not been able to find any (reliable) sources on this. Please share if possible.


    As for Putin and Kirsan being close, that's not relevant in my opinion. Nor are comparisons with the Olympiad, GP, and women events, comparisons which don't hold imo anyway. Why should those problems matter for a totally different event?

    What I'd like to know is what is wrong with the venue, prize money or whatever Carlsens reasons are for not playing. So far he really hasn't made any concrete statements about the content of his "questions around Sochi and the match". And if it is just about who owns AGON, the question is answered already.

    Sochi was known for quite some time yet Agdestein makes his statements just weeks before the deadline. What is it that he wants to get cleared up in order to make a decision?

  • 2 years ago


    It does matter when the sponsor/organizer (i.e. the governor of the region Sochi is in, Krasnodar I think is the region) for the match is self proclaimed leader of the autonomous Donetsk region, which happens to be in another state right now (Ukraine)! And it does matter when Kirsan and Putin are apparently very close and Kirsan uses double standards for the Russian Olympic Team (almost 2 weeks late with their registration for the Olympiad and Kirsan threatened to move the Olympiad to Soci if the Norwegian organizers would not let them participate despite missing the deadline), for the Grand Prix series (which FIDEs rules state that should have been announced until the beginning of 2014 and they were announced in late august of 2014 - ONLY 8 months late -) with the players given 1 week (!!!!!!) to sign the contracts, with venues like Teheran for the next WCh cycle, with the women's world championship 1 month away and WITHOUT A HOST CITY and so on. The double standards are more than obvious and the bias is extreme.

    A loss by phone or anything that happens during a match, yes, it is logical to lead to rating points loss, because tha match had already started and one player broke the rules... a loss by not showing up is a bit more bizarre as the game didnt actually start...

  • 2 years ago


    Vaiuuii, according to my tournament experience a loss by late appearance (or phone, e.g.) is also used for rating calculations. 

    Still I don't get why Carlsen doesn't play. Maybe it is about the decreased prize money after all. I don't buy the political reasons argument that is brought up by most people here: Carlsen didn't mind playing in Libya under Khadaffi, in Russia during the Georgian war, in the Azerii Gashimov memorial, and Islamic State/civil war sponsoring states like the Emirates. I bet he will play the Tal memorial in Moscow as well. A Western location would be preferable to him but so far only Russia is willing to pay for the match. And why should Russian chess be boycotted because of the Europe-Ukraine-Russian conflict? It doesn't make sense.

  • 2 years ago


    He cant do that as he'll lose something like 60-70 rating points and wont even be ranked 1st in the world... lol

    PS: On the other hand, I do not know if you lose rating points after you forfeit a game for let's say not being at the board when the game starts (zero tolerance rule). Does anyone know?

  • 2 years ago


    Carlsen should do this:

    1) Sign the contract.

    2) Meet Anand in Sochi.

    3) Loose every game by purpose.

    4) Give his part of the prizemoney to e.g. Amnesty International.

    5) Go home, and wait for the next WC-cycle somewhere else.

  • 2 years ago


    Ok, I'll (have to) admit on your earlier critique tho it seems to be mostly about the knockout format which is no longer in place. My mistake. Butl I still think the wch title and tradition should remain, even if Carlsen refuses to play.

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