And the 2012 World Title Match goes to... MOSCOW (yes, the UPDATE)

PeterDoggers
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And the 2012 World Title match goes to...Several chess media published a FIDE press release earlier today with the news that the 2012 World Championship Match between Vishy Anand and Boris Gelfand has been awarded to Moscow. We were about to go live as well, when we received an intriguing follow-up email: "FIDE will issue a new Press Release in the next few hours. Please refrain from publishing the Press release sent earlier this afternoon as there will be further announcements to be made." UPDATE: Moscow it is.

At the end of June we brought the news that the Russian Chess Federation had placed a bid to organize the 2012 World Championship Match between Vishy Anand and Boris Gelfand in Moscow. The sponsor was Andrei Filatov, a self-made billionaire with a net worth of 1.1 billion dollars (according to Forbes). The Ukrainian-born Moscow-based businessman is co-owner of a transport infrastructure company, but is said to be a genuine chess fan. He was willing to spend around US $3.5 million, which includes a $2 million prize fund (after taxes).

Two weeks later it became clear that India had placed a bid too, as was reported on the FIDE website. The bid was announced on July 12th by the FIDE President and the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu State Mme J. Jayalalithaa. Chennai was planning to spend 200 million rupees (approximately $4.5 million). Based on a press release in Tamil, Chessbase wrote that the Tamil Nadu Government "has placed a winning bid" which "is likely to go through on July 31, 2011". This was the closing date for bids for the 2012 World Championship Match, so there were still eighteen days to go. In our report back then we wrote: A bid from Israel might pop up, an improved bid from Moscow, who knows!?

Today at 11:44 CET we received the following press release from FIDE:

Monday, August 08, 2011

PRESS RELEASE

The Federation Internationale des Echecs is pleased to announce that following the evaluation of the bids for the World Chess Championship Match 2012 and the recommendations by the World Championship and Olympiad Commission, it has awarded the organization of the match to the Russian Chess Federation.

The match will be held in May 2012 in Moscow, Russia and offers the World Champion Vishwanthanan Anand from India, and the Challenger Boris Gelfand from Israel, a prize fund of 2,550,000 US dollars.

FIDE thanked the Russian Chess Federation for its winning bid and will work together with the RCF to ensure that the match is organized under the best conditions for both players. The FIDE President, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov expressed his gratitude also to the All India Chess Federation who worked very hard to put in a very competitive bid with the support of the Government of Tamil Nadu.

In view of the commitment shown by the AICF and the appreciation of FIDE towards the development of chess in India, the AICF would be given a first option of three months following the match in Moscow, to make a proposal for the organization of the World Chess Championship Match 2013.

FIDE is further pleased to announce that the Women’s World Chess Championship Match between Women World Champion Hou Yifan from China and the Challenger Humpy Koneru from India, will be held in Tirana, Albania in November 2011 for a prize fund of 200,000 euros.


This press release was published by several chess media, including Chessbase, TWIC and Chessdom, and on the FIDE website. We were about to go live as well, when at 15:14 CET we received another email from the FIDE Secretariat:

"FIDE will issue a new Press Release in the next few hours. Please refrain from publishing the Press release sent earlier this afternoon as there will be further announcements to be made."


We then noticed that the press release was removed from the FIDE website, and also from the Chessbase homepage (Update 23:40 CET: now back up.) We discussed the matter with TWIC's Mark Crowther, who decided to leave it online. We agree with him that it's way too late now to remove it. The Chessdom site is still showing the news as well, so by now many chess fans will have seen it anyway.

All in all, intriguing stuff. We can't wait for the new press release and when it's there, we'll post it here. Keep an eye on our regular 'UPDATE' in capitals in the headline...




Update August 9, 13:18 CET by Colin McGourty:

Despite yesterday's confusion over a subsequently "unreleased" press release from FIDE, Moscow has been confirmed as the venue for the 2012 World Championship match between Vishwanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand. Tirana, Albania, has also been confirmed as the venue for the Hou Yifan-Humpy Koneru match later this year. 

FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov made the announcements in a press conference today, after previously also informing Sport Express journalist Yury Vasiliev. The men's World Championship match will take place in the Skolkovo Technology Centre ("Russia's Silicon Valley") near Moscow. The prize fund is $2.55 million.

Ilyumzhinov told Vasiliev:



We contacted Anand's wife and manager Aruna by telephone and informed her that the prize fund for the Moscow bid was almost 400,000 dollars more than the one guaranteed by Chennai. She gave her agreement in Anand's name for the match to take place in Moscow. We also received the same agreement from the challenger, Boris Gelfand.

The futuristic landscape where the match is going to be played

The futuristic landscape where the match is going to be played



Update August 9, 13:45 CET:

The new press release is now up on the FIDE website, which looks strikingly similar to the first. The extras are in italics, by us:

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

PRESS RELEASE

The Federation Internationale des Echecs is pleased to announce that following the evaluation of the bids for the World Chess Championship Match 2012 and the recommendations by the World Championship and Olympiad Commission, it has awarded the organization of the match to the Russian Chess Federation.

The match will be held in May 2012 in Skolkovo, Moscow, Russia and offers the World Champion Vishwanthanan Anand from India, and the Challenger Boris Gelfand from Israel, a prize fund of 2,550,000 US dollars.

FIDE thanked the Russian Chess Federation for its winning bid and will work together with the RCF to ensure that the match is organized under the best conditions for both players.

FIDE President showed his appreciation for the significant commitment that the Russian leadership was also making to introduce a national chess in schools program at regional and Federal levels, with substantial investment to be made in this key development area.

The FIDE President, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov expressed his gratitude also to the All India Chess Federation who worked very hard to put in a very competitive bid with the support of the Government of Tamil Nadu.

In view of the commitment shown by the AICF and the appreciation of FIDE towards the development of chess in India, the AICF would be given a first option of three months following the match in Moscow, to make a proposal for the organization of the World Chess Championship Match 2013.

FIDE is further pleased to announce that the Women’s World Chess Championship Match between Women World Champion Hou Yifan from China and the Challenger Humpy Koneru from India, will be held in Tirana, Albania in November 2011 for a prize fund of 200,000 euros.
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