FIDE accepts bid, Anand-Topalov in Sofia

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
Despite the fact that a formal bank guarantee still hasn't been provided, FIDE today accepted a bid from Sofia, Bulgaria to host the 2010 World Championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Veselin Topalov. The dates have not yet been confirmed but the World Chess Federation suggested starting on April 5th, the birthday of its President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

The World Championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Veselin Topalov is scheduled for April 2010. The match will consist of 12 games and if necessary, 4 tie-break games. Recently we reported about the quite disturbing fact that although the World Chess Federation received three bids (Bulgaria, Turkey and Singapore) to host, organize and finance the match, no bank guarantees were received by the deadline of September 30th. FIDE decided to postpone the deadline to October 15th.

Today the three bids were discussed at the FIDE Executive Board meeting, part of the 80th FIDE Congress which currently takes place in Halkidiki, Greece. As it turns out, the Sofia bid, backed by the Bulgarian government, was accepted. A FIDE official confirmed to us what Chessbase published earlier today:

A guarantee was presented as a letter by the Bulgarian Prime Minister. In the letter to FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov the Prime Minister stated that for technical reasons no formal bank guarantee could be provided, but that the Bulgarian government would guarantee the total costs of three million Euros (two million prize fund, 20% FIDE fees and the rest for organisational costs). The letter further stated that "neutrality would be guaranteed".

The exact dates have not been confirmed yet; FIDE has suggested April 5th to 24th, 2010 to the players since April 5th is the birthday of its President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

The Bulgarians put up a high, and winning stake; they're planning to provide double the amount that was asked for by FIDE. In the bidding procedure published on April 24th, a minimum prize fund of one million Euros (net of any applicable taxes) is mentioned, plus the contribution to FIDE (net of any applicable taxes and not less than 20% of the prize money) and the commitment to cover all the other financial obligations to FIDE and organizational costs.


Anand and Topalov facing each other in Bilbao in 2008

Last month the chances to find sponsors for the new World Championship match looked pretty dim, but fortunately things have lightened up. However, it looks like yet another big chess event won't be financed by corporate sponsorship; this time it's the Bulgarian government that provides the money.

Well, promised to provide. In their bidding procedure FIDE demanded either an 8-month term bank guarantee or a 100,000 Euro deposit before the deadline. Despite plenty experience with organizers withdrawing or failing funds, apparently the word of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov was strong enough for FIDE today. Since everything eventually worked out fine for the Kamsky-Topalov match, we should probably give them the benefit of the doubt.

We tried to reach both players for a first reaction. Viswanathan Anand didn't want to make any clear statements yet:

"I can only say that contractual details are yet to be discussed and an announcement will be made once the contracts are signed It's still too early to comment. As of now only the bidding procedure has finished. So I will refrain from making any statements until the contracts are drawn up and signed. The contractual details are to be kept confidential in normal practice.

We hope that the match will be entertaining and will be a good platform for the promotion of the game. In the end the games should be the highlight and that is what we will strive for."

Unfortunately at the time of writing Veselin Topalov wasn't yet available to comment. We can assume he's not unhappy about today's developments.
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