London withdraws bid to organize 2012 World Championship

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
London vs FIDE: no love, for the momentChess events organising body Chess Promotions Limited today withdrew their bid to organize the World Chess Championship in 2012. After lengthy negotiations with the World Chess Federation (FIDE), a deadline was set on Saturday 29th January 2011 for a proposal to the organisation. FIDE didn't respond. "The value of the match diminished by the day," said organizer Malcolm Pein.

The chess world learned of the disappointing news from the following press release.

Re: FIDE World Chess Championship London 2012

Chess Promotions Ltd has been in discussions with FIDE since February 2010 regarding the staging of the WCC in London. A € 50,000 deposit was paid to FIDE to secure an option on the WCC 2012 match as negotiations commenced and finance was sought.

Having secured the necessary funds, on July 21st 2010, CPL sent FIDE a formal offer and a detailed commercial contract to stage the next WCC match in London with financial terms similar to the 2010 WCC match at Sofia.

Unfortunately agreement could not be reached in the autumn. Following more discussions in London in January, CPL asked FIDE to accept the offer by Saturday 29th January 2011. No such acceptance was forthcoming. Therefore, with regret, CPL has withdrawn its offer in time for the next Executive Board meeting which starts today in Turkey in order to give the EB clarity and the opportunity to consider alternatives. The timeline to stage a WCC match before the Olympic Games in May 2012 is now too short.

CPL will continue to stage top class events in London. Dates for the 3rd London Chess Classic will be announced shortly. We have registered our interest with FIDE in staging events such as the World Rapid Championship and World Blitz Championship in London and will continue to work on bringing commercial sponsorship to chess in order to benefit our associated charity Chess in Schools and Communities.

Malcolm Pein CEO Chess Promotions Ltd.

We couldn't reach a FIDE representative as the FIDE office in Athens was already closed at the time of writing. We did speak to Malcolm Pein on the phone, who was obviously disappointed. "It was a good offer, but apparently not good enough."

Two years ago negotiations failed between FIDE and UEP. The company that organized the 2008 World Championship Match between Anand and Kramnik successfully, withdrew their bid to organize the Candidates event in 2010 (now 2011, scheduled for May in Kazan, Russia) and the World Championship Match in 2011 (now 2012).

Back then, according to UEP, the reason was "due to different agendas relating to organisational sovereignty and commercial rights”. For one thing, FIDE had been unhappy about the visibility of the FIDE logo during the Anand-Kramnik match.

Malcolm Pein couldn't elaborate much about why the current negotiations also failed. "There's not much to add. Generally there are two ways such negotiations can fail. It's either the money, or something in the contract. I can tell you that we completely agree with FIDE about their logo, and we promised them to fulfil their wishes in that respect."

The reason why Chess Promotions Limited withdrew their bid today is a matter of time trouble. The Summer Olympic Games are scheduled to take place in London from 27 July to 12 August 2012, which leaves the organizers of a Chess World Championship match about 15 months.

"Honestly speaking, to organize an event like this properly, you need at least 18 months," says Pein. "15 months is nothing. We had a beautiful venue in mind, but it was running out in that period. The value of the match diminished by the day: the less time you have, the less well you can do it. It's really sad, because the deal was on the table since July 21st."

Pein, who is an International Master, runs the Chess & Bridge store on Baker Street in London, has an online chess shop and supports the popular website The Week in Chess. In December 2009 he also became a chess organizer.

Then, the first and very successful London Chess Classic was held, which saw its second edition in December last year. Pein never kept it a secret that these tournaments were partly meant as a preparation for the 2012 World Championship: "At the beginning I said: let's first show them that we can do a big tournament."

The withdrawal of the bid by Chess Promotions Ltd. has no consequence for the Classic. Pein adds that he keeps his ambitions: "We're planning a third edition of the tournament. Besides, we're still interested in doing a World Championship. Perhaps in rapid, or blitz, who knows. Maybe eventually we'll do a match anyway."

Update February 4, 14:35: don't miss Malcolm Pein's comment below in which he clarifies the situation a bit more: "I had a note from the man himself [Kirsan Ilyumzhinov - CV] just before the deadline but it wasn’t his signature on the contract, so that was it, offer expired. (...) Judging from the horrified reaction, they were not expecting a withdrawal but some people mean what they say. I gave them a deadline and they didn’t meet it."
Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

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