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London No Longer Calling

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As documented at TWIC here, the London bid for the 2010 World Championship match has been withdrawn after FIDE exceeded the negotiating deadline. This is a shame, if not a huge surprise. London seemed ideal to become part of the run-up to the 2012 Olympic Games that begin in May. But generally speaking, the more open and professional the organizer, the less Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and his cronies would want anything to do with them. Only an organization with little to promote would attempt to host such a match with less than a year of lead time. Large companies, the HPs and Oracles the chess world dreams of, have marketing budgets and branding campaigns measured in years, even decades, not months.

Never say never, of course. London might yet come back into the picture. Ilyumzhinov's squad usually eventually realizes some loot is better than none. But the loot that comes first isn't the money going to the players. Nor is it a priority to put put the match somewhere it will gain attention or in the hands of sponsors eager to promote it. You know, things good for chess both in the abstract and in concrete ways that build interest in future sponsorship of the sport. Meanwhile, we're supposed to feel lucky that so much of FIDE's current "sponsorship" is based on vanity at best and corruption at worst.

To shift topics, there is no doubt that Carlsen dropping out of the cycle was a serious blow to the FIDE Ch process. Until somebody else comes along, he's the golden boy and potentially the golden goose. He also comes from a small, proud, and affluent nation that has already gotten quite a chess buzz from their young star. Tromsø got the 2014 Olympiad and interest will be high. I'm sure they hoped they'd have a world champion on board one. That day may still come, but as long as FIDE is Ilyumzhinov's personal playground and piggy-bank, don't hold your breath.


The TWIC announcement doesn't give the impression that there is further room for discussion with the London organizers.

Superior heading Mig!!

No, it doesn't, but FIDE is known to change their mind a time or three.

I think this is Carlsen's fault. Now we can see how irresponsible his decision was. He has truly hurt the chess world.

How can FIDE rejecting (or not bothering to accept) a good offer to host the event be blamed on Carlsen!? The only way you could possibly argue that would be if no-one wanted the event.

it's a damn shame that Karpov could not replace Ilyumzhinov as head of Fide. Sickening in fact.

There were a few on this board that made disturbing arguments against replacing Ilyumzhinov though. Their basis premise being, Ilyumzhinov is bad, but Kasparov would be worse. Completely insane arguments, much like the insanity that leads Fide now.

In the end, one country one vote killed Karpov's chances I think. All these no-name no-players federations were easily paid off or threatened into giving Ilyumzhinov the votes he needed.

Now, there's nothing left to be done about it, unless by some miracle a new Federation could be formed. It's unlikely Ilyumzhinov will ever step down or be voted out. Recent legislation for term limits were quickly squashed by the Ilyumzhinov autocracy.

Kiss major corporate sponsorship goodbye in our lifetimes, because of one corrupt, insane individual and the corrupted system that lets him remain in charge.

Chess Promotions Ltd. has set the standard for world class organization with their London Chess Classic. Their public outreach during that event was outstanding. The Championship predictably gets more attention from the general public (as opposed to devoted chess fans) than any other event (although it likely garners far less attention than it used to, thanks to FIDE’s apparent efforts to diminish the title). It would do chess a lot of good if all those folks got to see an event with CPL’s characteristically classy and accessible style. Indeed, it would no doubt give the impression that FIDE, which can use all the PR help it can get, is not totally dysfunctional. But alas, FIDE seems to prefer Outer Siberia for its flagship events. One of these days, if only by accident, FIDE will do one single thing properly. That will be a banner day.

London chess classic with live video commentary and after-game analysis with the players made it the best tournament coverage I have witnessed, and I do follow all major tournaments for years now. They set a new standard.

A major FAIL by FIDE.

Kirsan is a thug and FIDE are a corrupt organization, there is no doubt about that, but London knew this when they sought to hold the match.

Let's just say that I'm not entirely convinced by their sudden change of heart. Because the fact is that since Carlsen's withdrawal potential broader interest in the Championship has withered. Even among chess fans.

So the appeal to hold the match has considerably decreased, and London got here a convenient excuse from the ever-unreliable FIDE to withdraw.

Yea, Mig, I've got to second the kudos for the nice hed. Rock on.

"So the appeal to hold the match has considerably decreased, and London got here a convenient excuse from the ever-unreliable FIDE to withdraw."

1) Carlsen withdrawing doesn't really make a huge difference to the final match. Personally I'd have made him the slight favourite in the Candidates, but as Frogbert and others have pointed out his chances of winning would have been no higher than 20%. Only someone slightly insane would have based a bid and match on his involvement in it.

2) If FIDE gave the London bid first refusal back in February 2010, and a concrete offer's been on the table since July, then I don't see how a January deadline can be unreasonable. If they just wanted to get out of holding the match then they'd simply have withdrawn. These are serious people willing to invest serious money. I doubt they'd gamble on FIDE accepting their offer.

Though to slightly contradict my opinion - or at least give another point of view. This is Ilya Levitov, the man in charge of the Russian Chess Federation (well, apart from Dvorkovich), and now also a FIDE VP: http://twitter.com/ILevitov/statuses/33475282262302720

"London acted strangely. It seems they've lost interest in the match. They could simply have said that, but instead they presented FIDE with impracticable conditions".

Such indisputable common sense as your remark ought to speak for itself. But apparnetly is some quarters common sense does not prevail. This has nothing to do with Magnus. It is interesting to see, however, that some people apparently think that, if Magnus did participate in the Candidates round, there would be zero riSk that he would not emerge as the challenger.

Clearly it has something to do with Carlsen. How much is the question? I think it could have been a major factor in their decision. Which is of course complete speculation, but to say it had nothing to do with Carlsen is ludicruous. The scale is naturally smaller, but it's bit like Tiger Woods saying in 2000 he won't participate on some planned golf tour, and the tour immediately loses some prestige and appeal to potential sponsors.

London plainly isn't hosting the candidates matches under any circumstances and that is not an issue. If London wants to host the Chess World Championship and commit millions of pounds to do so at this time, then they have no guaranty of Magnus being the challenger even if he participated in the candidates rounds. If Magnus did so but Grishuk, for example, becomes the challenger, I fail to see how Magnus's prior participation in the knock-out rounds makes the hosting the Anand-Grishuk match more valuable to the sponsors. Your argument only make sense if you were sure that, had Magnus's chosen to participate in the candidates rounds, he would be all but certain to prevail and emerge as the challenger to Anand. That is quite an enormous compliment to Magnus and his abilities. Nice to see that you are such a huge fan.

It doesn't matter what I thought about Carlsen's chances. It mattered what the London organizers thought. D'oh.

How does it matter so much if the Championships were help in London / Elista / God forsaken Sofia.
As far as I see it, its Londons loss!

The sad fact is that chess administration would not have been in the dumps as many of you would like to project, if the West actually showed some eagerness to spill some money - look around at where the supertourneys are.

I'm sitting here in NY, apparently half the Worlds Commerce gets defined/decided here. Cant remember a major chess event since anand-kasparov. Even China puts more money into the game that the US.

Im not pointing fingers only at the US. Anand's home country apparently has dozens of billionaires. He is the WC, cant he do anything to raise funds?

At the end of the day it is illum... 's money that drives many activities of FIDE. The 'fact' that he paid feds to get re-elected, well, my, his financial might .. ahem.

Shame on us - no?

I hope the World Chess Championship Anand vs. Nakamura (after his Tata performance there can be no doubt that he is the only - I repeat o n l y - worthy challenger) will be staged in Khanty-Mansiysk, preferably in Kirsans living room.

If that is not possible, why not a "rumble in the jungle" or a "thrilla in manila" as part of the payback for the vast support Kirsan got from meaningless chess countries.

I can see the kids running through the dirt, yelling "Anand, bumaye".

And if Kirsan already payed all his "expenses", then how about Oslo, showing this Norwegian enfant terrible Carlsen that he is not bigger than chess.

And if all that does not work out, just skip the match and begin with the next cycle, arguing that the last one was too long and expired.

London plainly stated its reasons were otherwise. It is only you who suggested that London made its decision because of Carlsen's withdrawal. It makes little difference if (a) you are saying that you think Magnus would have certainly win the candidates cycle or (b) you are saying that you conclude that London would reasonably believe that Magnus would certainly win the cycle. The thought is only attributable to you and it is quite a complement to Magnus. I am sure he is humbled by your fawning admiration of his abilities.

>> At the end of the day it is illum... 's money that drives many activities of FIDE. The 'fact' that he paid feds to get re-elected, well, my, his financial might .. ahem.

At the end of the day, there's no evidence Ilyumzhinov contributes any money to chess.

At the end of the day, some companies are concerned that Ilyumzhinov face might appear next to their chess investment. So, rather than have that pr nightmare, no investment is made.

You make no sense. Whether Carlsen's withdrawal affected London's withdrawal we do not know, but it is clearly a possibility. And if it were so, then naturally it is something they would not disclose.

No one can deny that Carlsen has got chess some renewed positive exposure in the past years (at least till his withdrawal), and his absence is a commercial loss.

It's like you want to defend the indefendable just because it's Carlsen?

You kicked off this discussion with the remark that "this is Carlsen's fault" and you concluded with "whether Carlsen's withdrawal affected London's withdrawal we do not know."

My work here is done.

Naturally we don't know all the details, but it takes *some* details at least, to start blaming things like Carlsen's withdrawal for London's disinterest. Of course it *could* be that. It could *also* be that they heard a message from the stars that told them the high overlord disapproved. You make a theory to explain evidence. Without evidence, you don't need a theory.

As I see it, it's possible that we as chess fans have gotten so used to our sport being treated as a cheap fairground attraction where you throw up a tent and have a "world championship," that it seems suspicious to us when someone serious wants to get some guarantees on paper, and plan ahead.

Certainly FIDE has not, in recent years, been in the habit of standing by ANYthing they didn't put in writing. And even then you have to watch them like hawks.

It's that darn Carlsen - again. Has his evil powers no limits? Who can the world turn to in this time of trickery and deceit?

Chess is bad business, plain and simple. I was a chessplayer but it has very little commercial appeal. To blaim it on anyone is just silly. Btw - congrats to Naka for stepping it up. Those comparing the US Championship when Fischer was winning it to now however are totally wrong, imho. The US Championship back then had Top Notch Talent.

Wile Mig not posting enough is sad enough, his bias and lack of objectivity of late is sadder still.

Magnus backing out when the WCC was the clearest and fairest is stupid and arrogant. I hope he keeps going down in world ranking and then realize his folly.

I agree with George. Regardless of who was FIDE head, the west won't invest in chess. Regarding the major corporates losing interest, Garry is the biggest culprit. Remember how he treated IBM and Intel?


>I agree with George. Regardless of who was FIDE head, the west won't invest in chess.

Intel invested substantial dollars in the PCA in the mid '90s. So, it's been before.

The notion that the 'west' won't invest in chess has been around a long time. It's kind of a misnomer though. A more accurate statement is 'Western governments won't invest in chess', and that I can agree with. They won't invest in Basketball, Football, Tennis, Skateboarding, and Air Hockey either.

I believe one of the main reasons chess won't get significant corporate support is because the head of Fide, Ilyumzhinov, is widely publicized as a thug.

Check out the Fide website: http://www.fide.com/

Notice anything odd about it? Over half the main news stories, that stand out, are about Ilyumzhinov. It's been this way since I can remember. What is with that? It looks like blatant propaganda too me.

Check out the USCF chess site in comparison http://www.uschess.org/index.php

Anyway, I doubt we'll ever know if the international body of chess (FIDE) can get significant support from the 'west'. The dominance of Eastern block nations at the highest levels of the game has not helped to encourage western investment either.

"if the West actually showed some eagerness to spill some money - look around at where the supertourneys are"
If "the West" is the USA (only), you have a point. Else, there is London, Wijk aan Zee, Dortmund, Bilbao, Linares, Biel, Mainz (as a rapid event) - did I forget something?

As far as WCh matches go, Anand-Kramnik was in Bonn, and UEP was also interested in organizing both candidates event and WCh match this time - but negotiations with FIDE failed. As far as I can tell, the London bid was also serious - but negotiations with FIDE failed.
So it's not lack of western European interest in chess and spilling money on it (private events continue, even if some suffer from the financial crisis), but lack of FIDE interest in accepting such offers.

Damn that Carlsen. He is the cause of all things wrong, destroying FIDE and the WC cycle. You can probably blame him for the global warming too.

No, that's Shirov's fault. If you think about it you will see why.

What did kasparov do to intel?

Is it cause of Fire on Board? hehe

No. That's wrong.
Carlen's candidature, even assuming he had no better than a 20% chance of making it to the final match, could still make a big difference to the organizers.

His participation gives the event added fan/media interest. That's indisputable. Like Jordan coming back to play for the Grizzles - it doesn't matter if people actually think he is likely to win.

Additional media interest potentially translates to additional dollars from sponsors, whoas Mig pointed out would have been signing contracts well in advance of the match being played and Carlsen in any danger of being eliminated.

This last comment is so absolutely devoid of all logic it is not even worth parsing its flaws.

I think Carlson was right in passing on the championship this time around.

Until he gets his act together and stops goofing off, he's going to lose at the highest level.

You can't be the champ without tons of talent (check) and an act-together lifestyle (opps!)

He'd just get clobbered by Anand right now.

Nice argument there: Certainly no way to dispute your argument if you don't say anything at all.

the whole FIDE coruption thing should be a movie, or the the least a book! Mig, there is another project for you.

How much got Botwinnik to keep his title? 50 bread ticket + a new pair of same size and color shoes?
Even the great Tal received no more than a big hug and best wishes for the title.

Now thanks to Fide mismanagment, we are back in pre-Fischer era, where only gens una sumus laudatum est, sed paemium pecunia non grata...

I'd say let's arrange three matches where the top-4 Anand, Aronian, Carlsen and Kramnik are all playing against each other.

Six games per match, 18 games per player 36 top level games for chess audience. Arranged in neutral zone like London, Switzerland and New York.

Four different nations, two world champions, two challengers.

I say let all these people with great Wch ideas fork out the cash for them : )

Well, the last World Championship Match in the USA was Kasparov vs. Anand, but that was held under the aegis of the PCA. Both that and the New York--France 1990 match were held in the pre-Deep Blue era, before chess was "solved by the computer". There is a permanent loss of prestige for the game.

Don't expect Nakamura to turn things around, even if he were to qualify for a World Championship match.

Even Carlsen doesn't (yet) come close to matching Kasparov's genius at (self-)promotion. I don't see US corporate $$ being spilled to host an event that has lost its prestige and cache due to the end of the Cold War, the lunacy of Bobby Fischer, and the advent of the age of the chess computer.

Well, since a major goal of any organizer is to garner positive publicity, to maintain their credibility, and to retain the viablity of getting sponsorship money, it seems to me that it is plausible that even if they opted out solely because Carlsen had chosen not to participate, one could hardly expect that they would openly and forthrightly proclaim that. I have no idea what are the real underlying reasons for withdrawing the bid.

Maybe it was influenced by Carlsen, maybe because a big sponsor got cold feet. It could be exactly as they imply: FIDE incompetance and possible corrupt practices made them realize the bid was too risky.

Obviously, if the group suddenly announces that they will be holding a [insert corporate sponsor's name here] World Championship, and that Carlsen was one of the finalists, we can be pretty sure that something was afoot.

By the way, it's really a bit questionable for a Western organization to even be be bidding to hold a FIDE World Championship event. You lay down with dogs, you'll end up with fleas.

It is a lesson that everybody who does business with FIDE eventually learns. The only ones who are immune from the FIDE taint are the organizers who are already more currupt than FIDE.

The bad luck for the Chess World is that Carlsen is from little Norway. As wealthy as Norway is, it is hard to envision the 5 million Norwegians as a sufficiently large target audience.
If it was Germany that had the 2825 rated, #1 Ranked player, you can bet that the World cha,pionship match would already be in the works.

Sad truth: "Magnus Carlsen" is a name known by a lot of chess players and some Norwegians. And pretty much no one else.

"Hikaru Nakamura" is a name known by a lot of chess players, full stop.

For non-chessplayers, you have Fischer and (maybe) Kasparov, and then the rest are just funny names that play "chess or checkers or something." Maybe in the morning I'll be less pessimistic. But I doubt it. MY newspaper sure didn't care.

The idea that someone dropping out of a championship cycle, has a serious effect on media coverage, is unfortunately laughable.

>>The idea that someone dropping out of a championship cycle, has a serious effect on media coverage, is unfortunately laughable.

You statement, is unfortunately ignorant.

Sad truth: you are not known by anyone. You are a nobody, full stop.

Chess is not a sport and chess is not commercially viable. That's the reason a sad clown linke Kirsan has been able to hijack FIDE: he brings some money to the table. Not right, I agree; but true, nevertheless.

It's time to face the truth: chess would better off with more emphasis on amateur players and less emphasis on million dollar paydays for the top players. More tournaments with smaller prizes and the elimination of draws: drawn games would have to be replayed at progressively shorter time controls until a decisive result is obtained. Kind of overtime play, like in baseball, basketball, etc.

Make chess fun again. It has lost some of its magic, with the advent of computers. It's time to bring the blunders and the magic back. Those who want the absolute best chess with a minimum of errors can always watch computer matches: nobody plays better chess than them.

Chess is a sport. Hate to burst your ubble there. Anyways the European Committee for Sports Arbitration met in Switzerland over Karpov's case against Kirsan remember? Have to be a sport to qualify ;)

Good grief, why all the conspiracy nonsense? Malcolm Pein's said why they've withdrawn; it's because they've just found FIDE impossible to deal with. To anyone who knows the sponsors and Malcolm, as I do, and FIDE, as everyone does, this explanation is about a million times more likely than any nonsense about being disappointed that Carlsen's withdrawn. Carlsen withdrew long ago and the sponsors were still talking enthuasistically about their hope to have the match in London during the London Chess Classic.


Cal|Daniel wrote:

"Chess is a sport. Hate to burst your ubble there."

I guess you consider backgammon, checkers, poker, dominoes and other board games sports.

Smart and consistent, without a doubt.

>> Chess is not a sport and chess is not commercially viable. That's the reason....

Irv, you need to take some courses in logic.

I disagree that chess has lost it's magic because of computers. I think the opposite actually, for me it is far more interesting and entertaining when I can have a clue what the top players are doing in a game.

The closer the fans feel to the top players the better in my opinion. No professional sport has such a degree of separation between the fans and the players as chess used to have. In any sport the average guy can imagine himself doing what the great players can do if only he was a bit quicker and more athletic. It's not likely that you will fail to comprehend when Ronaldo kicks in a free kick. You can understand him perfectly well, and even imagine yourself doing the same, even be entertained when the great players make gaffes.


What about giving everyone a sample of your great intellect by demonstrating why chess is a sport and telling us if you think poker, checkers, dominoes and backgammon are sports, too. And why.

That's far more productive than your silly, childish personal attacks. Go ahead, give it a try. It's bound to be very interesting.

Irv, It's difficult to respond to posts that make no sense. Like yours. Whether Chess is a sport or not makes no difference too me.

I cannot fathom how chess not being a sport has anything to do with Kirsan's reign at Fide. Yet, somehow, you have tied the two together.


I knew you wouldn't be able to offer any explanation - but don't feel bad: no proponent of chess as a sport has ever been able to explain why it is a sport and poker, backgammon, dominoes and other board games are not. Even Parchesi could be a sport!!!!

As for Kirsan and Fide, the explanation is simple: he provides the money, he calls the shots. Anyone wanting to get rid of him needs to come up with more dough. A sugar daddy is needed by professional chess players because the game is not self-sufficient. Get it?

See what I mean Irv?

I provide a perfectly good explanation why you need to take a course in logic. What do you do? Ignore it, since you don't even know what you were thinking when you stated:

'Chess is not a sport and chess is not commercially viable. That's the reason a sad clown linke Kirsan has been able to hijack FIDE'

It's not much different than your fallacious arguments implying Kirsan was a better choice than Karpov to head Fide, back when the election was in progress. In those, you started to get a little hysterical as well. I hope that doesn't happen again.

"As for Kirsan and Fide, the explanation is simple: he provides the money, he calls the shots."

Irv, you did the same during the election, but you're totally ignoring the simple fact that Kirsan Ilyumzhinov himself boasted during the elections that he hasn't put any money into FIDE for years. He did once upon a time (it seems), but not any more. Kirsan calls the shots at the moment (or in reality probably the Russian Chess Federation calls the shots) because he was able to use various techniques to win votes - nothing else.

In any case it's bizarre to repeat your old story of there being no money for chess under a post about FIDE rejecting money for chess.

Nothing bizarre in my post, Mishanp. I just stated the obvious: there is no money in chess, chess is not a sport and Kirsan is head of FIDE because he brings money to the table. I grant you, though, that is is not a wellcomed reality with some deluded players, but that's not my fault.

But don't shoot me: I'm just the messenger; if you want to criticize "bizarre" begin by laughing at mig's not-so-veiled suggestion that Oracle and HP are just waiting for Kirsan to go to bring millions into chess. *that's* bizarre!

Irv, you appear slightly less rational than Karl Pilkington's character in this video:


You just ignore what the other person is saying, and repeat yourself. A good course in logic might help your judgment also. You appear to be going into a loop again now.

I made my point, lwolf. And that will be it - thanks for your input.

Yep, Irv, as lwolf said, you just ignored the arguments and repeated yourself. I'm tempted to repeat the facts you ignored, but it's all a bit pointless :)

FIDE blaming London and claiming the sponsor "lost interest" after Carlsen's withdrawal: http://bit.ly/i13SkS

Their argument seems to be that London wouldn't keep to an agreement that they'd match the Sofia conditions.

Malcolm Pein, on the other hand, said the organisers would be putting in more money than for the Sofia match, given the location: http://www.chess.co.uk/twic/malcolmpein/london-withdraws-world-chess-championship-bid

"The plan was to stage the match, between Vishy Anand and one of the eight Candidates, in May, just before the Olympic Games. The London bid was substantial and given the costs of staging a tournament in London compared with Sofia, the total outlay would have exceeded that of the 2010 match between Vishy Anand and Veselin Topalov which boasted a substantial prize fund.

FIDE have missed a historic opportunity to stage a world title match in a major western capital so I am intrigued to see what alternative they will come up with. I am still working on securing sponsorship for a world title match and other projects and I hope to announce the dates of the 3rdLondon Chess Classic soon."

It has always puzzled me that the millionaires trying to gain control of FIDE (via removal of Kirsan) have never attempted to create a parallel organization. With all the sponsorship opportunities waiting for them, coupled with the relatively low cost of starting such entity (less than a couple of millions to have it operating for one year at least), it is a big mystery to me.

Perhaps they don't have the big pockets or the sponsors lined up? That's the only logical reason that comes to mind.

A parallel federation running smooth tournaments and publishing an accelerated ratings list (while creating the much-needed Super GM title along with Rapid and Blitz World Champion titles) would quickly kill FIDE.

If Kirsan can do it (run a dysfunctional FIDE), his adversaries should be able to do it - only much better. And I really mean it. Why isn't it done?

Whether you can trust FIDE on this is one thing, but they are now confirming the "conspiracy theory". FIDE say that London informed them about the "sponsor losing interest" after Carlsen's withdrawal.

London won't comment on this, but despite Kirsan being a thug, it IS very plausible explanation.

Such a disservice to the chess world from Carlsen. Remarkably arrogant.

Don't understand why FIDE made such a point of Carlsen being the reason for London's withdrawal. It was London's choice to withdraw, so FIDE should accept that without playing a blame game.

In a situation like this, both sides are posturing. It's possible that Pein is telling the truth, and the FIDE is lying; or vice versa.

Alas, the truth is that both parties in this dispute are probably disseminating misleading information, if not outright falsehoods.

FIDE has no credibility at all, but I'd be amenable to believing the narrative put forth by the party releasing the most PDF documents. Pein's story was backed up by very few details--hence, difficult to contradict. But, he did provide some specific detail about a purported deadline for a FIDE reply. Presumably, there would be some documentation to indicate this.

Rather than confronting the facts asserted in the prior statement from Chess Promotions Limited, FIDE, which as usual engages the chess community at large much as a powerful dictator engages unsophisticated peasants, turns to the transparent tactic of ‘deflection.” I trust this trick will ensnare only the most gullible.

"Don't understand why FIDE made such a point of Carlsen being the reason for London's withdrawal"

They must have noticed that it's a popular argument. FIDE changes rules and regulations, Carlsen withdraws, Carlsen is to blame. Carlsen wanted a contract to be signed including both Candidates and London long in advance, as has been mentioned before. Maybe FIDE was against that idea because they don't get any extra "fees" from potential organizers that way, as they did when the Bulgarians suddenly had to pay 100 000 dollar more than was agreed for the match to take place.

"Don't understand why FIDE made such a point of Carlsen being the reason for London's withdrawal."

So that people like can go on about how bad Magnus Carlsen is. Every explanation of future f... ups from FIDE will have a reference to Carlsens withdrawal from now on.

"The plan was to stage the match, between Vishy Anand and one of the eight Candidates, in May, just before the Olympic Games. The London bid was substantial and given the costs of staging a tournament in London compared with Sofia, the total outlay would have exceeded that of the 2010 match between Vishy Anand and Veselin Topalov which boasted a substantial prize fund"

The players don't care about the "Total Outlay", they care about the Total Prize Fund, the minimum guaranteed prize, etc. Kasparov and Short split from FIDE over the matter of perhaps 20,000 pounds, @ the 1993 Match.

Anand would play in Burma, if the price was right, and the Euros were in a Swiss Bank.

The decisive difference between the (successful) Sofia bid, and the failed London bid is that you don't have Prime Minister Cameron twisting the arms of various CEOs to provide "sponsorship" for the match. Sofia's Prize Fund levels are not really sustainable for Western Orgnaizers. Perhaps they can occur under special circumstances, or in a Gilded Age.

The most consistent trait among these sleazoids (both FIDE and its suitors) is that the facts are never revealed: no contracts, correspondence, actual numbers or signatures are ever made available.

Pathetic liars, they deserve each other.

Generally speaking, chessplayers are relatively unconcerned with money and often have a neurotic relationship to it, and have rather poor communication skills. FIDE leadership is a reflection of these traits, and will continue to reflect the traits of its members.

Not sure if you want to make such a point, but I don't agree that Sofia should set a precedent for future WCh matches: Yes, the prize fund was massive (and FIDE got a big chunk of it)- not bad news by itself, but setting unrealistic standards if "nothing less will do from now on". Collateral damage included the disappearance of the MTel supertournament. Yes, government was directly involved - on balance bad news as far as I am concerned, it also implied that the organizers weren't exactly neutral (e.g. handling of 'Volcanogate').
IMO, the decisive difference between the accepted ("successful") Sofia bid and the London bid which was retracted or de facto rejected (I wouldn't say "failed"): Bulgarian organizers boasted about their close connections to FIDE. London organizers may lack such connections - elsewhere it has been argued that Pein's support of Karpov against Ilyumzhinov may have played a role in the eventual turn of events.

On the Carlsen debate, I wouldn't be all surprised if things continue as follows from now on:
1) The candidates matches take place
2) No sponsors can be found for a match Anand-Kramnik, Anand-Aronian or (who knows) Anand-Mamedyarov - or FIDE finds reasons to reject such bids.
3) The eventual "solution" is to proceed with a match Anand-Carlsen.

There was a historical precedent (Kasparov-Kramnik rather than Kasparov-Shirov) which differs particularly regarding Kramnik's role in the sequence of events. If my scenario actually happens, I will argue that THIS is what Carlsen (or those advising him) were aiming for from the very beginning.

It's currently not on the agenda, first Carlsen would have to win a few tournaments to regain the #1 rating spot by a sizable margin (or at least become clear #2 behind Anand).

"If my scenario actually happens, I will argue that THIS is what Carlsen (or those advising him) were aiming for from the very beginning"

Doubtlessly, but I seriously don't see that happening. Carlsen bypassing the winner of the candidates a la Kramnik in 2000 would surprise me more than anything as much as he has been critical of unfair systems etc.

This occurred under the Kasparov Chess Federation. FIDE can hardly claim that as a precedent.

1) Kasparov has better attorneys than Shirov
2) Kasparov had better PR flacks than FIDE, and more enthusiastic shills and apologists. There is only so much somebody like "Chesspride" can accomplish on behalf of FIDE
3) There won't be any problem with getting money for an Anand--Mamedyarov/Radjabov match (Azerbaijani gray money),
Anand--Kramnik (Russian gray-brown money), or Anand--Aronian match.

4) FIDE is in no hurry to trifle with the Russian Federation, and Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, and Armenia are big players within FIDE politics.

5) Burning one of these Federations' native sons could lead to the rupture that has been anticipated, as a rival International federation is formed.

6) The Norwegian government is heavily subsidizing the Tromso 2014 Chess Olympiad.

That's a fine Olympiad the Norwegians have: it'd be a shame if anything happened to it.

7) Finally, the Player X factor: Giri could be the next big thing in Chess--or some other player might effectively eclipse Carlsen.

8) Private (Challenge) Matches have gone the way of the Drop Kick, but with enough money, such a Match could be arranged between Carlsen and Kramnik, or Carlsen and Aronian. In the event Carlsen scores a clean win over Anand's putative challenger, there might be cover for a similar match vs Anand himself. But the whole purpose of withdrawing from the Candidates' matches was so Carlsen wouldn't have to face the likes of Kramnik or Aronian.

"the whole purpose of withdrawing from the Candidates' matches was so Carlsen wouldn't have to face the likes of Kramnik or Aronian"

Ah, so that's why he withdrew!

"If my scenario actually happens, I will argue that THIS is what Carlsen (or those advising him) were aiming for from the very beginning."

And what exactly would you base this on? Would you have anything at all?

Wow, step away for a couple of days and find out I'm a nobody! Awesome, lwolf; ad hominem makes a hell of a sophisticated argument from a guy accusing others of lacking logic.

Now, getting back not to how famous I am, but to what I *said*, re: the media not actually caring about WC dropouts... it's not that hard an experiment, you know. Instead of just saying someone has no knowledge or logic, one might simply test the theory, though admittedly it's a couple seconds' effort.

For instance (not ultimately definitive, of course, but interesting anyway), one might do the horribly laborious steps of going to a major media site and doing a search, such as "world chess championship", and see how many of the hits that come back mention Carlsen.

Or London.

Didn't seem like many, at CNN. Or even BBC, who might have had reason to *care*. Or even Google, who by their nature cover *everything* whether they care or not.

It's a pity; if Carlsen hadn't quit, surely ESPN would have been all over that WC coverage. Bummer, we were so close...

For those of you who are willing to feast on the spiteful offal - the open letter ostensibly to Malcolm Pein - that FIDE has vomited up to what it perceives as its uniformly credulous public:

… Check The Dates …

Offers can be withdrawn at any time prior to acceptance. If London wanted out when Magnus withdrew, why do London and FIDE both acknowledge that an offer remained on the table for TWO MONTHS thereafter? All FIDE had to do was sign during that time and London would be contractually committed to a very large amount of money.

Perhaps recognizing the gaping hole in its story, FIDE accuses London reflecting its non-interest by negotiating onerous terms. First, anyone here risking their own money in a deal with FIDE would negotiate every possible way to protect himself, far more than one would do when dealing with a reputable counterparty. Second, and more importantly, London did not need a pretext if it really was not interested. It could have instead simply withdrawn the offer immediately. Third, if London really no longer wanted to host the event, the absolute last thing it would do is give FIDE advance notice of a deadline in which to accept. Rather, it would suddenly and unexpectedly pull the rug out from under the negotiations.

As usual, FIDE’s lies can’t be reconciled with the known facts.

Chris Nobody, you should try to discern the difference between sarcasm and ad hominem one day. Yes, you are ignorant, of that there is no doubt. Carlsen, stepping out of the championship cycle obviously affects media coverage. I doubt anyone but you would deny that. The simple fact that it's a significant topic here should clue you in. But, since you only check in once every week or so to post some inane remark that you expect someone to take seriously, I guess you can be excused for that.

I simply repeated your besmirching remarks about Carlsen and Nakamura back at you, using your exact same syntax. I apologize if you didn't see the humor in that.

Ad hominem, for future reference, is attacking someone's character or abilities as opposed to their argument. You, however, never made an argument, just a meaningless slur with no substance.

The letter from FIDE clearly is very objective : they state very credible resons - change in contract terms, change in prize money and quite detailed too.

Has Pein responded to any of this? - No.

I acknowledge that FIDE is a mess, but please for crissake give credit where credit is due - it is a beautifully elicited letter and unless Pein responds to each point, I dont see why anyone must take him at face value (comments like , i'd rather trust Pein than FIDE)

London assumed Carlsen would make the final and hence get a lot of media attention. Carlsen chickened out of the prospect of getting beaten brutally - I mean getting past Aronian and Kramnik. So London chickened out.

Personally i couldnt be more excited - I think the highest prize for chess should be played on the home turf of either champion or challenger. Not some place that does not even have a top 10 GM. Sofia put on a fantastic, unbiased show - even with the power failing and all, they pulled through beautifully.

With it becoming obvoius that London is this biased to Carlsen, I wouldnt advice Vishy to agree playing there - Cant trust the Brits - slimy, crooked aristocrats(bums)

Yes, that has to be why he withdrew.
Please, please give me another logical objective reason if you think otherwise.

Every Chess GM out there has stated that this is the best candidates event that FIDE has managed - except Carlsen. He wants his private double round robin to determine the WCH. Take a hike. Its been tried before and has failed.

The kid has his head in the clouds and will soon be a 'could have been' what with the likes of Giri, Nakamura, Nyznyk.

He had the potential to get past Garry's 2850. I doubt he will be able to match his earlier 2826 even - the horse has bolted. There is just too much talent coming into chess (computers obviously help too) for one person to dominate.

Of Course FIDE has to repond, London withdrawal letter put the blame squarely on FIDE for the mess. If FIDE felt it was not responsible, they had to repond. And they did. And what more - they have a lot of very valid points. Now London has to repond.

It would be interesting if all iterations of the contract was made public. But thats not likely to happen

"Check the Dates"

Good point, I have to admit.

No offal for me.

"Please, please give me another logical objective reason if you think otherwise. Every Chess GM out there has stated that this is the best candidates event that FIDE has managed - except Carlsen"

I don't see the point in logical reasoning when seeing your argumentation. If you really mean that this is the best candidates FIDE has managed you must be joking, and of course there isn't a single GM in the world that sees this as the best FIDE candidates ever.

"Sofia put on a fantastic, unbiased show."

Sofia had a good prize fund but everything else was the bare minimum i.e. they relayed the moves and had a single web cam.

For the audience in Sofia there was no commentary, no demonstration boards, no access to the players, and (bizarrely) no toilet actually in the building. On the plus side tickets were cheap and it was never more than half full so you could just turn up.

Of course "unbiased" should go without saying, though even then the press conferences attacking Anand's team before the match were ugly - and could have influenced Anand if he'd watched any of the media coverage.

The assumption would be that if London ran the match they'd provide the sort of coverage and spectator experience that we had for the London Chess Classic, which would be a vast improvement on Sofia.

Again, the one thing Sofia had going for it was the large prize fund. Not a minor detail, but definitely not a reason for ecstatic praise of the event in general.

Since you had your head up your #$%^ when reactions came in, here you go, I found some for you.

You must also remember, its been how many years since a candidates tournament by FIDE thanks to the mess created by Kasparov - more than 2 decades.

If there has to be a stable system, there has to be a system that can be stabilized first. If you have World Champions running away with their titles there is always bound to be confusion.

This is Fide first attempt after unifying the title - and for that its a darn good attempt. For fk sake, every 2400 player and his grandad thinks he is a legitimate qualifier. FIDE had to find some middleground to satiate everyone.

Aronian: It’s a pity, I think. I don’t know — I actually like the system with the Grand Prix and this candidate matches. I think bringing back this tradition is not a bad idea, but, everybody can have their own view on this. I remember once we had this big conference [call] with Illymzhinov and then we were all telling our view to the president, and then one of the players, I won’t mention him, said, “oh, but I think this system is unfair. We should have two World Championships in a year, and they should be knockout.” So, you know all the great players have a different kind of understanding.

Aronian: Maybe in the future the number can be changed, but I don’t see anything wrong with four games as well. I mean, you know it’s still a match, after all. Maybe in the next years it can be altered, but now I don’t really see a — I mean I think that six games would be better or eight games would be better, but… you should look at the financial side of it, and since I’m not one of the sponsors, I don’t really care. The system is right. If you’re willing to change the number of games, that’s fine with me.’

Gelfand: Very strange to withdraw from the cycle with no obvious reasons. OK, he’ll be here you can ask him, but I don’t see any reason. Actually it’s one of the best cycles for many years. It’s more or less returning to the historical cycle, what was praised also by Kasparov and Karpov, whom Magnus supported during [the FIDE election] campaign. So I don’t see [an] obvious reason. I remember, lets say, seven or eight years ago there [was] no cycle whatsoever. And I am an old man, I have a good memory, yeah? While now it’s a very decent cycle, so I see no reason whatsoever for him to withdraw. But it’s his choice, maybe he’ll be here, he’ll explain.

Mamedyarov: I don’t know, it really is bad news for all because he won all tournaments — last tournaments — but he decided not to play in world championship. It will be not easy for FIDE and for all. We will see, yeah.

Mamedyarov: Maybe he’s right about — it’s more interesting eight players and seven games. I like it because all players will play against all and it will be a good tournament like San Luis and Mexico. But now is quite OK — for me it’s very dangerous to say something, because — I don’t know — it’s the first time if I will play, and for me [it's] not easy to say something. But I think it is very bad that Carlsen [will not] play. It’s very bad.

Kramnik: I saw, yesterday I read his letter — well it was very surprising to me… I still didn’t really understand the real reason because he mentions a lot of different reasons, but I don’t actually understand exactly why, so — anyway, of course it’s his choice although of course it’s a pity for the whole world of chess. I guess there are a lot of fans which he has and… it was pretty surprising, I mean I didn’t expect this because now it seems that at least, well, everything seems to be more or less under control — this candidate tournament seems to be fixed, and everything is there, it’s a pretty nice tournament — OK, I see there can be different systems, but it’s all right, this system is not the worst one — we’ve seen worse with knockouts and everything so, it’s all a bit confusing and strange. I don’t know what to say about it.

Kramnik: Well, I think it’s OK, you know it’s been like this for more than a century. We can discuss whether it can be changed or not, but it’s been like this — I don’t have any problem with it. I think it’s OK the World Champion has certain privileges — I mean it’s just a different structure, a different idea. In a way it’s like a monarchy, a World Chess Championship is like a monarchy. In football, in soccer it’s a bit different, but here the chess king has some kind of value, and he stays there, and you have to come and to beat him. This kind of general idea — well, you might of course argue with it. You can say whether it’s good or bad, but it’s been like this for the whole history of chess, so I think it’s OK. At least for sure, in my opinion, it’s not a reason not to play the World Championship

If you seriously think every GM out there sees this as the best Candidates ever managed by FIDE you should study some chess history, or read your own quotes where the four quoted players say nothing of the kind. As they obviously never would since they know that in this candidates the total number of games all eight players taken together will play could be lower than just in the candidates final between Karpov and Korchnoi, when FIDE managed those candidates every GM according to you considers inferior to the knockout of today. It is no surprise that none of the participants say that this event has no legitimacy and that FIDE suck. But just go on, Carlsen is a chicken, every GM sees this as the best candidates ever, etc etc, I'm outta here, this has become too boring.

Did the London organizers get their 50,000 Euro deposit back? Anybody knows?

No, Fide had to use Eur 7.80 for cigarettes and milk on Wednesday.

Apologies to the others for having chased gg away. His enlightened comments we sure will miss!

I must be the only one on this board that is defending FIDE. I am not actually defending FIDE. My ire is more directed at Carlsen.

Considering what the WCC title has been through in the last 20 years, FIDE has done a commendable job of the candidates match. Is it perfect? - no. Is it better than what Kraparov did when finding a qualifier to challenge him (and then picking someone else)? - of course it is

It is well within Carlsens right to withdraw - but to come up with a lame a$$ excuse to boot is like pissing on the other Super GM's like Kramnik, Aronian etc against whom he actually has no bragging rights anyway. And the chickenshite has the nerve to say ... dadada I have utmost respect for the current WCH anand who is a gentlemean yadayada. Yeah sure, like anand needs Carlsen to respect him and then state that in public. I cannot beleive that I used to wake up early to follow this muppets games when he was playing in nanjing.

And then the London organizers come in and take a dump on FIDE because Pein cannot line up anymore Carlsen fanboi sponsors.

If London is in the clear and FIDE are to blame, then make public all iterations of the contract. Its dead anyway now, aint it? Whats to hide. this can be done by FIDE or Pein. But neither will.

I concur with what you say.
However I'd like to look at it a little differrently. Lets look at the last 5 WCH matches

Sofia, Bonn, Elista, Brisago, London

You do notice that we are not short of drama right. From that perspective, despite all the talk about Sofia being home turf for Topalov, the matches were smooth. The event could have been better but the few hicupps were dealt with swiftly and correctly. And yes the prize money.
And when sponsors pulled the plug, Borisov paid up.

London well ... they're pointing at FIDE. And i dont beleive them.

The London sponsors have been very keen to cover their tracks if the Carlsen withdrawal was really important to them. In December I attended a dinner at which they spoke eloquently about their hopes to bring the WC match to London, and that was long after Carlsen had withdrawn. You can say they were just covering themselves if you like, but I'm not sure what you think they needed to cover themselves for. Given that they prefer to remain individually anonymous, it's not really clear what nefarious scheme one might suspect them of, and having seen them talk to Anand, Kramnik, etc (also present at this dinner, as was Carlsen) they don't strike me as Carlsen fanbois particularly.

Moreover, I've known Malcolm (or "Pein", if you prefer) for 35 years and he's a straight guy, whereas naturally one's default position is that anyone who works for the present FIDE administration must be a crook, although presumably there are exceptions.

Still, if the sponsors did lose interest without Carlsen, that's their prerogative, and if they weren't prepared to bid as much as Sofia, that's their prerogative too. Obviously totalitarian countries can be rather more flexible about taxes, for example.

Edit - Kramnik wasn't at the closing dinner this year; he was sick. He was last year, though, and looked maty enough with the organisers ans sponsors to me.

I completely agree with George. First Carlsen chickened out and then London quit, both with lame arguments and excuses. Both lost out on a historic opportunity and will be poorer for it. Some people love to blame/criticize even when they are reasonable and do everything right. Shame on them.


"I cannot beleive that I used to wake up early to follow this muppets games"

Oh my, hell hath no fury like a scrawny little chessnerd scorned, now doth it? *snicker*

I'm 6'6 and 280 pounds. Scrawny, I am not. You will die if I sit on you for 3 mins. :)

6'6'' and 280 pounds? That's nearly thin in some climes.

A couple of points:

1) Of course, it is Pein's prerogative to withdraw the bid (and forfeit the deposit). Nobody disputed that. In fact. It is probably sensible, in view of the probability of losing a much larger sum if they carried on.

However, "London" does NOT openly state that sponsors pulled out (let alone that interest waned due to Carlsens decision not to participate in the Candidates' Match cycle), or that the Prize Fund is markedly lower. Instead, they play games with words, and talk about "Total Outlay"...

2) The IOC knows that even democratic countries such as the UK can be flexible about taxes. Per usual, the Olympic Games and most of the supporting activities are untaxed, by legislative dispensation. Moreover public funds are used to subsidize and guarantee various costs associated with the Olympic games. The Taxpayer foots the tab, in the end.

The tax levies that were evidently quoted seem to be a bit much to believe.

"Still, if the sponsors did lose interest without Carlsen, that's their prerogative, and if they weren't prepared to bid as much as Sofia, that's their prerogative too. Obviously totalitarian countries can be rather more flexible about taxes, for example."

The title of this post sounds funny to me because my grandfather, who grew up in British India, used "going to London" as a euphemism for going to the loo. Maybe other Indians can relate. :)

Houses and cars are expensive and not everybody can buy it. However, loan was invented to aid different people in such cases.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on February 3, 2011 10:27 PM.

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