June 11, 2014 18:49

Ilyumzhinov: “Anand-Carlsen Match to be Held in Sochi”

The FIDE World Championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen is going to be held in the city where the Winter Olympics took place earlier this year: Sochi, Russia. This was announced by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov today at a press conference for Interfax in Moscow.

Photo: Russian Chess Federation

The FIDE website reports today that, at a press conference for Interfax in Moscow, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov announced that the match between World Champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway) and the Challenger Viswanathan Anand (India) will be held in Sochi. The dates are 7th November to 28th November of this year, and it will take place on the territory of the Olympic village. Ilyumzhinov also announced the budget: US $3 million.

The website of the Russian Chess Federation gives more details: an agreement was made with the Governor of the Krasnodar Region, Alexander Tkachev and in the next week or two all formalities will be taken care of: FIDE expects to receive a bid to host the match and bank guarantees from sponsors.

Prize fund
It was also mentioned that from the $3 million budget, “one to one and a half million” will be used for the prize fund. 
However, the Rules & Regulations in the FIDE Handbook (in PDF here) speak of a minimum prize fund of one million euros, so right now we're talking about a smaller margin: US $1.35 - 1.5 million. This is one million dollar less than the prize fund of the previous match, which was 1.85 million euros (US 2.5 million).

Andrei Filatov, the President of the Russian Chess Federation, reacted as follows: “Holding in the Russian Federation the most important chess events such as a match for the world title is becoming a good tradition and is evidence of the revival of Russia's status as a chess power. I am grateful to the governor of the Krasnodar Region, Alexander Tkachev, for his willingness to take responsibility for organizing and carrying out the most important event in world chess calendar in Sochi. The Russian Chess Federation is awaiting approval from the sponsors to submit a bid to host the match.”

Anand & Carlsen last November in Chennai

The announcement by Mr Ilyumzhinov makes an end to a period of uncertainty around the upcoming world title match. As reported by Chess.com last month, the World Chess Federation had not received any bids by the extended deadline of 30 April, 2014. The Norwegian Chess Federation had made some attempts to try to get the match to Norway, but no official bid emerged.

Jøran Aulin-Jansson, the President of the Norwegian Chess Federation, said to to Norwegian newspaper VG that, because this is about Russia, nothing is certain yet: “As far as I know they are still negotiating with the players, which can be of influence on this. The situation we have in Ukraine now makes that things may escalate and that for political reasons someone cannot participate. It depends on what sanctions Norway and the EU will impose against Russia.”

The choice of Sochi might be related to a visit to the city by Russia's President, Vladimir Putin, earlier this month. At the Belaya Ladya children's chess tournament Mr Putin met with Mr Filatov and Mr Ilyumzhinov. In his speech he said: “There was a time when chess lessons were held in every school at every district. It is great and pleasant that this tradition is being revived. Chess is the most intellectual sport; we always took the leading positions in all international ratings.” 

After announcing the location for the World Championship, Mr Ilyumzhinov used the press conference to speak about the upcoming FIDE Presidential elections. As the website of the Russian Chess Federation mentions,

In particular, the question was raised about potential violations of the Code of Ethics of FIDE and the United States and the laws of Singapore in connection with the infamous agreement between Garry Kasparov and FIDE General Secretary Ignatius Leong. According to Ilyumzhinov, this issue is currently studied by the independent Ethics Commission of FIDE, which is soon to deliver a verdict.

Apparently Mr Ilumzhyinov said that the Commission may prohibit Mr Kasparov from participating in the presidential elections, which would mean an automatic re-election for himself. Mr Kasparov's aide-de-camp Mig Greengard tweeted (referring to this leaked document):

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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Anonymous's picture

All the silly talk about fascists and coups are of course just excuses for people supporting the fascist Putin and his annexions of his neighbours.

observer's picture

Fascist regime? Isn't that the description of Putin's, which fundamentally is not allowing free elections?

I think you must have brain damage my friend if you cannot understand that PART of Karelia has a Russian majority and PART of it has a Finnish majority. The part that has a Finnish majority wishes to join Finland. Understanding that concept would be a no-brainer I would have thought.

Ah, so a few Islamic terrorists achieved separation for Chechnya from Russia for several years against the whole Russian army without the support of the Chechen people. Ah...right...I get it.

Anonymous's picture

A group of people with xenophobic paroles and ideals, as is such in Ukraine now, is considered fascist, you didn´t know? Your statement about Russia is crap, because there are no groups at the governing body who supress or support the supression of other ethnical groups.

You probably want to divide everything to the smallest bit of land, right? Lets devide the city I live in, we have part of town with Turkish majority, maybe it should declare its independency, haha. There is one Republic Karelia with 80% Russians, that´s it.

There came a lot of terrorists from abroad during the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the gulf war. Before there wasn´t much of that sort.

observer's picture

Well, there's one Country of Ukraine with 80% Ukrainians, that's it, too, then.
So why is Russia trying to take bits of that, then?

Anonymous's picture

In that Ukraine a minority gets supressed by the new regime, which is a reason for those areas who get supressed to declare their independence, Kosovo is a good example for that. Is the Finnish minority getting supressed and bombed in Karelia, I don´t think so?

About Russia taking the bits, those areas made a referendum and asked Russia afterwards to accept as part of it (not the Lugansk and Donetsk region, they ask for a union and not to be a part of Russia). Russia supported and welcomed the referendum in Crimea, since they have their historical reasons and of course geopolitical interests in that military base (would be my guess).

observer's picture

The Finnish part of Karelia was dreadfully suppressed under the Soviet Union with many murdered and deported.
Chechnya is suppressed today. It was in Soviet times too, before any "terrorists came along from abroad". There was a Chechen insurgency in 1940-1944, and Stalin deported many of them.

So it's ok for bits of Ukraine to make a "referendum", but not ok for Chechnya and part of Karelia to do so. Ok...I get it...yep, that sounds really fair.

Anonymous's picture

Common man, the Soviet Union is long gone and Ukraine is in a civil war now, with unfortunately the current regime not able and willing to make any compromises with the separatist regions.

Chechnya got actually a referendum back in 2003 where a compromise was found with a new constitution which granted more autonomous rights to the Chechen Republic.

Anónimo's picture

Sanctions are not coming, at least not in a way like the ones imposed by the US to Fischer-Spassky Yougoslavia. So I think the match is happening. I am more troubled by the fact that the price funds are going down instead of up, and by the threats of antidemocratic Ilushimov vs antidemocratic Kasparov. This election is just like the ones at home: You just try to vote for the perceived lesser evil, because there is no candidate worth to root for.

Harry_Flashman's picture

No sympathy for Kirsan but we should not forget that Fide didn't get a single bid for this upcoming WCC.. Simply because nobody was interested in a rematch between Carlsen and Anand.. A different challenger would have made things a lot easier, but Anand deservedly won the Candidates..

abc's picture

>>> "Mr Ilumzhyinov said that the Commission may prohibit Mr Kasparov from participating in the presidential elections"

If you can't beat them; ban them!

Anonymous's picture

Very good news that Kirsan hopes to ban Kasparov from the election!

Anonymous's picture

There are links available to the original contract between Mr.Paulson (Agon) and Mr.Ilyumzhinov in both Russian and English.

Google this phrase: "Leaked Agreement Between Ilyumzhinov & Paulson Suggests Conflict of Interest"

Thomas Richter's picture

"Google this phrase ..." and most sources refer directly or indirectly to the chess.com story or quote Kasparov - safe to say that Kasparov isn't neutral, and chess.com strongly supports Kasparov's election campaign.

Peter Doggers's picture

Nonsense. We have a slight bias towards him but not more than that. We would have a slight bias towards almost any opponent of the incumbent. Chess could do with some change.

Thomas Richter's picture

Calling someone else biased is always a matter of opinion or impression. Calling yourself just slightly biased is also a subjective assessment. "Chess could do with some change" - I actually agree, but still this is a campaign slogan, and I don't think any change would be for the better.

Clearest evidence from my point of view that Chessvibes/chess.com is more than slightly biased: The long Kasparov interview right after he announced his candidacy didn't have any critical questions (an impression others shared, but I can't reveal my sources - private emails). It was cross-posted by Kasparov on his campaign site, presumably with permission - and such permission shouldn't be granted from a site that wants to be (near-)neutral?

Anyway, IMHO jimknopf below writes nonsense - more or less suggesting that the FIDE Ethics Commission should base their judgment on chess.com coverage, rather than performing their own investigation.

Anonymous's picture

"an impression others shared, but I can't reveal my sources - private emails"


Peter Doggers's picture

@Thomas More nonsense. I did ask critical questions. I mentioned the fact that he supported Kirsan in '94, I mentioned the fact that he knows top chess well but perhaps lacks knowledge of amateur chess and I mentioned his failure with the GMA and PCA, implying that people worry that he's going to make similar mistakes. If this is not critical, I give up.

And I don't care about your sources, I'm talking to you.

Thomas Richter's picture

I admit that I didn't remember these (semi-)critical questions, because they got drowned in Kasparov's lengthy replies. To me they still seem like alibi questions, certainly the one on 1994. There was nothing at all about Kasparov's election program which seems quite vague to me, his main selling points (why should people vote for him?) being 1) I am Kasparov, 2) I am not Ilyumzhinov, 3) I have a few rich people on my team.

Another related story is the quite different coverage of Kasparov/Leong vs. Ilyumzhinov/Paulson - starting with the headlines: "Leaked Contract Between Kasparov and Leong: Transparency vs. Ethics" vs. "Leaked Agreement Between Ilyumzhinov & Paulson Suggests Conflict of Interest". Both were leaked draft contracts. In the first case, it was later finalized with minor changes - publication was delayed until there was a Kasparov-friendly twist to the story, praising him for 'transparency' (i.e. revealing/admitting something that was already known). In the second case, it is at least unclear if it ever went beyond the stage of a draft proposition, it was apparently published as soon as possible, and headline as well as subsequent story hardly mention that it was a draft (yes, signed by Ilyumzhinov, but putting a signature below a document clearly marked as draft is, from a legal point of view, just acknowledgment of receipt, not a binding 'agreement').

As I mentioned before at other occasions: Methinks opinions and impressions can never be discarded as just nonsense.


jimknopf's picture

Perhaps we should send the link(s) to the 'FIDE ethcis' Ilyumzhinov club?

Pablo's picture

Maybe I'm not following the latest news... But why a rematch? I thought there would been a competition to see who would get the chance to become the new challenger for the world title.

Anonymous's picture

There was already such a competition and Anand won. Kramnik and Aronian dissapointed, so Anand earned the right for a (re)match in this case. :)

Anonymous's picture

The elite chess world has the Ilyumzhinov that it deserves. They all shook hands with him, with big smiles.

Isaac Hunt's picture

"US $1.35 - 1.5 million", the price to be a Putin bitch. Hope you enjoy your rotten money boys. Don't spend it all at once.

Unanimous's picture

Putin will never allow Kasparov to win the presidency of FIDE, that much is obvious.

fiercebadger's picture

if garry is kicked out then fide will fall within the year

and a new organisation based in london/paris will rise

RG13's picture

I think that if England, France, Spain, Germany and the U.S. formed their own international chess federation then FIDE would become much less relevant. Then if Russia eventually jumped ship then FIDE would collapse.

Anonymous's picture

If only FIDE hadn't pinned their hopes on Aronian/Kramnik winning the Candidates and Armenia/Russia putting in a bid, they wouldn't have had to keep the players waiting for so long.

Thomas Richter's picture

Hmm, didn't people say that the WCh match should preferably be at a neutral venue - which BTW now is the case? But then it's odd to suggest that FIDE "pinned their hopes" on bids from the challenger's country, and turned out to be wrong because India already organized a WCh match, and cannot do it again one year later.

Concerns about the venue Sochi are legitimate, but apart from that it was an as-good-as-it-gets procedure: first a bidding procedure, then an extension of the deadline for bids, then an alternative solution. Hell would have broken lose if Sochi had been awarded the WCh match without giving a chance to others who might be interested. It seems Sochi wasn't that interested, let alone desperate to organize the match (else they would have submitted a timely and formal bid), but now they come to the rescue.

observer's picture

A Sochi venue organised by Ilyumzhinov is clearly not going to be neutral vis-a-vis Carlsen.

"they have come to the rescue". No. Putin has put up the money for this to boost Ilyumzhinov's reelection chances.

chessman's picture

I very much appreciate the efforts made by the FIDE president and the authorities involved in this arrangement.

Maybe its done for the sake of election or maybe anything else, but the real case is that nobody (even the participants' nations, especially Norway because India did it just the last time) are willing to participate in the bid and one guy is using his personal connections to organize and fund such a big event. He has taken a initiative that nobody could have made him responsible for doing so. That also comes from a place which has already held big functions recently and apparently has no real benefits from holding such a tournament.

Whatever was happening before must be discussed in some forums but currently from a point of view of the biggest tournament and the face of the game, kudos to the officials and Kirsan...

jitendraa singh's picture

I fully agree with you. chess vibes should be about game of chess and not about politics in chess .

Greco's picture

1.Its funny S3 said so much withouth once posting with his handle...
2. Check 1.
3. Check 1 and 2.
4. Check 1, 2 and 3

Mahatma Witkac's picture

Relax guys....Carlsen will play in Sochi and Kasparov will have no chance in becoming president of Fide. Everything will remain the same.
Ethics don't exist for people like Kirsan or Putin.
Only prestige and power.

Sir Schratz's picture

But why not in Norway ???

Do I remember correctly how aggressively the Norwegians and Carlsen's management attacked FIDE's decision to stage the last championship in India?

Do I remember them correctly bragging they would also want to stage it?

Now that it's up to them they simply can't deliver. All that aggressiveness comes to nothing! Inflated imposture !?

They can't find anybody who would be interested in Carlsen defending his title, 2 months before the start of the Olympiad they still didn't know if it ever will be started and Stavanger is sponsored by a betting-company from Cyprus (if I remember correctly)

It seems there is a lot of showing off and pretending how strong and mighty one is.

But it turns out we don't live in a fashion world where it's enough to look grim or show one's sixpacks .... now that it's not enough to say "well, I don't know ..." the power circle around Magus Carlsen can't live up to what they are demanding.

They talk the talk but they don't walk the walk .... How embarrassing after all that showing off .....

observer's picture

With the previous match, Carlsen was the challenger and there was interest in seeing the probable crowning of a new World Champion. Also there was a little bit of doubt that Carlsen would win. Also it was a match between two players that had not previously played a match with each other.
But now Carlsen is the Champion; these guys have not long just played each other; and the result is a foregone conclusion: there is no sporting interest.

Stop trying to pretend that there is an equivalence between the two matches.

Tyke's picture

First team Carlsen had a problem with the format of Candidates in Kazan, then Chennai was a no no for them and now Sochi is also a no no. When will they stop whining? I mean if they want the title to be held in a 1st world country why didn't they take any step to organize it in US/Norway/Western Europe etc. Was meeting Gates,Zuckerberg to promote chess or to promote MC? All that big talk as to how big cities were interested in hosting the match involving MC look shallow now. Too much hate for current FIDE president here. Credit where it's due- he finally arranged the match inspite of no bids. MC is a real prima donna, following the footsteps of another megalomaniac-Gary Kasparov. Mark my words, if Gary becomes FIDE prez chess will be the biggest loser. Both Gary and MC are too selfish, want to promote their image, will do nothing to make chess a more popular game. Miss Anand,Kramnik- they were dignified World Champions and whatever they did it was for the good of chess, not for their 2 minutes of fame.

Anonymous's picture

^ lol

jimknopf's picture

Kasparov has done more for the public interest of chess worldwide, than Anand and Kramnik put together will ever achieve in their lives.

He has been a much more innovative player than both together, and he has published a lot more meaningful chess stuff than both together.

I am convinced that Kasparov as FIDE president would also do much more for chess than Ilyumzhinov, who just got some eastern oligarchs (including himself and the way he got his money) to pay events from time to time, and else not doing anything professional to promote chess worldwide for two decades of chess reputation stagnation. That's more than enough now!

The only thing this man ever achieved, was organizing his oligarch sponsorships, for some satisfied elite players living from that kind of income, while they dutifully swallowed the rest of a dirty FIDE reign for that obvious reason.

Looking at recent photos, it was not nice to see Karpov in this bunch of people (home again?) once more now.

Tyke's picture

Lol, Kasparov never tried to promote chess, he only promoted himself. He can't bear if he doesn't get his 2 minutes of daily fame.

althus's picture

These days I read the football news to feel better about chess, and the chess news to feel better about football, which is a sad thing in itself.

But this bit here had to make me smile, just now:

"Yesterday in Sao Paolo Blatter speculated about how, one day, instead of a World Cup, FIFA will host an "Interplanetary Cup".

Le sigh.

jimknopf's picture

Blatter, Ilyumzhinov or Ecclestone: all of the same kind, and some of them slightly in outta space because earth can't grab the grandeur they see for themselves, as irreplacable heros. LOL

If we wouldn't know one or two things about each of them, we could really be stunned.

jimknopf's picture

Just the opposite: while he played better than anyone for two decades, he communicated real fun in chess on many levels! And there's nothing wrong at all with someone being extrovert and enjoying the fame and sympathy he earns for good reasons.

He has been contributing a lot to public chess interest in Germany and many other countries, and a whole generation of players has risen with him in mind.

As anyone else, he is a character with strong and weak sides, but that's just trivial. It counts for anybody else, and for many the balance is much worse.

RG13's picture


jimknopf's picture

that was @Tyke

RG13's picture


Ukraine reports that Russian tanks and armor have entered rebel-held areas of East Ukraine. If this triggers further sanctions from the West then Norway may not allow Carlsen to play in Russia.

Anonymous's picture

That news is a hoax though. It was reported earlier that the rebels could bring three tanks T-64 from the Ukranian army under control.

My name?'s picture

The only solution to the "FIDE problem" is that all federations leave FIDE. Simple as that, but the problem is to get them to leave FIDE at the very same time.

observer's picture

Wouldn't even have to be all of them, just all of Europe/Caucasus plus any other big ones. The tinpot outfits that allow themselves to be bribed would be welcome to stay with FIDE, only then they would squeal because then FIDE Prez Ilyumzhinov wouldn't have any money to bribe them with.

Problem is how to get Russia, China, India on board.


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