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World Chess Championships 2010 (Anand Travel)

Anand told to get to Sofia by Wednesday

Anand's travel problems to Sofia may be unfortunate but it is really quite hard to disagree with the organisers that it isn't unreasonable to expect Anand to get to Sofia by land adding at worst a days travel time.

Viswanathan Anand's appeal for a postponement of the start of his match against Veselin Topalov has been turned down by the organisers.

Anand has been caught up in the worldwide travel chaos caused by the cancelation of flights in Europe due to the ash from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland. reported the decision of the organising committee released on 19th April 2010.

Stefan Sergiev confirms an Anand e-mailed a request for a three day postponement of the start on Saturday 17th April and a verbal repetition of this on the 18th April 2010.

They lay out their position clearly:

We would like to inform you that this is not acceptable for us.

1. We can postpone the press conference.

2. Unfortunately we can not postpone the opening ceremony scheduled on April 21st at 6 pm. according to the contract. The invitations to all the official guests, sponsors, politicians, TV stations and all the media was already sent long time ago. We have signed a lot of commercial contracts with serious penalties for us in case of some changes.

3. The possibility to postpone the first game of the match for one day to Saturday April 24 need to be discussed with the Chairman of Organizing Committee– Prime Minister of Bulgaria Mr. Boyko Borissov. This will take some time. We will inform you regarding our decision not later than latest afternoon of 20 April /Tuesday/

Further more detailed statement on the ChessDom Website

I have a couple of unconfirmed reports that Anand has indeed started his journey to Sofia which I hope to be true.

Whilst I was initially sympathetic to the idea of the postponement, once you really start adjust to thinking about the current problem, is it really all that unreasonable to expect Anand to travel by land?

The travel chaos is now worse than that caused by the cancellation of flights in 2001 in the wake of the September 11th attacks. Many people have had trouble adjusting to the new situation which has come as a complete surprise. Whilst unfortunate, and a source of worry for Anand, I think the organisers are right, he needs to bite the bullet and get himself to Sofia. Anand has the financial resources and the German contacts to arrange very comfortable transport from Frankfurt to Sofia. It is to be hoped that reports he set off on Sunday are correct. Whilst one Bulgarian report suggested a land travel time of 28 hours (that may be a train journey) google suggests a more reasonable 18.5 hours.

The problem the Bulgarian organisers have is that changing the schedule for such a match is terribly difficult, with dignitaries, television and the venue.

Anand's concerns will no doubt be tiredness due to travel and disruption of his preparation and settling in time. However the start of the match is still four days away (and it was 8 days when he first found out about the problem) and obviously he should be able to get there in that time. If he was to arrive in Sofia tonight it is difficult to see that it will make all that much difference. All his technical opening preparation should be finished, perhaps he intended some warm up games and a settling in period.

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