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Anand - Topalov match in Sofia 2010 ()

Anand - Topalov in Sofia 2010?

News out of the 80th FIDE Congress in Halkidiki suggest that Sofia, Bulgaria will be the venue for the match between World Champion Viswanathan Anand and his challenger Veselin Topalov.

ChessBase and ChessDom are reporting that FIDE have accepted the Sofia bid to host the FIDE World Championship Match between World Champion Viswanathan Anand and his challenger Veselin Topalov. The dates quoted in their bid are April 5th-24th 2010 and there will be a 12 game match for the title. If the match is drawn there will be playoff starting with a tie-break of four rapid games.

FIDE announced on October 1st 2009 that after their first deadline they had received three bids had been received at the FIDE Secretariat in Athens. These bid were from Bulgaria, Singapore and Turkey. However they were not accompanied by accompanied by financial guarantees. However none of the bids provided such a guarantee and they extended the deadline until October 15th to meet this condition.

This deadline coincided with the 80th FIDE Congress in Halkidiki, Greece October 11th – 18th, 2009.

Today it has been announced (although not yet on the FIDE website) that the bid from Sofia, Bulgaria is the only bid to come up with a guarantee, in this case in the form of a letter from the Bulgarian PM Boiko Borisov. Thus FIDE unanimously accepted the bid.

According to ChessDom the bid is for a prize fund of 3 million euros and the venue NDK in Sofia which is the same building where the Topalov - Kamsky match took place, although in a larger hall.

There has been a general assumption that Anand would be unhappy to play in Sofia on his opponents home ground (although I can find nowhere where this is explictly stated in a quick search of the internet). Gata Kamsky was faced with a similar situation when he played Topalov, he eventually accepted that the money wasn't going to come from anywhere else, negotiated the conditions of play he needed and got on with it. In this economic climate bids from Indian or Bulgarian sources always seemed the most likely, and in the absence of bids from elsewhere Anand may simply have to accept the reality of playing in Topalov's back yard. Money doesn't grow on trees for this kind of event right now.

In distant past champions and challengers regularly refused to play venues they didn't like, but that was then, this is now.

Finally a word of warning. I've been covering chess on the internet for 15 years now. I haven't kept score, but I would say well over half such "announcements" of venues, dates and so forth for title matches, turned out to be wrong. I go right back to the PCA run Anand - Kasparov match where I had an "exclusive" that it was all fixed for Germany, turned out to be in USA. Since then it is FIDE that have quite a record of announcements that don't turn out to be that final. Personally, I now regard the venue and timing of these matches as being fixed roughly about the time the players sit down at the board for the first game.

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