Chennai awaits Nov clash of chess titans Anand, Carlsen
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Viswanathan Anand, the undisputed world champion since 2007, will play his first title bout in India. Anand's home city Chennai will host his World Chess Championship final against World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen this November.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa announced in the assembly that the state government had set aside Rs 29 crore for the match, which will be played between November 6 and 26.
The decision came two days before the deadline to offer to host the championship ended. A delegation from the Word Chess Federation (FIDE) will visit Chennai in the next few weeks to formalise the arrangement, senior All India Chess Federation (AICF) officials said.
Until late on Monday night, however, there was no confirmation from FIDE that Chennai would host the match.
Tamil Nadu's bid to bring the 2012 final between Anand and Boris Gelfand to Chennai had proved insufficient. "It (the previous bid) failed to materialise as Russia made the highest bidding for the championship. Since Tamil Nadu came forward to organise the event in 2012, FIDE agreed to hold it in Chennai without bidding," Jayalalithaa said.
After a meeting with FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov in 2011, Jaya had announced a budget of Rs 20 crore for the 2012 match, including about Rs 14 crore ($ 2.25 million) in prize money. However, in a literally last minute twist, Russia bid a higher amount one minute before the deadline, snatching the venue.
"At that time, we did not know that the venue was chosen by a system of bids," AICF president and AIADMK MLA JCD Prabhakar said.
The drama led FIDE to offer the 2013 championship to Chennai without bids if it was still interested. "They gave us time till March to make an offer, and then extended it until April 10," FIDE vice-president D V Sundar said.