India back in reckoning to host World Chess Championship

Chances of India hosting the 2013 World Chess Championship (WCC) final featuring Viswanathan Anand brightened once more, after Jitendra Singh, the minister of state for youth affairs and sports, confirmed that the government would do its best to bring the match to the country.

"If an opportunity arises for India to play host to Viswanathan Anand's World Championship match, we will do our best to make it happen," said Singh. The WCC final was one of the topics on the agenda when FIDE vice president Ali Nihat Yazici met Singh earlier this year. Yazici also confirmed the possibility. "The main subjects (of discussion with the minister) as you may guess were CIS (FIDE's Chess in Schools program) in India and the World Championship match. For me it looks like India may host the next World Chess Championship match between WCC GM Anand and his challenger. Let's wait and see," he said.

Yazici also said that the minister had promised an 'open check book' for the CIS scheme. Jitendra Singh said, "We would be happy to take the scheme to the interiors of the country, through schools in towns and villages."

After India's failed bid to host the final between Anand and Israeli Boris Gelfand last year, FIDE had granted India a three-month window during which they could exercise a 'first right' option to host the 2013 final. However the All India Chess Federation had let go of the opportunity. Subsequently, it fell to Agon Limited, an American corporation who have been contracted by the FIDE to develop and popularise the WCC cycles, to determine the hosting rights. India will now have to make a winning bid with Agon, as have SOCAR, Azerbaijan's state oil company, for the ongoing Candidates tournament in London.

Though the sponsor could not determine the city which was to host the Candidates tournament, it is widely believed that SOCAR had a say in nominating one of the wildcards for the eight-member field, Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan. If India are to host the match in November 2013, it will be the first time that Anand will play the final at home.

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