In an interview for the Russian Sport Express, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov announced unofficially that the Candidates Tournament 2012, scheduled to take part later this year, will be held in London. Sponsor of the tournament in London will be Azerbaijan, which gives them also the right to include one invited player as organizers.
The mixture of Azerbaijan and London, in combination with the recently singed agreement with Agon, has sparked discussion in the chess world. FIDE has managed to secure good financial conditions during a period of financial crisis, but still some voices are being raised. One of the most active critics of the idea of Candidates tournament 2012 in London is the ECU President Silvio Danailov. In an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio and local media, Danailov said:
“I will not allow such a mockery. Bulgaria and Azerbaijan have made their bid on time, while London does not have such. As a member of the FIDE Presidential board no one has informed me about any contracts. Ilyumzhinov can talk what he wants. When I see on paper the contract with Agon, with lawyers we will go to the CAS Sports Court in Lausanne. The Bulgarian Chess Federation worked long on this bid, we have talked to sponsors, ministers, and even the Prime Minister.”
Despite the clear division between sponsorship and media rights of Agon and CNC, Danailov also wonders, “In 2010 FIDE already signed such a contract with a Russian businessman and his company CNC. How come now we have yet another contract, if the one with the Russians is not terminated?”
Danailov later clarifies that he has seen the proposal for contract with Agon in December, but that the offshore company Agon was created in January. This in itself confirms that probably Agon was created especially for serving the chess related tasks.
FIDE plays correctly the moves
CAS/TAS in Lausanne has become a heated venue for chess disputes in the past years and threats by Danailov with court case have been central in the interview for the National Radio. However, FIDE seems to have correctly played the situation. First, the announcement about the Candidates tournament in London is still unofficial and not published as press release on the FIDE website. Second, the London and Azerbaijan bids are obviously the same application, as per explained by the FIDE President. And most important, according to Bidding Procedure for Candidates Tournament 2012 (published here) “FIDE also reserves the right not to award any bid at all, however favourable it might be”.
Azerbaijan and London
It is now confirmed that the money (or part of it) for the London Candidates tournament comes from Azerbaijan. The country, however, holds even higher ambition and soon they will submit a bid for the World Chess Championship 2013. It will be a match between the winner of the World Chess Championship 2012 and the winner of the Candidates tournament 2012 in London.