The FIDE, world chess governing body, has revealed that it tried its best to convince India to allow Norway to stage one half of the 2013 World Chess Championship match but it refused.
Following criticism by many European chess officials for awarding the World Championship final to Chennai, FIDE issued a statement from Baku.
On the issue of neutral venue, FIDE pointed out that in the past, both Viswanathan Anand and Veselin Topalov played in their opponent's country.
It also said that according to its rules the World Championship cycle is not included in the list of events, for which the world body is obliged to have a bidding procedure as in the case of Olympiads.
FIDE also revealed that the Paris bid was higher than Chennai's bid, but the world body went ahead with the Indian city as it wanted "to respect its obligation".
The statement said, "Since the Candidates' Tournament ended, and GM Carlsen became the challenger of the coming World Championship Match. There have been several developments, mails exchange between all parties (Carlsen, Anand, FIDE), questions asked, and also speculations.
"FIDE would hereby like to put forward the current situation regarding this event.
"Directly after the 2012 match was awarded to Moscow, FIDE agreed to grant an option to Chennai. The PB and its meeting in Armenia in January decided that FIDE and AGON, who hold the rights for organising the whole cycle of the World Championship, were advised that India would take up its option to organise the World Championship match," the statement read.
"This was done on January 24 in Athens, where both parties agreed not to open a bidding procedure, but to grant an option to India, as requested," it further added.
FIDE also emphasised that according to its rules, the World Championship cycle was not included in the list of events, for which it was obliged to do so (like Olympiads, for instance).
"This has been deliberately done, because in many cases FIDE, having the priority in mind to secure the match and the cycle, was ready to give an option or even to grant the match if the proposal was attractive enough.
"Consequently three of the last matches were given to an organiser without a bidding procedure," the statement said.
"On March 15th India asked to extend the option until April 10th and FIDE agreed to it because it was clear that the bid would be accepted and just needed an approval of the Tamil Nadu State Parliament (sic), a session which took place on April 8th.
"One could ask why was the extension given to a date when the name of the challenger will be known already, and the simple answer is that FIDE, being convinced that the positive answer was just a matter of technicality, did not want to lose this bid for an alternative that gave no guarantee for a better result or any result at all," it read.
FIDE said when the approval of the bid by India was published and its representative was called to formalise it, on April 8, GM Magnus Carlsen's manager contacted FIDE and asked to have a meeting to discuss the matter before a formal move is done with India.
"Carlsen and FIDE's representatives met in FIDE office on April 15th, when all claims were brought up by Carlsen's representatives and were answered by FIDE.
"Among the points raised and answered we would like to emphasise one and this is the issue which was also raised in media -- the question of neutrality," the statement said.
"Unfortunately it has always proved difficult to find a sponsor to such a match when the name of the challenger is not known yet. Therefore most of matches in the past were organised in one of the participant's countries.
"Consequently both World Champions Anand and Topalov played in their opponent's country – a natural result of the situation. On that day both parties signed a paper whereby it was agreed to give Norway an option to come up with an organiser for half of the match, provided that India would accept such a solution," it further added.
Despite trying its best to convince India to split the match with Norway, FIDE said, "India wanted to fulfill what has been approved by the government of the Tamil Nadu State and FIDE had to keep its obligations, and consequently an M.O.U was signed in Chennai on April 19th.
"One day later, the FIDE President visited France, where he got a proposal to organise the match in Paris. Ilyumzhinov promised to bring the proposal before the Presidential Board. The French proposal was higher than the Chennai one, with more contributions offered.
"However, the Board decided (unanimously with one abstention) that FIDE must respect its obligation and thanked the French federation and the city of Paris for their proposal, hoping that there will be another opportunity to have a big event in Paris."
FIDE clarified that it has acted with full transparency during the whole process, trying its best to secure the match and standing by its obligations and reputation.
"FIDE will do everything to secure equal conditions for both players and also will try and still trying to increase the prize fund for the match."
Image: Viswanathan Anand
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