Moscow wins bid to host 2012 World Championship

Note: the press release given below has currently been removed from the FIDE website - we'll publish any update as soon as it appears. Update: the new press release left almost all of the details below unchanged, but you can read it, and a quick update, here

In a shock announcement, FIDE has granted the Russian Chess Federation the right to hold the 2012 World Championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand in Moscow. The prize fund will be 2,550,000 USD.

The bid from Moscow appeared the most promising in terms of organisational experience and the fact that it was a neutral venue, but the bid from Anand's home city of Chennai, India looked likely to win based on the simple fact that it was offering more money (around $4.5 million in total, which would mean a prize fund in excess of that promised by Moscow).

However, the Russian bid from billionaire chess fan Andrei Filatov appears to have won the contest by increasing the original prize fund on offer by 550,000 USD, to 2,550,000 USD. As a consolation the All India Chess Federation has been promised “first option” on holding the World Chess Championship Match in 2013, but it’s not clear at this stage what exactly that refers to (wouldn't the next men's World Championship be in 2014?).

FIDE have also announced that the Women's World Chess Championship Match between Hou Yifan and Humpy Koneru will be held in November this year in Tirana, Albania. The prize fund is a somewhat less impressive 200,000 euros.

The full press release from FIDE is given below:


PRESS RELEASE

The Federation Internationale des Echecs is pleased to announce that following the evaluation of the bids for the World Chess Championship Match 2012 and the recommendations by the World Championship and Olympiad Commission, it has awarded the organization of the match to the Russian Chess Federation.

The match will be held in May 2012 in Moscow, Russia and offers the World Champion Vishwanthanan Anand from India, and the Challenger Boris Gelfand from Israel, a prize fund of 2,550,000 US dollars.

FIDE thanked the Russian Chess Federation for its winning bid and will work together with the RCF to ensure that the match is organized under the best conditions for both players.

The FIDE President, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov expressed his gratitude also to the All India Chess Federation who worked very hard to put in a very competitive bid with the support of the Government of Tamil Nadu. 

In view of the commitment shown by the AICF and the appreciation of FIDE towards the development of chess in India, the AICF would be given a first option of three months following the match in Moscow, to make a proposal for the organization of the World Chess Championship Match 2013.

FIDE is further pleased to announce that the Women’s World Chess Championship Match between Women World Champion Hou Yifan from China and the Challenger Humpy Koneru from India, will be held in Tirana, Albania in November 2011 for a prize fund of 200,000 euros.