CHENNAI: Come November, Viswanathan Anand will be defending his world title against Magnus Carlsen at home. Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa had pitched in for it and the world chess federation (FIDE) awarded the game to Chennai without a bidding process.
"The state government has decided to host the chess championship event following a request from the FIDE. The government will allocate Rs 29 crore ($5.3m) for the event," Jayalalithaa said in the assembly on Monday.
DV Sundar, vice-president, FIDE, told reporters that this was the first time that the chess world body had offered the title round without a bid.
"The FIDE chief Kirsan Ilyumzhinov met the Tamil Nadu chief minister last year and requested her to host the world championship title round. Unfortunately India's bid was lesser than Russia's bid and we missed the chance last year," Sundar said.
"But Ilyumzhinov was keen to offer another opportunity to Chennai and thus FIDE decided to offer the world championship without any bid this time," Sundar said.
The November 6-26 event will be a 12-round affair, but in case of a tie, Anand and Carlsen will play four Rapid games. If it's a tie even then, four Blitz games will follow and if the deadlock is not broken after that, the Armageddon (sudden death, where a draw is enough for black while white has to win) will determine the eventual winner.
Last year, Chennai had lost the bid to host Anand's title match against Boris Gelfand to Moscow which upped the prize fund to $2.25m. This time the prize fund will be $2.55 million (Rs 13.6 crore), which will be divided in a 60:40 ratio between the winner and the loser.
"We are happy that the state government has come forward for the second time to host the championship," Anand's wife Aruna told the TOI on Monday. "Anand is excited about playing in front of the home crowd. The state's backing sometimes gives you the much needed push," she added.
This will be Anand's first World title match at home although he has played a world championship cycle match in India before. Only last week Anand had spoken of playing the title round at home. "The World chess championship is one of the biggest tournaments, and playing in Chennai will be great," he said.