Thursday, August 11, 2011

India: We are thoroughly disappointed



Was India's World Chess Championship bid price leaked?

Hari Hara NandananHari Hara Nandanan, TNN | Aug 11, 2011, 12.46AM IST



CHENNAI: Has the world chess federation (Fide) tricked India into a future deal when it finalised the bid for the title match between defending champion Viswanathan Anand and challenger Boris Gelfand of Israel in 2012? The answer seems to be both yes and no as the Chennai bid has fallen flat in front of Moscow, which got the Fide vote on Tuesday.



Technically, Fide is right in allotting the match to Russia, as its bid was better than that of Chennai. But there is at least one section from the Indian bidding group that is unhappy over the way the world body coaxed the Indian organisers into believing that their bid had all but won the deal. "We are thoroughly disappointed," said All India Chess Federation president JCD Prabhakar. "Madam (chief minister J Jayalalithaa) was so gracious to release the money for the conduct of the match."



Curiously, Russia had put up a bid initially for the match and then revised it after sensing Chennai would better it in the last minute. This has come as a big surprise to the chess fraternity in general, especially as it came at 11.59 pm on July 31, one minute before the deadline. "This was a big setback to us," said Prabhakar. However, he refrained from commenting further on Fide's decision.



AICF secretary Bharat Singh told TOI from New Delhi that Russia was well within its right to revise the bid, but he too sounded unhappy with the way the bidding procedure went. "We don't run the Fide," he said, when asked whether the world body had fooled India in the bidding process.



The big question is, whether the Russian federation had got wind of the actual amount of the Indian bid so that it could better that in the last minute? Someone had known the Indian bid price and if that is the case, who is the black sheep? This has no answer as the envelopes are sealed when they are given to Fide and there is no chance, in normal circumstances, for the amount to be leaked.



However, the revised figure from the Russian Chess Federation ($2.55m against Chennai's bid of $2.25m) and the two separate press releases issued by Fide on Tuesday point to some dark areas in the whole process.



Nevertheless, Fide vice-president DV Sundar, who hails from Chennai, does not think there is anything wrong in the allotment. "Russia simply had a better bid. It is also a neutral venue. But look at the positive side, Fide has already given us the option of hosting the 2013 world championship," he defended the Fide decision.



But what is Anand's position in 2013 when the bidding reopens three months from his match against Gelfand in 2012? "If he wins (against Gelfand), we will forward the bid again to Fide. If he loses, we will say goodbye," said Sundar, who seemed equal to the task.



Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com