Chess Championship: Chennai, Singapore & New Delhi submit bids to host final

In December 2023, he won the Chennai Grandmasters event, the competition that helped him qualify to the Candidates as FIDE Circuit Leader.
Emil Sutovsky, CEO of FIDE
Emil Sutovsky, CEO of FIDE

CHENNAI: Three cities, including Chennai, are in the running to host the chess World Championship final between Ding Liren and D Gukesh.

Singapore and New Delhi are the two other cities in with a chance of hosting one of chess’ blue-riband meet.

“Three bids to host the FIDE World Championship Match-2024,” Emil Sutovsky, CEO of the world governing body, FIDE, posted on X on Friday. “Chennai, Singapore and New Delhi. All meet the criteria. Next week, FIDE Council to discuss it — representatives of the bidders invited to share details and take questions. Final decision in June.” May 31 was the deadline to send the bids.

Going by Sutovsky’s post, Chennai was the first to submit the bid before New Delhi and Singapore in that order. Out of the three, both Chennai (2013) and New Delhi (part-hosted in 2000) have previously hosted the final.

Gukesh, who won the Candidates in Canada in April, does like playing at Chennai, his home turf. In 2022, he won individual gold at the Olympiad. In December 2023, he won the Chennai Grandmasters event, the competition that helped him qualify to the Candidates as FIDE Circuit Leader.

Interestingly, the Chennai bid was made via the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu while the Delhi one was submitted via the All India Chess Federation. “FIDE wrote to the honourable chief minister of Tamil Nadu about entering the bid process,” confirmed SDAT member secretary Meghanath Reddy. “After deliberations and discussions including with FIDE and taking clearance from the highest level of Government, SDAT submitted the bid representing the Tamil Nadu government.” The final is scheduled to be held between November 20 and December 15.

Singapore may hold edge

A hour or so after FIDE announced the results of the bidding process, Sutovsky answered a few questions on ChessBase India’s YouTube channel. The FIDE CEO said one of the criteria they will look at is neutrality so Singapore does score highly in this regard.

However, that isn’t the only criteria they will look. In fact, Sutovsky raised the prospect of two venues to decide the world champion — so any combination of Delhi/Singapore, Chennai/Singapore or Delhi/Chennai. This of course is nothing new for the game. There have been previous occasions when the title match has been held in multiple venues.

When it was put to Sutovsky about the unusual nature of multiple bids from one country, he elaborated. “The first one came from Chennai,” he said. “It’s hardly surprising because Chennai is home for Gukesh. It’s natural that the local government backed it.

“About the Delhi bid, it arrived last. According to the bid, they will host the event at a very prestigious venue. It’s backed by the All India Chess Federation and the sports ministry. (An) internal clash but due to intricacies, I will not go into details.”

A final decision will be made by the last week of June. The next step is a meeting with representatives of all three bidders.

Salient features

  • All three bids backed by government structures

  • All of them have promised at least $8.5mn (a FIDE condition when they opened process)

  • Possibility of splitting the title match so any combination of Singapore/Chennai, Singapore/Delhi or Delhi/Chennai

  • Neutrality one of the criteria so Singapore may hold an edge

  • Bids will also have to positively influence future of the game in the venue (leaving behind a legacy)

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