London Candidates – follow-up

Since my post on this subject a few days ago, more has become known. This Chessbase article sums up the latest picture. FIDE seem to be confirming that the event will be in London, between 23 October and 13 November.

One thing which has exercised minds has been the confirmation that Radjabov will get the wild card. In general, the wild card is usually reserved for a player from the host country, so some English noses have been out of joint that Adams did not get the nod. But now Russian chess organiser and trenchant critic of the whole episode, Ilya Levitov, has just posted something interesting on Twitter. He writes:

ILevitov Ilya Levitov

Азерб. платит, Раджабов играет, турнир в Лондоне. Всем хорошо. Осталось только научиться все делать по правилам с самого начала.
Translating this, it reads: “Azerbaijan will pay, Radjabov will play, the tournament will be in London. Good for everyone. All that remains is to learn to do things by the rules from the start.”
Then he adds:
ILevitov Ilya Levitov

Но остается непонятным, кто будет организатором турнира в Лондоне.
In English: “But it remains unknown who will be the organisers in London”
This is interesting information, and makes some sense. We know that Azerbaijan was one of the bidders, and they naturally wanted their man Radjabov in the event. The problem was that Aronian made it clear he would not play in Azerbaijan, because of the ethnic tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia. If Levitov is correct, then the decision to use London, but with the Azeris still funding the event, and Radjabov included, suits pretty much everyone.

And, as Levitov says, nobody knows who will be the organisers on the ground.  The Agon company, which seems set to run the event, apparently has no experience at all of staging a chess event, or a sports event in general. One imagines they will need someone on the ground in London, to do it for them. Maybe they will approach Malcolm Pein? Or Ray Keene? Or, God forbid, the Egregious Chess Federation?

Place your bets!

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