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World Chess Championship: Delhi’s bid faces ‘Air Pollution’ hurdle

World Chess Championship: Delhi’s bid faces ‘Air Pollution’ hurdle

Chennai, with its successful hosting of the 2022 Chess Olympiad, and Singapore, a neutral venue, are also strong contenders for hosting the championship.

The prestigious FIDE World Chess Championship, featuring 18-year-old Indian challenger D Gukesh against defending champion Ding Liren, could face an unexpected hurdle – air pollution in New Delhi, one of the three candidate host cities.

Pollution threatens Delhi bid for FIDE World Chess Championship

FIDE CEO Emil Sutovsky told to Indian Express that New Delhi’s notorious air quality in November and December, the proposed months for the championship, is a significant concern.

While acknowledging the potential for excellent organization, Sutovsky emphasized that pollution is an uncontrollable factor that could negatively impact the event. This factor will be weighed heavily by the 15-member FIDE Council when making their final decision.

New Delhi past concerns

Last year, New Delhi faced criticism during the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix, with some players withdrawing due to poor facilities. This incident prompted FIDE to tighten its selection process for host cities.

Chennai and Singapore as alternatives

Chennai, with its successful hosting of the 2022 Chess Olympiad, and Singapore, a neutral venue, are also strong contenders for hosting the championship.

While Chennai might offer a home-court advantage for Gukesh, Singapore’s neutrality could tip the scales, especially if the financial offers from the other two cities are less competitive.

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FIDE prioritizes multiple factors

Sutovsky stressed that the FIDE Council considers a multitude of factors beyond neutrality. Distribution of rights, venue quality, broadcasting capabilities, and overall promotional potential for chess are all crucial aspects in their decision-making process.

Focus shifts to players

With the venue decision likely by the end of June, the focus will soon shift to the players themselves. While concerns have been raised about World Champion Ding Liren’s recent form, FIDE expects both players to sign their contracts within the next ten days.

A backup plan exists, with Hikaru Nakamura, the runner-up in the Candidates tournament, prepared to step in if either D Gukesh or Ding Liren withdraws.

Positive outlook despite challenges

Despite the challenges surrounding the venue selection, Sutovsky expressed satisfaction with India’s enthusiasm for the event. The chess world eagerly awaits the final decision and the highly anticipated championship match.

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