09 January 2019

2018 FIDE Congress : Whither the World Championship?

For the tenth time -- the first was 2009 FIDE Executive Board : Whither the World Championship? (December 2009) and the most recent was 2017 FIDE Congress : Whither the World Championship? (November 2017) -- a 'Spectating' post on my main blog leads to a 'Whither' post on this blog. For the 'Spectating' post, see Spectating the 89th FIDE Congress (December 2018), and for the 'Whither' post, read on.

The rest of this post is based primarily on the minutes of the '89th FIDE Congress; General Assembly; Batumi, Georgia; 3-5 October 2018', which can be found via the 'Spectating' post. I normally start a 'Whither' post with the introductory speech of the FIDE President, but the 89th Congress was anything but normal:-

1. Report of the Deputy President. • Deputy President G. Makropoulos did not make a report to the General Assembly.

As the Congress was to include a FIDE election and Makropoulos was one of three candidates for president, I imagine he did this for political reasons. For veteran World Championship watchers like me, the most important question after 'Who will win the election?' is 'What is the situation with Agon?'. Another candidate for president also raised the issue:-

Mr. Short asked why the revised contract with Agon had not been publicized and was advised that it had been discussed and made public at the Antalya Executive Board meeting.

I couldn't recall having seen the contract and located a copy at Agon Agreement on Financial Obligations (chess24.com; PDF). It starts,

This agreement is approved on the 12. of October 2017 by:
a) World Chess Events Limited, having its registered office at [...], and Agon Limited, registered address at [...], hereinafter collectively referred to as "World Chess",
b) Federation Internationale des Echecs, having its registered office at [...], hereinafter referred to as "FIDE",

The heart of the document is a schedule of payments from World Chess to FIDE. The most important paragraph is a termination clause:-

9. It is agreed and fully accepted by World Chess that in case of the delay in performance of any of the above financial obligations by World Chess, the Promotion and Event Organization Agreement will be automatically terminated. However, a delay in payment for up to 7 (seven) days will not be considered a delay for the purpose of this agreement. In the event of the agreement being terminated in accordance with this clause, World Chess will propose to the sponsors to assign the relevant sponsorship contracts to FIDE.

As for the new FIDE management, the minutes of the 89th Congress later state,

6.6. Agon Limited. • It was agreed to refer this matter to the Presidential Board.

Another, later report, List of Decisions of Q4 2018 Presidential Board (fide.com; November 2018), says nothing about Agon or World Chess. The only other item in the minutes relevant to the World Championship was the report from the responsible commission (WCO):-

7.22. Commission on World Championship and Olympiads.
7.22.1. FIDE World Cup 2019. • The event shall be held in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. 4-30 November 2019.
7.22.2. FIDE World Cup 2021. • The event shall be held in Minsk, Belarus.
7.22.3. FIDE World Championship Match 2018. • The event shall be held in London, UK, 9-28 November 2018. Mr. I. Merenzon [NB: Agon] informed the General Assembly and gave a presentation of the venue and answered questions regarding broadcasting and the tax discussions over the New York match.
7.22.4. FIDE Candidates’ Tournament 2020. • The matter is referred to the next Presidential Board.
7.22.5. FIDE Grand-Prix. • The matter is referred to Presidential Board.
7.22.6. FIDE Women’s Grand-Prix series. • The Presidential Board at its meeting in Bucharest, 9-10 July 2018 has approved the organisation of the Women’s Candidates Tournament instead of Women’s Grand-Prix series. Annex 26 is a letter from the Governor of Colima, Mexico, in this respect.
7.22.7. FIDE Women’s World Championship Match 2018. • The event took place in China, Shanghai, Chongqing, 2-20 May 2018. Annex 27 is Chief Arbiter’s report.

As I reported in FIDE Commissions 2018 (December 2018), the WCO appears to have been disbanded. Exactly what has replaced it is not entirely clear.

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