Singapore Chosen as Venue for Ding vs. Gukesh FIDE World Championship

02.07.2024 13:49 | News

The $2.5 million 2024 FIDE World Championship will take place in Singapore from November 20 to December 15.

This match, where reigning World Champion Ding Liren will face challenger GM Gukesh Dommaraju, was initially set to be held in one of the Indian cities, New Delhi or Chennai. However, Singapore ultimately won the bid, as announced by FIDE on Monday.

When the young Indian talent Gukesh unexpectedly won the 2024 FIDE Candidates Tournament, there was immediate speculation about a possible match in India, the new chess powerhouse. Bids were announced during Gukesh's triumphant return to Chennai, with both New Delhi and Chennai eager to host the match.

Such venues would have been a huge boost for Indian chess, but it's unclear whether home pressure and support would be an advantage or disadvantage for Gukesh. The 15th World Champion Viswanathan Anand, for example, lost his title to Magnus Carlsen in Chennai in 2013.

Although Gukesh stated that he was ready to play in India, Ding, who won the title against GM Ian Nepomniachtchi in Astana, Kazakhstan, in 2023, had already expressed concerns about a match with significant local support for his opponent. He preferred a third country, such as Singapore.

Singapore submitted its bid on May 31, which was approved after inspections on June 11-12. The 14-game match is scheduled to take place from November 20 to December 15 this year, with the exact venue yet to be determined—FIDE is considering four options.

FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich commented:

"We are delighted that for the first time in FIDE's history, a World Championship match will take place in Singapore. Singapore is not only one of the most iconic global tourist and business hubs, but it is also a thriving chess center with great ambitions and talent."

Some Indian chess fans and players, such as GM Vidit Gujrathi, expressed disappointment.

Dvorkovich added regarding the Indian bidders:

"I would also like to thank the other bidders—New Delhi and Chennai. Both cities are renowned chess hubs with a rich history of hosting chess events, and we are confident we will see major chess events there in the future."

For Singapore, it is a huge opportunity to host the most important event in chess. Twenty-two-year-old Singaporean GM Tin Jingyao told The Straits Times: 

"For many chess players here, it will be something really special. In Singapore, we barely have any events for chess, let alone huge events like this. Unless you're a serious chess player who travels overseas for competitions, most chess players and fans here have never attended an international chess event."

Regarding the chances of winning this match, the situation is very intriguing. Gukesh, at just 17 years old, has the chance to become the youngest World Champion in chess history. His youth and energy could be key factors in his battle against the current champion. On the other hand, Ding Liren, despite holding the World Champion title, has been struggling with his form. Recent results suggest that Ding is going through a tough period, which could give Gukesh an advantage. It will be fascinating to see if the young challenger can capitalize on this situation and overcome the experienced champion.

We have 142 days to wait!

0x 97x Petr Koutný
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