Chennai, formerly Madras, has proclaimed an early victory in what promised to be a protracted global struggle to stage the eagerly awaited Vishy Anand v Magnus Carlsen world championship match in November.
Chennai is Anand's home city, whose Tamil Nadu government announced a $3.5m budget for the series.
Chennai was the underbidder for Anand v Boris Gelfand staged in Moscow last year, and Fide, the international chess body, promised India first refusal for 2013 without any bidding process. Organisational and other costs mean that the prize fund for the players will struggle to equal the $2.5m of Anand v Gelfand, a far less exciting match.
The Agon firm and its US founder, Andrew Paulson, who are officially in charge of the commercial rights to Anand v Carlsen, said earlier that their preferred location was New York but that there was also interest from Miami, St Tropez, Paris and Tromso. The Norwegian town is already hosting the 2013 World Cup and the 2014 world team Olympiad.
Team Carlsen is unlikely to be content with playing on Indian soil, as the 22-year-old challenger has no experience of competing in hot climates. The world No 1 could refuse to sign the contract while Chennai's preemptive strike may also be countered by a significantly higher bid from one or more of its rivals. Fide is potentially at loggerheads with Agon. Watch this space.
The next world class tournament will be in various Norwegian cities from 8 to 18 May, when the top five in the rankings, including Anand and Carlsen, will compete. The event is a big opportunity for Russia's 23-year-old world No5, Sergey Karjakin, who did not qualify for last month's candidates in London despite his excellent credentials. However, Karjakin suffered a blow this week at the Russian team championship, where he was crushed by a Georgian who has a giant-killing reputation but is not in the Muscovite's class. Baadur Jobava approached the occasion in a daring way, unleashing an old-style Giuoco Piano opening which was popular half a century ago and creating a dazzling attack on the king which led to victory in a fast 28 moves.
Jobava's twist was the quiet bishop retreat 7 Be2, rather than the normal 7 Bb5xc6 which aims at dark square control but has long since had its fangs drawn. He followed up by the novelty 12 Rc1! The surprised Karjakin reacted timidly by 12...Kh8 rather than the simple dxe5, and later went more seriously wrong by 16...Rf4? (Qd7!).
When Jobava pushed 20 e6! it was clear that the black king was in trouble and after a couple more black errors Karjakin fell into 27 Rxg6! (Nxg6 28 Qh5+) and had to resign next move when he saw that Qg8 fails to 29 Rh5+ Rxh5 30 Qxh5+ Qh7 31 Qxh7+ Kxh7 32 Rxg7+ and 33 Rxe7 with a piece ahead.
Baadur Jobava v Sergey Karjakin
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 c3 Nf6 5 d4 exd4 6 e5 d5 7 Be2!? Ne4 8 cxd4 Bb4+ 9 Bd2 Nxd2 10 Nbxd2 0-0 11 0-0 f6 12 Rc1! Kh8?! 13 Nb3 Bg4 14 a3 Be7 15 Re1 fxe5 16 dxe5 Rf4? 17 h3 Bh5 18 Nc5 Bxc5 19 Rxc5 d4 20 e6! Bg6 21 Bd3 Qf6 22 Ng5 Ne7? 23 Bxg6 hxg6 24 Ne4! Qxe6 25 Ng5 Qf6? 26 Re6 Qf8 27 Rxg6! Rh4 28 Ne6 1-0
3301 1 Qh4+! gxh4 2 Rh5 mate.
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