20 November 2014

Carlsen - Anand II : Rumblings

Game nine of the Carlsen - Anand World Championship match in Sochi ended in a short draw, which gave me extra time to look into other matters. Going back to the Pre-match Press Conference, who was that fellow sitting to the right of the match stakeholders? Introduced as 'the organizer of the tournament, Ilya Merenzon', this was the first time I had become aware of him.

The first article I discovered was on Chess-news.ru, Agon Company Currently Belongs to Ilya Merenzon; Paulson No Longer Interested:-

Merenzon told us that the mysterious Agon company, which possesses the rights of conducting World Chess Championships and other major chess events, is currently being owned by him.

The last time I posted about Agon, Paulson, et al was Chess Leaks Like a Sieve (February 2014), a collection of unhappy stories that I thought could only get better.

The second article I discovered about Merenzon was on Livemint.com ('A financial daily covering stocks, commodities, companies and the economy'), Fide yet to get World Chess Championship prize fund, 'Fide has been mired in controversy ever since it awarded rights to manage the championship to a little-known firm, Agon':-

Sochi (Russia): It is inconceivable that the Russian organizers of the ongoing world chess championship won't pay Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand their match fees, but a top official on Friday revealed that the world chess federation hadn't yet received in its bank account the event's prize fund of €1 million. [...] Andrew Paulson, the founder of Agon, who until about a year ago was the principal promoter of the sport and described himself as the chief executive of world chess, has sold the firm to an associate, Ilya Merenzon, for £1. [...] Into his shoes has stepped in Merenzon, and his first task is to stump up €1 million -- the statutory minimum prize fund for the ongoing world chess title match.

Did I say this unhappy story that could only get better? Now I'm sure of it.

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