Bids close for chess title match

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(First Edition)

THE BATTLE to bid for the world chess championship match between Garry Kasparov and Nigel Short passed its deadline at 5pm yesterday, but the result will not be known until Monday, writes William Hartston.

With secret meetings, frantic negotiations and new consortia being forged daily the game is now one of diplomacy, with scarcely anyone trusting anyone. The latest round started three weeks ago when the players rejected the decision of Fide to award the match to Manchester and its prize fund of pounds 1.2m. Short then announced that he and Kasparov would be forming a Professional Chess Association to run the match. The three main bidders last time were Manchester, the London Chess Group (a business consortium), and the sponsorship group IMG (supported by Channel 4). All three are still in play. In addition, at least two more potential sponsors were rumoured to have entered bids, but the question of whether the match will be played under the auspices of Fide is still unresolved.

Whatever happens, the players stand to earn more. If Manchester wins, Short and Kasparov will return to Fide, having extracted some concessions. If another sponsor triumphs the players can take the money and set up their new organisation. Yesterday the odds seemed to favour Manchester.