Manchester to host world chess final

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The Independent Online
MANCHESTER'S bid to host the next Olympic Games received a significant boost yesterday when it was announced that the city would be the venue for the world chess championship between the British challenger, Nigel Short, and Garry Kasparov.

The city council, which is to hold the event with sponsors Manchester Airport, beat off a late and higher bid from a consortium including Channel 4.

The announcement of the city that will host the Olympic Games in 2000 will be made on 23 September, as Short, 27, who was born in Leigh and educated in Bolton, Greater Manchester, and the Russian champion Kasparov, 29, compete for the world title.

The International Chess Federation (FIDE) made its decision yesterday after sealed bids to hold the 1993 championships were opened at the organisation's headquarters in Lucerne, Switzerland, on Monday evening.

Manchester's bid was about pounds 300,000 lower than a last-minute offer from Channel 4 Television and IMG, the sports promotion group.

But FIDE explained the decision had been reached after consultation with Kasparov, Short and board members once the amount of prize money, bank guarantees and proposed match conditions were taken into account. While the Channel 4 bid offered more prize money, it was not supported by an independent bank guarantee which was one of the clinching factors that led to the championship being awarded to Manchester.

The ITV company's offer also failed because of demands for exclusive world television rights and daily interviews with players, the right to stage the championship anywhere in the UK starting as late as September, and the ability to determine days and times of play.

Channel 4's conditions for holding the event would have contravened many of the federation's strict regulations governing the championships, which stipulate that the venue, times and schedules of play must be fixed, and television rights be shared between FIDE and the players.

However, a spokesman for the television company said yesterday that it would probably enter negotiations with the city in an attempt to show the championships on terrestrial television. Two other television companies have also expressed interest.

The venue for the 24-game championship is almost certain to be the 740-seat Royal Exchange Theatre.

Yesterday Graham Stringer, the city council leader, said: 'This is tremendously important for the city. The timing could not be better in the run-up to the competition for the Olympic Games.'