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UK will not make bid for chess contest

AT NOON today, the deadline will pass for bids to be made to hold the World Chess Championship match between the holder, Garry Kasparov, and the challenger, Nigel Short. There will be no bid from Britain, writes Bill Hartston.

In the week since Short defeated Jan Timman to become the official challenger, frantic efforts have been made by Manchester City Council to put together a bid, but with the International Chess Federation (FIDE) seeking a dollars 4m ( pounds 2.7m) prize fund, it has been impossible to make the necessary arrangements within the available time. The British Chess Federation yesterday night made a formal request for the deadline to be extended by three weeks.

If anyone has yet submitted a bid near the desired figure, it is a secret known only to the bidders and the president of FIDE. Barcelona, believed until recently to be the most likely venue, has apparently also decided not to bid, while Djakarta, Berlin and Zagreb, all of which were mentioned as possible bidders in earlier despatches from FIDE headquarters, have not made their intentions known.

The only sure bid appears to be from the city of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, but their proposed prize fund is understood to be considerably less than the dollars 4m asked by FIDE. Two previous bidders for the match, Los Angeles and Ontario, both dropped out when they were unable to obtain the required sponsorship.