Venue for Short's world bid in doubt

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The Independent Online
THE LOCATION of the forthcoming match for the World Chess Championship between Garry Kasparov and Nigel Short remained in doubt after sealed bids for the match were opened at the headquarters of FIDE (the International Chess Federation) in Lucerne, Switzerland, yesterday.

After rumours of huge sums and many bidders had been circulating for weeks, the cold truth was revealed that only two bids had been received. One of them, from Santiago de Compostela, Spain, offered a prize fund of 1m Swiss francs ( pounds 466,000), the statutory minimum.

This was dwarfed by another bid, of dollars 5.6m (nearly pounds 4m). The only problem is that it comes from Belgrade, where attempts to stage the match could contravene United Nations sanctions. The Belgrade backers, believed to be the same as those behind the recent match between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky, have offered to make an immediate cash deposit of 1m German marks ( pounds 417,000) if they are awarded the match.

After the envelopes containing the bids were opened in private - and it was found that the bid from Spain had not included any deposit, as demanded by the regulations - FIDE officials went into a two-hour meeting before announcing the results.

'The bidding is now closed; the venue will be decided after discussion with the players,' they said, apparently shutting the door on a request from the British Chess Federation for more time to put together a bid from Manchester.