Chess: Anand to play Gelfand in Moscow for 2012 title

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Indian chess champion Viswanathan Anand and his Israeli rival Boris Gelfand agreed Saturday to play a $2.5-million series of matches in a historic Moscow art gallery for the 2012 world crown.

The May 10-21 series will be played inside Moscow's Tretyakov State Gallery across the Moscow River from the Kremlin and comprise 12 matches played under classic World Chess Federation (FIDE) rules.

The $2,550,000 (1,930,000-euro) purse will be split 60-40 between the winner and loser.

"Moscow's bid to host the match was accepted because Russia is a neutral country," FIDE chief Kirsan Ilyumzhinov said upon the player agreement's signature in Moscow.

"Plus, the Russian Chess Federation ensured a purse that was half-a-million dollars larger than any other city's," Interfax quoted Ilyumzhinov as saying.

Russia's eccentric FIDE chief has most recently gained attention by visiting Libya during NATO's air campaign against Moamer Kadhafi's forces and playing a chess match with the late dictator.

But he was overwhelmingly re-elected to a new term as FIDE chief last year and has since been heavily involved in promoting Russia's historic place in the sport.

Gelfand enters the match as the winner of the Candidates tournament and is ranked 14th by FIDE.

Anand -- who has already defended his title against Russia's Vladimir Kramnik and Bulgaria's Veselin Topalov -- is ranked FIDE number two behind Norway's Magnus Carlsen.

© 2011 AFP

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