The power and wrath of Mother Nature came into dramatic clarity recently as Eyjafjallajökull, the glacier-topped Icelandic volcano threw world air travel into turmoil - and it could well have an impact on the upcoming Topalov-Anand World Championship match in Sofia, Bulgaria!
World champion Vishy Anand has been stranded at Frankfurt Airport and has asked FIDE, via the All India Chess Federation, for a 3-day postponement in the match due to start on Friday, April 23rd, citing force majeure conditions stipulated in the playing contract for the match.
However, his request may not be met as things seem to be beginning to clear up, and even UEFA, the governing body of European soccer, has instructed that all of next week's all-important European semifinal matches will have to go ahead as planned, regardless of the travel situation.
And indeed we have only just learned as we go to press on the ICC Newsletter that Anand (whether that be by planes, trains and automobiles) is believed to be already en route to Sofia early evening Sunday; the Sofia organizers - who were reluctant to immediately agree to such a postponement - of the match stating that they had met with FIDE and that an official statement regarding the scheduling of the match will be issued on Monday, April 19th.
Although Anand will arrive now in Sofia in time for Wednesday's official opening ceremony, it is clear he has lost 2-3 days of his settling in time to be fully ready and prepared to play the match, and this could be why he's asking for the postponement - but we await the official FIDE statement on Monday for the final decision.
Curiously, the last time a World Championship match was postponed in the scheduled opening week took place in the home of the offending volcano in Iceland(!), as Bobby Fischer arrived a week late in Reykjavik after various postponements were issued by FIDE (and agreed to by Boris Spassky) back in 1972.
Once we know the official schedule of the match, ICC will release another Newsletter update with our special guest commentators among our lineup on Chess.FM for the opening two games of the match!
And you can avoid all the travel hassles of going to Sofia by sitting back in the comfort of your own home to watch ICC's live, move-by-move coverage and commentary on Chess.FM of Topalov-Anand. To join ICC, click here.