Monday, April 19, 2010

Anand stalemated by Icelandic volcano

The world championship match between World Champion, Anand and Topalov is due to begin 21st April 2010 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Anand who is based in Madrid, Spain got as far as Frankfurt, Germany. A volcano eruption in Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland has spewed lava and ash into Europe's airspace crippling air travel in the region for the last four days. It will be quite impossible for Anand to reach Sofia in time for the 21st April opening ceremony.

According  to a Chessbase report , Anand's manager requested for a three day postponement to enable the delegation to find alternative ways to reach the venue. This request was channelled through the All-India Chess Federation to FIDE President, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov for his intevention.

Anand himself has issued a legal notice which I wish to reproduce in full here:




All the concerned parties

Sub: Notice of Force Majeure Condition.

We were due to arrive at _13.05 on 16th April by Lufthansa LH 3484 from Frankfurt to Sofia. We were in transit from Madrid. Unfortunately from 16th April all flights have been cancelled as is the case in most European countries due to the volcanic eruption. Therefore due to circumstances beyond our control we are unable to reach Sofia as scheduled on 16th April, 2010.

We are in close consultations with Lufthansa and if the airspace in Germany does open we will fly to Sofia.

Meanwhile have been checking on alternatives of going to airports that are reachable by train. However, trains are overbooked and further the Airports seem to be shutting down. Rebooking on flights seem very difficult and we have used considerable influence in getting ourselves rebooked at the earliest.

Trains to Sofia would take about 28 hours to reach and I would not be in a mental state to play immediately after travelling such distance. Further to play immediately would be unfair and unjust due to the fatigue given that the opponent has arrived a few weeks back. Under these circumstances the contest would not be equal and fair.

This letter may be treated as notice under clause 11(2) of the Agreement of intimation of Force Majeure condition. I will immediately intimate you on finalizing an alternate arrangement to reach Sofia.

In this current scenario I request you to postpone the First round by three days

Yours faithfully,

Viswanathan Anand

It is obvious that Anand is trying his best to be in Sofia but the situation is beyond his control and it seems the contract allows him to invoke "force majeure". Force majeure is commonly used in contracts to free the parties from liability when situations which are beyond their control does not allow them to fulfil the terms of their contract. Force majeure can include war, riots and "acts of God" such as earthquakes, flooding and volcanic eruptions :)


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