World Chess, the commercial rights holder and promoter of the World Chess Championship, will follow its incorporation as a UK-registered company last December by establishing a new worldwide headquarters in London this year.
The UK capital was recently announced as the venue for the World Chess Championship Match 2018, which will see the reigning champion, Norway's Magnus Carlsen defend his crown in a series of globally televised matches.
Since becoming domiciled in the UK, World Chess is subject to all British company and tax laws, and will be publishing an Annual Report and financial results as it brings further transparency to its management of the hugely popular – and fast growing – sport.
Ilya Merenzon, Chief Executive of World Chess, said: “Chess has the audience, the drama, and the stars to become the biggest sport of the 21st Century. But it also needs to be as transparent and accountable as possible. Moving the company to the UK – with the full support of the sport's governing body, FIDE – was an important part of that process.
“World Chess and FIDE have brought chess back to being a mainstream global sport – one watched and enjoyed by countless millions of people around the world. As a global company, we felt that the UK was the right place to be our new home – especially with the Championship Match coming to London in 2018.”
World Chess is currently searching for the location for its permanent headquarters in London.
Commenting on the recent news that UBS in Geneva has closed bank accounts belonging to FIDE after allegations that Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the organisation’s president, had facilitated transactions on behalf of the Syrian government, Mr Merenzon added: “Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has been a faithful servant to chess for decades. And we are happy that he and FIDE, for the good of the sport, are working with the banking community to break from the shadow of the current allegations. Right now FIDE is working to protect the integrity of the game we all love.”
World Chess is an independent company, wholly owned by its management team, while the World Chess Federation (FIDE) is the sport's long-established governing body. There are no commercial or ownership ties between the organisations; in 2012, World Chess was granted the exclusive licence from FIDE to manage the commercial rights to the World Chess Championship cycle of events.
Preparations for the forthcoming Candidates Tournament and the 2018 Championship Match in London in November have not been affected by the UBS decision to close FIDE's bank accounts.
Official hashtags of the Tournament are #candidates2018 and #berlinplayschess