Tis the season to be jolly so what better time for the announcement of the confirmation that next year's Anand - Kramnik World Championship match will go ahead after all. Happily my pessimism of a month ago turned out to be totally misplaced and, according to the press released published on the Chessbase website on the 19th, a twelve game contest will be held in Bonn next October.
I've read in the past that the reason for the tortuous negotiations that invariably seem to accompany chess matches is that to make even the smallest concession to the wishes of one's opponent is to grant him a significant psychological victory and ensure the momentum of the struggle is against you even before the first pawn is pushed. If so, Anand might already be 1-0 down because it seems he's just rolled over and totally become Kramnik's bitch.
Vishy doesn't seem to have got anything at all out of the pre-match skirmishes. He expressed his desire not to play in Germany but has ended up going there anyway and he hasn't got the draw odds a champion would traditionally expect (a blitz play-off on 30th October will decide the title if necessary). He's not even going to get any extra dosh as the world title holder - the prize money will be split equally.
Ah well. Perhaps he just wanted to get the match on or maybe he's just a reasonable human being.
So why is this nugget of contemporary chess news appearing under the Old in Chess banner? Well, it must be confessed that even Speedy Malc got there before us on this one, publishing his announcement all of three days ago.
I'm off to bury my shame under a mountain of mince pies and drained beer bottles.
Merry Christmas all.