World champion Viswanathan Anand got a breather on Wednesday as the World Chess Federation agreed to postpone the first game of his World Chess Championship match against Veselin Topalov by a day to Saturday.
Anand, stranded at Frankfurt due to air traffic disruption caused by volcanic ash in European skies, had asked for a three-day postponement to the first game, knowing that he would be arriving late in Sofia, Bulgaria.
He finally reached the venue by road in the wee hours of Tuesday.
"I explained to Vishy that it is a shock for the organisation to postpone by three days. After many discussions I talked to the Presidential Board and the FIDE president and we decided to postpone the start of the match one day," FIDE deputy president Georgios Makropoulos said at the Press Conference before the inauguration ceremony.
"I expect from the organizers understanding for the one-day postponement and understanding from Anand's team that three days was also not optional," Makropoulos added.
The Indian ace thanked the federation for the decision.
"I am very happy to be here, it was a longer trip than we expected. The main thing I came here for is to play chess. Mr Makropoulos described very well the situation. I want to thank FIDE for the understanding and I hope the chess fans will see a good match," said Anand.
The eight-member Indian team is now in the official hotel, but Anand is yet to divulge the names of seconds during the championship.
While Topalov had said earlier that Anand is unlikely to change his team from the last championship match against Russian Vladimir Kramnik, speculations are rife that the Indian ace will spring at least one surprise if not too many.
Grandmaster Peter Heine Nielsen is definitely there, as Anand had said in an earlier interview, and since Surya Shekhar Ganguly is not in the participant's list of the Asian Championship at Subic Bay in Philippines, the Indian apparently looks to be another one in Anand's team.
With the dust settled over the championship's organizing issues, chess buffs can now expect a great show as Topalov is a fighter to the core and has a different approach than other strong players.
There will be 12 games in the championship and in the event of a tied score, tie-break games of shorter duration will be played to determine the winner.