According to 24.hu, Richárd Rapport has received an irresistible sponsorship offer from a Romanian billionaire of Serbian descent. This information was confirmed to the portal by the father of the 26-year-old chess player. Richárd Rapport has been among the world elite for a year, last week he placed 5th in the international rankings, and right now he stands at 8th place. Hungarian chess could lose one of its most impressive players of all time.
This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute.
The Hungarian Chess Federation (MSSZ) was convinced that Richárd Rapport would be the first player on the Hungarian men’s national team at the 2024 Olympiad in Budapest. However, the chess player’s career could take an unexpected turn. According to information from 24.hu, Hungary could lose the 26-year-old athlete, who won silver at the 2014 Norwegian Chess Olympiad, as he could continue his career in Romanian colors.
The father of the Hungarian chess player confirmed this information when asked by 24.hu. He said:
The main sponsor of the Superbet Chess Classic Romania 2022, Sacha Dragic, Serbian-born billionaire and owner of the Superbet company, has made him an irresistible sponsorship offer that would give him a real chance to win the world title in the coming years. As far as I know, Ricsi has made up his mind and accepted the offer, which also includes a future seat at the table in the Romanian colors.”
When a flag change is initiated, the federation concerned has ninety days to appeal. The Hungarian Chess Federation has already done so.
FIDE [International Chess Federation] has informed us that Ricsi has initiated a flag change. In such a case, the federation concerned has ninety days to submit a protest. We asked FIDE a lot of questions because the flag change regulation is quite liberal and generous, we asked them to interpret the situation,”
László Szabó, president of the MSSZ, told MTI.
“The Hungarian Chess Federation is determined to ensure that [Richárd] continues to compete under the Hungarian flag and bring glory to Hungarian chess and his homeland. For this, we will do our best, as we have done so far. With our bid last year, we won the right to host the 44th Chess Olympiad in Budapest in 2024, the fifth largest sporting event in the world. This also obliges us to do our utmost to field the strongest team for the world’s most exciting and prestigious chess event,” the MSSZ said.
The 26-year-old Hungarian chess player has qualified for the Candidates Tournament of the World Championship set to start on June 16 in Madrid, but will not yet be able to compete in the Romanian colors yet.
Sources: Nemzeti Sport, 24.hu
Featured image: International chess grandmaster Richard Rapport at the Tata Steel chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands, January 29, 2022. Photo by Olaf Kraak/MTI/EPA/ANP