The best Hungarian chess player, who is the 5th best in the world, Richárd Rapport, received the sponsorship offer of his lifetime. If he accepts it, he can have a chance to become the world’s best. However, like everything, money comes with a price. He has to continue his career in Romanian colours.
According to Blikk, it is quite likely that Richárd Rapport will compete in Romanian colours in the 2022 candidates tournament in Madrid. Sacha Dragic, the CEO of Superbet, the main sponsor of the 2022 Superbet Chess Classic Romania, approached Rapport with an offer he probably cannot and will not refuse.
The Serbian entrepreneur’s offer can help Rapport reach the top of the chess world within the next few years.
Richárd Rapport (26) won a silver in the 2014 Chess Olympics in Norway. Now he might continue in Romanian colours. Rapport has not given an interview for years, but his father confirmed that the best Hungarian chess player would represent Romania in future tournaments.
“As far as I know, Ricsi decided to accept the offer meaning that he will compete as a Romanian player” –
Rapport’s father told 24.hu. Rapport was 5th on the world list until last week when he fell to 8th place. Interestingly, in 2024, Budapest will organise the Chess Olympics, where Rapport has a chance to become the world’s best.
Rapport has been living with his wife since he was 18 in Serbia. However, he has never wanted to compete under a non-Hungarian flag before. Tamás Rapport, the father of the Hungarian genius, said his son’s life was very similar to Rocky Balboa’s in the famous movie. In contrast to his opponents’ lavish circumstances, he prepared for the competitions “under nomadic conditions.” That is because the state support of Hungarian chess is way behind other sports. It is like a desert, the father said. In the years of the Olympics, there can be oases.
Otherwise, drought rules.
After the change of the regime, no brand and marketing strategy was created for the Hungarian chess. It is not represented in the news media. Thus, it is not surprising that Richárd Rapport had only two sponsors during his successful career.
24.hu wrote that in 2021 and 2022, Rapport received no money from the Hungarian Chess Federation. He paid everything from the money he won in previous tournaments. Therefore, his 5th place among the world’s best is even more respectable.
Thanks to his silver medal in the 2014 chess Olympics, he could receive a life annuity, but he is not 35-year-old yet. Even though Rapport nominated his father as his coach, he does not receive money.
According to 24.hu, the Hungarian Chess Federation supported Rapport to the fullest possible extent after 2019. They added that, currently, chess players cannot obtain the scholarship of the Gerevich Foundation, but the federation continues to lobby to change that rule. They also highlighted that they regard Richárd Rapport as the biggest value of Hungarian chess. They cheer for him, support him and count on him.
Nemzeti Sport reached out to László Szabó, the chairman of the Hungarian Chess Federation, in regard to the issue. Szabó said that Rapport is a brilliant mind who was discovered and trained by his father. He chose to become a professional player and made a living from chess. However, the national federation, cannot compete with the money circulating in the world’s biggest chess tournaments. Szabó highlighted that they did what they could to support him.
He said Rapport had not been a member of the national team of Hungary for five years because he did not have the time for it. He said he understood that.
Szabó added that it happened many times that famous chess players changed the flags under which they competed. For example, Levon Aronjan started his career as an Armenian and later became a US player.
Szabó said they were working on a long-term solution to keep Rapport at all costs.
Source: Blikk, 24.hu, Nemzeti Sport