Silvio Danailov interview

Silvio Danailov speaks for Yuri Vasiliev

Yuri Vasiliev interviewed Silvio Danailov during the Mtel Masters. We offer you excerpts from the translation in English by Chessbase. More on the topic : Danailov supports Kasparov

Yuri Vasiliev: Silvio, the first question is obvious: why are the participants of the third M-Tel Masters not as brilliant as those in the previous two tournaments.

Silvio Danailov: First of all a category 20 tournament cannot by definition be a weak one. Topalov, Mamedyarov and Adams are part of the top ten in the world, Kamsky is the strongest player in America. He was a world championship challenger and a legendary player who has returned to chess, which makes him interesting for everybody. Sasikiran is an extraordinarily strong and talented grandmaster, the second in India after Anand. Until now he has not really had the opportunity to show his potential. Now we have given him this chance. Nisipeanu was the European Champion in 2005 and represents Romania, which like us has recently become part of the European Union. This was a gesture of friendship to our neighbors.

Vasiliev: But you got us used to elite players taking part in the M-Tel Masters…

Danailov: I invited all the strongest players. It is not my fault that Ivanchuk, who told me that he wanted to play in Sofia, had prior commitments with his club in the Russian league. For the same reason we could not invite some other Russian GMs. Aronian, whom we would have liked to see in Sofia, could not come because of his participation in the Candidates. The same applies to Judit Polgar who, after thinking hard, said “Sorry but I have to prepare for the Candidates.” For the same reason I did not invite Leko, because I knew he would refuse. He has to concentrate on the qualification for the World Championship in Mexico. I do not understand why FIDE refused to consider the traditional schedule of the tournament in Sofia when it arranged the Candidates matches. They could have easily move the dates for Elista slightly, but they didn’t want to do so.

Did you also invite Kramnik?

Kramnik lives in an unreal world. He refused to play a return match against Topalov in Sofia, although he was guaranteed a million Dollars tax free for it. He belongs where he now is. Everybody saw where he was when he started hiding from Kasparov. He was Mr. Nobody. And he would have remained a Mr. Nobody if we hadn’t agreed to play the match in Elista, which made him the World Champion. There was an incredible amount of interest for chess after the match in Elista. But Kramnik once again went into hiding. This refusal shows once again that the man does not understand the world in which he lives. It was a unique chance that was lost for chess. The interest in a match in Sofia would have far exceeded Elista. It was a golden chance for chess. But he missed it, just as he missed the chance to face Kasparov in a revenge match. Now we will see how he handles his title. In October he will of course lose it in Mexico. And then he will expect the revenge match that the FIDE president has promised him. But the question of getting this revenge match is still open. It is entirely possible that he will not get it. In one year, when Kramnik has lost his title, anything is possible…


At this event we once again see the “Sofia Rules” in their full beauty. But these rules are liked only by the organizers, not the professionals, who are less enthusiastic about them.

That is quite natural, since they have to work harder for the same amount of money. But at some stage one has to become a real professional. You have to play to the end of the game, you must wear a decent suit. You must appear for your games wearing clean shoes, and not in sneakers and a T-shirt. After the game you must talk to the press. You must do all these things. In former times you didn’t have to do anything. Take your money, play fifteen or twenty moves, and you can go and rest. But that could not go on forever. Either you become a professional or you can play in amateur tournaments.


Do you feel the after-effects of “Toiletgate”?

Kamsky said very well in his interview to the “Trud” newspaper. In America there is no such thing as “bad publicity”. There is just publicity. Unfortunately, in the world in which we live (the chess world) there are too many amateurs. They have never heard about advertising, they don’t know what marketing means, what real professionalism is. Because they are amateurs. During “toiletgate” everybody was talking about chess. The New York Times had an article about in on the front page. That was real publicity. Not “bad” or “good” publicity, just publicity. Everybody was interested in what is happening in the match with the two strongest chess players participating. Everyone was electrified by the events.

I am disliked not because of the scandal. People envy me because I took Topalov to the top, because I created the most professional chess tournament, because I am creating the Grand Slam, because I introduced the Sofia Rules. For fifty years people have been racking their brains on how to combat short draws. And it was so easy: just don’t allow the players to discuss it over the board. People are envious, they are jealous. But these are not my problems. Chess must renew itself or die. There are no other options.


You mentioned the Grand Slam. Are there any new developments in this project?

We are working on it. We already have 400,000 Euros in a bank in Bilbao for the Masters Final. As you saw in Linares, the organizers of three tournament organizers have already signed the agreement: Wijk aan Zee, Linares and Sofia. At the end of the year there will be a Masters, based on the results. We have the money for it. I think the forth Grand Slam tournament will be Mexico, where the mayor has shown great interest. We are working on it. Who found sponsors for Mexico Championship? Yours truly. Has anybody said thanks? Of course not. People just say “what a evil person this Danialov is!”

Read the full interview in English in Chessbase or the original in Russian in Chesspro with many pictures.

IM Manuel Leon Hoyos

An interview with the young talented IM

Manuel Hoyos

IM Manuel Leon Hoyos

Congratulations for the Mexican Championship! You were the best placed Mexican player in the tournament. How does it feel to be in front of so many GMs?

I feel great about what I have achieved, especially since I also scored my first GM norm! What I most liked about the tournament is that I played beautiful games and the spectators enjoyed as well.

Are you still far from the 2700+ club?

It may seem far, but I am working my way towards it; discipline and constant studying are what I believe I need to reach even greater heights.

When and where is your next event?

I think I should finish up my GM title norms, so I will participate in two strong tournaments. The first one is from the 17th to the 28th of May – El Capablanca in Memoriam in La Habana, Cuba. The second is Zonal Championship of the Dominican Republic from the 30th of May to the 10th of June. It is a qualification for the World Cup.

The World Championship will be in Mexico. There will be other events at the same time. Will you participate in any of them?

Of course I will!! I will attend also the opening of the World Championship, the whole of Mexico is anxiously waiting for the event, I am sure it’ll be fantastic!

Chess in Mexico is developing every day. Will Mexico be a chess super power in the future?

Chess fever in Mexico is spreading quite fast. Thanks to the dedicated support of chess promoters as Mr. Jorge Saggiante, to whom we owe the dedication and the idea of bringing the World Championship to Mexico, the level of chess in Mexico is increasing exponentially.

Which training method do you prefer – with computer, with books, or with a coach?

I have always loved reading magazines and browsing chess portals like Chessdom.com, since they always have interesting facts and reviews of decisive tournament games. With books, I also learn a lot and the computer helps me do my work. I didn’t have the opportunity to have a trainer, but I have friends with whom I share my studies and my experiences, which is very useful, as it aids to my learning process.

What do you think of the Sofia rule?

From my experience, I came to the conclusion that the Sofia rule is an excellent idea, as it helps the promotion of the tournament. Also, the players develop a high level of fighting chess in each one of the games and, of course, the audience is enjoying nicer games.

Thank you very much Mr. Leon Hoyos and good luck on the way to the GM title.

A friendly greeting to all chess fans and all the visitors of Chessdom

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Interview with GM Gata Kamsky

by Antoni Jordanov, Trud Daily

Q: How do you feel about coming to Sofia?

It’s a great feeling to be back in such a beautiful city. I’m looking forward to some exciting chess games ahead.

Q: You are participating in big tournaments for a third year in a row. Has M-Tel Masters already become one of the leading tournaments on the planet?

Actually, this is going to be my 2nd time in Sofia, but I believe that M-Tel Masters are becoming a strong tradition with very high standard of organization and level of play. Definitely, it is one of the top tournaments in the world today along with such tournaments as Dortmund and Wijk aan Zee.

Q: Anand, Topalov, Kramnik – what is your personal ranking of the strongest players in the present moment?

I believe that these three players are really close to each other in terms of chess strength and abilities. It would be interesting to see a sort of a match tournament between them.

Q: 11 years ago like a US citizen you, just like Topalov, played against a Russian player – Anatoli Karpov. Did you feel a “special treatment” or provocations?

This is a tough question because after Sofia I’m going to Elista to take part in the Candidates matches and I don’t want to provoke some politics that will hinder my ability to play chess there, but yes, there were a lot of issues involved during my match against Karpov, but perhaps the absolutely best person to ask about it would be my father.

Q: Which side were you at in the “toilet war”?

I did not take any side because I believe that the match for the world championship is not just a battle of wills on the chess board but also includes a lot of politics and accusations from both sides. In my personal opinion, there were some legitimate concerns raised, given the fact that the match was staged in the country of one of the players, but apart from the players and their seconds, who knows best what really happened, I can’t really make any comment.

Q: In your opinion, how did this scandal affected chess? Did it increase the interest for the ancient game?

Well, it was curious to watch the reaction of the world’s newspapers and their headlines on front pages. As they say here in the United States, any publicity is good publicity.

Q: Is it really possible to give hints to a GM at a big tournament and aren’t such statements absurd?

Ok, the way I understand this question is that it touches upon popular concern with a player receiving outside assistance. Since, this topic is especially controversial here in the United States due to some highly publicized cases of cheating at the Open tournaments, I believe the topic itself has some merit and has to be studied carefully. However , such accusations can easily become a tool for other reasons like jealousy or even have some political motivations and could be very dangerous and damaging. Based on what I have learned so far in life, these incidents can’t be generalized and have to be studied on a case by case basis.

With regards to the advice being given to a grandmaster at a big tournament, we must not forget that ANY player can benefit from advice from a computer program, because the programs have become so strong these days, so some measures have to be taken, but for that task, FIDE has to set a standard.

Q: Is it fair that Topalov does not play in the World Championship in Mexico?

Yes, personally I think it’s ridiculous that Kramnik gets so many privileges and gets basically two chances to defend his own title. It would make a lot more sense if Topalov, instead of Kramnik were to play in Mexico.

Q: Why is it that so many Russian chess players leave their homeland? Why did you leave for the USA and do you regret that decision?

No, I never regretted my and my father’s decision to move to the USA, thanks to the freedom of choice of participating in any tournament in the world, I was able to quickly move into the top ranked player.

Q: Do mediums and such kind of “magicians” really have an influence on chess and have you personally felt such an influence on yourself?

I subscribe to a more or less popular belief that each of us has the power to make his own destiny, win or lose the chess game.

Q: You are among the few players of the modern times that are called genius. Actually are there “genius” players in modern chess?

Well, genius is a term that shouldn’t be used lightly because it marks someone as an exceptional individual in his area of expertise. Definitely, there are some people who have a natural affinity for the profession they choose, however, as it was mentioned many times, success is 90% of work and 10% of talent. And no, I don’t consider myself as a genius, all my results came as a result of many years of work with my father.

Q: Is the currently acting system for defining the World Champion optimal? Which is the best system in your view?

Well, there is an on-going controversy with the current world championship system, especially with the latest announcement by the FIDE president which came as a complete surprise to everyone because, as far as I know, everyone who were surveyed with the proposed list of suggestions decided for a formula which was different from the one that was announced. A lot of mysterious things have been going on ever since the unification match has happened and these developments were worrisome.

Q: How did chess change for the 8 years in which you had distanced yourself from big tournaments?

Well, I haven’t really noticed many changes, except that I got older and other things on my mind in addition to just playing chess.

Q: Do you feel the ambition and confidence to become champion of the world?

I thought that I would at least give it a decent shot, to be honest.

Q: Which chess is more pleasant for you – with or without computers?

It doesn’t really matter if it’s pleasant or not, computers are now an essential part of the chess at the top level.

Q: Do you think that FIDE, as a driving force of the game, conducts the right policy?

There are a lot of things that have room for improvement, but given the results of the election earlier this year and some latest developments, there is a hope that changes are coming in the future which bode well for the chess world and players in general.

Q: Don’t you think that Kirsan IIymzhinov is pushing chess too much in the direction to Russia.

I think that matches for the world championship title should not be staged in the country of one of the players. It is unfair and such match should be staged on neutral territory. But that applies only to the match for the world title because there is so much at stake. With regards to any other event, if there are people who want to organize new events, I think, that they should be encouraged, as it helps develop chess everywhere.

Q: Does the game miss Gary Kasparov?

Personally, I’m very happy that both him and Karpov retired from competitive chess. At least from my point of view, and given some of the personal experiences, it was the best thing they did for chess. Granted, both of them were truly genius players of the chess game, but there could be a lot said about their off-the chess board politics and influence that negatively impacted the chess world.