Anand and Topalov to play in India, Bulgaria, or Russia?

Baku is also preparing a proposal


In an interview for Yuri Vassilev and Sport Express, the FIDE President Kirsan Ilymzhinov has revealed the true cause of the break in negotiations between UEP and FIDE. The basis of the argument is the branding possibilities that the World Chess Championship offers.

The argument has started over the absence of the logo of FIDE and its later inappropriate size in Bonn. After the nice organization though, the World Chess Federation invited once again UEP to submit a bid, followed by a contract offer. The breach was one more time the FIDE logo / sponsors placement during the event.

UEP President Josef Resch was also interviewed by Sport-Express and on the same subject. Read the full article (for google translated version click here).

Anand – Topalov World Championship

At the end of his interview Kirsan Ilymzhinov commented on the possible venues of the World Chess Championship match between Anand and Topalov. “We are totally calm about the fate of the match. I have already met with the Prime Minister of Bulgaria and will also talk to him during the closing ceremony of Mtel Masters. In addition there is interest from India and a pair of neutral nations, among which Russia,” said Mr. Ilymzhinov. “In addition Azerbaijan are preparing a proposal.”

The FIDE President also commented the words of Silvio Danailov in his interview for Chessdom, “There is a formal condition for the participants in the bidding process, which states the prize fund should not be under certain amount. If it is above that we can only be happy, FIDE will receive more money as well.”

More about Anand – Topalov

The way to the final of the WCC

Anand asks for postponement

Official postponement for 2010

Bidding procedure about Anand – Topalov 2010

All news about Anand – Topalov match

Viswanathan Anand Interviewed in Baku

upon his arrival in Baku for the President Cup

Anand thinking

Viswanathan Anand

Q: Have you been surprised when you received an invitation from Azerbaijan for the President’s cup?

Anand: I was happy about the invitation, but first I had to check my schedule. I was available and I arrived.

Q: What did you know about Azerbaijan prior to the invitation?

Anand: Not much. When I learned that we will play in Baku, I did some resarch on the Internet. Then I knew where I was going.

Q: Do you plan sightseeing in the capital of Azerbaijan?

Anand: I will stay a bit longer after the tournament, so I will be able to see Baku.

Q: What can say about the team of Azerbaijan?

Anand: You have a fairly young but strong team. Your juniors are particularly strong in rapid chess. Having in mind that Azerbaijan’s national team played quite well at the Chess Olympiad, I anticipate difficult struggle.

Q: Which of the Azerbaijani chess players could be able to claim the World Champion crown?

Anand: You have a very strong trio – Radjabov, Gashimov, Mamedyarov. I believe that some of them can become a candidate. But to achieve this, they have to have a powerful preparation and strong character.

Q: Which of the Azerbaijanis you find to be a particularly difficult opponent?

Anand: I play with caution against all of them. If my opponent is rated higher than 2700, this already says a lot. You can not underestimate them because they play at a very high level.

Q: On the first day of the tournament you will receive “Chess Oscar”.

Anand: I received Chess Oscar in 2007, and now once again I am the laureate. But I have to stay down on Earth, because in the first round I get to play against Radjabov. This will be a top notch game.

Source: Azerisport and Extratime

Interview with Vladimir Kramnik

Kramnik will participate in Azerbaijan vs The World

by Tima Tushiev

Former world chess champion Vladimir Kramnik arrived in Azerbaijan for the President’s Cup and the match Azerbaijan vs The World. Kramnik arrived at the VIP hall of the airport, named after Heydar Aliyev, precisely at the expected time, then in anticipation of obtaining a visa for his wife Mary, spent some time in the VIP box.

After that, the well-known Russian grandmaster, one of the people to defeat the “great and terrible” Garry Kasparov, kindly agreed to be interviewed for


- What was your first reaction when the heard about the invitation to match Azerbaijan vs The World?

I was very pleased about this invitation because it is a very nice event. I have not been to Azerbaijan for a long time. I know chess here is booming, it was the stage of the first Grand Prix tournament. I have already told Faik Gasanov that the last time I was here was in 1987 at the junior championships. So I was very happy that such tournament is being organized, and my wife gave her consent as she wanted to see the country.

How do you see the team of the World?

It is a very good team, all are good and strong players (participants list here). Perhaps we are rating favorites, we have a little higher rating. But I understand Azerbaijan will play on their home turf, and probably will play with great desire. Therefore, I think the match will not be simple, it will be more or less equal. I am sure many chess enthusiasts will come to watch the games

In a recent interview for Soviet Sport you said that there are currently few players who could really claim the world chess crown. Are there Azeri players among them?

I would not say that the circle of chess players is narrow, at present there are twenty people that can actually become champions of the world. Of course, the young, including the Azerbaijani chess players, are real contenders for the world chess crown. Among them are Teimour Radjabov, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, and Vugar Gashimov, all three are very talented. With good and competent work, and good public support, any of those players has chances. I hope I have the same chances as well.

Full interview:

Mtel Masters 2009 will be category 21

interview with Silvio Danailov

There are only a few days left to the 2009 edition of Mtel Masters. It is the 4th tournament from the Grand Slam (after Nanjing, Corus, and Linares) and it will be a category 21 event. will provide live commentary of the matches, with guest commentator GM Christian Bauer (France, ELO 2605), accompanied by GM Dimitrov and IM Peunovic.

In a short interview for Chessdom, the Mtel Masters director and Veselin Topalov’s manager, Mr. Silvio Danailov, answered a few questions.

More about Mtel Master 2009

The Ivan Vazov theater’s garden is the venue – article from April 2007

The construction of the glass cube – video from May 2008

Mtel Masters 2009 participants

Mtel Masters 2009 discussion

bilbao danailov topalov

Mr Danailov, the Mtel Masters starts in a few days, how is the preparation going?

Everything is going smoothly, thank you. The glass pavilion will be installed on the beautiful square in front of the National Theatre Ivan Vazov, in the heart of Sofia. This is our strongest tournament ever, FIDE category 21. The participants are world class players : Veselin Topalov, Magnus Carlsen, Vassily Ivanchuk (winner of last year), Wang Yue, Lenier Dominguez, and Alexey Shirov. More information you can find on our official site where the live games will be. We are looking forward to a really big chess show!

You mentioned live games, will other sites be permitted to retransmit the moves? We remember what happened with Chessbase during Topalov-Kamsky, how is the copyright issue standing now?

We have no problems with Chessbase in general, we have problems with one person there, who is trying to damage our reputation for years. What this person is doing is unforgiven.

Anyway, the copyrights have nothing to do with this. These guys want to use our products for free and then to sell them to their clients and to charge them. This should stop, and not only for Chessbase, also for everybody else who is using our products without permission. To organize a big event cost a lot of effort and money, so if somebody wants to use the results of this work he should sign a contract with the organizers and pay for the copyrights. This is the normal way in every professional sport like football, tennis, golf, basketball, etc. If chess wants to become real professional sport this is the only way to follow.

The Anand – Topalov match is going to take place next year, but there is already much media attention towards it. Anand will participate in the Presidents Cup and the match Azerbaijan vs The World, where he will also receive the Chess Oscar.

Topalov was also invited for Baku, but unfortunately we had to refuse the invitation. The reason was that we have other commitments with our sponsors in Bulgaria in the same period.

The Chess Oscar award does not surprise me at all, after Elista 2006 is very difficult to imagine that Veselin will get any award from Russia. This is typical political decision, otherwise they will probably close the “64″ magazine.

Look, for every person with common sense it is obvious that Topalov had by far the best results in 2008. He won the strongest tournaments in Bilbao and Nanjing and he is number one in the World ratings with big margin. The biggest result of Vishy was to beat the player number six in the world in the World Championship match. Great achievement, of course, but not enough to win the Oscar.

FIDE has published the bidding procedure regarding the WCC match Anand – Topalov in 2010. Is Bulgaria going to submit a bid?

We don’t know yet, but it is possible. I will have several meetings with our sponsors during MTel Masters and then we are going to decide to present a bid or not. However, we are looking for serious price fund, nothing compared to the last match in Bonn. The price fund of such a big historical match should be at least three million euro.

Mtel Masters Stoichkov

Spassky, Stoichkov, Gasanov and Danailov during last year’s edition of Mtel Masters

Interview with Viswanathan Anand

Anand to participate at the Rapid World Chess Championship

In October Vishy Anand successfully defended his title of World Champion. This was followed by a prolonged break from tournaments. In an interview with Harry Schaack the World Champion reviews the events of the last half year – and looks ahead to the GRENKELEASING Rapid World Chess Championship. At the beginning of August he will defend his title of World Rapid Champion – in Mainz and for the eleventh time.

More about Mainz

Anand wins the 10th rapid World Chess Championship

Videos from last year’s Mainz Chess Classics

Video of Anand at the start of the World Rapid

Anand at Chess960 in Mainz

Anand remains king in Mainz

anand mainz

Harry Schaack: Several months passed between the World Championship in Bonn in October and the Linares tournament. A rather unusual break for a World Champion. What did you do in that time?

Vishy Anand: After the exhausting match I needed this break, but there was not much time for regeneration. Shortly after the World Championship I went to India. The first days were pretty chaotic. There were many tributes, receptions and parties. Basically, I was incredibly busy. In two months I flew more than 6.000 km all over India. The enthusiasm I encountered was of course fantastic. However, it was also rather demanding.

Back in Europe you immediately went to Davos…

…where I had been invited to take part in the annual conference of the World Economic Forum. It was a new experience for me. A lot of scientists, influential politicians and businessman met in Davos. I had a lot of interesting discussions.

For the first time in many years you decided against playing in Wijk aan Zee. Only in Linares, where you had won the previous two years, you came back to the tournament arena.

Yes, and despite the break I played quite well in the beginning. I won the first game against Radjabov. But against Aronian I suffered a blackout in a clearly better position, which cost me the game. In the second part of the tournament my luck returned, particularly so in the games against Ivanchuk and Grischuk. All in all, I cannot complain. My result reflects my play. Altogether my performance was not as steady as it was in the two previous years. But I did not think that I played badly.

Somewhat surprisingly, Grischuk won. Considering his permanent time trouble it is amazing that he is so successful.

If I have only five minutes left on the clock, I start to get nervous. For Grischuk time trouble only begins, when he has five seconds left. Before that he carefully writes the moves on his scoresheet, including minutes and seconds spent by each player – all that with unbelievable calm. Maybe he needs the thrill. At any rate he is an excellent blitz player. One must never underestimate him in time trouble.

anand mainz

In Bonn you surprised your challenger Kramnik with 1.d4 after having almost exclusively played 1.e4 before. In Linares you tried your new opening repertoire for the first after the World Championship match in a regular tournament. Were you happy with the results?

Yes, I could use a couple of things I had prepared for the match in Bonn. For me it was important not to lose the feeling for 1.d4-openings because I have worked very hard to get it. The mistakes I made in Linares did not happen in the opening.

Did you have problems to play after your long break?

That’s difficult to say. The first part of the tournament went better for me than the second. I did not necessarily play better with more practice. At the end of the tournament I made eight draws in a row. That is not really satisfying. It simply was no particularly good tournament – but neither the worst. This happens. 50% in Linares is no disaster.

In the Amber tournament in Nice, which followed right after Linares, and where blindfold and rapid chess were played you at first seemed to follow a similar pattern as you did in Spain.

I again started somewhat shaky. But you play 22 games in the Amber tournament and you can quickly recover losses by winning. After the first rest day things went pretty well. With a little bit of luck I would have won the tournament. However, in the end Aronian finished first, closely followed by me, Kramnik and Carlsen.

In the blindfold game you won against Kramnik, who played his beloved Petroff. How important was this success against your rival?

Well, every win against the Petroff is great – particularly against Kramnik. Of course it was nice to win against him and to draw the following rapid game rather easily with Black. But these things are only nice for a short moment because the tournament goes on.

anand mainz

Anand with Wolfgang Grenke

The encounter with Kramnik had no particular significance for you?

Maybe it was more important than I would like to admit to myself. But I try not to take it too seriously. You play so many games in Nice. It is difficult to really cherish a win because you quickly have to focus on the next game.

In the blindfold game against Wang you had a funny endgame: two knights against pawn. According to the tablebases you missed a forced win a couple of times…

Yes, at one time I had a forced win in a bit more than 40 moves, another time in more than 60 moves … (laughs) It is incredibly difficult to play this endgame in a blindfold game. At a certain point I was a bit confused and did no longer exactly know where my knights were. A couple of years ago – also at the Amber tournament – Topalov won the same endgame against Karpov, but in a rapid game and with a better version of this endgame.

Were you happy about your result in Nice?

I cannot complain. I had been leading for a long time, I won the rapid tournament, and almost won the overall tournament. I left Nice with a good feeling.

There were reports that Carlsen angered you in the second game. You had lost the blindfold game against him and in the rapid game the Norwegian declined your draw offer even though the position was equal

I was only slightly angry but not really furious. I decided to take it more as a joke. However, when he declined my draw offer I was really astonished because the position was completely equal. When he offered peace a couple of moves later I wanted to go one on top of him and declined (laughs). But I did not realize that I did that in such a loud way that everybody in the playing hall could hear it. But that was okay. I have good relations with Magnus and we analyzed the game afterwards in a friendly way.

After Amber you played in the Bundesliga.

It was the final round. Even if the whole team had played horrendously badly we would have won the title. I won both of my games and was happy about my performance. But I have to admit that my team colleagues had finished the job a bit earlier. My wins were no longer important.

Do you like to play in a team?

I’ve now been playing for a couple of years for Baden-Baden. Unfortunately, I did not have much time in the last two seasons. In the previous years I sometimes played no less than seven games in one season. I like my team colleagues, the team spirit is excellent. It is fun to play together with the guys.

Your game against Stellwagen was very complicated …

I had prepared for the sharp Poisoned Pawn variation of the Najdorf-Sicilian. He surprised me with a sideline and I had problems to remember the theoretical lines. All the classical games by Tal, Tolush and the great players of the 50ies came to my mind. It took me 20 minutes to get everything in order. One wrong move in this position and mate can follow quickly. I decided to give the queen for three pieces, which led to a very complex position. I calculated so many lines that my head was spinning. However, my opponent did not fare any better. A lot of my team colleagues and the spectators liked this game. But we, the players, suffered (laughs).

Next year, 2010, you will have to defend your title of World Champion. What did you think about the match between Topalov and Kamsky, in which your challenger was established?

The duel turned out to be much closer than I had thought. I had assumed that Topalov would win because of his excellent preparation, even though I had expected stubborn resistance by Kamsky. In fact, it was exactly the other way round. More than once Topalov had problems in the opening, but Kamsky did not finish the job. Topalov showed excellent nerves – for which his opponent is renowned. If Kamsky had defended a bit better the match would have gone over the whole distance. However, he had great problems with the clock.

A World Championship requires months of preparation. When will you begin your preparation?

I can only start when I have some more details. For the time being the match is scheduled for April but a lot of things are still unclear. At the moment, I only make general plans.

The qualification cycle for the World Championship came under threat in the last months because the Grand Prix Series was about to collapse. Now, a candidates tournament shall be played. What do you think about the change of rules that directly affect you?

I think it incredible that the FIDE changes the rules within a running cycle. One could have sought a new mode for future events. But the way it is now, things are quite unpleasant for our sport. One of the main problems is communication. Those in charge should have discussed the changes much more openly with the players. I think, FIDE simply has to make better contracts with the organizers to prevent similar things in the future.

Let us talk a bit about the Chess Classic, which will take place from 27. July – 2. August in Mainz. You won the title no less than eleven times – an extraordinary success. In fact, you achieved everything in your sport. You have been in the top for more than 20 years, you won World Champion titles in three different formats, and you won all important tournaments once or several times. How do you motivate yourself?

The most important is to enjoy playing chess. I don’t believe you can only motivate yourself with titles or tournaments. Of course, these are goals that are necessary and that give you a direction. But the motivation comes from the game. I am aware that my drive will diminish at a certain point of time. But at the moment I just need a little break when I had too much. I still find chess very interesting. Moreover, in 20 years you always meet new players who pose new challenges. Talents such as Radjabov, Carlsen or Karjakin take care that things don’t get boring.

At the Chess Classic you won all of the last nine rapid chess events. Can you even imagine that you will not win in Mainz?

I have to admit that this record is indeed a great success. Every year at the Chess Classic I keep my fingers crossed, and hope that Lady Luck will continue to smile at me. However, I know that in the past things could easily have been different. It was hardly ever as clear as it seemed to be afterwards. Even my most successful tournaments had one or two key moments. If they had turned out differently, things would have been more complicated.

This year your main rival will be Levon Aronian, who not only plays for the crown in rapid chess but will also defend his Chess960 title. Is it an advantage for you that he has to play two tournaments?

Hard to say. You never know in advance whether you get tired or whether it keeps you in shape. In the last two years Aronian had good results against me. At any rate, he is a tough and dangerous opponent. And I have to be very careful.

Could you characterize Aronian’s style of play?

As far as his openings and the structures he strives for are concerned, he is positionally oriented. But he plays these positions very tactically. Though he opens with 1.d4, he treats these positions like an e4-player. If things get complicated he always sets small traps for his opponents. He is a very gifted tactician, calculates excellently and hardly ever misses chances offered to him. All this makes him extremely dangerous.

You will also have to play against Arkadij Naiditsch. Since last year you are team colleagues in Baden-Baden. What can you say about him?

We played a couple of times in Dortmund, but no rapid games. He is a promising „youngster“. Being 23 years of age, he probably won’t like to hear that, but it’s arguably still the case. He works hard on his openings. For some time I thought he might have his breakthrough in 2004, when he had a number of good results. In 2005 he won Dortmund in sensational fashion. After that he had no really bad results but was not playing steadily enough. After some minor setbacks he made great progress in the last year. His rating went up and in the April list he has more than 2700 Elo.

The fourth player in the GRENKELEASING Rapid World Championship is Ian Nepomniachtchi. In last year’s Chess Classic he won the Ordix Open.

From the three players, this is the one, I know the least. I have not played against him yet. He tries to emulate Morozevich a bit. His play reveals that he admires his countryman very much. But it is very difficult to copy Moro’s style because it is so unique. It requires an enormous amount of positional understanding. If you continuously strive for unknown positions, in which you cannot rely on theory or your preparation, you much more have to rely on your own sense of direction. Which in itself indicates his outstanding talent – after all, he can play that way. At any rate, he has the most unusual style of this year’s participants in the Chess Classic.

Nepomniachtchi had a couple of good results in the last years, but failed to achieve a major breakthrough. Despite some excellent tournament results his rating is still relatively low…

Nowadays a lot of young talents compete with each other. Sometimes things do not go well for a year even though you make no mistakes. Maybe you just did not get the right invitations. Then again, you have the necessary luck and you suddenly play on a different level. I am certain that Ian will be very motivated in Mainz and that he will show his skills. I am looking forward to him.

Mainz 2009

Interview by Harry Schaack

Translation by Johannes Fischer

Official site: