Silvio Danailov speaks out his mind in a long interview

Mtel Masters 2010 will take 1 year break


With the approaching Anand – Topalov World Chess Championship match, the media in Bulgaria is becoming more and more active. The top notch information last week came from an interview with Silvio Danailov by Antoni Jordanov for Trud (the second largest daily in the country with 500 000 readers). Danailov speaks about politics, Magnus Carlsen, the coming World Chess Championship, Vishy Anand and his secret seconds, the preparation of Veselin Topalov at Canary Islands, and confirms what has been rummored for a while – Mtel Masters 2010 will take a break and will not happen this year.

Mr. Danailov, why do you want to become the president of European chess?

The ECU is respectable institution and has potential, because it has 54 member states. People from other countires initiated talks with me, these people want ECU to be headed by someone with professionalism and new ideas. Up until now I have been more of a businessman in chess, now there is a need to do politics.

Are the elections predominantly based on politics or is it a question of ideas?

I have no experience in politics, but others convinced me that I can do it and with the right strategy can achieve good results. The people in chess know very well what each candidate can bring. The elections will be based on a mixture of politics and vision. It is believed that my opponent will be Ali Nihat Yazici from Turkey, who has his own lobby. The fight will be challenging.

It seems as if the field you worked in so far is too narrow for you

In my carreer I have practically accomplished everything I have dreamed of. Or even more. No one believed that a Bulgarian man can become world champion – Vesko Topalov and I made it happen. I organized the supertournament “M-tel masters” in Sofia and introduced the Sofia rules worldwide; along with some friends we created the “Grand Slam” in Chess. In this way my professional career reached its ceiling. I did not give thought to this move, but the challenge is big. Also, people convinced me that I am the right figure. So, I am entering politics. Chess politics.

There is another ceiling – President of FIDE

No, no, while Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is the leader of FIDE, it would not cross my mind. After that, I do not know. In chess we are accustomed to play move by move and not to rush things. Because rushed action lead to wrong decisions. So, let these elections pass first. If I succeed, it will be prestigious for Bulgaria as well.

There will also be the election of FIDE President – between Ilymzhinov and and Karpov

It is very intriguing. Now everyone awaits with interest who is the Russian Federation going to support because this will, to a large extent, determine the favorite to win. But no matter what happens, every one of them has his advantages. Ilymzhinov is already 15 years excelent President, doing a lot of things for chess, but Karpov is an extremely dangerous opponent as a politician – very intelligent and swift.

They are both wealthy. Is money going to play?

In elections money always comes into play.

And in your case?

My advantages are a professional career, the results, and the ideas. The candidate from Turkey has experience in politics, after all he is vice President of FIDE. I do not know whether he is wealthy, but I am aware that he has strong back up from Turkey. Because this is part of the government strategy of European community integration for the future.

Lets talk about the Topalov – Anand Match. What is new from Spain – both Topalov and you are there?

Vesko is preparing at the Canary Islands, his preparation is going according to schedule and there is nothing out of the ordinary.

Cheparinov and Danailov

Aren’t you concerned by the form of his second Ivan Cheparinov, who performed poorly on the EICC?

Of course I am concerned, It would have been much better for him to have finished with better results and to be more motivated. Then the sentiment would have been better. Nevertheless, I hope that Ivan is a professional and since he has always had great ideas, now will be the same. Let us not forget that Vesko has also undergone such dark periods. It happens to every sports person and one should not fall into despair.

And what about the shape of Vesko, do you have any concerns?

Naturally, I am concerned, but we are doing everything we can to reach our goal. The rest is destiny.

How are you going to comment on the performance of the Bulgarians on the EICC, where among the men all our representatives are ranked below 70th place?

Chess is not much more different from the rest of the sports, and as everywhere else there are declines in chess as well. I expected much more from Cheparinov, for the rest I am not surprised. However, I am pleased by Kiprian Barbatov – he has a lot to learn, but is on the right track. We, the federation, and me personally, are doing whatever we can. Maybe we will include him in the team for the Chess Olympiad in Khanty Mansiysk.

Is the gap between Topalov and the rest [of the Bulgarian players] becoming too large?

Topalov is a phenomenon, it is very hard to compare the others to him. The same is the case in India with Anand and the rest of the chess players.

What does the intelligence on Anand bring – can he surprise Vesko and you?

There can always be surprise – chess is developing with a fast pace, computers help, newer and newer versions are created. He might surprise us with the choice of seconds. For now they are clear. We know that he is in the midst of hard preparation, nothing else. With him, everything is a deep secret. He has made no public announcement and has not shown on public places, only at the Bundesliga and Corus in January. However, at both places he was obviously saving himself and did not show anything special. Anand will have less psychological pressure in Sofia. And it is natural that everyone in Bulgaria expects Vesko to win.

How are you going to evaluate another duo – Magnus Carlsen and Gary Kasparov, with which you might clash someday?

They have accomplished outstanding results, but have recently split for some reason – I am not aware which, but it is good for us. I am content from professional point of view because this duo was a killer one. Carlsen is dangerous to everyone, but it is one thing to have Carlsen with Kasparov and another thing to have Carlsen without him.

bilbao danailov topalov

It is already clear that there is not going to be a supertournament Mtel Masters?

We discussed extensively the idea with the sponsor, since the deadlines did not allow us to organize two big tournaments for such a short period of time – the match with Anand and Mtel Masters.

One of the explanations was that the match with Anand will generate great interest and the tournament will fade away. I did not share this opinion and believe that it is quite the contrary – the popularity of chess after the match would have been greater and the tournament could only benefit from it. Nevertheless, the sponsor decided and they chose not to have Mtel Masters this year, they will only sponsor Topalov personally during the match.

Isn’t this going to eventually have a repercussion on the reputation of the tournament for the coming year?

It will have a repercussion, but in history there have been such cases with other tournaments – both with Corus and Linares.

But also you are falling in a uncomfortable situation as ideologist and creator of the Grand Slam, part of which is Mtel Masters.

Yes, it is not pleasant. But, regretfully, now there is nothing more to be done. There is a temporary crisis, the same in the rest of the world. Chess, after all, is not such an expensive sport and I hope that next year there will be no longer problems.

Interview with GM Evgeny Alekseev

by Alexander Kruglikov for Sankt-Petersburg Vedomosty

The European Individual Chess Championship in Rijeka was not only to determine the best chess players of the continent, they are Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi and Sweden’s Pia Cramling, but also to distribute tickets for the World Cup 2011 and the Women’s World Championship.

Among those who qualified for the World Cup is Evgeny Alekseev, 24-year-old grandmaster from St. Petersburg, who talked with “Sankt-Petersburg Vedomosty” correspondent Alexander Kruglikov.

Kruglikov: Evgeny, how was your tournament in Rijeka?

Alekseev: I wanted to fight for a high place, but in this competition pairings (Swiss system) are very important. Frankly, in Rijeka I did not get much with white pieces and was restricted to minimum objective – the ticket for the World Cup.

Evgeny Alekseev 1 sq

Evgeny Alekseev

Kruglikov: But you still had to play the tie-break?

Alekseev: It happened that a large group of players, who all scored “plus-four”, finished tied on the places that lead to World Cup. Tiebreaks were imminent. I played a mini-match with fellow Russian Ernesto Inarkiev – one win, the second ended in a draw. Tiebreaks were important only for the seats in the World Cup, and the places at the European Championships have remained the same, I was in the group of players who shared the 11-40th place.

Kruglikov: How do you assess the overall performance of Russian players at the European Championship?

Alekseev: In my opinion, we played brilliantly. Ian Nepomniachtchi is the Champion, Artyom Timofeev took the third place. Six Grandmasters have qualified for the World Cup 2011.

Kruglikov: You played with Nepomniachtchi in the past. Tell us more about him.

Alekseev: Ian is very talented and promising player, creative, strictly follows the usual tactical plans, but at the same time he is very unstable, unpredictable. Ian can win the tournament brilliantly, as it happened now in Rijeka or at the 2008 “Aeroflot Open”, but he can also falter and play poorly. In Rijeka Nepomniachtchi was great. It’s hard to explain how he can beat strong players and spend only half an hour for the game. It’s fantastic. Ian improved greatly in the past few years. When we played in the 2006 Russian Championship Superfinal, he didn’t make much of an impression. But then he was only fifteen years old.


Interview with GM Smbat Lputian

Vice-President of the Armenian Chess Federation speaking for News-Armenia Agency


News-Armenia: How do you comment on the unsuccessful performance by the Armenian national team at World and European chess championships?

Smbat Lputian: Of course, we were not convincing, we were expecting more from our guys. They won two consecutive Chess Olympiads and it imposed a great burden of responsibility. If we fail, we have to identify the causes. We have analysed the situation and realised that there are problems.

Generally speaking, we were unable to reach the peak of psychological and physical readiness. I should mention that Gabriel Sargasian was not in very good shape during the World Championship, he became ill before the championship and had no time to recover. Experience shows that when he was in good condition, he brought a lot of points in the team tournaments.

In any case, I think we have solid base to work on, and that we are yet to achieve our best results. We must and we can expect more. I believe in future successes of our team, because I can see great potential in our players, and I am sure that they will cheer us up with their performances.

News-Armenia: Armenian chess championship was completed recently. Have you noticed some new players, which can strengthen the national team?

Smbat Lputian: As you know, the last member of the men’s and women’s national team of Armenia is determined by the results on the Armenian championship – the four best rated and the champion of Armenia make the team. This year the championship was attended by all candidates for the national team – Tigran Petrosian, Artashes Minasian, Zaven Andriasian, Avetik Grigorian, Hrant Melkonian.

We are very satisfied with the result of Avetik Grigorian, who scored 7.5 points from 9 possible, moreover he finished two points ahead of the second-placed player. I believe that Avetik will be a strong addition for the national team, if he conducts serious training to further raise the level, though I think that he is already very good player.

Anahit Kharatian does not have experience like Siranush Andriasian, who for many years played for the national team, so now we have a small problem. We have time until September to raise her level of knowledge. She still has a lot of work ahead, but her play already possesses a very good quality, she plays with great confidence, active attacks.

Lputian Gligoric

Smbat Lputian interviewing Svetozar Gligoric

News-Armenia: Which teams will be Armenia’s main rivals at the Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk?

Smbat Lputian: In my opinion, ten teams will compete for medals, and I don’t think there will be new teams to make surprises. Of course, Russia has always been one of the strongest, Ukraine is a very good team, China, the United States. India is quite active recently, Azerbaijan has a strong team. In addition, France and Israel can be seen as strong rivals.

Other teams can occasionally beat the favorites, like Greece won against us and Russia at the World Championship. The pure playing strength is not sufficient for the victory at the Olympiad, the team also has to have high morale and good atmosphere between the members.

News-Armenia: Some people think that Armenian victories at the last two Olympiads were result of the tremendous atmosphere. How was this achieved?

Smbat Lputian: Basically, all players must have high human qualities, such as tolerance, patience, diligence, ability to make concessions to someone, to support each other. When this relationship is strong, our team is also strong. We have always had it. Of course, the last six years mark the peak in our results, but ever since 1992, we have always had a very good team and high spirit.

Read the full interview (Russian) at News-Armenia website

Interview with Boris Kutin, ECU President

Boris Kutin about the progress of chess in Europe

Boris Kutin

The European Individual Chess Championship has just ended. It was the strongest event in the history of EICC and also the one with the most participants. What do you think about it?

I am very happy and proud of the Rijeka European Individual championship. It is proof that we do our job very well. And I have to add we are absolutely not alone in this boat. The part of Rijeka organizers is extremely important too. It was very strong and ambitious team led by Damir Vrhovnik. I am very grateful to them. It is important to point out: when players are satisfied, when players have a lot of compliments, this is the goal which we want.

The European School and Senior chess championships are starting with over 400 players in Thessaloniki, what is the key of having chess developing in all age groups?

The Games Festival is another proof of right way of our policy. And there is no coincidence that in this case we have another experienced and ambitious organizers as well: Theodoros Tsorbatzoglou.

ECU started as an organization 25 years ago, feeling underrepresented in FIDE compared to Africa, Asia and Latin America. Practically half of the time you have been president of the organization. How does it stand 1/4 of a century afterwards on the chess scene?

When ECU was founded the main target was to defend Europe, actually some kind of anti Campomanes organization. Today this story is almost forgotten, in FIDE Congress 1986 in Dubai delegates elected Continental President who had (this is estimation,official figures will never be known) less than 20 percent of European votes. So ECU was way of self defense. The story of today is much different. Not to be too modest I can say that we made a big progress. Europe represent at least 75 or 80 percent of World Chess. In other words : European chess needs professional organization in the face of ECU. This is big challenge and today we are advancing in this direction. But professionalism does not mean work for professionals only. Absolutely we have to pay much more attention to amateurs, kids, adults, seniors, chess players of all levels.

ECU elections are coming. Two candidates have hosted receptions announcing their candidacy – Mr. Yazici and Mr. Danailov. Are you going to run for ECU President?

I have announced my candidacy in Novi Sad in frame of our GA. It is not fair to make comments on my opponents. Both are known in chess world and it is good that we have more candidates for ECU president.

Many open tournaments are suffering worldwide from the financial crisis. What is the state of ECU?

It is not easy to organize all our events, but in the last years we are just making all the record after record: participants, number of participating countries, and prize fund. Impressive are thefigures about EICC and EWCC: last year 240.000 (in total), this year 225.000, next year new record (280.000 for sure, very possible 300.000).

How do you feel about Europe hosting the World Chess Championship 2010? Your prediction for the outcome of the match?

For sure the Topalov – Anand match is good for Europe. I know Sofia organizers and absolutely believe that match will be on very high level. But this is just one part. Another is publicity. All we have use such event for big propaganda for our game. Regarding the match outcome, I can say that I expect dramatic match with full of novelties, real cake for professionals and chess lovers.

Interview with Hungary’s youngest Grandmaster, Richard Rapport

By WGM Anna Rudolf

Richard Rapport

At the age of 13 years 11 months and 5 days Richard Rapport fulfilled his final norm at the Gotth’ Art Cup to become Hungary’s youngest Grandmaster. With this achievement, he surpassed the record of Peter Leko and is currently the youngest grandmaster in the world.

Anna: What a great success, Richard! How does it feel to beat the record of Hungary’s top player?

Richard: I’m happy for my achievement, but I also know that this is just one step in my career. I’m working to reach my next goals.

Anna: What are these goals?

Richard: I would like to reach the rating 2600, then 2700. My main goal is to become a world champion.

Anna: That’s quite a nice goal! How much time you devote to chess to achieve that?

Richard: I work every day 8-10 hours. I wake up, have breakfast and start to train on chess. A short lunch break and then I’m back at work. Finally, dinner and some more chess.

Anna: Do you train on your own or you work with trainers?

Richard: Mostly on my own, but from time to time I train with GM Robert Ruck, GM Peter Lukacs and GM Jozsef Pinter, too. Also, I can thank a lot to my manager, IM Andras Flumbort and to my father, who has always supported my chess career.

Anna: Chess is your life, one could say. Have you got any time for non-chess activities? Any sports you practise?

Richard: Yes, I do have. I like to play with my little brothers and sister, ride a bike, play table tennis. I study English with a private teacher 5 times a week, and occasionally German, too. It’s necessary for a chessplayer to know foreign languages.

Gotth'Art Cup Rapport-Portisch

Gotth’Art Cup, Richard Rapport – Lajosh Portisch (all photos courtesy of Kata Meszaros)

Anna: What about school? You don’t have any problems passing the exams without attending the lessons?

Richard: No, I learn quite quickly and easily. Passing the exams was never a problem.

Anna: Let’s return to chess. Your favourite players?

Richard: I like many. Kramnik, Leko, Polgar…

Anna: Favourite “rising star”?

Richard: Anish Giri.

Anna: If you had a chance to train with anybody you wish, who would it be?

Richard: I would love to change thoughts with Anish Giri. His style appeals to me.

Anna: In which tournament/tournaments would you like to participate very much?

Richard: Wijk aan Zee, definitely.

Anna: Favourite games of yours?

Richard: Perhaps my game against GM Peter Prohaszka from the 2009 Hungarian Youth Team Championship and the encounter with IM Laszlo Gonda from 2008, Harkany Open.

Anna: Do you play on the Internet?

Richard: I used to play on Playchess but I think one wastes too much time on such servers. I would play for fun now and then, but nothing more.

Gotth'Art Cup Ftachnik-Rapport

Gotth’Art Cup, Ftachnik – Rapport

Anna: Any computer games?

Richard: I like strategical games. War Craft, Age of Empires…

Anna: Favourite TV programmes?

Richard: I don’t really have. I watch movies, football matches…

Anna: Favourite football team?

Richard: Bayern München!

Anna: If you had a different profession, what would it be?

Richard: Hmm, I don’t know. I’m a chessplayer and I’m doing what I love. I wouldn’t choose a different profession.

Anna: Richard, thank you very much! In the name of the Chessdom team and its readers let me congratulate you once again on becoming a grandmaster at such a young age. May the future bring you a lot of more successes!

For further information, pictures and annotated games visit Richard’s website at (available in Hungarian only, but we hope it will be translated soon).

Interview with GM Le Quang Liem

After Moscow and Aeroflot Open, by Yana Melnikova

Le Quang Liemsq

Le Quang Liem

Le Quang Liem of Vietnam, winner of the two major international tournaments in Russia – Moscow Open and Aeroflot Open, shared in an interview with Yana Melnikova his impressions of Moscow and how he is preparing for a competition.

Yana Melnikova – Liem, congratulations on your victory in the Aeroflot Open. In the recently concluded tournament Moscow Open, you also had excellent result – took the bronze after sharing first place. Tell us why you decided to play in Moscow?

Le Quang Liem – Russia is the country of chess, and here I can play against very strong chess players. I liked both of the tournaments. They are organized at a high level, very professional, very ambitious. I want to highlight the “Aeroflot” – I believe this is the strongest open tournament in the world. Next year I will gladly play in Moscow again.

Yana Melnikova – Is the victory in the Aeroflot Open the biggest success in your career?

Le Quang Liem – I think so. But earlier, I also successfully competed in strong tournaments – for example, in 2009 I won major open tournaments in India and China, and many competitions in my own country.

Yana Melnikova – Tell us about your road to success. With whom do you work?

Le Quang Liem – I have been playing chess since childhood. Most of the time I work on my own, but I do have a few trainers. About a year ago I began to collaborate with GM Evgeny Bareev, and I believe that my good results arrived mostly thanks to him. Evgeny did a lot to help me to progress, he can identify weaknesses in my game and help me make steps for the overall improvement.

Yana Melnikova – Do you play on the Internet chess zones? What is the role of the blitz games?

Le Quang Liem – I play on ICC and on Playchess. I try not to stay online for a very long time because I don’t think that playing blitz will help me increase my chess level. For me it is purely entertainment, I go to play a couple of games only when there is spare time.

Yana Melnikova – How much do you work on chess?

Le Quang Liem – On average, about four hours a day.

Yana Melnikova – What are your future plans, objectives for the near future?

Le Quang Liem – My goal is to reach the level of 2700, as soon as possible. I won in Aeroflot and got the opportunity to play in Dortmund. This is my chance to show the skill at a high level, and I will work very hard to make a proper preparation.

Yana Melnikova – Did you like it in Moscow?

Le Quang Liem – Yes, of course! The people are very friendly. There is a lot of snow though, quite different from my country.

Mainstream media about Le Quang Liem’s victory at Aeroflot Open