Exclusive interview with Silvio Danailov for Chessdom
Danailov, Paolo Coelho, Topalov
and Mtel CEO Josef Vinatzer
The case with the participation of the Bulgarian GM Veselin Topalov at the Wolrd Championship in Mexico 2007 has been included in the agenda of the Presidential Board of the World Chess Federation (FIDE), as reported by Topalov’s press-agent, Mr. Jivko Ginchev. The meeting of the Presidential Board will take place June 22t-25th in Tallinn. As we know, the Bulgarian delegation on the head of the Minister of Sport Vesela Lecheva, Stefan Sergiev (President of BG chess federation) and Silvio Danailov will explain their position regarding the participation of Veselin Topalov in WCC in Mexico during the meeting.
Only a few days before the meeting, Silvio Danailov agreed to give an exclusive interview for chessdom.com. He was very direct with us and told us things we have never heard before. Here we present you the full version of the interview (with some grammar corrections). We leave the conclusions to the readers.
Mr.Danailov, what are your expectations before the visit in Tallinn ?
Well, I am optimistic. I am sure that the common sense will win and FIDE will let Veselin play. We have all the legal rights and will explain this to FIDE very clearly.
What do you mean by legal rights?
OK, let me remind you the history of the case. When Veselin won the WCC in San Luis he refused all his privileges and agreed to play in Mexico in equal terms with the rest of the players. He did this because FIDE asked him to do it, they had big problems with the sponsors for the matches at that time. San Luis was a big success and they decided to keep this format because it was much easier to find the sponsors. The only problem was to convince the World Champion to refuse his rights. Veselin did this just to help FIDE because they convinced us that this will be good for the interests and future of chess.
Then, thanks to the great popularity of Veselin during the tournament in Morelia 2006, I personally found and convinced the Mexican sponsors to invest in chess and to organize the WCC in Mexico City 2007. They invested more that 4 million US dollars for the organization, only the price fund is 1.3 million.
Topalov & Danailov
But in the contract of the match with Kramnik you have signed that the loser will not play in Mexico?
Yes, this is true, but when we sign this contract there were official FIDE regulations and according to them every former world champion or player with rating above 2700 can challenge the world champion in a match for the title if he can present bank guarantee of USD 2 million. When Veselin lost the match in Elista we immediately made this challenge and presented to FIDE this bank guarantee of USD 2 million. The rest of the story is well known, FIDE declined our rights for this match with very poor arguments.
OK, first they did not accept the bank guarantee because according to them the bank was not reliable, which was not serious at all. Then, when we presented the guarantee from the other bank, they said that there is not enough time to organize the match. But in the meantime we lost about 45 days. Of course, there was no doubt that they were looking for an excuses to refuse the match.
Why don’t you challange the winner of Mexico?
This is the problem, we would like to do that, but in the meantime FIDE changed the regulations, which was not legal. They can’t change the WCC regulations during the same cycle. FIDE have broken unilaterally point 2.8. from the contract with Topalov for WCC match in Elista signed personally by Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. And I will show them this contract in Tallinn because probably they forgot what they signed. But this is not the worse, FIDE changed the regulations for the second time giving the guaranteed rematch for Kramnik with the winner of Mexico, no matter what happens there. This is really incredible! They break the rules for the second time in the same cycle which is not legal at all, but the worse is that they obviously try to harm Topalov and give all kind of privileges to Kramnik. What kind of serious organization can do this? This is a unique case in the history of any sport, without any precedent!
On the other hand, this case has its moral side. The World Championship is the face of FIDE and can’t be hostage of political games and unclear interests. All the best players have to play there because everybody wants to know who is the best player in the world. FIDE has big responsibility in front of the world chess community and needs to think about the interests of chess before everything. If they exclude Topalov on purpose it will become obvious that something is wrong.
Topalov, Danailov and Vinatzer
What are you going to do if they refuse to include Topalov? Are you going to sue FIDE?
Of course, we are going to defend our rights until the end. We have the government support and will sue FIDE in the Lausanne court. We have consulted the case with a very prestigious law company in Switzerland and they told us that we have all the rights. But, of course, this is the last and very unpleasant step. I believe that we can reach an agreement in Tallinn which is the best for both sides.
In any case your mission in Tallinn is not easy at all, you have very powerful people against you now. In that sense how do you feel about Ilymzhinov and Kramnik? Are they your enemies?
Well, Kirsan and Kramnik are not exactly my enemies, we just have big conflict of interests, this is only business, nothing personal. They defend their interests, and I defend mine. There is nothing wrong here, this is OK.
Personally I like Kirsan a lot, he is very nice and funny person. Don’t forget that Veselin and I supported him openly before and during the FIDE elections in Turin. And I value the merits of Kramnik like a player, nobody can ignore his achievements in chess.
In his recent big interview in Chessbase Kramnik said that his opinion about your ethical code is not very high.
Well, it’s very strange for me that the guy who never qualified for any WCC cycle, and now is building with great enthusiasm cycles for the other players, can speak about ethical code. The man who always received the WCC matches like gifts, first from Kasparov and then from Ilyumzhnov, is speaking about moral? Mr.Kramnik, who harmed gravely the career of such a great player like Alexei Shirov in such a cynical way?
This gentleman, who by using his political connections in Russia was pressing FIDE and the FIDE President the last months to guarantee him a rematch with the winner of Mexico? And now this guy is teaching us about moral? Come on, give me a break!
In the same interview Kramnik accused you for lying that he visits the bath room 50 times during the game and this was a special strategy to damage his reputation and disbalance his performance in the match….
Oh really, this was a lie? Actually this is very easy to check, I have suggested that during the match. Just show the tapes to the journalists, put it on internet. Then everybody can count and check personally and we will see who is lying. If Mr.Kramnik is innocent what is the problem to see the tapes? But of course, the organizers will never show this tapes because Kramnik will never permit this. Guess why?
Do you really think that Kramnik cheated during the match?
Look, in the beginning when I saw the tapes his behaviour was only strange for me, slightly suspicious, nothing more. That’s why I present the famous appeal, just to avoid any doubts about the fair play in the match. But after his hysterical reaction during the famous game five we started to realize that something is wrong. This was the typical reaction of a guilty man who has something to hide.
Imagine the situation: You are an innocent man who is leading comfortably with 3-1, playing with White in game five. Play your game and then complain or whatever. Why do you need to react in such a hysterical way?
Then came the real evidences, our technical experts found the computer cables in both toilets. Do you have a computer cable in your toilet? The first Appeal Committee accepted our appeal because there was clear evidence that something was wrong, not because they were my friends. Then the FIDE President fired Makropolous and Azmaiparashvili (because they didn’t resign, they were fired and kicked out from Elista). Later on, the two new members of the new Appeal Committee immediately presented their resignation when they realized what was going on. You can see how big was our support in Kalmikia…
These are the facts, the rest is nonsense. I will not enter in personal qualifications like Mr.Kramnik, I would only like to remind the pure facts and everybody can judge by himself.
Kramnik said that he was very nervous and emotional, that you were driving him crazy.
Come on, I know Kramnik very well from years. He is cold like ice, calculating extremely carefully all his moves, in life and chess. He is a very intelligent person. He can sell these stories about his emotions to somebody else, not to me.
What about the rumours that there was a campaign against you in Chessbase?
Well, many people were asking me the same question. But you know, this is not exactly Chessbase, this is just one person from Chessbase – Frederic Friedel, who is trying to damage our reputation during the last few years. Manipulating the information, manipulating the facts. This guy is completely obsessed with Veselin and me and really wants to hurt us.
Luckily he made a big mistake by publishing the famous video in Commersant and lost a lot of credit, he is not reliable anymore.
Wait a minute, the video in Commersant was provided by Dutch amateur, isn’ t it?
Ha,ha,ha! Dutch amateur you said, this is a joke or what? Come on, the chess world is so small and everybody knows who was the producer of this video. But for his big surprise the effect was like a boomerang to him.
For example, Friedel was always calling Topalov FIDE world champion and nowadays former FIDE world champion. In the same time he is calling Kramnik World Champion or Absolute World Champion. Can you feel the deference? Actually he is right, Kramnik is Absolute World Champion of spending time in toilet during one match. And please, don’t blame me for that, I was not the one who spend about at least one hour during almost every game on the toilet in Elista.
It is hard to believe that Mr. Friedel had something personal against you and Mr. Topalov.
Yes of course, there was some commercial reasons as well. Do you know that Mr. Friedel invites almost every top player in his house in Hamburg? Like he used to say with pride, “Anand slept more than 60 times in my house. Leko and many others as well.” These guys comment some games, make some videos, etc., which he uses later on. Well, Veselin always declined his invitations and never visited Hamburg and Chessbase.
On the other hand, Chessbase needed to promote desperately the match Kramnik-Fritz 10 last year in Bonn. Unfortunately for them, Fritz 10 nowadays is much weaker program then Hydra, Rybka, Junior, etc. At the same time Kramnik was only the third player of the world, Topalov and Anand had much better results at that moment. So, how to promote the “World chess challenge” between Player Number 3 and Program Number 4? Discrediting Topalov at any cost and promoting Kramnik.
Let’s change the direction of the conversation. What is the future of the Grand Slam which start next year?
Well, the future is very promising. We contacted already some potential sponsors and they are very interested. One thing is sure, the winner of the final Master Tournament in Bilbao will be without any doubts the best player of the year, with much more value than the world champion.
When is the next meeting of the GSCA and what is the main topic?
The next meeting will be in Bilbao in October during the blindfold tournament there. We have two new candidates for members from Argentina and Kazakhstan and need to discus what to do.
Is the pointing system for the Grand Slam decided? Is it going to be in the format similar to F1?
For the moment it is clear that the four winners from Corus, Linares, MTel Masters and Mexico City will qualify for the Master in Bilbao 2008. We need to clarify how to proceed if the same player wins two or more tournaments and to invent a serious point system in that case.