The Russian player we played a match against in 2006 in Elista doesn’t exist for us

Interview with Danailov by Yuri Vasilev

Interview by Yurii Vasilev, original text here. Translation by mishanp at Chess in Translation

Is it true that Anand received 100,000 euros for agreeing to play the match in Sofia?

Yes, it’s true. Initially he wanted 300,000 more. After long negotiations he got 100,000. That money wasn’t from us, but from FIDE. We paid FIDE a very large sum from which, I assume, Anand was paid that extra fee. Normally, as you know, FIDE gets 20% of the prize fund. But from us they asked for 30, explaining that they wanted to develop “Global Chess”. In other words because they couldn’t find sponsors for the Anand-Topalov match they took 30% from us, and not 20%. And we were forced to pay.

After the match Anand gave a long interview in India in which he talked about how in the match with Topalov he was helped by the three Ks: Kasparov, Carlsen [spelt with a "K" in Russian] and Kramnik. In his time, after the defeat to Kramnik in London, Kasparov told me that “almost the whole of the former USSR team” was working against him. And he added: “clearly out of particularly warm sentiments towards me…”. Do you think that the three Ks helped Anand “out of particularly warm sentiments” to you, Silvio?

(Gloomily) I don’t think that the motives were personal. The help of the three Ks that Anand talked about can be explained by pure politics. They were afraid that if Topalov won the match our influence would be too great. And they did everything they could to prevent that. In general, I have to say that during the match everyone was rooting against us, except the Bulgarians. Including FIDE, which absolutely didn’t try to hide it. And Mr. Makropoulos, the match “supervisor”, conducted himself like Anand’s manager.

But it seemed to me that in the episode with the Icelandic volcano, when Makropoulos used his power to give Anand an extra day for adapting after the difficult journey, he acted correctly.

Absolutely incorrectly!

But how would you have looked if Anand, who in any case crashed to defeat in the first game, had then explained it by saying that he wasn’t given a chance to recover after the tiring trip…

When eight days before the match Anand got stuck in Frankfurt I immediately told him: “Take a car and in 24 hours you’ll be in Sofia”. But they sat around for three days in the airport and only then set off on their land trip. And all because Mr. Makropoulos promised them that “there won’t be a problem”.

So now we come to the main reason why I called you. How is Veselin intending to fight for the title if he “refuses to play in Kazan or in any other Russian city”, as he wrote in his open letter?

You should read his letter more carefully. It doesn’t say that Topalov refuses to play in Russia. He’ll go to Khanty-Mansiysk for the Olympiad and will represent Bulgaria on board one. Topalov is refusing to play a match with a Russian player in Russia, if that match is connected to the title struggle. The chances of Topalov meeting a Russian player in Kazan aren’t high as for that they’d both need to get to the final, though it’s a possibility.

And in general we were really outraged that the very proposal to switch the matches to Kazan appeared suddenly, at the last moment. FIDE kept the candidacy a secret. They’ve long known that there was a problem with Baku because of Aronian, and that it was impossible to resolve. An international federation with self respect should have opened up bidding for running the Candidates Matches in another city. Sofia, by the way, could have offered a million dollars. Where’s the problem?

But, like magicians, they produced the Kazan candidacy “from up their sleeve” at the last moment and now say: this is where you’ll play. While at the same time they’re retaining the nominee from Baku – Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. It’s absurd! If the matches are run in Russia then the nominee should be from Russia. What’s Azerbaijan got to do with it?

I’ll ask FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov about it when I meet him in the next few days. And what do you think of the proposal of Grandmaster Emil Sutovsky, a member of the committee for running the World Championship and Olympiad: to play the quaterfinals and the semifinals over six games instead of four. And then after almost a half-year break to have a final over eight games, and already for a different, larger amount of money.

It’s not only Sutovsky who thinks like that. Topalov also holds the same opinion and, as far as I know, so does Magnus Carlsen. But it would be enough for the break between the semi-finals and finals to be 20 or 30 days. In a match over four games the players who are weaker will aim to bring the “long” games to a draw and decide the fate of the match in a tie-break, where the element of chance is greater. In matches over six games it’s harder to do that. Carlsen, as far as I know, won’t sign a contract if they propose playing 20 days in a row in Kazan. If the first and second place players in the world ratings won’t take part in the competition then we’ll see what sort of a candidates tournament we’ll have…

Did I understand correctly: if FIDE decide to increase the number of games, then Topalov’s prepared to play a quaterfinal, and if successful, a semifinal match in Kazan?

What does it mean, “prepared, not prepared”? Those are just words. Let them show us a contract, conditions, a prize fund. When we see all of that we’ll take a decision.

But if everything you mention is satisfactory to you then Topalov can travel to Kazan?

Why not? We’ll study the proposed contract, and if everything suits us then Topalov, of course, will travel to Kazan.

But if Kramnik gets to the final, then Topalov won’t play him in Russia. Correct?

Veselin expressed it clearly in his letter.

And what about what you said to me in Bilbao about how it was necessary to forget the resentment from “Elista 2006″ and turn over a new leaf?

The Russian player we played a match against in 2006 in Elista doesn’t exist for us!

But what if that player, who’s called Vladimir Kramnik, nevertheless, as they say, “materialises”? And you have to play him?

If we have to, then we’ll play. For example, perhaps in Khanty-Mansiysk we’ll manage to cross swords…