Veselin Topalov Interview

by Marina Makarycheva, published on 8th April in Russian newspaper Gazeta

NTV’s chess editor Marina Makarycheva performed an extensive interview with world’s highest rated player and world championship challenger Veselin Topalov. Ms. Makarycheva asked about the match with Kamsky, upcoming match with Anand, changes in the world championship cycle and other issues, and the interview was published on 8th April in Russian newspaper “Gazeta”. We present you the excerpts, read the full interview (in Russian) on Gazeta website.

Makarycheva: On the match with Anand. When it will be held, and when do you plan to start with preparation?

Topalov: Honestly, it does not depend only on me, but on Anand and, of course, on the FIDE as well. But most important – on the potential sponsors who can make their own suggestions. As for training, now I will carefully monitor all games played by Vishy. By the way, I have already examined carefully all of Anand’s games played in Linares.

But returning to my play in Sofia, I can say that if I make the same mistakes in the match with Vishy, he will not forgive me.

Makarycheva: And why, in your opinion, Vishy Anand appeared in Linares not as convincing as in previous years?

Topalov: Well, first of all, Vishy Anand’s result in Linares can not be seen as failure. Linares is a very strong tournament.

As for the reasons … I do not exclude the possibility that numerous celebrations and receptions for the world champion at his home in India, after Anand brilliantly defended his title, have played a role. It seems to me that Vishy was not able yet to fully restore his power.

But in addition, Anand, of course, was under the severe pressure which all of the champions experienced sometime. First, everyone wants to play their best game against the champion, and second, the champion feels that, being in the focus of attention, he is required to show the play of the champions, and the result of the champions, but this is not always possible. I felt something similar three years ago, so I do not judge by hearsay.

We should not forget that we have replaced the champions like Robert Fischer, Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov, all of whom proved their superiority, which did not mean being merely first among equals, but ahead of everyone else, so the fans are expecting a similar feat from us, but with the current competition of such a high standard it is very, very difficult.

Makarycheva: Recently, FIDE decided to change the regulation for the final competition of the next cycle. Originally the match between the winners of Grand Prix and World Cup was planned, but now this is replaced by a match-tournament of eight candidates. What do you think about this change of regulation?

Topalov: My reaction was negative. After all, it is not a secret that had Kramnik won the match in Bonn, nothing would be changed in the rules, and Anand would be forced to fight for the return of his crown by going through the World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk. While now the defeated player from the match in Bonn, Vladimir Kramnik, will enter the candidates tournament without qualification.

On the other hand, we had a situation that “Global Chess” – the structure responsible for FIDE Grand Prix – failed to organize several events, the venue of which was quickly moved to other places and countries. Therefore, the situation is quite complicated.

In short, I am against it, but I perfectly understand that developments in this domain do not depend of me.

Makarycheva: But, on the other hand, you can also be seen as a person which took profit from the new decisions. One can never be absolutely certain that the win will always be on your side, and starting from the bottom of qualification process is always worse than a high position in the candidates tournament. A seat in the tournament has been reserved for you even if you lost the match against Kamsky, and now the defeated from your match with Anand also belongs in the tournament.

Topalov: That is true, but I believe that it is very desirable, even necessary, to adhere to the papers once the contracts are signed and agreements are reached. Therefore, any changes in the cycle that is already running…well … it is not a good thing. In addition, it appears strange to me that FIDE sells all the rights of the final stages of the next cycle at a time when there is no clarity in the current cycle, that is my match against Vishy Anand. For me this is illogical.

Makarycheva: Since you mentioned this match once again, the last question: is it possible to beat Vishy Anand?

Topalov: Frankly speaking, by comparing my play in the match with Kamsky and the level demonstrated by Anand in his match against Kramnik, one can say that this goes clearly in favor of Vishy, but I will be well prepared and I hope to capture his world champion title.