ChessBase has an item on the press conference with Topalov and Ilyumzhinov announcing the world championship match between Topalov and Vladimir Kramnik. The first of the twelve games will be played September 23. The shrinkage to 12 games is discussed, if not convincingly. The point of a long match is to be different from tournaments, so I don't think much of Topalov's comparison. Twelve games is *not* serious. But it fits in with the plan to devalue the championship title that Ilyumzhinov put into play in 1997 after he came into power. The winner will be dropped into another championship tournament, a la San Luis, scheduled for Mexico in 2007.
This fact was no doubt part of Topalov's decision to play. As pointed out during the last, failed, negotiations, he needs to strike while his star is high. He has no better than a 25% chance of winning the next tournament, so this guaranteed payday makes sense. He'll make more in this match, win or lose, than he did when he won the title in San Luis ($240K). The players get $400,000 each regardless of the result, which is bizarre on the face of it but is entirely in keeping with the wholly pragmatic nature of the encounter for both players.
As currently planned, the loser will have to wait until the 2009 cycle to get back into the title fight while the winner defends his title in Mexico. It's comical to be discussing 2009 when the 2005 cycle is currently stalled like a traffic jam of three-legged camels. The disappeared candidates matches aren't on the agenda of the upcoming FIDE Congress. All eyes are on the Kramnik-Topalov match instead. I'm happy about the match, but announcing Mexico 2007 without mentioning that the candidates match announcement is over a month overdue is obtuse. I'm sure they'll find a way to get the loser into the 2007 mix, especially if it's Topalov.
An early report said there wouldn't be rapid tiebreaks, but I'm sad to see that was incorrect. There will be rapids and blitz in case of a drawn match. The good news is that no one has draw odds, which would have been a huge advantage in such a short match. (See also: "Brissago")