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Kamsky-Topalov to Sign for Sofia

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The planned off-day meetings in Dresden between the camps of World Championship candidates Veselin Topalov and Gata Kamsky seem to have borne some fruit, according to Chessdom on the scene. Apparently they have agreed to play in Sofia, Bulgaria. No word yet if this is going to take place on the original schedule FIDE wanted (starting in 10 days!) or, more likely, the revised February schedule proposed by the Bulgarian federation. Updates later.

Macauley sacrificed his off day (but we hope not the Bermuda party) and staked out the scene for a few hours to bring back this epic report. The money quote, literally:

After the meeting I spoke to several attendees. "Everything is going in a good way," said Mr. Makropoulos, who also confirmed that an agreement had been reached. Gelfer and Mazouz immediately began drafting, not just a FIDE statement (to be published tonight or tomorrow morning), but contracts for the match itself, which are to be signed as soon as they have been checked and approved by both players.

Neither Kamsky nor Danailov would comment, having been expressly told not to speak to the media until after an official statement by FIDE is released. However, a few salient details are now known.

Independent sources in the meeting confirmed that the match will be held in Sofia, Bulgaria, in early February. The precise dates are not yet available [Update: Unconfirmed dates are February 16-28, which would seem to require Topalov to withdraw from Linares], and the precise timing proved to be one of the main stumbling blocks to an agreement. Kamsky is scheduled to play in the Corus tournament in Wijk aan Zee, from January 17 to February 1. Topalov is scheduled to play in Linares from February 18 to March 8. (Unlike previous years the 2009 Linares tournament is to be held entirely in Spain). The Bulgarian Chess Federation had proposed, in another open letter to the FIDE President, that the Kamsky-Topalov match be organized from February 3 to 15, 2009, putting it dangerously close to the dates of these two Grand Slam tournaments.

Danailov would not confirm how this situation has been resolved, but when asked whether Topalov has a contract with Linares to play, he replied, "Yes. So what?" He declined to say definitively whether this would or would not pose a problem.

Despite this potential conflict, there appear to have been no further obstacles to the match, according to those present. Said another attendee, "I was really surprised how smoothly everything went. It was very cooperative from both sides," adding, "I really didn't expect such a very high level from both sides."

Gelfer confirmed that it is expected that contracts will be signed this evening. "Everything is being taken care of to the satisfaction and with the agreement of both players," he said.

[Emphasis in the original.] So what, indeed? Contracts are for the little people. Well that's good news, though it's a shame it's going to mess with one or both of their schedules for 2009 thanks to all these delays. A good trivia mind-bender would be "when was the last time a FIDE event took place on the originally announced dates?" I suppose the myriad junior events aren't this bad. Glad to see that Chernenko character got the boot. We have enough of our own shifty-eyed scam artists in the chess world, thank you very much. Has the Linares field been announced, btw? Various players keep mentioning it, but I haven't seen a list.


You may not like Danailov, but he does seem to be able to get agreements signed. You have to wonder what Chernenko was doing with his recent comments about the viability of the Ukraine offer. It reminds me of the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, where the Black Knight is fighting on without any arms or legs.

The dates are 16-29 Feb.

So when will be Anand and Topa/Kamsky match?

@Pyada: That match is tentatively *scheduled* for September, last I heard.

Kamsky's taking a big risk that the alleged Topa signalling scandal doesn't have basis in fact... in that scenario, "home court advantage" is insurmountable.

"It reminds me of the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, where the Black Knight is fighting on without any arms or legs."

Arthur: You can't play in Lvov, you've got no money!
Black Knight: Yes I do.
Arthur: No you don't. You haven't even got $20!
Black Knight: 'tis in a piggy bank.

I bet Kamsky would take *any* kind of match at this point. Not playing at all would be the most disadvantageous situation of all for him.

Item updated with great report from Macauley, who was on the scene. Waiting for hours for it to finish, I assume. Giving me flashbacks to the Prague Agreement in 2002.


So the match goes to Sofia. Susan Polgars blog is hard to understand.

"The USCF had no business issuing an open letter to insult FIDE and the potential sponsor...Gata has been my friend for a long time and I will do everything I can to help him succeed. But I am not willing to support something which I feel can potentially destroy his career."

What did Gata ask her to support that would potentially destroy his career? Was trying to insist on Kirsan keeping his word a career threatening move?

Do people know if Gata is happy about this? I mean does he have any choice? Sounds like his back is against a wall.

Gata put himself into this position, the delaying game he has been playing along with his invisible friend is over.
Too bad that the USCF cannot deliver like its Bulgarian counterpart.
Many people may think that this is an easy match for Topa , i think is not.
After Kamsky's comeback Topalov crushed him a couple of times , but in match play Kamsky was never easy for anyone.
Im happy the match is real , a little sad because i had the fantasy of a Topa - Shirov match.

Delay? 60 days to get over 100k more than the bulgarian bid of $150k?

here is the release from feb 11:

"Athens, 11 February 2008

FIDE has accepted an offer for the WCC Challengers Match Kamsky - Topalov 2008 by the Bulgarian Chess
Federation. This offer included a net prize fund of 150,000 USD and has been approved by the FIDE Presidential
Board since June 2007.

However, after the recent FIDE Presidential Board meeting in Singapore and following discussions with all parties
involved, FIDE has decided the following in order to try to improve the financial terms and conditions for both

a) if by 11 April 2008, FIDE receives a bid with a net prize fund of 250,000 USD (minimum) from any country
other than USA, Bulgaria, Russia and Spain, then the match will be organised in that country with the highest bid.

b) if by 11 April 2008, FIDE receives a bid with a net prize fund of 250,000 USD (minimum) from USA, Russia or
Spain, the organisers in Bulgaria will be requested to match that bid by 30 May 2008. If Bulgaria matches the new
bid, the event will be organised in Bulgaria. If Bulgaria refuses, then the match will be organised in the bidding

c) if by 11 April 2008 no such bids arrive, the match will be organised in Bulgaria with a net prize fund
of 150,000 USD.

In order for a proposed bid to be considered, it should be accompanied by a 2-month term recognised bank
guarantee covering the amount of prize fund (minimum 250,000 USD), the FIDE contribution (20% over and
above the prize fund), and 35,000 USD covering expenses of FIDE as described in articles 3.17.4 and 3.17.5 of the
match regulations. Within 30 days of a bidder being awarded the event, the amount of the bank guarantee should be
transferred to the bank account of FIDE.

Each bid shall also contain the following particulars:

a) Proposed exact dates of the event between 26 November and 11 December 2008.
b) Proposed tournament venue.
c) Proposed prize fund.
d) Commitment to cover all organisation costs, in accordance with the match regulations.
e) Special rates for hotel rooms, including meals.
f) A statement that the applicant accepts the regulations of the Match without any reservations.
g) The applicant's name, signatures and authentication.
h) An invitation for at least one member of the World Chess Championship Committee to inspect the proposed
venue and examine the other conditions, with all expenses paid by the bidder.

No bidder can propose a sponsor which shall be in conflict with the regulations of the International Olympic
Committee (IOC).

The bids, including all original documents and particulars, shall arrive by registered post to the FIDE Secretariat in
Athens, Greece by the deadline of 11 April 2008."

Give me a break! Just getting an oral agreement for that kind of cash in 60 days is challenging. And then once the deadline is up what chance do you have. This whole thing was a cluster F from the start. Its also hard to deliver an offer when somone else has the right of first refusal!

Now as for Kamskys former manager if he is a crook he is a crook. If Kamsky knew he was a crook and played along he is no better. Even if Kamsky didn't know his reputation will likely suffer. But this is really all beside the point of what a screwed up thing this was from the start.

This totally smells of a typical FIDE ram through. Kirsan owed Bulgaria something so he gave Topalov a semi-final match at home.

HCL we know that Topalov and Danilov lack integrity but do you really think they would cheat at a board game for a mere million dollars!?! (Assuming the wc match prize fund for Anand Topalov/kamsky will be comparable to anand Kramnik.)

Sorry guys but I think we know we are dealing with unreputable people and we need to stop living in la la land and thinking they will play fair. I'm not saying I know they will cheat but the risk is really too great. I hope USCF can at least do something to be sure no one in the crowd will be visible to the players and that other rooms will be checked carefully by representatives of both sides.

It is tryly amazing that no one was found to sponsor this match in the US. (So good that such rich and powerful countries as Bulgaria exist!) No, really, how it is possible?

Is Topalov as unpopular among top GMs as he seems to be among the readership of this website (myself included)? If so, I wonder whether he has a disadvantage - relative to Kamsky, or perhaps one day Anand - in building his team. As we saw in the Anand-Kramnik match, team prep is very important - Anand seemed to credit Kasimdzhanov with the novelty that produced two wins.

Feb. *29*? Of course, if Ilumzhinov announces it a leap year, on his personal guarantee...

So Topalov lacks integrity for acusing Kramnik in the same way you are now acusing him.
So it is a shame to point the finger on Kramnik but Topalov can be acused without proof anytime?
You should aply for work at chessbase , they have the same logic.

Why does this farce have to happen every time there's a major chess match? It's a joke.

Hey Mikhail. How much money would there be in Bulgaria to sponsor a baseball game?!

Well, I suppose if the Bulgarian baseball team made it to a world championship qualifier there would be a national wave of support. But unless you're a Fischer, the US doesn't notice chess. If there's a world championship match, maybe.

Yep , and i asume that it would depend on the champion's profile too.
Bulgarians use their president as a guarantee, isn't that a terrific use for a president?

Witch-hunt begun! Topalov is a cheater! Proof? Come on...

I am not clear where the assumptions of Gata Kamsky's clean image come from but I think living in Brooklyn does not wash away your sins! He, as a youngster, benefitted from underhand tactics and outright intimidation of opponents. Ask Nigel Short, Joel Benjamin, Ilya Gurevich and Patrick Wolff- some players wo have been on the receiving end of the Kamsky treatment. Past behaviour is the best predictor of future actions. And his ogre of a father, Rustam the boxer, is still very much alive and, if his recent release is anything to go by, still unreformed and quite malevolent.

"Is Topalov as unpopular among top GMs as he seems to be among the readership of this website (myself included)?"

Well, sure there are people who do not like him ... . During the toilet skandal there was a wave of support for Kramnik also from many grandmasters. And I think as far as the Anand-Kramnik match is concerned, most people were pleased that there was a friendly atmosphere off the board along with tense, competitive, high-quality chess.

But Topalov also has friends ... and he (Bulgaria) seem to have plenty of money which also helps. So I do not think any of this will affect his preparation and the quality of his team.

As far as Kamsky is concerned (posted by HardyBerger): Yes, he and his father had played dirty games in the past. But, after his long break from chess, I would give him the benefit of doubt for the time being. And obviously he cannot make his father shut up completely, but seems to (try to) move a bit away from his influence.

"Past behaviour is the best predictor of future actions"? Not necessarily, also not the other way around. Prior to the elista match, Topalov was not known for psychological tricks off the board, or do I miss something ?

Past behaviour does not predict future actions 100 percent of the time but it's a pretty good guide in the majority of cases. I too hope that the Kamsky- Topalov match is a feast of chess and civilised conduct rather than off-the-board shenanigans but i worry about the influence of Rustam Kamsky. In addition, I have never heard Gata Kamsky apologise to the people he and his father treated very badly in the past, especially those threatened with physical violence. So, the new, clean Gata Kamsky is but a hope.

Kamsky should play the match under virtually any conditions for the dosh. USD 250,000 is a fantastic amount of money for non WC match. His share is probably much more than his normal annual earnings Id be surprised if the guy makes more thn 50-60k a year from chess

Some Important Matches which were agreed and did not take place

Fischer-Karpov 1975
In January, 1975, the Philippines
were offering $5 million for Fischer to play Karpov in the Philippines.
Fide refused Fischer's 9-9 rule.Bobby Fischer forfeited his title as world chess champion to Anatoly Karpov without playing a single chess game since winning the world championship.

Kasparov-Shirov 1999
Kasparov tried to organise another World Championship match, under yet another organisation, the World Chess Association (WCA) with Linares organiser Rentero. Alexei Shirov and Vladimir Kramnik played a candidates match to decide the challenger, which Shirov won in a surprising upset. The WCA collapsed, however, when Rentero admitted that the funds required and promised had never materialised

Kasparov-Anand 1999
The proposed match which led to Anand staying away from the official FIDE World Championships, that concluded last month in Las Vegas,The match, officially announced in July after both Anand and Kasparov signed up with the promoters, has not been able to attract a sponsor who could put up three million dollars.

Kasparov vs Ponomariov 2003
The match between Garry Kasparov and Ruslan Ponomariov is to take place from June 19 to July 7 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This was announced in a news conference by FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov in Moscow yesterday.

Kasparov-Kasimdzhanov 2004
The World Championship Match between World Champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan and the world`s highest rated player, Garry Kasparov of Russia shall be held 7th to 24th January 2005 in Dubai. This was announced by FIDE President H.E. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

Topalov–Radjabov 2006
The award fund is $1.5 million (Sofia, May 15, 2006) The manager of the World Champion Veselin Topalov – Silvio Danailov and the Minister of Sport of Azerbaijan Azad Rahimov agreed yesterday on a match for the world title to be held between Topalov and the Azerbaijanian Teimour Radjabov

Topalov-Kamsky 2008
After a great deal of international bickering the matter is now settled: the special Challengers Match between Gata Kamsky and Veselin Topalov will take place between November 26th and December 14th 2008 in Lvov, Ukraine. This has just been announced by FIDE, with President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

will history repeat itself lets wait till february 2009 to see wether the Topalov-Kamsky match really takes place

I assure you, Macauley did not give up the Bermuda party.


I don't "give up" easily.

On that note: Update to the Kamsky-Topalov story:

I did not accuse Topalov of cheating in a chess match that did not even take place. My own opinion is that it is absurd to think we should simply have Topalov and Danilov give a scouts honor pledge that they will not cheat and be fine with that. You can disagree if you want but that is my view.

As far as Kamsky I am suspending judgment right now but obviously this whole deal with money promised sounds fishy. But if Kamsky is shady that is all the more reason to have cheating controls not less. If Kamsky ends up being shown to be dishonest that does not make the other people's reputations better. It’s not a zero sum game here folks.

It now appears that this Chernenko was full of it. So ok what is the difference between Topalov and Kamsky? Topalov still has Danilov, Kamsky dumped Chernenko. Does this mean Kamsky is clean? No but it leaves open the possibility that he was mislead realized that and dumped Chernenko. We can all see how he was mislead by Kirsan. After all it was published to the world that Kirsan would guarantee the offer!

But this is the important thing: Even if Kamsky was found to be dishonest that does not mean Kirsan is a saint. It just means the whole lot of them are untrustworthy. Why make excuses or pretend its not so?

BTW even before the match with Kramnik, Danilov was showing his true colors. There were disputes about whether an agreement was entered etc. Funny thing how although there was debate between Kramnik and Anand on the terms (should it be in Germany etc) there was never any flat out accusations that an agreement was reached when it wasn't or vice versa.. Same thing with Kramnik and Leko - no allegations of lying etc.

That said I see nothing wrong with how Danilov/Topalov handled this particular match with Kamsky. My distrust of them is based on actions they have taken in the past.

I did miss the Bermuda party, but it was to get some sleep. Friends of mine went and said it was great.

I have spoken with both Topalov who looks so very different in person than in pictures. He is a kind, polite gentleman, and I am convinced that all the foul things that come out of his mouth were put in his brain by Danailov. We did not talk about the match.

I spoke with Kamsky, who I already knew, and he also was kind and polite as always, I only told him that I was behind him 100%. He seemed to appreciate that. Gata is a nice person, his father is as bad, if not worse than Danailov. Luckily, he is now an adult, married and a father, and seems to have jettisoned his father & company for a real person manager, GM Emil Sutovsky.

I was next door during the "big meeting" fighting for the "little guys", the small federations in Central America and Africa. Several of them were treated quite poorly at this Olympiad. I hope my efforts will bear fruit.

Your distrust in them is equal to my distrust in Kramnik and his offboard tactics.
But its ok because cheating is so easy now that all controls must be done to make the game fair.
I understand what bothers you about Danailov , and i understand why you think that having a polite match is important,although i don´t agree at all .

Anyone know the going rate for seconds these days? How far will $125k go? Obviously Kamsky still has Sutovsky working with him. Anyone know of any other seconds?

Why has Anand agreed to play the match in September? Anand should at least let a year pass before having to defend his title again...unless his strategy is to force his tired opponent into playing another match ASAP after the February match and other tournaments thus leaving less time for recuperation and preparation.

Why has Anand agreed to play the match in September? Anand should at least let a year pass before having to defend his title again...unless his strategy is to force his tired opponent into playing another match ASAP after the February match and other tournaments, thus leaving less time for recuperation and preparation.

Funny how you compare chess with baseball. Chess is by far a much more global sport than baseball is. Here in the US they have a national championship and call it the "world series". Not even sure whether to laugh out loud or feel sorry for American arrogance. But with Obama there seems to be some hope that things might change (his views on learning Spanish & on talks with Iran). Early days though. Lets see how things go..

Anand Nair, NBA is also called the world championship (in fact i think also NFL is, but this case is more obvious). Still, it's amazing how USCF can't get something bigger running. But hey, almost every chess federation is like that. Unless we get something like tennis or golf in terms of organization, everything will be a mess and big sponsorship will depend on personal friendships, as oppossed to real PR and aproach to potential corporate sponsors who aren't your friends or played in the same club as you...

Topalov IS NOT CREASY. He has the best chessmanager in the world. If You know anyone better than Danailov I will be glad to know his name. That's all what i can say about Danailov - the best chessmanager with the strongest player in the world at this moment>


Topalov is the CREASIEST. Just look at him.

Looks like VTop is dropping out of Linares and that the contracts for Kamsky-Topalov have been signed, but, as Danailov might say, so what?

Sherman, actually Anand is the strongest player in the world. Topalov may have let nerves, intimidation whatever get to him when he threw away several winning chances against Kramnik, but the fact remains he only drew the classical part. Anand on the other hand completely creamed Kramnik, absolute massacre, no doubts whatsoever. Vishwanathan Anand is the best Chess player in the world.

Ok, everybody has his opinion about Who is the best. I respect yours and because Vishi deserves this high valuation regardless of bad results in the last 2-3 years vs Topalov. But I just talked not for power of Topa, but for qualities of Danailov as manager.

First just look in the mirror dear. After that look at ranking table of FIDE. And in the end look at the list of first 22 category event in China. Topalov's participation is honour for every chesstournament.

Does Anand have a bad record against Toap in the past few years? I ask in all sincerity and curiosity, not having a DB and not having the time to trawl through Chessgames. Can you post a summary by any chance?

You forget that the Kramnik match was the first big match in Topalovs career.
Kramnik lost some matches before winning Kasparov , and Anand lost a bunch before winning Kramnik.
The best of Topa is about to come.

I'm not sure what your point is Manu. I havent yet come across the method of using a loss as a metric of judging someone's excellence.

"If you don't have the time to learn, you don't have the time to talk."
--Mario Heyward

According to my investigation, billions of persons in the world receive the loan from good creditors. So, there's good possibilities to get a bank loan in every country.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on November 18, 2008 10:43 AM.

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