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5th M-Tel Masters Announced

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The fifth annual M-Tel Masters will take place in Sofia, Bulgaria from May 12-23. (First round May 13, off days 17, 22.) This event still feels new to me so it's remarkable it's already in its fifth year. We're getting old, people. Local hero and world #1 Veselin Topalov leads the field as always. Last year's fourth edition was the first time he failed to take clear first place. The man who did, and with an incredible 8/10 score, Vassily Ivanchuk, is back again as well. The rest of the field is different, if not exactly new. Cheparinov and Bu Xianzhi are out; the ubiquitous Red Twins, Dominguez and Wang Yue, are in. (The strongest players in Latin America and East Asia.) Aronian and Radjabov are out; Carlsen and Shirov are in.

The players are back inside a "glass pavilion" a la the Bilbao Grand Slam final last year. It's in the square in front of the Ivan Vazov National Theater. Double round-robin as always. Control is 40/90 + g/60. No mention of increment. Sofia anti-short-draw rules, of course. M-Tel has been a consistently exciting event since its inception and other than the addition of Wang Yue's Petroff that looks set to continue. The official site is here, but hasn't been updated with the 2009 material yet.


Good, i was missing Alexei´s chess.

three cheers for shirov!

I have to say, I don't understand this fascination with "glass pavilions" that chess has recently developed. It seems a bit demeaning. Chess players are freakish enough as it is, without being put on display like the denizens of some Victorian sideshow. And chess is not so "extreme" a contest that some cagematch-style arena is required.

It has so many benefits that i dont understand why would someone consider it demeaning.
To name a few:
It is a way to put chess closer to the general audience .
It allows people to bring children to watch the games , which would not be possible without the sound proof cage.
It helps to show the beauty of the venue , widering the range of organizers that could find this usefull for their cities.
It makes the broadcast more interesting and visually attractive , hence reaching a bigger audience.
Funny thing is that acording to the ACP poll 57% (!!)of the GMs find this a good idea and are comfortable with this.
So the ¨demeaning effect¨ is in the eye of the beholder me thinks. :)

I think glass cube is fine, but I don't understand Danailov and Co's preference of shortened time control (90+60).

What's the problem with classical time control??

I'm for the cube too, it seems to attract the attention of the public, and that's good for the game, so what the heck, bring voyeurism to chess, people likes to watch.

Of course it could easily be caricatured: dress the players as gladiators, suspend the cube in the air, put alligators below in the water, heavy metal music at the presentation, hot girls as seconds.

That was 57% of the GM's who responded to the poll...

Before that poll i was expecting a less porcentage of acceptance...
And in fact it is more provable that the chess players not included on that poll are even more interested on playing there that those who have that oportunity at hand.
Some things are not easy to refute noyb , you need to understand that people that you dont like CAN be right from time to time.
Big hug.

I'm a bit surprised by the selection of players. Seriously do Dominguez and Wang Yue have to be at every single event?

I'm glad to see Shirov back in the mix. However it would also be nice to see some of the following players: Radjabov, Jakovenko, Aronian, Gelfand, Ponomariov and Grischuk!

I'm not even mentioning Kramnik and Morozevich, since they have their beef with Topalov/Danailov and hence can never get an invite.

As for the glass cube I think it is a bad idea. Chess needs to be held in auditoriums. If you want you can put up a glass walls there too and that would allow for spectators to make all the noise they want. However, to place the whole event outside makes it seem more like a spectacle and less like a professional event.

Saying that it attracts attention and is there for good is a poor argument; not everything that attracts attention is good. As an example, having the players play while wearing clown costumes would also attract attention.

I thought the main point of the cube is that it's a farraday cage, i.e., no electronic/radio signals in or out.

¨Saying that it attracts attention and is there for good is a poor argument; not everything that attracts attention is good. As an example, having the players play while wearing clown costumes would also attract attention.¨
You just opened my eyes , Bozo.

Wang and Dominguez seem to play in almost every super tourney this year (Corus, Linares, Sofia) while people like Leko and Svidler are home watching the TV. what an absurd situation.

meanwhile America is holding the SPICE Cup.


It's a chess marketing strategy. The idea is to popularize the sport
and open new markets. Danailov makes no bones about it. They want to
invite the best representatives of the other few billion people on
Earth. Leko and Svidler are nice, but not quite market busting type of
guys. That's why they're trying to send the Anand - Topalov match
somewhere to a more exotic location from what I hear.


that's true. leko comes from a small country and not that good anymore.

svidler and other russians come from a country whose population is falling rapidly!!!!!!!

Humpy's interview post Istanbul win. http://tinyurl.com/c8y287
More updates at https://twitter.com/chessupdates

Leko comes from a small country and not that good anymore.

Yeah... a 2750 for 10 years is weak just because Mig manipulates people into thinking Leko only play draws.

Though my choice of words is a bit inaccurate... Mig doesn't manipulate, he just states his own biased opinion: it's everyone else who doesn't have a mind of their own and takes Mig's word for law.

Leko and Svidler make too many short draws, hence no invites/.

I am not sure if Dominguez & Shirov should warrant a place in the lineup. At least Shirov is ranked 12th in the Fide list..but Dominguez is at 23rd spot. They have overlooked players like Movsesian, Jakovenko, Grischuk, Gelfand, Ponomariov ! Thats really weird. Yes, Shirov promises to play exciting chess...and hope he can make a great comeback at least this time around. People still won't believe if I tell them that he was at #4 spot once! not too long ago.

From the line-up almost all of them play fighting chess: Topalov, Magnus, Shirov and even Dominguez, only Wang is sort of defensive, so maybe the organizers wished to continue the tradition of having an exciting event. I guess a Leko or a Svidler would have diminished a little the tournament's fighting chances.

Remember Mtel is "No Dogs or Russians", so the saying goes. That's probably why Danailov picked Dominguez and Wang.

I thought Wang & Dominguez were good invites for Corus, reasonable for Linares, though. But their results haven't earned a third consecutive invite.

Btw, my meritocratic choices for Mtel would've been Karjakin (Corus victory) and Jakovenko (top ten & rising youth).

The video-interview with Svidler on Chessbase is interesting for several reasons, including this one: When asked about short draws, Svidler commented that he doesn't even _offer_ that many draws, but for some reason finds it hard to _refuse_ a draw offer by the other player. Consequently (still Svidler's own words), he personally likes the Sofia rule because he doesn't even get tempted to make a premature draw.

@jkd: Concerning Leko, (with all due respect to Mig) I wouldn't overestimate his influence in the chess world. Various sources contributed to his (Leko's) reputation - whether it is correct or not is yet another story.

On invitations in general (this topic already came up before Linares): Here Svidler commented - maybe a bit in jest - that a 32-year old as him is already too old to be interesting for organizers (exceptions only for top 10 players).

Referring to Dimi's post: Yes, geographic diversity seems to be important in putting together the field, as clearly shown by the official press release (still up at Chessvibes). BTW, that press release calls Wang Yue "the best player of Asia" (accident or deliberate insult to Anand?) - Mig correctly limits this to East Asia ... .
On the other hand, maybe the US market seems to be less interesting for Danailov, otherwise Nakamura could have been invited (I omit Kamsky because he has already been in Sofia earlier this year ,:) ). And players from (other) established chess countries may be lucky that noone from Africa is remotely eligible for a tournament spot, else there may be even less openings for ex-Soviet and Western European players?

Final point: I (and other people) mentioned before that is a bit strange that some players get several chances to qualify for Bilbao, while others get one or none. So far, Karjakin and Grischuk made full use of their only chance - also in this respect I will keep my fingers crossed for Shirov.

>Remember Mtel is "No Dogs or Russians", so the saying goes.

Oh, c'mon, no need to inject anti-Russian bias in the player
selection for MTel. Shirov is not exactly not an ethnic Russian
despite being born and living elsewhere. One third of the players
speak Russian natively and half at least can talk Chess or give
interviews in Russian. But you can't just have all of them
be "nashi"... Remember, it's a big wide World out there and only
6 players. Now, if it depended on me I'd make the Tournament be
8-10 people and mix in some women in it, like in past.


P.S. BTW, to most people, these things like Byelorussians,
Ukrainians, Russians, not to mention the smaller Republics, are
kind of new. They all used to be the USSR and they all spoke
Russian. Only recently you have to be careful to specify the
country of origin.

still it would be nice to see Wang and Dominguez replaced... others deserve a shot to get into the Bilbao and Wang is just a pure punching bag at this level anyhow.

Dominguez and Wang lucked out with the Mtel invites. They need a positive score to prove they belong (I'm thinking +2), or return to the minor league circuit of Opens and Chess Leagues.

Exactly. Draws Petrovs, loses other games. And Leko is somehow not good enough. Because he makes short draws. YOU CANNOT MAKE A SHORT DRAW IN MTEL.

It's not the draws per se with Leko, but that:

1. He has no fight in him. The draws are both short and boring. I don't think Wang has a brilliant style, but he plays for advantage every move till the very end (at least when he's not jetlagged.) Wang is not one of those players intrinsically prone to short draws, IMO.

2. I've not forgiven Leko for trying to coast to victory in Linares in 2004(?). He had shot out to +3 several rounds in, and even before the halfway mark tried to short-draw his way to 1st place.

The chess world loses nothing with Leko's absence.

"On the other hand, maybe the US market seems to be less interesting for Danailov, otherwise Nakamura could have been invited"

While Nakamura's brand of online trash talking may be amusing, I'm not sure his takes on Topalov on ICC is the best way to go if you want to be invited to M'Tel... He might have been an candidate, but he's talked himself right out of the picture, I'm afraid.

The feeling I get with Leko is that he doesn't want to be there. He loves the draw to get off work at 4pm rather than 5pm.

In contrast, I've never held anything against Ulf Anderson because he was quite honest: he feared the pain/agony/sinking-feeling-in-pit-in-stomach of defeat, and thus played ultra-conservatively.

Very interesting. What did he said?

Manu: I'm not on ICC often, but one memorable quote was that Topalov "should go back to cheating" after his embarrassing loss to Carlsen at Morelia-Linares last year.

Good for a laugh, but for some reason I don't think of Topa as someone who'd enjoy it.

Was he(Nakamura)ever invited to a mayor tournament ,Corus or Linares?

Manu: I'm no expert on naka, but as far as I know he took a "break" from serious chess to finish his degree. He's started playing regularly again, but hasn't yet received any invitations to any of the triple A events.

He's played Corus B, though, and was invited to the same group again (last year, I think), but he declined as the financial terms were worse this time. (Frogbert has written at length about Naka's chances to bag a major invitation, so if you're keen to learn more, you can try the old google trick.)

Oh, yes, Wingit. Just when and where did Naka find time to complete a degree?

hmm, i seem to recall that he had a break due to some studies, but maybe it wasn't an actual degree, and maybe I have him mixed up with Gata Kamsky for some unknown reason... anywho, i think i'd better let someone with more extensive knowledge than me field this one :)

You can say it all you want, but Leko does NOT make an inordinate number of short draws.

I agree with Quandary.

Based upon his own comments on his games, Leko actually seems to be slightly worse in calculation than his opps and blows a lot of promising positions. I think he sometimes has trouble winning because of this. Anyways, Kamsky's rapid game against Radjabov was pretty impressive to a scrub. I felt like Radjabov was flailing with a weak structure like I used to(when I played chess).

@Manu :"Was he(Nakamura)ever invited to a mayor tournament ,Corus or Linares?"

He's playing the Austrian League at the moment and is getting his little ass whooped.

I can understand that Topalov was "not amused", even though he didn't seem to mind a similar in jest remark by Cheparinov (who's telling the joke is as important as what's in a joke!?).
Yet, I would say freedom of speech includes the freedom to make jokes, even bad or misplaced ones - e.g. Aronian has his own legacy. So (while I doubt it was a conscious decision by Nakamura), should he really think twice about what he writes on ICC because it may harm his potential for MTel invitations?
BTW (just a fact): MTel is the only supertournament where the organizers are THAT closely tied to one of the participants. I don't think jokes, criticism or even insults against Van Wely, Shirov or Vallejo Pons could have similar consequences on being invited or not to Corus or Linares ... .

The influence of Danailov in the chessworld is really sad. M-TAl is nothing in my vieuw, Several topplayers are banned from the tournament and we even saw a player give Topalov 2 victories last year. Funny how Anand wont play there and no russian players is there either. Picking players form a market point of viuw as some here have suggested is appalling, epsecially as this tournament should be one of the qualifications to Bilbao. Bu offcase money talks and in Bulgaria they print a lot.

"should he really think twice about what he writes on ICC because it may harm his potential for MTel invitations?"

You makes your choice and takes your chances. All I'm saying is that if he was really pining for one of those MTel invites, then his was a bad choice. But he'll live, I'm sure...

Leko gets too much stick for being boring which is an oversimplification. Often the best games are between solid players and attacking ones. In that way having people like Leko in a tournament adds to the quality of chess.

All I can say is that we need Kasparov in chess now more than ever - even more than in politics ! I am sorry but like it or not..he was/is the best god-damned attraction [pardon my language] for sponsors and general public alike with his aggressive style - both on and off the board!
..Curiously Evgeny Alekseev and Vugar Gashimov are often ignored in spite of being in top 25.

MTel Masters is category 21 , 2753 av.raiting. The same cat. like Linares and Bilbao. What you want more guys ? Every Organizer is free to pick up the players on his own taste. If you are so clavel,please,find a sponsor,organize a tournament and than invite Leko,Kramnik,Svidler,Nacamura,etc.. Welcome,go ahead !


the Rejects

" MTel Masters is category 21 , 2753 av.raiting. ... What you want more guys ?"
Maybe I rather want less ... [category] 20 or higher seems to be a magic number just as [ELO] 2700. As a result, both Linares and MTel have small fields and virtually the same players.
" Every Organizer is free to pick up the players on his own taste."
But of course this is true ... .

So Topailov has finally forgiven Carlsen for signing an open letter in support of Kramnik during the toiletgate debacle.

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