We're less than a month away from the Anand-Topalov world championship match in Sofia, Bulgaria. The official website is even up already. Not much content, but there an English version of Topalov's post-Linares interview with Vasiliev of Russia's Sport Express. The sauciest bit:
The prize fund in our match is 2 million Euro - about 3 million US$ - but if Anand would have made even a minor attempt, it could easily go over 5 million. India is a vast market and Anand is very popular in his homeland. But the World Champion preferred that someone else does all the work and even play the victim. 'Well, you see, I prefer not to play in Bulgaria, but there are no other options.' We were prepared to play in India half the games or even the whole match, but Anand didn't make even the slightest effort to arrange anything about this.
I have no way of knowing if and how hard Anand worked at finding sponsorship at home, but it was striking that no bid came in from India. With Anand's legend status you would think there would be at least a few "new India" companies eager to hitch their wagons to his star.
Topalov's manager Danailov made more news than his charge by announcing that Topalov wouldn't accept or offer draws during the match, essentially applying the Sofia Rules unilaterally. I suppose the implications of his words, and stating it so brashly, were more interesting than the meaning, which isn't really a big deal. It makes sense for Topalov, the younger player, to stretch the games out early and often. Danailov later told ChessVibes that they tried to get Anand to agree to play under the Sofia Rules unsuccessfully. But eliminating the offered draw is the heart of the Rules, and it takes two to agree to a draw, so it's odd they made a big deal about it. Other than passing draw offers through the arbiter, there's not much more to it. I guess Danailov didn't want to pass up a chance to call Anand a chicken.
Are we ready to start making half-assed predictions yet? 12 games.