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Anand-Topalov WCh, R3: No Grunfeld, No Problem

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Are you guys talked out yet? Two games, two victories for white. Does Anand go back to the Grunfeld right away? Official site. Game starts at 8am ET. For those for whom 100 comments an hour isn't enough, you can get it out of your system in this ugly but functional little chat applet. [Taking it down between games to avoid clutter.]

Update: Three games in and we have one of each, a win for both players and now a draw. Anand kept the Grunfeld in the repair shop and trotted out Plan B, the Slav that many assumed would be Plan A. Topalov actually swapped off queens to get a nice space advantage, but he couldn't prevent Anand from steadily liquidating to a draw. More later.


Watching the R2 press conference video, it occurred to me that perhaps Anand sees Topalov as nothing more than a cheapo artist. A very strong and dangerous cheapo artist, of course, but not really in Anand's (or Kramnik's) league in terms of chess understanding. That could explain the decision to play in Bulgaria.

I'd been meaning to look this up for a while - but this is the Kasparov-Smyslov game Shipov referred to when Anand played Qa3 - http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1070111

Obviously the games aren't that similar, but white does exchange queens for doubled a pawns (it helps that the pawns are more advanced).

Anand's strategy in both games seemed different.
In the first game,he allowed to have a position with attacking possibilities.But, in second game he went into a strategic,positional requiring maneuvering of pieces.So,in a way it has been a victory for Anand's preparation.

If Topalov goes for d4 again, I expect another grunfeld.
As was mentioned both here and on chessbase, the catalan is something of a reversed colours Grunfeld.

"the catalan is something of a reversed colours Grunfeld"
Maybe, but the concepts are quite different - just like 1.c4 e5 is distinctly different from 1.e4 c5

Of course not. Anand respects Topalov. You don't get to have a rating over 2800+ by being a "cheapo artist." Don't be ridiculous. If Anand were as disrespectful as you say, it would certainly be to his own detriment. Anand agreed to play in Bulgaria because he has a heroic strong personality (one that drove him 40 hours to his destination with nary a complaint) and he realized it would do more good for chess. Besides the problem of venue, there is also the problem of chess sponsorship, always and especially during the horrid Ilyumzhinov era. Anand attributes some of his success to his ability to avoid chess politics.

Topalov can't expect Anand to forget his Grünfeld preparation once more. I'm guessing he'll play 1.e4 to see what Anand has prepared there - it's always nice to have your options laid out early in the match. A main line Ruy Lopez is a good guess, I think.

agree, I was just rationofantasizing bout the openingchoice.

But -not because of the catalan- some voices in my head say that anand has some prep left there (some voices scream 'Remember Kasparov' though.)

Would 1 e4 qualify as psychological sound, I wonder.

@ the catalan is something of a reversed colours Grunfeld.

A story about Ratmir Kholmov that goes something like this. He sits down at the chessboard quite drunk. He has the black pieces. The game goes 1. e4 Nc6 2. d4 b6 3.Nf3 e5?! 4.dxe5.. Kholmov remarks, "I've been playing the Grunfeld Defense my whole life. Never have I gotten such a bad position out of that opening!"

agree, I was just rationofantasizing bout the openingchoice.

But -not because of the catalan- some voices in my head say that anand has some prep left there (some voices scream 'Remember Kasparov' though.)

Would 1 e4 qualify as psychological sound, I wonder.

now that the competition is down to 10 matches, it should get more interesting. Especially today's.

what happened?

why the comments are not displayed properly?

Roles reversed today!!! Topalov exchanges Queens early for what looks like a lasting spatial bind.

Hah! Good sign for Anand fans, IMHO.

Although mind you holding these passive endgames hasn't always been Anand's speciality either.

A very nice line. Of course this is Kramnik's concept, from a game that very nearly didn't happen -- game 6 of Elista.

"Although mind you holding these passive endgames hasn't always been Anand's speciality either."

Yes, and I think the stereotypical view of Topalov's "energetic", "attacking" play doesn't do him justice either. I've seen him pull off positional gems.

This is Topa-Kramnik from Elista, of course; at least it is up to 14 Rc1. I'm not sure whether that was what Topa played then or not. I guess not since Anand has stopped to think.

Wow, Anand going for another queen swap and sucking the tactics outta the position..very interseting choice...he is very flexible at hitting what he sees as his opponent's weaknesses!

No need today for Qa3 from Anand, now Topalov better has prepared something he will defeat himself as usual

Loving the bit on the official site about how reproducing the moves is strictly prohibited and Chessbase are in violation of this prohibition, by the way. You can always tell a bully by their dishonest statements about the law (I give you Robert Maxwell, for Brit viewers).

What is it with the Bulgarians? They seem to go out their way at every single possible turn to give the impression of classlessness.

Wonder if Chessbase would fancy some libel tourism?! I'd do it for them.....

That stem game didn't see Topa do anything impressive - but doubtless he has prepared something new.
I wonder if Kramnik is Anand's secret second :) :)

Is Topalov going for small chances against Anand? You could say he is ''trying a kramnik'' on Anand. Well, can't wait to see how that pans out.

....Bd6 is interesting. As I recall Kramnik played with it on b4, didn't he? Perhaps it doesn't make much difference.

I noticed the smiley(s), but that kind of advice from Kramnik is available for free - no need to talk to him, let alone pay him for it.

Still, it would be interesting to have Kramnik's opinion and comments on this game, as well as the previous one ... .


It does make a difference. Consider for example,
1. It can move on the B8H2 diagonal to attack the H pawn if necessary or the rook on C1 (perhaps to exchange the bishops)
2. Also it is on an open file as opposed to b4 so it can be attacked by a rook

Don't the Russians say that Anand always plays the second game in a line?!

I'll be very surprised if this line against the Slav stays as Topa's main weapon. I can't see him making much progress in this ending.

Thabo, I understand that the bishop on d6 has some different possibilities, but in most lines you would think it would go to c5 anyway once ...Ke7 and ...Rc8 have been played, no?

I guess on b4 it was stopping a5, then!

I wonder what the answer to 19...Bb4 now is, then?

Kinda a mirror image of yesterdays game tho White had more weaknesses but some initiative. Any idea if this is typical of the slav defence- they'd both know these positions backward but like yesterday had to see any Topolovian tactical surprises being pulled. Anand happy for the draw or expecting Topolov to over-reach?

I think that is a safe bet. Also considering the white pawn is now on H5; what you say does make sense.

@the answer to 19...Bb4 now

20.Bb6 N:b6 21.a:b6 followed by Na4-c5

Surely 19...Bb4 20.Bb6 and Anand will be more than happy.

19...Ke7 ?!

Shipov seems to think it was 19 Na4 Bxa5 20 b4. Still, Vishy doesn't want to know.

I see I was wrong; Kramnik went straight to c5 according to Shipov. Also Topa's 14 Rc1 seems to have had the effect of stopping ...Rc8; Ba2 getting thrown in. I wonder if the idea is not to have to decide which way that bishop goes yet, or even in some lines to keep it there until White has doubled rooks behind it?

19..Ke7, Anand just continues with his plan. Probably rightly so.

Now position is the stuff topy loves fix queenside and self be active. After 19...Bb4 white has nothing. At best perpetual.

Topalov has space and activity...Anand's position is kinda passive though solid...but am wondering as the game goes on, wont those advanced Topa pawns start feeling vulnerable?! Especially after a few exchanges down the road?

Doesn't seem to me that Topalov has achieved a thing.

I think after 28.B-c5 Anand is at least equal. May be Topalov has already started to overstretch... at least I hope so :)

Topalov seems dangerous here, the e5 by Anand which will be needed at some point to bring the Bh7 into game would led to Bd5 pressing on the b7 pawn..and without e5 it would be like playing a piece down

well in the meantime, Anand can re-route the knight to c6 after removing the rook from a8. From there it can attack the a5 pawn. That is if Topalov doesn't exchange the knights.

Hard to see any other result from here but a draw. Black doesn't need to play ...e5; he can just go ...Bg8-f7-e8.

Interesting that Bauer thought on chessdom that 18....Bb4 'would of course force 19 Ra1'. Strikes me he doesn't know Topalov's play that well if he thinks that, but what do I know?

Bodes well for Anand if this is all Topalov has against the Slav.

Bg8-f7-e8 it may be too slow, in the mean time white breaks on the q-side doubling the rooks on c-file and then c6 (a6-pawn will fall)

Anand's choice of Grunfeld in game one looking more and more strange......

isn't the a-pawn in danger if Anand now plays Rd4?= after Bd3?

As a patzer I actually found black's position a lot more scary, all those Nb6 and sacrifices on a6 ideas that white had :)

I don't like the black bishop being that far...it needs to come out before the position opens up.

If ...Rd4, some version of a c6 push probably works.



good, patient, defense by Anand up to now, he deserves a draw here

The Grunfeld has gone to the garage for repair, it'll be back in the next black game :)

I'm wondering if there is time for an ...f5 push here, since responding with e5 is no longer possible due to Rd5. This seems to be a faster way to try to solve the riddle of the a7 Bishop.



If Anand just fluffed his move order what's to repair. Methinks it's been included in a scrappage scheme :-)

how,s 26.c6 Rxc6 27.RxR pxR 28.Bxa6 Ra7

Maybe he shouldn't have allowed c6. Was there anything wrong with 25..Rc6 ?

Well,the bishop has finally come out but at the cost of a few tempi.

Yes! There was every thing wrong. Anand has a better plan, which we will see soon.

ya, even 25...Rc6 looked better.

looks like Anand is torturing Topalov with good wholesome simple slow boring moves :-) ... however i'd be surprise if Topalov would lose this.

Anand is hoisting Topalov by his own "no draw offer" petard :)

Now the only way for Topalov to avoid a draw seems to be 36.Kd3 Rd6+ 37.Kc4 Rd4 mate.

Good game, a patient defense paid off a half-point. It seems that without the Qs on the board there aren't enough tactics for Topalov to force the things even he has pressure.

Did anyone see a handshake?

Topalov missed this last opportunity, and right after the time control the players did it "Sofia style": Topalov got up to call an arbiter, then there was a threefold repetition, the arbiter nodded and the players signed their score sheets. Unless I missed that moment on the video, there was no handshake.

yes no handshake, Topa is Clown.

acirce, No, Don't think there was a handshake. Topa asked the arbiter to offer a draw to Anand and he accepted. That was it from what I could tell.

If only Anand hadnt forgotten his preparation in the first game..........

They also played one extra move after the 3-fold repetition. Topa got up after 40. Ke2 to call the arbiter and Anand was looking puzzled after him. Then after the repetition the arbiter spent some time talking to each of them, apparently making sure they agreed to a draw -- why was he necessary? Topalov initiated the draw offer by talking to the arbiter, but I didn't see him look at Anand or say anything to him once. Then Anand offered his scoresheet to Topalov, but had to pick up Topalov's scoresheet himself. In the end, no handshake but all this unnecessary drama. The definition of passive-aggressive behavior on Topalov's part, if you ask me.

How does one know Anand is a universal player? Easy. He played like Topalov to beat Kramnik, and now he's playing like Kramnik in this match against Topalov.

I don't know. May be that's what woke up Anand from his dream. This was a great game for Anand. At no point did he have any problems. None. Nada. Zilch. Nikoi.

Regarding the handshake, I guess it was unintentional as Topa would have been unhappy with the result.

Regarding game 1, has Anand admitted that he forgot his prep and mixed up the move order?


ok, so Topalov can play "old man" chess too. this is Anand's strategy, play a couple slow boring games, until Topalov can not stand it anymore and will self-destruct trying to look for complication.

Topalov got up after the threefold repetition ... anand put topalov in his place today ... sofia rules my ar**

It seems he is so universal that he doesn't have his own style.

The good thing about Anand is his patience.If you see his record he seems to have carved out draws from seemingly bad positions - Anand Kramnik Game 9 WC.What Topalov needs to understand is he is not going to beat Anand by his aggressive moves..

In the world of Rock/Paper/Scissors:

Kramnik = Rock
Topalov = Scissors
Anand = whichever works best on that day

Yes, I confirm that video of the handshake. Top got up and called the arbiter even before the repetition. The arbiter was right at the table when they were repeating moves. And then they signed score sheet and both stood up and walked away.

ChessVibes (IanRogers) on icc 165 channel mentioned that he had asked this question
"Ian Rogers asked: 'was this the first game between you without a handshake?'"

And Anand replied

"'we shook hands before the game' (smile) 'Maybe that has to go through the arbiter too'"

"and now he's playing like Kramnik in this match against Topalov."

Yes indeed, including effectively forfeiting a game by ..Kf7?? ;)

Works out pretty well so far.

Btw, while I've been critical of the quality of play in the first two games at least (can't say much about today's game either way), I've enjoyed all of the games from an aesthetic viewpoint.

Harish said: And Anand replied "'we shook hands before the game' (smile) 'Maybe that has to go through the arbiter too'"

Anand is now making good moves on and off the board.

The commentary on chessvibes gets it wrong: there was already a 3-fold repetition by 45. Ke3 (same position after 41. Ke3 and 43. Ke3). No need for Anand to tell the arbiter he intended to check again. They continued 45...Ra3+ 46.Kf2 for no reason except that Anand was looking at Topalov and Topalov was looking at the arbiter.

"The scoresheets were signed, and no handshake took place. At the press conference the players said they simply forgot [...]" (ChessVibes)

OK, Topalov is starting to look immature and silly with this Sofia rule business and the lack of a handshake. I suppose gamesmanship has its place, but this is just daft.

Given the results from the first three games (1.5:1.5), I have rerun the MC simulation.

Now the probability of Topa winning the match, prior to blitz, is 47.5%. In the beginning of the match, it was 49.6%.

The error is relatively large - about 10%

Still, a close call!

Topa will try e4 next time I think.

Aren't you judgmental?

Too right I am!

Next 4 games (Game 4-7) are critical for Anand because he has 3 Whites in 4 games and must get the maximum out of them.

Interesting comment by Anish Giri on Game 3


"Anand equalized today without any of his pieces being on the opponent's half of the board."

Indeed, the only time his went crossed the middle of the board was to do the repetition with the rook check at the end.

I don't know how much you could see on the video, but the end of the game was even more ridiculous if you could see everything! When Topalov knew he had to face the terrible dilemma of how to draw without offering a draw... he went in advance to the arbiter. They exchanged some words, so it's possible Topalov was saying "look, it's a drawn position, rule it a draw" - to which the obvious reply would have been you can offer a draw if you like, but it's not up to me as we didn't agree on Sofia rules. In any case the arbiter came over and Topalov sat down to play. Vishy was very calm and just kept blitzing out moves the same way he did when Topalov didn't resign in the last game. After a while Topalov turned to ask the arbiter for a draw but continued to completely ignore Vishy - and the game ended but so unclearly that there wasn't any applause until the players finally stood up a while after that.

I just checked Shipov's comments - as well as being driven to the English "no comment", he said "For me personally the ugly ended has spoilt the mood from this feast of chess [...] What took place is clear disrespect to his opponent and chess as a whole" (Shipov has more comments as well) Personally I must admit I found it hilarious! Topalov was like a malfunctioning robot who had to obey rules that made absolutely no sense.

what did i tell u?

The chessdom headline was unnecessarily dramatic - the players themselves did not ascribe too much importance to it - the entire sophia rules issue is silly in the extreme - the arbiter came and stood - anand kept looking at the board and making his moves - topalov seemed ready to offer a draw through the arbiter but I was not sure if that ever happened- finally they went through the three fold repetition - waste of an hour of everyone's time.

Best thing for Vishy is to ignore this provocation and remain as cool and dignified as he has been. Best to keep to his strategy and let Danialov and his charge continue with this nonsense.

Anand has managed to steer game 2 and 3 in the direction he wants as in taking out complex tactics out of the equation. This seems to disappoint Topalov.

Its a good opportunity for Danailov to make some provocations something on the lines of "Anand is not daring enough to challenge Topalov with sharp play ...blah blah......"

I can almost see that coming sooner or later.

@..Topa will try e4 next time I think.

and Anand will, of course, replay with Petroff to stay faithfull to his "like Kramnik" match strategy

Has a top player ever done more to make himself unpopular as Topalov persistently does? First the Elista horror show and now this? Then the pre-match juvenile mind games. And now this ridiculous imposition of 'Sofia' rules? What would it have cost him to offer his hand to Anand?

It really makes me so sad as a long-term admirer of Topalov's chess. Maybe he's keen to emulate Alekhine. Brilliant player and unpleasant human being? For chrissakes, you can be a gracious host without blunting your competitive edge.

Topalov's behaviour is more than creepy in its extreme disrespectfulness (if that's a word). I don't even know what to say any more.

video of press conf is up on offical site ( obviously poor audio). i would wait for chessvibes version.


Chessdom seem to confirm Topalov was asking the arbiter for a draw (I was much too far away to hear what was said, even if it was in English). The words "full house of journalists and many interested chess fans" are carefully chosen. There were only about 60 fans but all the front rows are given over to journalists (photographers) and VIPs - who all leave after 5 minutes when the curtain comes down. It was amusing as a few kept filming and someone came over to very noisily ask them to leave (I think saying "good evening"!?), presumably forgetting silence was an issue. There was also some sort of door alarm that went off twice today - just the same way as it did during the last game. The second time the security guard took ages to react (the sound did seem to be coming from elsewhere) and the arbiters met up in the centre of the stage to work out what was going on.

As a minor update on the toilet situation :) I missed the first few minutes because it turns out there are no toilets in the venue for ordinary fans!! Presumably the press & VIPs have access, but others are sent round to the back of the building... where there are a few portaloos - very odd logistics for an event where spectators might have to sit for 6 hours! Tickets are cheap, though...

Oh, if anyone's interested in the tally - Topalov went 4 times to the toilet to Anand's 1 today :) He always goes at quite a pace, though - and when he gets refreshments it's also snappy. Anand tends to take his time.

And Topalov has spent the past 12 months practising drawing against anything, from anyone.

Topalov will have to start taking chances, and Anand loves it when people take chances.

mishanp, if I haven't said it before, you perform yeoman service regularly! My sincere thanks for your input and comments on this blog.

Sofia Rule: It is unmanly to offer draws but crying like a little sissy to the arbiter - "boo hoo! i want a repetition" is perfectly ok.

GM Anish Giri mentions in his article for Chessbase on Game 3 that Kasparov was watching the game from his hotel room in Oslo. I wonder if that means that Carlsen is "brushing up" with some lessons again?


In the press conf. Stefanova tries to answer a question herself (not translating) something on the lines of "It is in the regulations that the players should not talk" and thats why draw was not offered. For this the journalist starts to mention that "there is no such regulations", but then he is cut in between and the organizers move on to the next question.

so for the entire game, the real excitement is how the draw was not offered :-)

ToiletTopolov is acting like a first class dick again. The garbage response to the handshake and draw questions at the press conference was complete dissembling. He and his team are a disgrace to chess, and now it seems the organizers believe that the BS Sophia rules are, by fiat, the regulations of the match. What else should we expect from the wonderful people that brought us an assassination attempt of the Pope?

"It was amusing as a few kept filming and someone came over to very noisily ask them to leave"

Peter Doggers on Chessvibes: "Unfortunately we’re not allowed to film after the first five, because Bulgarian TV bought the rights. Or something."

Thomas: Bulgarian TV rights are more important than silence for the players?

Topa is degrading chess with these juvenile antics. Thanks to the echo-chamber of the Bulgarian media I'm sure he thinks he is a super cool 'rebel without a cause' - not realizing the effect he has on folks outside his parish.

Just as popular wisdom in Bulgaria is that, despite the findings of the official police investigation, the Bulgarian embassy in Italy was not deeply involved in the papal assassination attempt, so it seems that in the suburbs of their warped imagination Bulgarians now believe that, despite some supposed "domination" of world chess by Bulgarians over the last five years, Anand has illegitimately remained champion and thus deserves no respect or consideration. Disgusting conduct.

Anyone think the Bulgarians would bug the hotel rooms of team Anand?

"What else should we expect from the wonderful people that brought us an assassination attempt of the Pope?"

Unnecessary and ugly.

... but inconveniently true.

So if Anand does not score 3/3 he should pack and go home?!?!?!

Ouch, I just peaked at the blog -- the stench it too much to bear. "The Pope"?? Anyway, have fun... Topalov's silly misapplication of the Sofia rules is a fact, but you guys are really not fun to be around, very, very low class. The moderator should pay attention whether these discussions do not cross the line of acceptable tone in an international forum.


"mishanp, if I haven't said it before, you perform yeoman service regularly!"

I second this, we can't miss your onsite reports - you are NOT allowed to leave Sofia on Friday! ,:)

Or - in the style of a fellow blogger who is rather silent at the moment:

Oh won't you stay, just a little bit longer
Now please, please, please
Now hello, well are you going to
Now your daddy don't mind (bop-bop-shu-waddah-wah)
And your mommy don't mind (bop-bop-shu-waddah-wah)
If we have another post, oh yeah,
Just eight more games

Oh won't you stay, yeah

Oh won't you stay, yeah

Oh won't you stay, yeah

Oh won't you stay

I would like to hear from Topalov/Danailov-defenders on the latest conduct of their hero. What is your honest opinion? Do you really think it was a dignified ending that the game and the competitors (specifically his opponent) deserved? Wasn't this an inevitable (and ugly) consequence of blind adherence to a rule that is out of place in this contest?

Slurring an entire country. Yuck.

The relations between the two players may be deteriorating, neither player made a move to shake hands, the traditional way to finish a game.

“I just forgot,” was Topalov's explanation at the post-game press conference while Anand joked “Maybe the arbiter (is the one who) has to shake hands!”

Gee Thomas, you must be missing Manu quite a lot, that's not the first time you mentioned him.

I brought up umbrella tips earlier but no one seems to have got the reference :) (btw have not made any comments on the Pope - and no intentions to either)

I agree with Dimi. Criticizing Topalov and Danailov is fine but criticizing Bulgaria/Bulgarians (or any nation for that matter) and bringing in the Pope is ridiculous and condemnable and isn't appropriate for a chess forum.


""The scoresheets were signed, and no handshake took place. At the press conference the players said they simply forgot [...]" (ChessVibes)"

Now it says that only Topalov said he forgot. Bit of a difference. Do we believe him?

Just because the attitude and conduct of Topolov and the organizers is horrid does not mean this does not mean that this should fairly reflect on Bulgarians generally. I mean, the organizers are just a bunch of chess bureaucrats … and, er, the head of state....

You are an idiot. It was proven by the very Italians that the Bulgarians had nothing to do with the Pope's thing!

You are an idiot. It was proven by the very Italians that the Bulgarians had nothing to do with the Pope's thing!

The official Italian police report conclude exactly the opposite. Conclusions to the contrary are a Bulgarian urban legend.

We need to clarify one thing to all.

ignore how the game ended (Top going to arbiter...and then 3 fold etc..). That was really a awkward situation for Topalov imposed by Danailov.

The nuances of how the game ended has got nothing to do with the handshake. I dont think either player is to be blamed here. If the question was why did Topalov not shake hands, same can be asked to Anand as well as to why he did not extend his hand first. The handshake simply did not happen because the draw came through the arbiter and both players just were off right after that. It could be that they forgot.

do we have any video evidence of M-tel games where draw came through arbiter and about shaking hands then?

the bulgarians and indeed the state itself sponsor and organize this event located in Sophia. the event is, however, played out on the world stage. their conduct will be what it will be and the impressions created by thier conduct necessarily will be what it will be. thus far, it is not flattering, to say the least. there is no unfairness in that.

For a 3 million dollar event, out of which merely $600,000 where available for organization issues, I am amazed at how well they managed to squeeze these organization funds, so I could not resist to send them the message below to congratulate them on their great effort:

Dear Sirs,

I just wanted to congratulate you on the excellent quality of the audio and video of the press conferences, definitely a quantum leap from the quality that was experienced in the former World Championship among Steinitz and Lasker a few years earlier.

Keep up the good work!

Thy shalt not feed the troll!

That doesen't make sense - how can Anand just extend his hand? If he offered the draw and Topalov agreed, then yes (or vice versa). Topalov went to the arbiter to claim the repetition - Anand simply continued playing, the onus is not on him to go around claiming draws.

Also note that Anand offered his scoresheet to Topa who didn't reciprocate. These are small things but even playing a few local Swiss tournaments would teach you this "maryada" as we say in Telugu.

I agree with your point in some way. Only clarification is that Topalov never went to the arbiter to claim the repetition. He went much before at move 40 itself in an attempt to request the arbiter to offer the draw to Anand. But Anand had already made his move by then and Topalov sat down and making his moves which ended in the repetition. The arbiter was very much at the table when the moves were repeated. Everything seemed to happen pretty fast and seamlessly and that I felt no one is to be blamed for not having the handshake.

Thats why I want to know what happens in M-Tel. The draw has to go through the arbiter and then someone has to extend their hands.

In this case as I saw in the video, the arbiter talked something to Topalov and then to Anand (all this after the repetition). Then scores were signed. The players never looked at each other during all of this and they were off.

What about in the beginning of the game? Who should be the first to extend his hand, the person who came to the table first or the person who comes next. Well, it can be either. I just thought of the same here.

"He went much before at move 40 itself in an attempt to request the arbiter to offer the draw to Anand."
It will be interesting to hear the arbiter's point of view. Topalov was trying to enforce Sofia rules by fait accompli. But normally, the arbiter cannot offer the draw, so what could he have done?

Oh, spare me that gipsy dance around the umbrella tips Jaideep, I'm not impressed a bit. I'm not asking you to like someone, some country, some people, etc. -- just asking you to be civil on the international forums. This is a forum about Chess, not Politics, The Cold War, India-Pakistan, WW-2, who killed the Pope/Jews/Armenians, you name them... , are the Germans saints or villains, etc. and all these topics du jour elsewhere. Similarly "The Bulgarians this, the Bulgarians that" does not belong here'. Sure, spewing that sort of insulting rhetoric of negative stereotypes is very easy, but very low class. I find it even more contemptible than the cheating talk after a Topalov victory, as countries are involved. Anyway, this is the last I will say on that topic, as I find it really self-evident.


Eh, I didn't mention the Pope. Incidentally what is this about gypsy dances? Gypsies are originally Indians (well they are tribes similar to the lambada/banjara) so this is a subtle crack I don't get?
Anyway, have no intention of defaming Bulgarians when Messrs Danialov & co are doing such a splendid job themselves.

In the spirit of reconciliation I urge you to seek out "Solo" a book on Bulgaria by acclaimed Indian writer Rana Dasgupta.

Shipov's: "For me personally the ugly end has spoiled the mood from this feast of chess.... What took place is clear disrespect to his opponent and chess as a whole."

Shipov: "For me personally the ugly end has spoiled the mood from this feast of chess....What took place is clear disrespect to his opponent and chess as a whole"

I'm just teasing Manu a bit - I find it surprising that he is "speechless" about the recent events in Sofia (games 2+3). I would be genuinely curious how he defends this application of the Sofia rules, which he (and Danailov) consider "the future of chess". Of course his Internet connection might simply be down ... .

On the other discussion: I fully agree that the (former) Pope and those who tried to kill him (probably on behalf of a _former_ Bulgarian regime) have nothing to do with the WCh match in Sofia, so here I second acirce and chesshire cat.

When I wrote "Bulgarians", I meant team Topalov and the organizing committee - most recently Stefanova joined in, assisting Topalov's claim that the match regulations allow draws only via the arbiter. Earlier, they insulted Anand because he doesn't accept such a clause in the regulations .... .
And these people claim that they have the entire country behind them - I have no way to assess to what extent this is true.

I believe he is busy sulking because Mig snapped at him.
Or could be he is busy with something else.

I like the calm way Anand is handling this stuff. Speaks volumes for him. Match experience has trained him well!!

"Thou." I really wish people would get these things right; I feel ashamed for them if they don't.

>I would like to hear from Topalov/Danailov-defenders on the latest conduct of their hero.

I thought it was an awkward idiosyncrasy. But I didn’t think it was targeted at Anand, or an outburst of anger of something. Some of you here will scream bloody hell over the smallest things, but yet close your eyes at the bigger stuff. Why don’t you spare your righteous indignation for worthier causes Rajesh? Anyway, if I get to see Danailov on Saturday I will say something about the perceptions these acts leave, but yet again they know well that a strongly hostile and prejudiced crowd is easy to rile by anything, while some will scoop endlessly to find some (dirt) no matter what…


I m not ¨sulking¨ (had to look that up at the dictionary),just trying to avoid posting where im not supposed to, my little contribution to peace for this hateful threads.

Did you see Topolov's face when asked about the handshake (closeups on chessvibes)? A classic what?! who?! me?! hands-caught-in-the-cookie-jar-moment.

One would not expect the uptight Topolov to be a very good actor, and in reality he is so bad that it is quite funny.

If stefanova was there in the press conference todat for translation, why was she replying to a question on the draw through arbiter by trotting out "it is against regulations"..i have looked at the footage on the official site and it seems that this was just her own reply not a translation.. a bit rich.. specially since there is no such contractual requirement or FIDE regulation..?!

Thank you your worshipful majesty, Dimi.
I agree with you that mouthing negative national sterotypes (about Bulgarians etc) from the actions of the Topalov/Danailov camp and the WCC organizing committee is plain wrong and offensive. And probably inaccurate.

Perhaps your grace would be kind enough to mention to Mr Danailov that: 1.He should learn to be a gracious host, 2. His threat to sue FIDE is risible and making some question his sanity, 3. His associates on the organizing committee ought to learn to act impartially, even if they naturally root for Topalov, and 4. he is alienating those of us who like Topalov's chess and fighting spirit.

Thank you.

"Why don’t you spare your righteous indignation for worthier causes?"
such as ?

Expecting gentlemenly/graceful conduct from competitors competing for the highest price there is in the game with the world closely watching - that isn't a worthy enough goal for WC candidates (their teams, and organizers) to strive for?

You do realize people wouldn't even pay much attention to it other than for harmless fun, if this was an isolated-incident, don't you, Dimi? All these incidents take quite a bit away from the credit they would richly deserve for all the effort they put into such a huge event. And they have no one to blame except themselves.

After watching the Chessvibes video of the press conference, I feel Topalov genuinely forgot to shake hands. He looked amicable at the press conference, and said to Anand that he thought they had shook hands after the game, but doesn't remember now. For what it's worth I believe him. I guess he was busy making a show out following the Sofia rules and forgot the handshake -- which is immature perhaps, but not a calculated insult. Let's save our indignation for when he really means it. (I say this as someone who was critical of his behavior earlier.)

Hardy, spare me the "majesty" tone. I've been the first to admit that Danailov is a person who attracts controversy like Velcro, not sure whether by design or not. And I am also very clear that Topalov oozes weirdness at times too.

But in general I wish you not be from a small country and all you read is the constant equivalent of this reasoning: "based on observations of the USCF one can conclude that all Americans are dumb, the CIA is behind the 9/11 and most likely assassinated Gandhi"... To Rajesh who is still not sure what a "worthier cause" is, I'd say that he would be singing a different song had he read constantly that all Indians are "dirty, smelly, corrupt, bad programmers, bad in cricket, terrible hosts, etc." Somehow everybody is very sensitive to everything else, but these gross and ugly stereotypes, which have no place in the 21-st Century communications. At least not in the respectable forums. Now you go back Rajesh, read that thread and see why I am reacting and find something worthier to comment on, so that we can set a tone that respects our nationalities, mothers, ancestors etc. No matter how big our countries are, or how many keyboard jockeys we can mobilize at any one time. Deal?


Nice bit of misdirection, but you are fooling no one. Most people here (Rajesh included) have been criticizing Topalov's behavior, not his nationality. But as soon as a couple of commenters say bigoted things (that were condemned immediately), you jump in and pretend as though everyone has been trashing Bulgaria. Quite the outrage artist!

By the way, don't worry about Indians reading about stereotypes of themselves. Most Indians will shrug them off because they sound ridiculous and not worth concerning oneself with. Of course, there are also enough people like you who WANT to be outraged...

Dimi or any others present in Sophia:

What do ordinary Bulgarians (those not conneccted with the match, players or organizers) feel about the match, the players and the organization?

What do the Bulgarian newspapers and media say?

Everybody accepts that bulgarians are nice people; but danailov and topalov are a**holes and the holes are getting larger each day.

ptr, are you suggesting I am blind to the content and I am faking being outraged? Why would I misdirect? There have been 999 threads trashing Danailov and Topalov and I rarely intercept. Only when the discussion becomes really gross like today I said what had to be said.

Umesh, 99% of the people do not know, nor they care. The papers are just starting to pick up on it on a broader scale. I'm still here in the USA, but I will have a better first hand view soon. The European Soccer gets the headlines in sport these days.

meshrath, keep those "holes" to your own mind, please.


dimi, if there are 999 threads trashing danailov and topalov, then there must be a reason isnt it? they are what i described them to be. now its upto them ( danailov and topalov ) to prove me wrong by acting like educated gentlemen for once.

I don't know why you didn't intercept earlier threads, or whether you didn't. I do know that on this thread you are trying to silence people ("find a worthier cause") who are criticizing individuals, using the prejudiced remarks of other people as a bludgeon. Why do the former have any responsibility for the latter? The prejudiced comments were quickly condemned, and then ignored by everyone except you. Does everyone have to match your level of outrage, or be suspect? You don't have a monopoly on good sense, and no amount of holier-than-thou posturing will give you one.

>I do know that on this thread you are trying to silence people...

Ok, if you find the call for decency when discussing nations and countries as too silencing for you than I can suggest better forums. Most people got my point, particularly in the context of the some of the ugliness earlier in this thread.


Just a few things I'd add to this discussion:

I think anyone playing down the way yesterday's game ended as the players "forgetting" to shake hands is missing the point. It's bit like if two neighbours meet at their fence and one punches the other - and then afterwards commentators say "perhaps they just forgot to say good morning". Well ok, that's not an exact analogy :) But the insulting behaviour is the issue - he didn't shake hands but he also completely ignored Vishy for 5 minutes, even at the end only making eye conduct with the arbiter. At least the arbiter had the decency to look embarrassed.

To the usual explanation that Topalov is just doing Danailov's bidding - there's no evidence to suggest Topalov's not fully complicit. Before the match, in the same interview where he ranted about Kramnik, Topalov said:

"Anand refused to play under "Sofia rules", which was a mistake. [...] I've said that during the games I will communicate with Anand only through the arbiter, but this is also normal. Perhaps there is an element of psychological warfare."

On "the Bulgarians" - I agree about not feeding the couple of trolls who attacked the whole country. Topalov + the organisers are damaging Bulgaria's reputation, but pretty much everyone I've met here has been friendly. As Dimi said there's not really any evidence of chess mania - the venue's not overrun with fans, bookshops have the same small collection of international chess books (Nunn, Kasparov etc.) you'd find elsewhere. It's true Topalov makes the local news, but it is the World Championship & in any case except when Borisov's present football and other sports come first.

Thanks, I think :) I'd like to stay longer - Sofia's a very pleasant place to spend some time. I once lived in Odessa and Sofia makes me feel nostalgic for it (the same dilapidated tree-lined streets, open-air markets and so on - just replace the sea with a nearby snow-capped mountain!). It's also still cheap, which sadly isn't really true of most of Eastern Europe any more.

Anyway, I have to get back to reality... Three games is also probably enough - although it's fascinating to see an event like this live, sitting in the main hall is a strange exercise in sensory deprivation (Dimi, it's probably worth trying to blag your way into the press centre!).

Not at all. You can repeat your call for decency as often as it is needed. I will second you each time. Just don't ask people who raise questions about an ex-World Champion's etiquette to "find something worthier to comment on", by which you mean a Daily Dirt troll's etiquette.

Kramnik's in Baku for the President's Cup and gave an interview for extratime.az. It's not that interesting, to be honest, though the organisers do mention they might hold a classical tournament in future. Asked about the FIDE elections Kramnik said it was too early to comment but also that he was very glad to be freed from having to deal with politics (as he had to when he was World Champion). Overall it's quite diplomatic, though there's a bit of a running joke with "force majeure" - before the mentions below Kramnik used it to say that he'd be willing to play in Baku next year unless circumstances intervened.

On the match in Sofia: http://extratime.az/article.php?aid=13528

- I can't not ask you about the World Championship match that's under way between Vishy Anand and Veselin Topalov, especially give the fact that you played matches with both of them...

- Overall it's still hard to judge who has the advantage, but the match itself has been quite an interesting struggle. Today I saw that Vishy Anand got quite an easy draw, in the second game he had a convincing win, but then Topalov achieved an interesting win in the first game. So for now I've enjoyed the chess and if no force majeure situations outside of chess interfere, which of course I really hope they won't, then the whole match should be an interesting and attractive struggle.

- Do you think any force-majeure situations are possible in this match, as in your match with Topalov? Already in the run-up to the match there were some excesses, linked to the world champion's late arrival on account of the Icelandic eruption...

- I think that if the match is going well for Veselin Topalov there definitely won't be any excesses. They're possible if the match isn't going well for him. Although I don't think things will get to the stage that they got to in my match in Elisa. Some minor tricks from Danailov are possible, but not what happened with me.

IMO the issue is that Topailov and the organizers represent the entire country - they would even if they didn't have the prime minister on their team, and didn't consider the WCh match an issue of national pride.

As the Pope was mentioned - somewhat (remotely!) similar: "misbehavior" (a euphemism as in that case it's legally relevant) by Catholic priests in various countries, including Germany and Ireland, projects upon the entire institution, but not onto every single church member.

There is a connection between Topailov, Borisov (current prime minister) and the entire country. There was (so it seems) a connection between a former Bulgarian government and those who tried to kill the Pope. There is no connection between these two issues, so mentioning it in the given thread is - everything else aside - irrelevant. Personally I am not sure if those bringing it up really want to insult Bulgaria and Bulgarians, or whether it's meant to be a misplaced joke .... everyone has his own concept of irony on a place called Dailydirt!?

Thomas, the name of the GM is TOPALOV.


Apparently you don't get it: "Topailov" is short for "Topalov and Danailov", who themselves stated/claimed to be "one and the same person".

I don't know who first came up with this, it wasn't me but I like it ... .

@Dimi: ...the name of the GM is TOPALOV

Are you sure? I thought it's TOILETOV.

any slave with reversed colours to be expected today? or the return of 1 e4? I'll vote for the second option, but again without putting money where my mouth is.

Dimi, don't answer the trolls. I suspect the vast majority of (intelligent) people who are turned off by the pointless and rather childish tactics adopted by Topalov and his Manager with regard to adoption of Sofia rules, trying to psyche Anand out by refusing to accept force majeure, etc etc, do not in the least consider that it reflects on Bulgaria or Bulgarians. Every country in the world has its fair share of jerks, Bulgaria certainly doesn't have a monopoly on it. Don't feed the trolls.

So, it looks like Anand will remove the queens whenever he gets a chance. How will Topalov deal with this? I suspect the Grunfeld was an experiment and now the Anand team has switched to Plan B-passive but solid as Black. And with White- slow manoeuvring positions. It looks like the match wilbe all about who can obtain positions unpleasnat for the other and whether the opponent can sidestep this, I'm intrigued.

Aren't they always, Chesshire cat?!

Anyway, this is another Kramnik-Topalov replay, right? Anyone remember where we've deviated from game 1 in Elista?

Again Anand plays like Kramnik -- first game of Elista this time. But 10.Na3 (novelty?) deviates.

What abt game 4 thread? Has Mig overslept? Did the alarm not work? :)


Sure they are, but I've rarely seen a match where it was that blatant!!
Topalov goes for a sharper line this time...I think Kramnik should get some royalties for this match.

Anand could just as well play sharply and keep Topalov guessing and on the back foot. And Topalov is quite capable of long squeezes and slugfests too. This is shaping up to be a blockbuster ot a match.

Maybe another alarm went off: baby arriving!

Now that Kramnik is no longer WCh we have to concede and acknowledge how influential has been his approach to game and ideas. Only a genuinely creative player could have done this.
(whether one likes the creations is another issue).

Round 4 thread up. No baby yet, just forgetful.

Very true, Ovidiu, and long before he was WC as well. Hence the Russian crack about Anand that I mentioned before. Though to be fair this specific line was not brought into the limelight by Kramnik.

Anyway, looks as though Topalov has got well and truly caught in Anand's prep in a sharp position. Let's see.

Trust Ovidiu to come with daft explanations that somehow seek to belittle Anand and his abilities each time Ovidiu.

For starters, if Kramnik is so "influential in his approach to game and ideas" how come he is no longer the WCh? and how come Anand keeps beating him in WCh and tournaments, the most recent being Corus?

"For starters, if Kramnik is so "influential in his approach to game and ideas" how come he is no longer the WCh?"

Because he just finished 2nd in Mexico and then was beaten by Anand. Not sure what that has to do with his influence on the game?

Even if Kramnik was past his prime (methinks it's not the case given his comeback in 2009), he could still be "influential in his approach to game and ideas".

And I don't see why saying so is belittling Anand and his abilities - all top players can learn from each other, and if it works against Topalov ... .

No I think for anyone to be influenced by Kramnik (and actively use those influence) can only be complimentary; there is no question that Kramnik is a "deep" player. It is a nice tip of the hat from the world champion to his great predecessor! :)

Indeed. That Lasker, eh? If he's so good how come he's not still world champion, tell me that.

16..Qc5 doesn't look like a good sign, somehow. You can't imagine Smyslov playing such a move.

15..Qd6/16..Qc5 was good at least in the sense that it took Anand out of preparation.
He played fast 14.Rfd1/15.d5 but after 15...Qd6 Anand took some 35 min for 16.Ng4/17.Ne3 and 'caught' Topa on the clock

(I even wonder whether Topalov was pretending being out of prep)

A little OT, but someone mentioned Kramnik..(and we can use a little relief from the match :) )

[Event "President's Cup"]
[White "Shakriyar Mamedyarov"]
[Black "Vladimir Kramnik"]
[Result "1-0"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Qa4+ Nc6 6. cxd5 exd5 7. Bg5 h6 8.
Bxf6 Qxf6 9. e3 O-O 10. Rc1 Rd8 11. Be2 Bf8 12. O-O Ne7 13. b4 Ng6 14. b5 Bg4
15. Qb3 c6 16. Nd2 Bf5 17. Na4 Nh4 18. Rc3 Rd6 19. g3 cxb5 20. Qxb5 b6 21. Rfc1
Bd7 22. Qa6 Qf5 23. Nb2 Rf6 24. Nd3 Re8 25. Nf4 Bd6 26. Bd3 Qg4 27. Be2 Qf5 28.
Bd3 Qg4 29. h3 Qg5 30. Qb7 Rd8 31. Qxd5 Bf5 32. Ne4 Nf3+ 33. Kg2 Nh4+ 34. Kh1
Bxe4+ 35. Qxe4 Ng6 36. Rc8 Rf8 37. Rxf8+ Bxf8 38. Rc8 Qa5 39. Qe8 Qe1+ 40. Kg2
Nxf4+ 41. gxf4 Qb4 42. f5 b5 43. Bc2 a5 44. e4 a4 45. e5 Rb6 46. e6 Rb7 47. Be4
Ra7 48. exf7+ 1-0

I was just reading his comments in the press conference where he said he was happy to be a sparring partner for the Azerbaijan players before the FIDE Grand Prix, but not too good a one [I think in the sense of not too convenient a sparring partner!]. Didn't realise they'd started. http://extratime.az/article.php?aid=13583

Funny translation point - Kamsky was asked about what form he's in and said, in English, "Everything can be better", which the journalist helpfully translates into Russian as "Everything will be fine" :)

Make that his other game... only 2 rounds today.

After A for Azerbaijan and B for Baku there is C for candidates matches: As mentioned on Chessbase (but only the German site), there is renewed confusion on whether Aronian will play in Baku. Ilyumzhinov says yes, Aronian himself (via the Armenian federation) says no.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on April 27, 2010 1:59 AM.

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