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I agree with the majority of people feel it was a mistake for Anand to play in Bulgaria but in the end all that matters is what Anand thinks. Maybe he is motivated by playing in his opponent's country or doesn't care one way or another. He is a veteran who has played many high profile matches and a smart guy to boot so he must have his reasons.
Let's get this straight. GM Kramnik is worried about the WCC match and he wants what's best for chess.Isn't this the same [guy] who refused to play Kasparov for so many years?Was he worried what's best for chess then?
Funny how Kramnik is saying he would not play in Sofia.I guess he forgot pretty fast that the Kramnik-Topalov match was held in Elista.And let's face it - Elista might be some kind of independent republik on paper, but actualy it was like that match was played in Russia.After the match Topalov even said that at some point he felt his life was in danger.It mihgt be overreacting, still it makes u think about it.Also let's not forget that is one thing to have behind your back a small country with limited resources like Bulgaria, while it's very different thing to have the great Russia supporting you all the way.Last but not least Kramnik would root for Anand, not because he's great fan of his, but because Anand is facing Topalov.Kraming would root for anyone, no matter who he is, if this anyone has to face Topalov for the world championship.
After the match Topalov even said that at some point he felt his life was in danger.It mihgt be overreacting, still it makes u think about it.
This whole team has a history of playing dirty tricks on opponents. His then-second (I don't know about now) Cheparinov is a lout who demonstratively refused to shake hands with Nigel Short; what kind of a behaviour is that? He was 22 at the time, high time to grow up. I'd have understood if he'd been 12.
They will do anything to throw their opponents of their emotional balance when they feel weaker. Note that it was not until Topalov was trailing by two points that they doctored up the Toiletgate. It's very, very good for chess that Kramnik and Short won their encounters. How great a way to respond to such manners!
I agree that Topalov's behavior was unacceptable against Kramnik but unlike Kajetan I am sympathetic to Cheparinov. Short ate with the Topalov team nearly every round in San Luis 2005. Then after the tournament Short joined the chorus of GMs accusing Topalov without evidence of cheating. Cheparinov had a right to be upset unless he had reason to believe the accusations were correct. Remember, this happened before the Kramnik match.
Whatever his motivations, I believe Anand deserves some credit for not hiding behind his title and being ready to defend it in Bulgaria in a match against an opponent picked by Fide who did not qualify through a candidates tournament in the strict sense...One cannot be sure if Topalov advised by Danialov would have agreed if the positions were reversed. It is reasonable to apprehend that Danialov and Topalov can create trouble without basis......Elista wasnt good for chess by any standards, and Kramnik did come across as professional and ethical in that instance, even if relative to Topalov and Danialov (which wasnt too hard!). I only hope for a fair match...chess has enough problems without another Elista.
surely the Short-Cheparinov incident happend *after* toilet-gate in 2006, see: <http://www.coruschess.nl/article.php?s=n155> or did I just misinterpret your porst?
@Anonimous [sic]: Kramnik didn't refuse to play Kasparov; he refused to give him a rematch which had no further basis than that Kasparov felt he deserved it. Kasparov bragged about not requiring a rematch as part of the match conditions, and then almost immediately started begging for one. Kramnik had always said that there should be a cycle, and that's what he stuck to, eventually playing Leko.
Re Brian vs. tackhead: It was after toiletgate, but according to http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=4397 cheating allegations (possibly referring back to San Luis?) were part of it too.
Pencho: I don't follow some of your reasoning. Picking two points: (1) How was "the great Russia" helping Kramnik in Elista? His seconds were no better than Topalov's and no one helped in the Toiletgate controversy that cost him his equanimity and a full point when he protested. On paper, Elista favored Kramnik, but in the event itself it didn't seem to matter. (2) Of course he would root for Anand against Topalov, but I don't grasp the relevance of that fact, especially when he says that Topalov is probably a favorite with the match in Sofia.
This whole team has a history of playing dirty tricks on opponents. His then-second (I don't know about now) Cheparinov is a lout who demonstratively refused to shake hands with Nigel Short...
How is that "playing a dirty trick on an opponent"?
One has to wonder why India did not come up with some funds so the world champion (their world champion) would not have to play this match on the opponent's home field. In American football they say home field is worth at least 3 points, so what is it worth in chess -- perhaps 1 game? Enough perhaps to lose the world championship!
@robin: i have to say i am surprised too - unfortunately cricket seems to be the only sport sponsored widely by corporates in india - but surely NIIT (anand's long time sponsor) and Anand could have arranged to cobble together a proper prize fund... he is well known in India and the Indian media roots for him... Anand needs a professional sports manager as his wife and his current sponsor do not seem to be able to deliver the goods where sponsorship for matches is concerned..top cricketers in India get sponsorship arranged by professional sports management companies...
Speckled Noony: seeing how chess is a mind sport, one's emotional state probably can affect their performance. Thus, trying to anger the opponent before a game would certainly fall into the 'dirty tricks' category.
In principles, it's no different than what the Topalov team did in Elista, albait the stakes were hardly comparable.
Whether Topalov lied or not - I guess only he can know that.About the "dirty stories" - I dislike what Topalov did in Elista (actualy it was Danailov who did it?) , imo it was a "balkan trick" which was caused by the bad score his team got after only 4 games.However I have to back up Cheparinov - Nigel Short is one of the biggest hypocrites that I have ever seen, at one moment he ate on Topalov's table every evening in San Louis, and then suddenly he blamed Topalov in cheatting.I wouldn't handshakre with such a guy as well.
1.I didn't say that Russia helped Kramnik in Elista.My point was that since Kramnik didn't got any help (at least that I know of) in Elista, eventhough he played at home and he had the russian federation (biggest chess federation in the world?) behind his back, what help/support/advantage could Topalov probably gain by playing in his own small country? It might even go on the very opposite way - everyone in Bulgaria will expect him to win this match, therefore the pressure on him will be much greater.
(2)Imo the whole Kramnik's interview is one provokation, which is aimed at Topalov's camp.It was pretty much clear what Kramnik will answer to most of the questions, wasn't it?Such an interview with any other GM (f.e. Magnus Carlsen or Levon Aronian) would be much more appropriate.This is what I meant in my previous post.
I'm sorry if my first post was a bit unclear, I hope I managed to fix this now.
I was referring to the allegations Short and others made against Topalov before Elista. I apologize if that was not clear in my post.
This is what Short had to say in 2007:"Nigel Short, a former world championship finalist, tells DNA that Topalov could have received external help. “It is my understanding that the majority of players in San Luis privately believe that Topalov received signalling from Danailov during play. The essence of these allegations, which I heard personally from disgruntled players in Argentina at the time, was not that Topalov constantly received computer advice but only at critical junctures. Indeed, if one were to cheat, a player of Topalov’s strength would only need two or three computer moves per game to put him at an overwhelming advantage vis-a-vis his opponents.”The British GM says he observed something sinister in San Luis, where Topalov bulldozed his rivals to emerge a run-away winner. In fact, Topalov had 6.5 from seven games which could be equivalent to running 100 metres in about 9 seconds at that level of competition. “In San Luis I did observe, indeed I was quite struck by the fact, that Danailov sat in close physical proximity to Topalov during play. Furthermore, his not infrequent entering and exiting the hall would have provided facile opportunities for receiving communication from a third party. In fact any half-decent player with a laptop and an analysis engine is likely to be better appraised of the position, upon entering the room, than the GMs seated at the board themselves.”Short believed the World Chess (Fide) should order an inquiry. “I believe there is a clear case for setting up an independent committee of decent honorable people to examine the dozens of hours of TV footage from San Luis (the whole event was recorded). Furthermore any evidence available from Mexico and Linares, Wijk aan Zee, etc. should also be examined.”
Short dined with Topalov and Cheparinov at their table every day during San Luis. Topalov probably didn't cheat but even if he did its likely his loyal second Cheparinov did not know. So I understand why Cheparinov refused to shake Shorts hand.
I'm no expert, but I think Topalov has slightly better chances. From what I hear he seems to have more of a competitive spirit, as in he is willing to do anything to win. Anand seems like the people's favorite as everything I have heard about him is positive, and the same cannot be said for Topalov. Should be a good match.
@Pencho: You make two unproven assumptions:1) The Russian federation was directly involved in the Elista match organization. However, all we know (unless you know more) is that the match took place in Russia. The German federation has nothing to do with Dortmund or the Anand-Kramnik match in Bonn, the Dutch federation has nothing to do with Corus, the French federation has nothing at all to do with Amber (organized by a Dutch billionaire on French ground).2) Even if the federation had some influence, were they really willing to use it to support Kramnik by all available means, including dirty ones? Apparently not, else Topalov wouldn't have gotten a free point in the match.
Compare this with the Sofia match:1) The president of the Bulgarian chess federation and the Bulgarian president are directly involved in the match, Topalov's manager Danailov is at least acting behind the scenes.2) Earlier at the Topalov-Kamsky match, there were at least some provocations: Kamsky's second Sutovsky had to queue up for security and a metal detector like everyone else. Danailov swiftly walked by, then using his mobile phone inside the venue. Not saying he/they were cheating (it was before the start of the game), but it remains a provocation and evidence that the organizers weren't neutral - but they should have been!
As to why Kramnik was asked: simply because he has some experience with WCh matches - unlike, for the time being, Carlsen and Aronian!? Of course he may have two reasons to root for Anand:- He hates Topalov and will support any of his opponents- He likes Anand and will support him, maybe not against anyone but against "many-one"!?
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