Yes, chess fans, it's time once more for the Silvio Danailov show! Danailov, Topalov's ever-gracious manager, is starting the mind games and propaganda war with Anand, in anticipation of their (Topalov's and Anand's) world championship match slated to begin in April of 2010. Here are a couple of excerpts, from the translated excerpts here:
- Viswanathan Anand, who is in third place, is hardly playing at all, but simply resting on his laurels. Let us not forget that he is 40 years old and can hardly keep up with the competitive pace of younger players. You have no energy at this age and he has to save it up [for the match]. His main aim is to keep the title, because it gives him many benefits.
- I expect that in the remaining six months the team of Anand will try to do everything possible and insist on implausible conditions during the negotiations and before signing the contract with FIDE, just to make us nervous.
Yep, that's right: Anand, who is playing in Moscow right now and Wijk aan Zee in January, is sitting on his laurels; Topalov, who is skipping both events and abandoned his teammates at the European Team Championship halfway through after a poor performance is not. Got it. And sure, who can forget all the dirty tricks Anand played in his previous world championship finals against Kasparov (1995), Karpov (1998), Shirov (2001), San Luis (2005), Mexico City (2007) and Bonn (2008). Hmm, I can't think of any...oh yeah, Toiletgate! Oops, wait, that was Danailov and Topalov's doing. Well, there must be something to what Danailov is saying; after all, that wily Anand wielded his power to get the match in...Topalov's and Danailov's home country of Bulgaria. (Just to make Topalov and Danailov nervous, I'm sure.) Very clever of him.
Topalov is a great and entertaining player whose creativity and fighting spirit are worthy of emulation, but as long as he's generating or at least countenancing this sort of behavior on his behalf it's difficult - impossible for me - to root for him.