On Monday, October 16, a press conference was held by Vladimir Kramnik in the “Central Chess Players House” in Moscow on Monday.
Press conference in Moscow, with former world champion Vassily Smyslov, Kramnik manager Carsten Hensel, organiser Alexander Bach, the chief of Presidents Putin's administration Arcadij Dvorkovich, unified world champion Vladimir Kramnik, Russia's Deputy President and President of the Russian Chess Federation Alexander Zhukov, and the editor of the chess magazine "64" Alexander Roshal. [Photo "64"]
The inofficial Veselin Topalov web site has a translation, in excerpts. [Yuriy Kleyner and Russianbear at the Daily Dirt have corrected and expanded parts of the translation.]
Alexander Zhukov congratulated Vladimir Kramnik for the victory, emphasizing that this is not just the success of an outstanding chess player, but also a “rescue” for the entire chess world and, certainly, enormous success of Russian chess.
Alexander Roshal broached the idea that Topalov should be admitted to the round robin tournament in Mexico 2007, and then the winner should then play with you a final match.
Vladimir Kramnik: The manager of Topalov, Silvio Danailov, certainly did not show his best side at the WCC 2006, but Topalov as a chess player undoubtedly deserves admittance at the tournament. I consider the old formula with some corrections was most successful in comparison with all the others. They will answer: the match of the Karpov, Spassky, Fischer… and so on… I will defend my position.
Zhukov: To abandon the idea of a final match is simply criminal. If they create a new champion every year they will not remember who the best one is.
Kramnik: We begin with a fresh page. What we write on it will determine the future of chess. But for now I will not go into detail. I am sure we will find a common language.
Question: Yesterday information appeared about a possible rematch?
Kramnik: I have not thought about it yet. I just found out on the Internet. Today Topalov may challenge me, tomorrow Anand, Leko… Ignoring one of these proposals and playing many matches with one player will not be right.
Mr. Hensel, what is your opinion about Silvio Danailov?
Carsten Hensel: We had to battle not only Danailov, but their entire team. All the videotapes for four days were in the hands of team Topalov and were viewed in the presence of the Appeals Committee. This was not the first strike from their side. This was their fourth protest -- and all with only one goal, to break Kramnik's concentration and get under his skin. The cup ran over when they got into our private affairs. They had to be stopped, otherwise they never would on their own. And our entire team, together with Kramnik, fought to the last. About Danailov I can say one thing: the likes of this never happened in chess before.
A representative of the Russian weekly "Arguments and Facts" asked Zhukov: "Any thoughts about awarding Kramnik, like in the Soviet era?"
Alexander Zhukov: I had thoughts... but not like in the Soviet era.
How will you comment that the appeals committee was mainly formed by Topalov’s supporters?
Kramnik: I did not agree with that, but this was the only thing that we could not discuss. We could choose the main arbiter, but not the appeals committee.
You were interested in soccer during the match...
Kramnik: I always watch the Champions League when our teams play, as well as the matches of our national team. This time was no exception.
Mr. Kramnik, are you thinking of obtaining higher education?
Kramnik: Higher education is not a goal for me. Obtaining a diploma while playing at tournaments is impossible. I have some self-education, which I consider a proper education itself.
And here is what Vice-President of RCF Valeriy Zubov, responsible for women's chess said: "Happiness is one for all Russians. But there is a separate thought: now our girls have to take first."
Tomorrow morning we expect a reaction from Sofia and Salamanca. Until now (1:50 CET) no official statement has been made by Topalov or Danailov.
A first reaction to the Kramnik interview is being reported by the Topalov web site. It came from a Team Topalov member, Zhivko Ginchev, since Topalov and Danailov are on the way to Hoogeveen, where the former will play in the Essent Tournament. Ginchev said that that they expected the reaction of Vladimir Kramnik, but that does not change the situation in any way. According to him the documentation for the official request of rematch is being prepared and in a week or two will be presented to FIDE.
In the meantime we are told that the Russian news service Gazeta has reported that FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has said that Topalov has the right of a rematch according to the official regulations, and that the main conditions are that the player has 2700+ rating and a total prize fund of not less than 1.5 million Euros.
The Sofia News Agency reports (on October 17, 2006) that Vladimir Kramnik has firmly waved off the challenge for a return game. Kramnik said he wouldn't even consider a rematch, and explained that he didn't want more "soap operas that could go on forever". There are others, willing to challenge the title Topalov has already lost, the Russian explained. This is confirmed by the Focus Information Agency. Meanwhile Topalov's manager Silvio Danailov had predicted that Kramnik would not accept the offer, which in Danailov's opinion would force FIDE to strip him of the world's only chess king title.
On October 12th the Sofia News Agency reported that there was a danger that Topalov could have been abandoned in Elista. "Russian authorities refused to grant permission to the Bulgarian governmental aircraft Falkon to land in Elista in order to transport world chess champion Vesselin Topalov's team back home. Vladimir Kramnik will not have any problems departing, Topalov's press attaché announced." The nine-seat Falkon was to be sent to the Kalmikian Republic to fetch Bulgaria's chess master, as Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov announced Wednesday. "This outruns all scandals, nobody cares to explain why the permission for landing was refused", Vesselin Topalov's manager Silvio Danailov said. "Apparently, the pressure on the Bulgarian group will continue to the last minute."
On the same day the agency reported that Vesselin Topalov and his manager Silvio Danailov had been brought down by a virus infection on Wednesday. Topalov complains of herpes and Danailov of red rash. Doctors examined the world chess champion and prescribed treatment. They explained the virus infections have been triggered by the tension and stress Topalov and his manager have been put through for the last 25 days.
On October 8 the Sofia-based Bulgarian Standart Newspaper quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin as saying "The match for the chess crown is important to the whole country." In an article entitled "Russia Rises Against Topalov" Standart News wrote:
Chess has always been Russia's national pride and even President Vladimir Putin, who has a black belt in Judo, could not stay impartial to the oncoming match for the chess crown between world chess champion Veselin Topalov and the contender Vladimir Kramnik. Three days ago Putin had a one-to-one meeting with FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and told him the match is of national importance.
The interest in the twelve games between Topalov and Kramnik is really huge. The Bulgarian chess genius is subjected to large amount of pressure on the part of the whole Russia, who still remembers the Kasparov era and wants the chess crown back. The Russian press has started circulating slanderous publications about Topalov, suggesting that his success is due to the use of chess programs tan to his aggressive stile. Topalov answered with victories in the strongest chess tournaments.
Incidentally the Bulgarian Focus News Agency has listed the hottest news topics in the country in September: in first place is the European Commission’s report on Bulgaria and Romania’s progress toward EU accession, which is considered as most important by 43.69% of the Focus readers. Second was the collapse of an old building in central Sofia, which killed two young women, according to 20.52% of the people. Third was the chess scandal in the match between Kramnik and Topalov for the World Chess Championship Title, with 7.57% of the readers voting for it, just ahead of the scandal related to EU observer Dimitar Stoyanov and his insults to MEP Livia Jaroka, which received 7.47% of the votes.