M-Tel starts on Thursday, Gata Kamsky speaks out

5/7/2007 – The Super-GM tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria, is a double round robin with six players rated 2772 to 2690: Topalov, Mamedyarov, Adams, Kamsky, Nisipeanu and Sasikiran. We bring you full information and the schedule. Before the start the Bulgarian Daily TRUD conducted a remarkable interview with US grandmaster Gata Kamsky, touching on all the controversial subjects in chess today. Key excerpts.

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Third M-Tel Masters in Sofia, Bulgaria

The Third M-Tel Masters begins on Wednesday, with the first round on Thursday. There are six participants in this double round robin tournament (each player facing all others twice, once with white and once with black). Time control: 2 hours for 40 moves + 1 hour for 20 moves + 30 minutes to the end the game.

Sofia draw rule: There is a rule in place at this tournament: "The players should not talk during the games; additionally they should not offer draws directly to their opponents. Draw offers will be allowed only through the Chief Arbiter in three cases: a triple-repetition of the position, a perpetual check and in theoretically drawn positions. The Chief-Arbiter is the only authority who can acknowledge the final result of the game in these cases. He will be advised in his decisions throughout the tournament by GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili, FIDE Vice-President." Short form: you are not allowed to offer or accept draws and must play on until the game is technically over. The arbiter will see to it that you do so.

The participants in the Third M-Tel Masters are (rank = world rankings):

Player  Elo Nation
rank
Veselin Topalov 2772  Bulgaria
2
Shakriyar Mamedyarov   2757 Azerbaijan 
6
Michael Adams 2734 England
10
Gata Kamsky 2705 USA
19
Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu 2693 Romania
23
Krishnan Sasikiran 2690 India
25

Schedule

Wednesday   May 09   09.00 UTC   Press conference, Opening, Party
Thursday May 10 11.30 UTC Round 1  
May 2007
S M T W T F S
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    
Friday May 11 11.30 UTC Round 2
Saturday May 12 11.30 UTC Round 3
Sunday May 13 11.30 UTC Round 4
Monday May 14 11.30 UTC Round 5
Tuesday May 15   Rest Day
Wednesday May 16 11.30 UTC Round 6
Thursday May 17 11.30 UTC Round 7
Friday May 18 11.30 UTC Round 8
Saturday May 19 11.30 UTC Round 9
Sunday May 20 10.30 UTC Round 10
    16.00 UTC Tiebreaks, Closing, Party

Toilet wars

On May 4th ten copies of the book “The Toilet War”, with autographs by Veselin Topalov, were given away as gifts to the first ten visitors of the Ciela in the Sofia Mall. "The book tells the story of the scandalous game for the chess world title between Veselin Topalov and Vladimir Kramnik in Elista," say the organisers. "The chess drama in 13 acts presents everything around the game in Kalmikya. It contains documents connected to the game and scandalous photos." We are going to have to review it for our readers.


Interveiw with Gata Kamsky

The following interview was conducted by the Bulgarian daily newspaper TRUD and published in English translation on the M-Tel tournament web site. We bring you excerpts.


Top USA grandmaster and M-Tel participant Gata Kamsky

Question: Has M-Tel Masters already taken its place among the leading tournaments on the planet?

Kamsky: I believe that M-Tel Masters are becoming a strong tradition with very high standard of organization and level of play. Definitely, it is one of the top tournaments in the world today along with such tournaments as Dortmund and Wijk aan Zee.

Anand, Topalov, Kramnik – what is your personal ranking of the strongest players in the present moment?

I believe that these three players are really close to each other in terms of chess strength and abilities. It would be interesting to see a sort of a match tournament between them.

Eleven years ago like a US citizen you just like Topalov played against a Russian player – Anatoli Karpov. Did you feel a “special treatment”, provocations?

This is a tough question, because after Sofia I’m going to Elista to take part in the Candidates matches and I don’t want to provoke some politics that will hinder my ability to play chess there, but yes, there were a lot of issues involved during my match against Karpov, but perhaps the absolutely best person to ask about it would be my father.

Which side were you at in the “toilet war”?

I did not take any side, because I believe that the match for the world championship is not just a battle of wills on the chess board but also includes a lot of politics and accusations from both sides. In my personal opinion, there were some legitimate concerns raised, given the fact that the match was staged in the country of one of the players, but apart from the players and their seconds, who know best what really happened, I can’t really make any comment.

In your view how did this scandal reflect on chess – did it increase the interest for the ancient game?

Well, it was curious to watch the reaction of the world’s newspapers and their headlines on front pages. As they say here in the United States, any publicity is good publicity

Is it really possible to give hints [illegal signals or assistance] to a GM at a big tournament and aren’t such statements absurd?

Okay, the way I understand this question is that it touches upon popular concern with a player receiving outside assistance. Since, this topic is especially controversial here in the United States due to some highly publicized cases of cheating at the Open tournaments, I believe the topic itself has some merit and has to be studied carefully, however , such accusations can easily become a tool for other reasons like jealousy or even have some political motivations and could be very dangerous and damaging. Based on what I have learned so far in life, these incidents can’t be generalized and have to be studied on a case by case basis. With regards to the advice being given to a grandmaster at a big tournament, we must not forget that any player can benefit from advice from a computer program, because the programs have become so strong these days, so some measures have to be taken, but for that task, FIDE has to set a standard.

Do mediums and such kind of “magicians” really have an influence on chess and have you personally felt such an influence on yourself?

I subscribe to a more or less popular belief that each of us has the power to make his own destiny, win or lose the chess game.

In your opinion is it fair that Topalov does not play in the World Championship in Mexico?

Yes, personally I think it’s ridiculous that Kramnik gets so many privileges and gets basically two chances to defend his own title. It would make a lot more sense if Topalov, instead of Kramnik were to play in Mexico.

Is the currently system for defining the World Champion optimal? Which is the best system in your view?

Well, there is an on-going controversy with the current world championship system, especially with the latest announcement by the FIDE president which came as a complete surprise to everyone because, as far as I know, everyone who were surveyed with the proposed list of suggestions decided for a formula which was different from the one that was announced. A lot of mysterious things have been going on ever since the unification match has happened and these developments were worrisome.

Do you think FIDE conducts the right policy as a motor of the game?

There are a lot of things that have room for improvement, but given the results of the election earlier this year and some latest developments, there is a hope that changes are coming in the future which bode well for the chess world and players in general.

Don’t you think that Kirsan IIymzhinov is pushing chess too much in the direction to Russia.

I think that matches for the world championship title should not be staged in the country of one of the players period. It’s is unfair and such match should be staged on neutral territory. But, that applies only to the match for the world title, because there is so much at stake. With regards to any other event, if there are people who wants to organize new events, I think, that they should be encouraged, as it helps develop chess everywhere.

If you speak Bulgarian you can look for the original interview on the TRUD web site. The full English translation is available on the M-Tel web site.

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