clash in the M-Tel Masters
The winner is congratulated: Veselin Topalov takes first place
At the press conference after the event Veselin Topalov, on a question by journalists, denied that luck had played a decisive role in the event. It was true that he and Kramnik had overlooked a simple win for the latter in their last-round encounter, but even if he had lost the game, Topalov said, he would have been equal first with Vishy Anand. Then, in the rapid chess playoff required by the rules, he would have had "no chance," the Bulgarian champion admitted ruefully.
One of the initiators of the event, GM Silvio Danailov, speaks at the closing ceremony
I won the tournament and got much more than this T-shirt. Vishy Anand and Veselin Topalov compare memorabilia from Sofia
At the press conference Vladimir Kramnik vowed to see assistance from experts who could help restore his full concentration and determination, and work on techniques to avoid blunders.
All participants had more-or-less positive things to say about the anti-draw rule in place in Sofia. Judit Polgar noted that the average number of moves per game was higher than in other events. Anand said the rule seemed to have only positive sides. Ponomariov said he didn't have any problems with the new rule, nor did he object to just one free day. Only Kramnik and Topalov said they saw no big difference for their own games in such events.
Veselin Topalov, sports hero of the Bulgarian Republic
With his proud father and his second Cheparinov
Topalov attributed his recent successes – and his possible ascent to the top of the rating list – to hard work and preparation in recent months. He admitted that the three months he had spent preparing with Ruslan Ponomariov in 2003 (Ponomariov was preparing for a match against Kasparov, which did not take place in the end) had also been very important for his development.
Mickey Adams with a caricature rendition of himself
Vladimir Kramnik with his cartoon
Judit Polgar finds hers quite hilarious
This is really fun: Anand, Ponomariov and Topalov
Anand gets his commemorative cartoon
Yep, that's me, people!
The winner gets a valuable icon from Bulgarian President Georgy Parvanov...
... who gets a chessboard with the signatures of all participants in return
Group photo with the Bulgarian President
Anand with wife Aruna
Mickey Adams with wife Tara
Judit Polgar at the closing ceremony
Cocktail party at the close of the ceremony
Impressions of Sofia
The city of Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria and, with a population of just over a million, the biggest city in the Republic. It is the second oldest capital city in Europe. It was founded on a site inhabited in the 8th century B.C., and became a Thracian settlement named Serdica. It was captured by Rome in AD 29, destroyed by the Huns in 447, rebuilt by Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, taken by the Ottomans in 1382 and by the Russians in 1878. Sofia became the capital of an independent Bulgaria in 1879. There are 16 universities in the city, which is the see of an Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic dioceses.
The Alexander Nevsky Church in Sofia
A traditional Russian Orthodox church
The Church of St Sofia
The Foreign Arts Museum
Icons for sale in Sofia
Modern banking buildings in the capital
The Grand Hotel, where the event was held
A panorama view from the hotel
The Grand Hotel terrace
Sleeping quarters in the suite
Seating arrangements for suite residents
Sofia by night
The President's residence
The Alexander Nevsky Church at dusk