'Veselin is interested to play Kramnik or Kasparov'

10/15/2005 – Silvio Danailov is the manager, trainer and coordinater of the new World Champion Veselin Topalov. Immediately after it became clear that his charge had bagged the title Danailov gave an interview to the Russian chess magazine "64", in which he spoke of Topalov's performance and his future plans for the world championship.

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Silvio Danailov: “Veselin is interested in two matches:
against Kramnik and Kasparov”

An interview by Alexander Roshal, editor of the Russian magazine "64", with the manager of the new FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov

Alexander Roshal: Were you confident of winning before the start of the tournament?

Danailov: Of course one cannot be sure of winning – chess after all is a sport where anything can happen. But in any case we came here to fight for the ‘podium’. Topalov’s victories in Linares (shared with Kasparov) and Sofia proved that this has been our year.

The chess king is supposed to be a Tsar, a commander. Can one describe Topalov as such?

No, he is not a commander! We had commanders in the past, and it was not right. A player should do what he’s good at – play. And this is precisely what Veselin is going to do – play chess.

You’ve managed to put together a nice team, especially by brining in Ivan Chaparinov.

We’ve been preparing our young analyst for 5-6 years now. We foresaw his amazing talents and took him under our guardianship.

I understand your opinion about a possible Topalov-Kramnik match is positive?

From a creative point of view, Topalov is interested in two matches: against Kramnik and Kasparov (from a sporting point of view he’s already proven to be the strongest in San Luis).

But in either match you are gambling with your title…

Veselin has proved his superiority in san Luis in a rather convincing manner. He scored an enviable +6. I can hardly imagine Kramnik getting +2 in San Luis, had he participated in the tournament.

How could the match against Kramnik materialize, in practical terms?

I can hardly envisage any insolvable problems. FIDE doesn’t seem to mind, as for potential sponsors, seems very likely that for a match of this calibre there will be a few. Realistic date for the match: November 2006.

But that means that FIDE would have to alter the rules and dates for the next cycle.

It seems to me that FIDE has realised the enormity and complicated nature of the publicized rules of the next cycle, and I heard that they are going to change them. To organise another match-tournament, for example. That, obviously, would lead to World Champion losing his privileges. No problem! We are ready to sacrifice all our privileges, and we believe that such a system would be fair.


Silvio Danailov, the manager of Veselin Topalov

The match against Kramnik is interesting from a different point of view. He is, in spite of everything, the successor of the Classical Chess World Title. Kramnik defeated Kasparov and defended his title in the match against Leko.

Are you in favour of imposing the ‘anti-draw’ clause, i.e. to ban the very possibility of offering draws as in Sofia?

Of course! I think it is an absolute necessity. Just like the ‘anti-adjournment’ rule. We want chess to become a professional sport.

What is your opinion about Association of Chess Professionals?

It has to prove that it can organise serious events. What have they organised so far? A two-day Blitz-tournament in Moscow? Wonderful! I have nothing against them. Show me that you can organise serious events!

Would you say, therefore, that you are completely loyal to FIDE?

I think so. Actually the ACP told FIDE that the Sofia draw rules are not original, because they had been first applied in Corsica. So they should be called the Corsica Rules. I think this is just personal jealousy on the part of Mr Lautier [President of the ACP], because we refused to apply for ACP Tour rankings for the Sofia tournament. I have great respect fot the Corsica event, and especially for the organiser Léo Batesti, who is a very good friend. But these were two completely different matters. One was a rapid chess tournament, the other was a the strongest classical chess tournament of the year. In Corsica they had just one small note, saying mutual draw agreements between the players was forbidden. In Sofia the rules were fully professional, and explained precisely in exactly which cases a player can claim a draw to the aribter. I think that if we want chess to become a professional sport the arbiters need to become decisive figures with full authority, not just figureheads. Chess has lost a lot throught the quick draws, the sponsors are not happy, the fans are not happy – it is simply bad for everyone.

Did you take into account that Topalov could have rivalled Kasparov’s rating with a +7 score in San Luis?

We did think about it. However, our main goal was the title of the World Champion. Anything else was of secondary importance. So we planned our strategy accordingly: to play solidly in the second leg, to avoid taking unnecessary risk. And we presupposed that we would clinch the title with a round to spare. As you can see, we were right.

How do you evaluate Anand and Svidler in San Luis?

Anand played his usual self, according to his ability. But Svidler surpassed himself.

Surely congratulations are flowing from Bulgaria?

Of course! I know that the President of Bulgaria along with his two sons, were watching the Internet Live Broadcast of the decisive game Topalov-Kasimjanov until 2:00 a.m.! By the way our President also happens to be the head of the Org Committee of the Sofia Tournament which is due next year. He loves chess.

Did you like the tournament in San Luis?

It was an excellent tournament. We are all satisfied.

Veselin played the entire tournament on the same table. How come?

He simply got number eight in the drawing and that led to him playing all his games at the same table. There are tables from Alekhine-Capablanca and Fischer-Petrosian here. Looks like Topalov’s table too, has entered the Hall of Fame!



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