All the i's are dotted – let the best man win!

by ChessBase
4/28/2006 – Recently there was a press conference in Moscow, attended in person by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and FIDE world champion Veselin Topalov, and by phone from Germany by classical chess world champion Vladimir Kramnik. Subject: their match this September in Elista, Kalmykia. Report in the Russian magazine '64'.

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All the i’s are dotted!

On 24 April a press conference was held at the offices of Interfax, with FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and the two world champions, Veselin Topalov (who was present in the room) and Vladimir Kramnik (who took part by conference call). The subject was the forthcoming world championship match in Elista next September.

At the beginning Kirsan Ilyumzhinov congratulated all concerned on the signing of the contracts."There were many questions and we met several times, but in the everything was agreed in the UAE, during the meeting of the FIDE Presidential Committee”, he said. Then the President spoke about the rules of the match and the conditions for the players, which are exactly identical for both. The opening ceremony will be on the 21st of September, and the first game on the 23rd, with a rest day after every two games. The plan is for a total of 12 classical games, and if the score is level, another four rapid games, and if necessary, two blitz games and finally, a sudden death blitz.

The match will take place in the hall of the Kalmykian Government building. The prize fund is $1 million. Topalov and Kramnik, regardless of the result, will share the amount equally, with FIDE receiving $200,000. The Russian Deputy Prime Minister and President of the Russian Chess Federation, Alexander Zhukov, has agreed to head the organising committee, which will work together with Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. The executive committee of the match will be led by Russian Chess Federation Vice-President and Kalmykian Government minister Valery Bobaev.

Topalov commented that this development has been impatiently awaited by the whole chess world. For the FIDE champion, the match itself “will be my first experience of a long match”. Kramnik expressed his satisfaction that “at last, we are moving towards a single cycle and a single champion”.

The question was asked whether FIDE is prepared to reconsider the arrangements for the next match-tournament for the world championship (scheduled for Mexico in 2007), according to which the loser in Elista will have to wait until the 2009 cycle. Kirsan Illumzhinov replied: “This question, of course, will be discussed at the forthcoming General Assembly in Turin”.

The players were asked to name their likely seconds. Topalov responded by asking how many are allowed, and on hearing the answer four, said that he has never worked with so many people at once before. Nonetheless, he has already confirmed two of his team – his manager Silvio Danailov, and the young Bulgarian Grandmaster Ivan Cheparinov. Kramnik said that he is not yet ready to name names, but he did say that one of his team will be a physical fitness trainer.

Why is the match only twelve games? Kramnik: “Twelve is okay, it is a serious number, and enough to determine who is stronger”. Topalov: "The usual number of games in tournaments is between 10 and 14, so it is perfectly logical that a match should consist of a similar number. Such workloads as 24, or even 48 games, are just no longer realistic nowadays." Illumzhinov: “The number was chosen on the basis of the modern-day reality of the chess world. It is perfectly objective.”

At the same time as the match in Elista an international children’s tournament will be held. Vladimir Kramnik, in his free time, or after the end of the match, will give a simultaneous exhibition against the young players. “We want to make the maximum use of these three weeks for the popularisation of chess”, commented Kirsan Illumzhinov in conclusion. “I am hoping for some beautiful chess from the world’s two best players. May the best man win!”

Translation by Steve Giddins

In the office of the chess magazine "64". From left to right: Topalov manager Silvio Danailov, Veselin Topalov, assistant to the FIDE President Berik Balgabayev, Vice President of RSHF Vyacheslav Bovayev, "64" editor Aleksandr Roshal.

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