FIDE extends deadline for Topalov-Kamsky, Bulgarians protest

by ChessBase
4/10/2008 – The match between Gata Kamsky and Veselin Topalov for the right to challenge the World Champion is scheduled for the second half of 2008. The Bulgarian side offered to finance and stage the match, but Kamsky balked at playing on the territory of his opponent. Now FIDE has extended the deadline for rival bids by twelve days. The Bulgarian Chess Federation has protested sharply.

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On the FIDE web site (which has a new design) we find the following terse press release:

Bids for the Match V.Topalov - G. Kamsky

Wednesday, 09 April 2008

FIDE President has authorised the extension of the deadline for receiving bids for the match V. Topalov - G. Kamsky until April 23rd 2008.

On Thursday the Bulgarian Chess Federation reacted to this release with a protest declaration, which was passed on to the Bulgarian site Chessdom for translation and publication.

The Bulgarian Chess Federation with protest declaration
regarding the Topalov - Kamsky match

On 25th of June 2007 on the presidential board meeting in Tallinn, FIDE decided that the semi final match of the world championship cycle (2008-2009) between Gata Kamsky and Veselin Topalov will take place in the second half of 2008 in Bulgaria. The same decision was confirmed at the 78th FIDE congress in Antalya in November 2007. The Bulgarian Chess Federation expressed it's readiness to provide the necessary prize fund of US $150,000 and to cover all additional taxes and expenses around it's organization.

The contract for the match had to be signed in Singapore. But that did not happen. At this meeting, which took place without the presence of a Bulgarian delegate, FIDE (unknown under whose pressure and in whose interest) changed the decision from the congress and decided to seek another candidate for the organization of the match, offering a bid for increasing the prize fund. To the possible candidates was given a deadline 11th of April 2008. The term is over. There are no offers for organizing the match in the FIDE office. The information that has been published in certain media for possibilities the match to take place in USA, Lvov (Ukraine), or Elista (Russia) have nothing to do with the reality.

Instead of following the decisions taken at the 78th congress, the FIDE President Kirsan Ilymzhinov has extended the bidding period until April 23rd. With this act he one more time shows that is serves certain circles and that he is under enormous pressure which does not help chess.

The Bulgarian Chess Federation severely objects to the last decision of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and insists on FIDE giving in to outside pressure and to firmly resist any attempt for the resurrection of chaos in the world of chess, and to follow the decisions of its governing body – the Congress.

The Bulgarian Chess Federations shows its readiness to organize this match and to guarantee equal conditions to both players. No hosting of chess matches, except the Elista 2006 one, has ever affected their outcome. The optimal conditions are guarantee for opportunity for creative work. This we find as a necessary condition for every chess match and it will be guaranteed in Bulgaria!

We declare our readiness to sign the contract for with FIDE the upcoming match Topalov - Kamsky and to start preparation.

Bulgarian Chess Federation,
Sofia, April 10, 2008

The following cronology of events leading up to the current controversy over the venue of the Kamsky-Topalov match was put together by Chessdom.

Chronology of the Kamsky-Topalov match

December 16, 2007: Kamsky wins the World Cup, to play Topalov in November
American GM Gata Kamsky defeated GM Alexei Shirov (Spain) 2.5:1.5 in the final of the World Cup 2007 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, and earned the right to play Veselin Topalov for the special challengers' match decided by FIDE in June 2007.

11.01.2008 Kamsky does not want to play the match with Topalov in Bulgaria
Immediately after winning the Chess World Cup, Kamsky stated in the press room that he will not play in Sofia and preferred a neutral field. On January 11 2008 Valeri Bovaev [Vice President of the Russian Chess Federation, President of the Kalmyk Chess Federation] said: "Immediately after we learned that Kamsky refuses to play the semi final in Sofia, we decided the best place for this match would be Elista. Elista has historically been a leading chess center, where several matches have taken place – Karpov-Kamsky, the reunification match Topalov-Kramnik, the 33rd Chess Olympiad, and many other tournaments." Asked if he was not worried about a new "toilet scandal", similar to the one in Topalov-Kramnik, Bovaev answered that he knows very well the two grandmasters and that they are "gentlemen" and "intelligent young people".

In January 2008: USA emerges as a possibility
Zhivko Ginchev of the Focus news agency reported that the US Chess Federation wanted to organize the match between Gata Kamsky and Veselin Topalov. FIDE had decided that the USA had until March 31 to make a bid that was better than that of the Bulgarian, which would have the chance to equalize it and keep the match in Sofia.

11.02.2008 FIDE press release on Kamsky-Topalov
FIDE announced that it had accepted an offer for the WCC Challengers Match Kamsky-Topalov 2008 by the Bulgarian Chess Federation. However, after the recent FIDE Presidential Board meeting in Singapore and following discussions with all parties involved, FIDE decided the following in order to try to improve the financial terms and conditions for both players:

a) if by 11 April 2008, FIDE receives a bid with a net prize fund of 250,000 USD (minimum) from any country other than USA, Bulgaria, Russia and Spain, then the match will be organised in that country with the highest bid.

b) if by 11 April 2008, FIDE receives a bid with a net prize fund of 250,000 USD (minimum) from USA, Russia or Spain, the organisers in Bulgaria will be requested to match that bid by 30 May 2008. If Bulgaria matches the new bid, the event will be organised in Bulgaria. If Bulgaria refuses, then the match will be organised in the bidding country.

c) if by 11 April 2008 no such bids arrive, the match will be organised in Bulgaria with a net prize fund of 150,000 USD.

15.03.2008 Kamsky-Topalov in Lviv, Ukraine
Alexander Chernenko, Gata Kamsky's manager, claimed in an interview with "Sport Express" that the match Kamsky-Topalov will take place in Lviv, Ukraine, for a prize fund "several times larger" than the US $250.000 USD offered from Bulgarian sponsors. Chernenko said the deal was "99.9% certain", but that he would publicly announce the details when the bank guarantees had arrived. The Ukranian Chess Federation and the Lviv City Administration would coordinate the event.

27.03.2008 Boris Kutin on Kamsky-Topalov
Boris Kutin, president of the ECU, told Chess Today: "My personal opinion is that the match should be held in Bulgaria. FIDE tried to find another country to organize the event and raised the requirements about the prize fund, but I am not optimistic that candidates will be found." Speculations start emerging on the possible refusal of Kamsky to play the match if it takes place in Bulgaria. In that case, he will be substituted by the second the the World Cup, Alexei Shirov. This possibility was mentioned by FIDE delegates at the Presidential Board Meeting last month in Istanbul.

You may also want to peruse large sections of the often heated correspondence between the Kamsky camp and FIDE, which was published by Spanish playright Fernando Arrabal. Gripping stuff.

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