Shirov's press release

by ChessBase
5/29/2008 – After numerous extensions of the deadline for bids to stage the special Challengers Match between Gata Kamsky and Veselin Topalov FIDE is now faced with a demand by the next-in-line player to have a chance. Alexei Shirov is willing to play in Bulgaria, something Kamsky balked at. "According to the match regulations he should be replaced by me in this case," Shirov says. Press release.

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At the beginning of April we reported on FIDE's decision to extend the deadline for bids for the Kamsky-Topalov match. The Bulgarian Chess Federation protested vigorously, especially when the deadline was reextended a number of times. The reason for FIDE's vacillation was Gata Kamsky's objection to playing the match in Bulgaria, the home country of his opponent; and the existence of a US $750,000 counter-bid to stage the match in Lviv, western Ukraine. Most of the information on this bid was provided by Russian chess journalist Yuriy Vasiliev, who interviewed the originator of the Lviv bid on the news site ChessPro.

Note: FIDE has confirmed that up to this moment (Thursday, May 29, 2008, 15:00h), no funds have arrived on the FIDE bank account for the Lviv bid. The whole matter will be discussed during the FIDE Presidential Board meeting in Athens this weekend (31 May – 1 June 2008).


The raison d’être for this match is to be found in a FIDE Presidential Board meeting held in June 2007 in Tallinn, Estonia, where the World Chess Federation announced its new Grand Prix plans. With a high-ranking Bulgarian delegation presenting a case for Veselin Topalov to enter the world championship, FIDE made some special rules to govern the 2007-2009 stage. Because he was unable to participate in the ongoing World Championship cycle (after his loss to Vladimir Kramnik in the Elista reunification match) Veselin Topalov was theoretically out of the cycle for two years. FIDE decided that Topalov would get a special eight-game Challenger Match against the winner of the 2007 World Cup, who under normal circumstances would be the direct challenger to the World Champion. The minimum prize fund for the Challenger Match was set at 150,000 USD. The Bulgarian Chess Federation immediately expressed its wish to organize the Challenger Match.

The match Topalov vs World Cup winner was to be held in the year 2008, as part of the new World Championship cycle. The winner of that Challenger Match would then go on to play the winner of the 2008 Universal Event Promotion World Championship match (UEP) between reigning World Champion Viswanathan Anand and challenger Vladimir Kramnik in 2009. At the time of these decisions we tried to decipher the new system and presented a number of possible scenarios. The second is the one that we are now confronted with – just replace the name Radjabov with Gata Kamsky to get the current situation.

Gata Kamsky, Alexei Shirov, finalists of the FIDE World Cup in December 2007

As it turned out Gata Kamsky won the FIDE World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia) last December, beating Alexei Shirov in the final. So it became essential for him to face Veselin Topalov this year. The Bulgarian bid stood, but Gata Kamsky balked at playing a match in the home country of his opponent. The rest is described in our introduction above. Now after the multiple reextensions of the deadline for the bid the next-in-line player has sent us the following press statement:

Alexei Shirov's press release

With this short press release I would like to bring attention to the following facts:

1. In spite of having passed all the possible deadlines, FIDE still has not announced the venue of the match Topalov-Kamsky. That means that the match should normally take place in Bulgaria because the Lvov offer seems not to have been materialized.

2. Mr. Gata Kamsky has declared that he does not wish to play in Bulgaria. According to the match regulations he should be replaced by me in this case.

3. It is absolutely clear that the silence and uncertainty should end and the firm decision about the forthcoming match should be taken. Nobody can wait forever and this concerns the reserve players as well.

Alexei Shirov,
Tarragona, 29.05.2008

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