Topalov and Kramnik arrive in Elista

by ChessBase
9/17/2006 – In less than a week, on Saturday, September 23 at 3:00 p.m. local time, the first game of the reunification match between FIDE world champion Veselin Topalov and classical chess world champion Vladimir Kramnik will begin in the Republic of Kalmykia. The event lasts until October 12. We bring you first pictures of the players' arrival in Elista.

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In May 2002 there was a historic meeting in the city of Prague, where an agreement for the reunification of the world chess championship title was agreed. Now, over four years later, we are about to see it translated into reality. Classical chess world champion Vladimir Kramnik, who won his title in 2000 from Garry Kasparov, and defended it successfully against Peter Leko in Brissago, Switzerland, almost exactly two years ago, faces the reigning FIDE world champion Veselin Topalov, who won his title in a tournament in San Luis, Argentina, in September/October 2005.

After thirteen years the schism in the chess world will soon be healed. It occurred when Garry Kasparov played his title match against Nigel Short outside the auspices of FIDE, and the world chess federation organised a separate world championship, which soon became a knockout event. The classical chess world champions were Kasparov and then Kramnik, the FIDE knockout world champions were Karpov, Khalifman, Anand, Ponomariov and Kasimdzhanov. In 2005 FIDE changed the format to an eight-player double round robin, and this event was won by Veselin Topalov.

Arrival in Elista

Vladimir Kramnik on the flight from Moscow to Elista

Kramnik's kitchen chef Victor Bobylev, and his manager Carsten Hensel

Second GM Miguel Illescas, with the Team Kramnik sportswear, Kramnik

Reception in Elista by FIDE and Kalmykian president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov
(with Veselin Topalov and Vladimir Kramnik, both with ceremonial white scarfs)

The house in which the Kramnik team will reside

An Orthodox church, and a poster announcing the match

Topalov, FIDE President Ilyumzhinov, Vladimir Kramnik

The teams

Veselin Topalov has brought his usual seconds Ivan Cheparinov and Silvio Danialov (the latter is also his manager) to Elista. In addition there are two more grandmasters: Aleksander Onischuk and Francisco Vallejo. There are five other team members whose exact roles we have not yet discovered.

Veselin Topalov's Team    
1. GM Veselin Topalov Bulgaria Player
2. IM Silvio Danailov Bulgaria Manager
3. GM Ivan Cheparinov Bulgaria Second
4. GM Aleksander Onischuk USA Second
5. GM Francisco Vallejo Pons Spain Second
6. Vladimir Haralampiev Rapondzhiev   Bulgaria Team
7. Raicho Ivanov Gospodinov Bulgaria Team
8. Dragomir Georgiev Bulgaria Team
9. Zhivko Ginchev Bulgaria Team
10. Dancho Djongov Bulgaria Team

For his last world championship match (against Peter Leko in Brissago) Vladimir Kramnik had Peter Svidler, Evgeny Bareev and Miguel Illescas in his team of seconds. This time only Illescas is left, while the other two have been replaced by Motylev and Rublevsky. Kramnik is also bringing the well-known trainer and physical therapist Dr. Valery Krylov, who has previously looked after Anatoly Karpov, the Soviet Olympiad team and Vladimir Kramnik previously.

Vladimir Kramnik's Team    
1. GM Vladimir Kramnik Russia Player
2. Carsten Hensel Germany   Manager
3. GM Miguel Illescas Spain Second
4. GM Alexander Motylev Russia Second
5. GM Sergei Rublevsky Russia Second
6. Valeri Krylov Russia Physiotherapist
7. Victor Bobylev Russia Chef


The World Championship Match Topalov-Kramnik

Summary: the World Championship Reunification Match between FIDE world champion Veselin Topalov and classical chess world champion Vladimir Kramnik will be held in Elista, Kalmykia, from September 21 to October 13. It will consist of 12 games, played under classical time controls (two hours for the first 40 moves, one hour for the next 20 moves, and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game, plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move 61). If the match is tied there will be a four game rapid chess tiebreak (25 min + 10sec), after that two blitz games (5 min + 10 sec), then an armageddon game (6 min / 5 min, with white to win). The prize sum is US $500,000 USD per player, regardless of the outcome. The winner of the match is the unified and sole world champion and goes through to the next world championship tournament in October 2007 in Mexico City, while the loser has to wait for the next cycle.

Schedule of the World Chess Championship 2006
Day 1 Thurs.. 21 Sept 7:00 p.m. Opening ceremony
Day 2 Friday 22 Sept.   Rest day
Day 3 Sat. 23 Sept. 3:00 p.m. Game 1
Day 4 Sun. 24 Sept. 3:00 p.m. Game 2
Day 5 Mon. 25 Sept.   Rest day
Day 6 Tues. 26 Sept. 3:00 p.m. Game 3
Day 7 Wed. 27 Sept. 3:00 p.m. Game 4
Day 8 Thurs. 28 Sept.   Rest day
Day 9 Friday 29 Sept. 3:00 p.m. Game 5
Day 10 Sat. 30 Sept. 3:00 p.m. Game 6
Day 11 Sun. 1 Oct.   Rest day
Day 12 Mon. 2 Oct. 3:00 p.m. Game 7
Day 13 Tues. 3 Oct. 3:00 p.m. Game 8
Day 14 Wed. 4 Oct.   Rest day
Day 15 Thurs. 5 Oct. 3:00 p.m. Game 9
Day 16 Friday 6 Oct. 3:00 p.m. Game 10
Day 17 Sat. 7 Oct.   Rest day
Day 18 Sun. 8 Oct 3:00 p.m. Game 11
Day 19 Mon. 9 Oct   Rest day
Day 20 Tues. 10 Oct 3:00 p.m. Game 12
Day 21 Wed. 11 Oct   Rest day
Day 22 Thurs. 12 Oct 3:00 p.m. Tie breaks
Day 23 Friday 13 Oct 7:00 p.m. Closing ceremony

The starting time for the games is 15:00h local Elista time, which translates to 13:00h CEST, 12:00h London, 7 a.m. New York. You can find the starting time in your country here. The games will be broadcast on the FIDE web site and also on, the latter with live audio commentary by GM Yasser Seirawan.


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