Topalov says Nyet to Kramnik

by ChessBase
10/22/2005 – The chances of a reunification title match between the newly crowned FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov and Classical Chess world champion Vladimir Kramnik took a dive when the Bulgarian stated unequivocally that he was not willing to take up a challenge by someone 60 points below him. "That is a different class altogether," said Topalov in this Sport Express interview.

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In an earlier interview with the Russian chess magazine "64" last week world champion Veselin Topalov's manager Silvio Danailov stated that his client was interested to play a match against Vladimir Kramnik or Garry Kasparov, "from a creative point of view." Now Topalov has made the point much more explicit. In an interview with the Russian magazine Sport Express he stresses that he is not going to accept an unscheduled challenger by a player who is 60 points below him in the ratings list.

Garry Kasparov agrees with Topalov and thinks the Bulgarian who won the FIDE championship ahead of the strongest active players in the world does not need to play Kramnik. "The schism in the chess world is over," he told us. "It was brought about by the world champion not being the best player in the world. Now that he is, the matter can be closed."

Here's the Sport Express interview with Veselin Topalov:

Topalov is not willing to put his title on the line against Kramnik

Translated from Russian by Aryan Arghandewal

Newly crowned World Champion Veselin Topalov has no plans to put his title on the line in a possible match against Kramnik. “So far this year I have won my third Super Tournament. Vladimir Kramnik is an outstanding player of modern chess, one of the best players of the last decade. However, he is currently number seven in FIDE world rankings, and I don’t think he has the right to challenge me. When I was the world's number seven player it never occurred to me that I had the right to challenge world's number one,” the Bulgarian Super GM is reported to have said in San Luis.

Topalov stressed that Kramnik had been invited to San Luis, but had refused to participate. Hence, in Topalov’s opinion, Kramnik has automatically lost the right to contend for the title. Topalov is also reported to have said that from January 1st he was going to have the highest rating, leaving aside the retired Garry Kasparov (still the highest rated player). It is certainly true that five years ago Kramnik had defeated Kasparov. However, according to Topalov, Kramnik’s latest results do not provide sufficient grounds to have any claims for the title.

“There’s a big difference in our ratings," Topalov stressed. "In chess 60 Elo points means a different class altogether. If Vladimir was offered to play against someone 60 Elo points below himself he’d simply burst out laughing. If there is going to be a Topalov-Kramnik match, it will be on purely commercial basis. I do not believe we can play for the title because I’ve already won it here in San Luis. A Topalov-Kramnik match for the title is out of question, because FIDE has organised a two-year cycle for the world championship, analogous to the one we had in San Luis, where eight qualifiers will fight for the title. Thus the tournament shall determine the new holder of the Crown. That is the plan.”

FIDE President Kirsan Illumzhinov had earlier indicated that, in principle, a match between the winner of the World Championship in San Luis and Vladimir Kramnik was possible, providing the Kramnik camp comes up with a minimum of two million dollars.

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