Topalov turns down $1.4 million from Kramnik

11/14/2005 – Negotiations on a reunification match between FIDE world champion Veselin Topalov and classical chess champion Vladimir Kramnik broke down today when Topalov's team rejected a 1.4 million dollar offer from the Kramnik side. Apparently FIDE put hurdles in the way – at least according to the promoters.

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Press Release
Source: Universal Event Promotion

Kramnik vs. Topalov: Proposal declined

The newly founded German event agency Universal Event Promotion (UEP) submitted a written offer to FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov as well as to the Classical World Chess Champion Vladimir Kramnik.

This offer guaranteed a fee of US $500,000 (net) for each of the two players – together US $1,000,000 (net). In addition, both players were to participate in specified sponsoring revenue. The match was to be organised from 25 November to 17 December 2006 under the title “World Chess Match of the Champions“. There were to be 14 classical games.

With regard to a possible reunion of both titles the draft contract contained a clause that would have made the unification under the umbrella of the FIDE after conclusion of the contract possible.

The offer, which was accepted by Mr Kramnik, has now been rejected by Mr Topalov, via his management. Intensive negotiations, which involved the management of both players as well as the main investor of the UEP, originally brought agreement on all issues. A golden bridge was built in order to avoid any conflict with FIDE. On this basis the written UEP offer was submitted to the players, with an acceptance deadline (14 November 2005, 18.00h CEST). The Topalov side has allowed this period to expire and finally rejected the offer.

It is obviously clear that the drastic change in Mr. Topalov’s stand was caused by FIDE. This can be seen from a message in which Mr. Topalov’s manager stated that FIDE were not happy with the match organised by UEP and the terms and conditions agreed in principle between the parties. In this message the Topalov side voiced FIDE reservations about a possible defeat of Mr. Topalov and possibly resulting consequences in chess politics. As compensation Mr. Topalov’s manager requested a fee of US $1,000,000 (net) for Mr. Topalov and an additional net sum of US $300,000 for FIDE. After the announcement of these demands by the Topalov management UEP made it clear that at the present stage UEP did not consider such demands as realistic, and repeated the existing offer.

It is regrettable that such material reasons are obviously used to avoid a fair and sporting comparison in a direct duel between the two players, which therefore will not take place.

UEP regrets deeply that Mr Topalov or his management, respectively, rejected this offer which contained financial guarantees for both players for approximately US $1,400,000 (after payment of all taxes) and further possibilities for revenue from certain sponsorships. Especially considering that after the announcement and early marketing of the event there would have been an excellent opportunity for upgrading the match to an unification event and so satisfy the interests of all the parties involved.”

After the latest developments World Chess Champion Vladimir Kramnik made the following statement to UEP and authorised its publication:

“The commitment of UEP and my readiness to play against Veselin Topalov were a further attempt to take the decisive step towards a final unification of the chess world. However, it has once again become obvious that currently the opposite side does not show any serious interest in realising this aim in a concerned and professional manner.

It is generally known that I have completely fulfilled my part of the obligations for the unification agreed in Prague. It is all the more surprising that FIDE has not made any contribution towards a unification of the chess world and, furthermore, obviously has never had any interest in an implementation of the Prague Agreement. This has been made perfectly clear by the non-organization of repeatedly announced – but never realized – matches between my predecessor Gary Kasparov and the former FIDE title holders Ruslan Ponomariov and Rustam Kasimdshanov, and again now.


Classical chess world champion Vladimir Kramnik

Very soon after the contract was signed in Prague I entertained serious doubts that FIDE was supportive of unification because the agreement was not fulfilled, which now must be obvious to anyone. These considerations may serve as an explanation for my interviews and public stand on these procedures in the past.

I am disappointed that FIDE remains inactive, and in addition Veselin Topalov is turning down a serious proposal which could easily have led to a solution. Therefore the unification of the chess world will be postponed for an uncertain period of time.

In the current situation my main objective will be to continue working on staging Classical World Chess Championship events in order to defend my title, in accordance with the 120 year history and tradition of Classical World Championship Matches. In my opinion respect for chess history and pursuance of its inherent values are essential. I am absolutely convinced that chess enjoys the still existing deep respect within our society only because of its own history. This is linked especially to the personalities of the World Chess Champions who emerged from the great duels for the title of World Champion.”

UEP Press release dated 14 November 2005

Universal Event Promotion GmbH
CEO Stefan Koth
Eicktelgenweg 18
D-44309 Dortmund/Germany


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