Veselin Topalov – the homecoming

by ChessBase
10/28/2005 – The newly crowned FIDE world chess champion Veselin Topalov has returned to Bulgaria, to an ecstatic reception by the media, chess fans and the indeed the President of his country. Georgi Parvanov even took over the patronage of the next M-Tel Masters, to which the retired Garry Kasparov has been invited. Details and an interesting NYT article.

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The Homecoming

Veselin Topalov, the new FIDE World Chess Champion, has returned to Bulgaria, the country of his birth (Topalov now lives in Spain). He was greeted by an ecstatic crowd of chess dignitaries, journalist, photographers and fans.

The new world champion Veselin Topalov arrives at Sofia Airport

...where he is effusively greeted by the media and Bulgarian chess fans

Topalov was also received by the President of the country, who decided to become the patron of the next M-Tel Masters tournament. The previous event earlier was won by Topalov, a full point ahead of a world-class field.


Bulgaria may be the next host of the world chess championship, it appeared upon the arrival of the President of the International Chess Federation Kirsan Ilyumzhinov in Sofia. "I am glad to be in the smartest country in the world," Ilyumzhinov said in Sofia. In his words it is still not clear where the next championship will be, but Ilyumzhinov said that it is very possible that Bulgaria's capital may be the next host city.

Over last years Bulgaria conquered three chess tops. Vesselin Topalov won the prestigious title on October 14. Last year Bulgarian Antoaneta Stefanova became the World Chess Queen.

Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov honors the Bulgarian world champion

Article and photo by Kameliya Atanasova, Sofia News Agency

Kasparov will be invited to M-Tel Masters 2006

Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov will be the new patron
of the second Super chess tournament in Sofia

(Sofia, October 27, 2005) Russian GM Garry Kasparov is one of the six top chess players that will be invited to participate in the second edition of the “M-Tel Masters” in 2006. The other five players are: The World Champion Veselin Topalov, the second and the third in the world championship in Argentina Viswanathan Anand (India) and Peter Svidler (Russia), Vasiliy Ivanchuk (Ukraine) and Etien Bacrot (France).

General sponsor of the tournament is the biggest mobile company Mobiltel; the tournament will be organized by Kaissa Chess Management, the agency of Silvio Danailov, the manager of Topalov.

The competition will take place in Sofia from 10th to 21st of May, 2006. The patron of the tournament will be the President of Bulgaria, Georgi Purvanov. Six of the best chess players on the planet will play against each other in the five-star luxury Grand Hotel Sofia ( where the opening and the closing ceremony of the Tournament will be organized.

"We will invite Kasparov. Although he has given up competitive chess he may came back and participate in the M-Tel Masters. Our goal is this tournament in Sofia to become the most prestigious in the world – the tournament of the world."– Silvio Danailov

"It is a great pleasure for us to sponsor this great competition for the second time in a row. This tournament became the number one sports event in Bulgaria for 2005.” – Josef Vinatzer, Executive Director of Mobiltel.

The double-round tournament is a FIDE Category 20, with seven hour classical chess time controls. If there is a tie at the end of the event then tie-break games will determine who is the winner.

As in the previous event, the 2006 M-Tel Masters will keep one unique rule: the players won’t be allowed to offer draws directly to their opponents. Draw offers will be allowed only through the Chief Arbiter.

During the rest day of the competition World Champion Veselin Topalov will give a simultaneous display to chess fans int the garden in front of the National Theater, where this year Mobiltel erected ten marble chess tables for all chess fans.


A New World Chess Champion, With Modest Moves

New York Times article (excerpts)

What has allowed Mr. Topalov to put some distance between himself and his rivals over the last year? In a telephone interview from his home in Salamanca, Spain, Mr. Topalov said he had recently become more confident and that was making it easier to handle the pressure of top-level competition. One reason for his change, he said, was clearly Mr. Kasparov's retirement.

Mr. Topalov said people assumed then that he, Mr. Kramnik or Viswanathan Anand, an Indian grandmaster, would eventually challenge Mr. Kasparov's longtime supremacy. But it did not work out that way. "I did not improve," he said, "and Kramnik and Anand got better. Between 1998 and 2003, Kasparov was No. 1 and Vishy or Kramnik was No. 2."

Mr. Topalov continued: "Kasparov's retirement opened up an opportunity for me. I had a goal. In the past, I didn't really feel confident that I could win."

Sounding uncharacteristically modest for a top chess player, or perhaps just particularly honest, Mr. Topalov added that he had been lucky and his competitors had not. "I also made mistakes," he said. "My mistakes were done when I was close to winning. These guys made mistakes when they were close to lost."

Immediately after the championship was over, Mr. Topalov's manager, Silvio Danailov, seemed to suggest that Mr. Topalov would be interested in playing Mr. Kramnik in order to settle the question of who is the legitimate champion, which has been in dispute since 1993. But, according to, an online database and news site, Mr. Topalov said in the Saturday edition of Sports Express, a daily Russian newspaper, that he would be willing to play Mr. Kramnik, but not with the title at stake, as Mr. Kramnik was currently not in his class as a player and therefore he did not have the right to challenge him.

Chessbase reported that Mr. Kasparov agreed with Mr. Topalov, saying by virtue of his recent results and his ranking, only Mr. Topalov should be considered the world champion. Chessbase also reported that Mr. Kramnik, in the current issue of 64, a Russian chess magazine, reiterated that he was the world champion and that he would welcome a match with Mr. Topalov to settle the issue.

How does he see himself compared to Mr. Kasparov? "Kasparov is Kasparov because he showed the results he showed over 20 years," Mr. Topalov said. "If I have these results for the next 20 years, then I can say that I am like Kasparov. Right now, I am Kasparov divided by 20."

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