World Championship news: Anand on his way to Sofia

by ChessBase
4/19/2010 – With air traffic at a standstill, trains completely sold out and practically every rentable car taken, it was no easy task for Vishy Anand to make it from Frankfurt to Sofia. Now the World Champion is on his way by road to the Bulgarian capital, a team member has revealed. Meanwhile Anand's request for a three-day postponement is being rejected by the organisers. Statements and stories.

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The Chessdom web site of the World Championship match in Sofia is fast filling with statements by the organisers on the plight of title holder Viswanathan Anand, whose trip to the Bulgarian capital was interrupted by the cancellation of all flights to, from and over European airspace (just after the Champion had landed in Frankfurt). Here are excerpts from some of the stories published on the site.

  • Anand expected to arrive in the end of this week for the WCC match with Topalov
    Viswanathan Anand is expected to arrive Friday evening and go directly to his hotel - Hilton. According to an interview with the World Chess Championship organizing committee for Sega, all conditions set by Aruna Anand during the inspection are met. The special curtain from Germany preventing visual contact is also on the way to Sofia. Full text...

  • Sports minister Neikov praises the World Chess Championship 2010 match
    Sports minister Svilen Neikov and the organizing committee of the Topalov - Anand 2010 held a press conference today at 11:00 local time. At the press conference the arrival of Anand in Sofia was confirmed. The manager of Topalov, Silvio Danailov, also stated that the challenger with his team has now returned from the training camp in Sandaski and is in Grand Hotel Sofia. Full text...

  • Anand in Sofia or not for the match with Topalov? (with updates)
    On Sunday at 12:00 CET All India Chess Federation sent a statement [to which the organisers] commented, "We have information from Hilton Hotel that Hans-Walter Schmitt has the keys from all room and that all rooms are actually being used. AICF themselves do not play a role in this championship and we have to consult FIDE immediatelly". Update: Stefan Sergiev, President of the BCF, cited by BGNES, said for media in Sofia, "We believe Anand's team is here. If Anand had called or warned about the possibility, or at least for the time of his arrival, earlier, we would have made everything possible to arrange alternative transportation to Sofia. I have a feeling the Schmitt coming earlier and checking in all rooms could be a trick." Sergiev continued, "Topalov was also in SPain on an island, but managed to come on time, Anand is looking for excuses and reasons. No World Championship has ever been postponed." Full text...

  • News from Anand regarding the World Chess Championship situation
    Anand is looking for a way to reach Sofia – The ash from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erruption closed the airspace over large part of Europe and changed the plans of hundreds of thousands passangers. One of them was Viswanathan Anand, the defending World Champion who got stuck in Germany... “Yes, we are stranded. We should get there soon,” Anand’s wife and manager Aruna said. “We are working with the FIDE supervisor to see how we can travel at the earliest." Full text...

  • World Championship match Anand - Topalov postponement possibilities
    To Georgios Makropoulos, Deputy President of FIDE: "The organizing committee of the world championship 2010 ... has been informed with the e-mail of Mr. Anand dated 17.04 and your verbal request from 18.04.2010 to postpone the match with 3 days. We would like to inform you that this is not acceptable for us... We can postpone the press conference. Unfortunately we can not postpone the opening ceremony scheduled on April 21st at 6 pm. The possibility to postpone the first game of the match for one day to Saturday April 24 need to be discussed with the Chairman of Organizing Committee – Prime Minister of Bulgaria Mr. Boyko Borissov. Full text...

  • Bulgarian Chess Federation statement
    In this latest fairly lengthy statement the Organizing Committee says that on April 15th they asked Mrs. Anand about the time and number of the flight, so that they could be greeted as it is accustomed. Up until that moment Mrs. Anand had, they said, always answered all letters sent to her correctly and in a timely manner. But this time there was no answer. A request was sent to the FIDE Central in Athens, and the answer received was that Mrs. Anand was probably in an airplane and has switched off her cell phone. ”The organizers and the journalists in Bulgaria were bitterly disappointed of the attitude of the world champion V.Anand," the statement says, "but we accepted it as a part of the 'playing on the nerves game'."

    The statement of the Bulgarian Chess Federation goes on to say that "for the fact that Mr. Anand could not arrive on time in Sofia, the organizers bear no fault. The fault is to be placed on him and his team... We understand the problem of Mr. Anand, but we are bitterly disappointed by his derogatory actions and attitude towards the organizers. All problems that emerge should be resolved in dialogue with shown understanding from all sides, and not in the form of pressure... If Mr. Anand had used the alternative means of transportation between Frankfurt and Sofia (train, bus, private car, etc.), he would have arrived to the latest 6 (six) days before the start of the first game, scheduled for April 23rd, which is enough time for getting accustomed and rest." Full text...

Today we received the following report by a German chess journalist in Sofia:

Chess Genius Anand also a victim of the volcano

By Dagobert Kohlmeyer

In 1972 Iceland produced headlines for chess with the "Match of the Century" between Fischer and Spassky. And this year's world chess championship is again being influenced by the volcanic island in the Atlantic. World Champion Anand, who was scheduled to fly to Sofia on Friday, became a victim of the ash cloud. Arriving from Madrid to Frankfurt he was, like thousands of others, stopped on his journey. The Champion spent the weekend in Bad Soden, where he has a flat. The World Chess Federation FIDE has not decided on a request by Anand and the Indian Chess Federation to postpone the start of the match by three days, due to this situation. Topalov's manager Silvio Danailov, who is also involved in the the organisation of the match, said: "We want to begin on time. Why did Anand spend the weekend just sitting around doing nothing?"

Topalov manager and organiser Silvio Danailov

Currently Anand is, according to his advisor Hans-Walter Schmitt, on his way to Sofia, where he is expected to arrive on Tuesday. According to the schedule the World Championship Opening Ceremony should take place on Wednesday. The first game is scheduled for Friday. Schmitt: "We are asking for a postponement of the match by three days, because Anand would otherwise be at a clear disadvantage due to the late arrival."

Anand's manager Hans-Walter Schmitt [Photo Christian Bossert]

The German national team is also in stuck in Hanoi, after their match against Vietnam. National trainer Uwe Bönsch told us on Monday through Skype: "The German embassy and the Vietnamese Sport Ministry are looking after us. As chess players we have the necessary patience. We are simply waiting and drinking Vietnamese tea, until the ash cloud over Europe has passed."

Iris Erlingsdottir – Iceland's Volcano

Volcanos created Iceland, and have, at times, done their best to destroy its human interlopers.The 934 AD lava flow from the Eldgjá fissure system unleashed the largest flood of basalt on the planet in historic times. The Laki eruption in 1783 had the largest outflow of lava since then. It emitted fluoride that poisoned half of Iceland's livestock, resulting in a famine that killed approximately a quarter of Iceland's population, and thrust vast quantities of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, directly causing many deaths in Western Europe, and contributing to several years of extreme weather in Europe. It is often credited as an indirect cause of the French Revolution.

Elingsdottir goes on to tell us about the volcano Katla, which is part of the same volcanic system, but makes the current volcano look like a Christmas fire-cracker. Ketla has historically erupted every 40-80 years, with the last major eruption in 1918 (yes, it overdue), and there is speculation that the current volcanic activity is a precursor of a new Katla explosion. Each of the previous three Eyjafjallajökull eruptions since Iceland's settlement (920, 1612, and 1821-23) has been followed by a major Katla eruption. "Today's flight delays are just a whiff of the possible disruption Katla could cause," writes the Icelandic journalist. "The costs of a major eruption today would be catastrophic. Our man-made crises fill our everyday lives, but we ignore natural phenomena at our peril. We lose sight of how detached from our environment we've become, how thin the veneer of civilization really is, and how fragile our bodies and our institutions really are."

Read this thought-provoking article in the Huffington Post. You will need good nerves. The article also contains an amazing volcano picture.

Commentary on

The start of the World Championship match between title holder Viswanathan Anand and challenger Veselin Topalov is scheduled for Friday, April 23rd, 2010. On the Playchess server we will be offering you commentary of the games, provided by internationally famous grandmasters. The English language commentary will be by GM Yasser Seirawan, GM Daniel King, GM Jan Gustaffson and IM Oliver Reeh; the German commentary is by GM Klaus Bischoff.

Day Date Start of game Commentary German English
Friday April 23 14:00 CEST 16:00 CEST GM Klaus Bischoff GM Daniel King
Saturday April 24 14:00 CEST 16:00 CEST GM Klaus Bischoff GM Jan Gustafsson
Sunday April 25 Free day Free day  
Monday April 26 14:00 CEST 16:00 CEST GM Klaus Bischoff GM Yasser Seirawan
Tuesday April 27 14:00 CEST 16:00 CEST GM Klaus Bischoff GM Yasser Seirawan
Wednesday April 28 Free day Free day  
Thursday April 29 14:00 CEST 16:00 CEST GM Klaus Bischoff GM Daniel King
Friday April 30 14:00 CEST 16:00 CEST GM Klaus Bischoff GM Daniel King
Saturday May 01 Free day Free day  
Sunday May 02 14:00 CEST 16:00 CEST GM Klaus Bischoff GM Yasser Seirawan
Monday May 03 14:00 CEST 16:00 CEST GM Klaus Bischoff GM Yasser Seirawan
Tuesday May 04 Free day Free day  
Wednesday May 05 14:00 CEST 16:00 CEST GM Klaus Bischoff GM Yasser Seirawan
Thursday May 06 14:00 CEST 16:00 CEST GM Klaus Bischoff GM Daniel King
Friday May 07 Free day Free day  
Saturday May 08 14:00 CEST 16:00 CEST GM Klaus Bischoff GM Daniel King
Sunday May 09 Free day Free day  
Monday May 10 14:00 CEST 16:00 CEST GM Klaus Bischoff IM Oliver Reeh
Tuesday May 11 Free day Free day    
Wednesday May 12 Tiebreaks Tiebreaks    

You can listen to the grandmaster commentary on the the chess server If you are not a member we adivse you to download the free PGN reader ChessBase Light. This program also gives you immediate access to Playchess.

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