May 03, 2012 16:23

Danailov and Topalov on tour

Yesterday ECU President Silvio Danailov and grandmaster Veselin Topalov finished a small European tour to promote the "Chess in schools" project, a cooperation between the European Chess Union and the Kasparov Chess Foundation. The two visited Vienna, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Faroe Islands and Oslo.

Topalov during a clock simul in Vienna | All photos © Schach als Chance

The tour started with a seminar held on April 27th in Vienna, Austria. Holding the subtitle "Translating Political Support to Funding for Projects and Improving Existing Programmes", the strategy seminar had participants from eight countries. The speakers came from four different countries and presented four different perspectives.

First was Silvio Danailov, President of the European Chess Union, who spoke on “What Politicians think about Chess in Schools”. He reflected on his experience as a lobbyist for chess in schools during the successful campaign to get the European Parliament's support.

Politicians often tell you that they support your cause and forget about it the next minute,

said Danailov. Eventually 415 MEP signatures were collected in March for the Written Declaration 50/2011 for the implementation of the "Chess in schools" program among the schools in the European Union. (The needed number was 378 signatures – 50%+1 from the total number of 754 MEPs.)

Danailov pointed out that the support was huge in Eastern Europe and in Spain but that Germany, Italy, France and the UK were much more difficult. Only a third of the delegates from the four biggest countries signed.

The seminar also included speeches by Jan Callewaert, the President of the Kasparov Chess Foundation Europe and sponsor of the succesful EU campaign, Malcolm Pein, CEO of Chess in Schools and Communities, Hermann Zemlicka, President of the Chess Federation of Upper Austria and Stanislav Vlcek, the School Chess Coordinator for Western Slovakia of the Slovak Chess Federation.

The seminar was run by the Austrian charity Spielend Schlauer and embedded within the Vienna Children Chess Festival. This was a one day event, with about a hundred children who played chess at one of the most prestigeous locations of the Austrian capital, the museum Albertina.

Just outside the Albertina, children played chess with each other and with the mysterious Chessman...

...and did not always need a board!

Inside, Veselin Topalov played a clock simul. His opponents were eight top juniors (U18) from Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic (Tadeas Kriebel, pictured right) and Slovakia (Juraj Druska, left of Kriebel)

 After winning a close and exciting match with 5-3, Topalov mixed with Vienna children...

...and enjoyed it as much as the kids did



PGN file


The next day Danailov and Topalov continued their European promotial tour in Cardiff, Wales, also in order to promote the "Chess in Schools" program. While the ECU President met with officials, Topalov played chess again: a simul against 25 players that took about 3.5 hours. Amongst the group playing Topalov were two current British Girls Champions U9 and U15 Stephanie Du Toit and Megan Owens, who recently won a chess scholarship to attend the prestigious Millfield School in Somerset where she is coached by an International Master.

On April 29th the tour continued to Edinburgh, Scotland. There, in the second oldest chess club in the world (the oldest is in Zurich) Topalov played a simul against 20 local players. IM Andrew Greet, the 2010 Scottish Champion, was the only player to win. Draws were scored by GM Jacob Aagaard, Hugh Brechin, Adam Bremner, Roberta Brunello, Robert Lawson and Boris Mitrovic while Topalov won 14 games.

On Monday Danailov and Topalov went up further north: to the Faroe Islands. They met with Prime Minister Kaj Leo Johannesen, who promised to give full support to the "Chess in Schools" program. Johannesen is big chess lover and former goalkeeper for the Faroe Islands national football team. The tour finished on May 2nd in Oslo, Norway.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Zeblakob's picture

Topa losses are painful :( namely the one Vs 2150

redivivo's picture

After Nanjing 2010 Topalov has only played one round robin, and the question is when he will play the next one and if his result will be as bad as the last times. No Bazna, Dortmund, Tal Memorial or Candidates for him so it could take a while until the next start.

Thomas's picture

Interestingly, in an interview before Wijk aan Zee Topalov had said "I will probably receive an invitation from Romania for a serious competition" ( ). So why doesn't he play Bazna - whose organizers had supported the "Danailov for president" campaign? One can speculate that he hasn't adjusted his financial demands to his current status!?
For the rest, he's a bit unlucky that "pro-Kramnik" events (Dortmund, Tal Memorial) still exist, but "pro-Topalov" events (MTel, to some extent Nanjing) have disappeared. In any case, he will play team events - presumably the Olympiad and also the European Club Cup (for SOCAR Azerbaijan, as mentioned in the same interview). Will he come back? Did it make sense to write off Ivanchuk after one or two bad events?
It might depend on Topalov's ambitions - with these tours it looks like he pays back Danailov, supporting his ambitions to become FIDE president.

Anonymous's picture

It is amazing to think that Topalov was once so dominant. I really do believe that the match loss to Anand (after having access to an unreleased version of Rybka and a Super-Computer for practice) shook him to the core.

noyb's picture

Topalov... yaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwnnnnnnnnnn.

stevefraser's picture

Yawn???? Topo is one of the few top players that always plays for a win....BTW, how's that Kramnik Berlin Defense working for you?

archimedes's picture

You are confusing "playing for a win" with "trying to win by any means necessary."

Mauricio Valdes's picture

he acused the kids of cheating...AGAIN!

Ians's picture

I think it will be a good news for chess if Topalov comes back strongly to challenge in the top 5 .

The toilet gate is now 6 years old , i think people should forgive him and invite him again because he's in my opinion one of the most brilliant chess mind on the planet , his nerves may have proved to be not on par with Anand or Kramnik in matchplay but i think he has not given everything that he can at the top , i'm sure he can rebuild his confidence and challenge for top spots in the next cycles , such experience can make him stronger and he may deal differently with the pressure in the future , because chess wise he has everything it takes

Anonymous's picture

you are wrong. It is Topalov who doesn't want to play in Russia. By the way the russians - bareev,moro-friends of kramnik first accused him of cheating in San Luis2005 before elista. by the way have u ever been in elista?

noahses's picture

Toilet gate can be forgiven, but never forgotten. I'd love to see Topalov play more but he should stay away from children. He is a bad role-model.

noahses's picture

Toilet gate can be forgiven, but never forgotten. I'd love to see Topalov play more but he should stay away from children. He is a bad role-model.

TomTom's picture

who are you to talk like that?

noahses's picture

I am simply a teacher who encourages his students to choose role models who are not only outstanding in their field but also demonstrate correct ethical behaviour.

archimedes's picture

The Elista tragedy can't be forgiven until the unethical behaviour is acknowledged, taken ownership of, and an apology publicly given to the chess watching public, and well as Vladimir Kramnik.

If one forgives such a thing based on "time passing," rather than accountability, such collusion and dishonesty is bound to repeat itself.

KK's picture

Great to see Topalov helping popularize chess. I hope to see him back in top form soon.

Abbas's picture

Nice to see Topalov popularizing him self, I mean chess.

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