Reports | December 17, 2009 19:14

Contract Anand-Topalov signed

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, representing the World Chess Federation and Stefan Sergiev, representing the Bulgarian Chess Federation, yesterday signed the contract for the organization of the Anand-Topalov World Championship match. The prize fund for the match is 2 million Euros and the dates are April 23rd (game 1) to May 12th, 2010 (possible tiebreaks).


According to a brief report on the FIDE website the signing of the contract took place yesterday in Sofia, Bulgaria where the next World Championship match will be held.

"For 140 years of chess championship there have been 19 such world title matches, and all of them turned into historic battles. Why is it important for us that Bulgaria and Sofia were picked to host this historic event? We can just imagine that the opponent of our representative Topalov is a representative of India, a nation of over one billion people, vs. tiny Bulgaria of 8 million. It is an honor and pleasure for us to become a center of global attention with this match” Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said during the ceremony, as reported by Sofia News Agency Novinite.

We assume the signing of the contract means that FIDE has received a bank guarantee from the Bulgarians, which was not the case yet on October 16th when FIDE accepted the bid.

Besides, the match will start later than was suggested back then. FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov had in mind to celebrate his birthday (April 5th) with the start of the match, but now the date of the first game has been set to April 23rd, 2010. The World Championship match will consist of 12 games and if necessary, 4 tiebreak games on May 12th, 2010 so we presume a similar schedule as in Anand-Kramnik:

Apr 23 Game 1 May 03 Game 8
Apr 24 Game 2 May 04 rest day
Apr 25 rest day May 05 Game 9
Apr 26 Game 3 May 06 Game 10
Apr 27 Game 4 May 07 rest day
Apr 28 rest day May 08 Game 11
Apr 29 Game 5 May 09 rest day
Apr 30 Game 6 May 10 Game 12
May 01 rest day May 11 rest day
May 02 Game 7 May 12 tiebreaks

(We've asked FIDE to confirm this.) Update Dec. 21, 14:39: FIDE finally confirmed these dates.


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Muadhib's picture

"For 140 years of chess championship there have been 19 such world title matches, and all of them turned into historic battles."

This has been quoted all over the place. Which 19 matches???
There have been far more than 19 World Championship matches.

HJVFan's picture

Indeed, it's utter nonsense, just like the 140 years. But what did you expect?

iLane's picture

Most probably they count the world champions in chess history and in that line (including the FIDE champions) Anand is now the 19th.

HJVFan's picture

He's talking specifically about matches, twice. Even if we grant him that knock-out tournaments may count as matches as well, he's still wrong since Topalov (of all people) won the title in a round robin tournament and therefore the number should be 18 at most.

Ron's picture

Chessvibes should not publish such nonsense. PS there are only 15 World Champions accepted by the broader chess community, and their pictures can be found on the walls of the Moscow Chessclub.

Peter Doggers's picture

Ehm, it wasn't ChessVibes who said it. Please don't shoot the messenger.

Guillaume's picture

I can't help thinking this is a sad day for chess. I'm going to root for Anand like never before, but I'm not optimistic about his chances (even if he starts with a 3-1 lead). I'm also going to hope that Danailov's team plays it fair, but I'm even less optimistic about it. What on earth was Anand thinking?

Michael X Tractor's picture

@Guillaume: Anand was thinking "here is a chance to make a pile of money, why should I care about what is right or what is in the best interests of chess?". He has shown himself to be devoid of all morality, just another greedy and unprincipled chap, who will do absolutely anything for £10 in preference to £5. A plague on all their houses!

christos (greece)'s picture

Anand was probably thinking that he has played far too many chess games over the yars, all over the world, for his play to be influenced by where the games are taking place.

Alexander's picture

Anand I think trusts his nerves. He is not a player who would succumb to psychological tricks, like Kortchnoi and Fischer did. And above all, he is not prone to conflicts. I think that his temperament could well be compared to that of Spassky: he is tolerant and easy-going, a gentleman who let the other guy have his eccentricities :).
But nevertheless, I think much is at stake in this match. The battle will determine the greatest player in post-Kasparov era. If Anand wins, things are clear, because then he would have beaten both Topalov and Kramnik. However, if things turn out in Topalov's favour, then we will remember this period as having no clear champion. Kramnik won against Topalov, Anand against Kramnik and Topalov against Anand. A balanced battle of three, waiting for Carlsen to break through.

notyetagm's picture

Didn't Kamsky beat Anand in a match in India back in 1993?

So how big of an advantage does Topalov really have, *ASSUMUNG* Danailov plays fair?

SamtheCat's picture

Including Morphy i count 15 champions-no one counts the knock about winners when it was held in Las Vegas.

Calvin's picture

It is hard to dasagree with Kramnik, who said -
"I can’t see any sensible reasons [for Vishy] to play Topalov on his home territory, it’s simply madness – it doesn’t seem much like Vishy. You see if something’s going badly for Danailov he’ll definitely find some means or other to put pressure on Vishy. There are a million tricks, even if you’re not playing on his home turf. I will, of course, root for Anand, but not for personal reasons but chess ones. After all, if Topalov becomes champion it’ll be a catastrophe for chess.... Because then Danailov will have unlimited power which, of course, is terrible for chess whichever way you look at it. If you end up with people at the top who have no moral principles at all it’s a sad day. First and foremost for the future of our game. "

Muadhib's picture

What a load of .....

First, Anand is a true professional in best possible sence, focused only on his performance, confident enough in his play to not resort to psychological games, and play seek and hide games, like many other players.

Second, give Topalov a break already. Yes, he made a huge mistake more than 3 years ago. I guess you never made a mistake in your life, huh? Other than that "incident" in Elista, you have absolutely nothing to pin on Topalov. Google and look at his interviews and you will see thatt it's nothing wrong with the guy.

" if things turn out in Topalov’s favour, then we will remember this period as having no clear champion"
Again, what a load of .... Things are not static, they change. Each has his of reign period.

P.S.: What was wrong with Kamsky vs. Topalov match in Bulgaria?

Muadhib's picture

"Including Morphy i count 15 champions"

Then you can't count properly :)

Rini Luyks's picture

So Kirsan golden boy wanted the match to start on his birthday :) :) :)!
As if anybody still had doubts about his megalomaniac behaviour.

Alexander's picture

@Muadhib: Things sometimes are static. It is true that - because their reign was short -, nobody talks about Euwe's or Petrosian's era (no harm intended to their fans). But on the other hand, some decades in 20th century saw a clear domination of a single player, like Kasparov in 90s or Botvinik in 50s. And if Anand succeeds in the upcoming match, I think these times will be remembered mostly for him. Now he is already the only chess player to have won WC in three different formats (KO, tournament, match) - beating Topalov would be an ultimate confirmation of his domination.
A propos Topalov: I am by no means a hater. I've read From London and Elista and was myself amazed by the insults the authors have produced.

British fan's picture

Carlsen is great, but the older guys Anand, Kramnik, Topalov, Ivanchuk, and Gelfand are still very strong and more experienced in head to head matches. Has Carlsen ever won a 12+ game match at classical time controls against a top 5 player like Aronian? If so, please cite the match.

Muadhib's picture

Botvinnik never dominated. Neither did Euwe, Smyslov, Tal, Petrosian, Kramnik or Anand. Spassky is questionable too. Also, Fischer never dominated as World Champion.

A better player will win in Bulgaria. Whether this will be Anand or this will be Topalov, nobody knows. We'll see.

gg's picture

"some decades in 20th century saw a clear domination of a single player, like Kasparov in 90s or Botvinik in 50s"

Hehe, Botvinnik played five title matches in the 1950s and won one of them, Kasparov in the 90s is a question of clear domination though.

gg's picture

"Has Carlsen ever won a 12+ game match at classical time controls against a top 5 player like Aronian? If so, please cite the match"

Please cite how many matches in the world that have been won by a player in more than 12 games after year 2000 :-)

Max's picture

Kramnik-Topalov was played in Russia.
Furthermore, Kramnik has been critical both of Kasparov, a few years back and Topalov more recently for seeking direct access to a WCC match, when he himself was able to play Kasparov in London 2000 through an unconventional mechanism, to say the least (the inability to find sponsors for Kasparov-Shirov, thereby playing Kasparov despite losing the 'semifinal' to Shirov)

aun1's picture

when do the candidate matches start?

Muadhib's picture

Nobody knows when and where. If you have a milion or two to spare, you can make a bid. You can then nominate your favourite +2700 player :)

jikan's picture

everybody knows that carlsen is the strongest player in the world

Thomas's picture

@Muadhib (replying to aun1): Not completely true - there was already a bidding procedure and the event was awarded to Azerbaijan. Slight problem: Aronian, one of the participants, is from Armenia and doesn't want to play in Azerbaijan (the two countries are or at least were at war with each other). So half of the event will be held in another country ("to be decided").
The date was given as "end of 2010 or early 2011" - to be defined more precisely :)
BTW, total costs for the event is "only" 540,000 Euros

Most of this is from
Bonus: a heated discussion on Armenia-Azerbaijan relations

aun1's picture

if it is going to be end of 2010 or early 2011 then which rating list are they going to use for determining the players?

Inventorist's picture

Chill out, its Anand-Topalov, Veselin won't get up to any mischief after what happened in Elista, so it should be a good match. Especially if previous Anand-Topalov games are a good sign of what is to come - their games in the past have generally been excellent.

PP (NL)'s picture

To be honest: I would like it if Topalov wins. He is one of the most original and exiting players we have at the moment. His manager is not his best choice though... to say the least.

Anand winning is also fine. I hope we get an exiting match without stupid problems.

Muadhib's picture

No, no. Correct is, the Candidates matches are rumoured to be in Azerbaijan. Absolutely nothing is set in stone. If you make a 1 milion bid , you will get to organize the candidates matches without any problems.

Also, first it was first half of 2010, then it was last quarter of 2010, now it's already end of 2010, beginning of 2011. Want to take a bet that the next world championship match (set for september 2011) won't take place in year 2011?

Muadhib's picture

@ aun1

Average rating of July 2009 and January 2010, meaning that from players not already qualified these are Carlsen and Kramnik.
Why not go to FIDE site and read the regulations, eh? Then you will know everything.

christos (greece)'s picture

Has Carlsen ever played a 12+ game match at classical time controls against a top 5 player like Aronian? If so, please cite the match.

Muadhib's picture

It has already been answered: NOBODY played a +12 game match since Kramnik-Leko in 2004. Not even in rapid or blitz.

Vovo's picture

Why Kramnik should be quoted, giving his opinion against Topalov?? All chess fans: Imagine any of Anand, Carlsen or Topalov plays a game and in the same time Kramnik plays against any other GM, except these three. No one would prefer to watch Kramnik's game. He is the KingOfTheBoringSafeChess.

Give credit to the players who make this game spectacular. These are the names remembered best from the past.

PP (NL)'s picture

@christos:what's your point? Carlsen can only be a really great chess player if he did that or something like that? That's bullsh*t!

Thomas's picture

@Vovo: Maybe you were following Dortmund, but it seems you didn't watch Tal Memorial and London. Kramnik's games are still available, have a look and maybe you will change your mind.

PP (NL)'s picture

@Thomas: that was Kramnik 2.0 playing. 2 Or 3 tournaments with a different playing style doesn't make up for a lifetime of boring but oh so strong chess.

jussu's picture

It seems that Vovo has been sleeping for about five years. More likely, he has simply refused to take in any information about any tournament where Kramnik participated.

chris's picture

Capablanca (sometimes) played boring safe chess & died well off.
Steinitz (sometimes) played wild, risky chess & died in poverty.
Which would you choose ?

Whose games do we remember & play over most (excepting Steinitz- von Bardeleben) ? Capablanca's !

Chigorin played very lively chess, but honestly how many people today play over his games ?

Kramnik has played some exciting games. Tal, Fischer, etc have played some dull ones. But if you are a chess professional, winning pays the rent & puts meat on the table. Playing exciting chess may or may not. Professionals have a totally different perspective on chess from chess fans to whom it is just fun. It is their livelihood.

On another point, the forgotten Karpov was the dominant player for a decade.

Botvinnik never won a match as world champion - he drew with Bronstein & Smyslov, lost to Smyslov, Tal & Petrosian, & only ever won return matches.

Smyslov won more games than Botvinnik in their 3 matches, but only got to keep the title for a year because of the Botvinnik Rule - the right to a return match, which meant he had to lose the championship twice to really lose it. Of course there was no such gift to the challenger who had to qualify by a real supergrandmaster tournament - the Candidates Tournament. Smyslov was the only person to win it twice. I would think that if there was a dominant player of the 50s, it was Smyslov.

ruslan's picture

i completely agree with kramniks view,
in the list of great chess world champions topalov's name should not be there
no place for cheats
anand is a great and hounourable world champion
only way he can loose is pimp danailov and topalov come up with noveleties in cheating techniques

PP (NL)'s picture

@Chris: "But if you are a chess professional, winning pays the rent & puts meat on the table. Playing exciting chess may or may not. Professionals have a totally different perspective on chess from chess fans to whom it is just fun. It is their livelihood."

Playing nice chess increases your change on getting invitations... unless you are Leko; then it doesn't matter. :-D

Thomas's picture

@PP(NL): Maybe this is Kramnik 3.0, with two WCh matches representing turning points:

Kramnik 1.0 until his match against Kasparov played similarly dynamic chess as the current version.

Kramnik 2.0 appeared during the match against Kasparov. Initially "boring" or positional chess was his anti-Garry weapon - he played the Berlin not only because he likes it, but primarily because Kasparov hates it. Of course he already knew how to play that kind of chess, just had to do some fine-tuning. After the match he kept his style which served him rather well. BTW, his drawish reputation might partly reflect lack of energy due to serious health problems (which were for a long time not properly diagnosed and treated).

Kramnik 3.0 - resembling Kramnik 1.0 - appeared after the match against Anand. Vishy forced him to play dynamic chess, he didn't have a proper answer at the time but now he does. Actually he mentioned that some of his successes were due to leftover opening preparation for Anand, which didn't appear on the board during the match.
From this angle, a rematch between Anand and Kramnik might be interesting - but generally I don't like the whole idea of rematches.

Of course painter Thomas painted a somewhat simplistic picture ... .

Zeblakov's picture


Your comments on the versions 1.0, 2.0. 3.0 (3.1?) of Kramnik are funny,
and convincing.

Wale's picture

I wish both of them best of lock.But the truth of the matter one person will eventually emerge as the world champion.

Bruce's picture

hard to figure out who i'm rooting for in upcoming championship match. I'd root for Topalev, since his chess is so exciting. However, his antics against Kramnik totally turned me off. And Anand is a real gentleman, and his chess isn't bad either. I guess i'll just root for a close exciting match. Why the heck do they have to limit to 12 games? I'd say 20 at a minimum. Guess the organizers can't afford 20. with a 12-game match, if one player wins a single game, it's like the match is almost over.

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