Reports | April 19, 2010 18:57

Bulgarians refuse postponement (UPDATE)

The organizing committee of the World Championship match between Anand and Topalov has refused Anand's request for a 3-day postponement. This morning the Bulgarian Chess Federarion issued an official statement. Update: more lengthy reaction from the organizing committee added.

Photo of the stage, in the Central Military Club in Sofia, Bulgaria, where the Anand-Topalov match will take place | Photo thanks to Chessdom

This morning we received from the press office of the organizing committee the following statement, which is the official answer to Viswanathan Anand's letter of yesterday in which the World Champion asked for a 3-day postponement.




Copy Mr. V. Anand – World champion

Copy Mr. V. Topalov

     Dear Mr. Makropoulos,

     The Organizers committee of the match for world championship 2010 between V. Anand, world champion and V. Topalov 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.

1. We can postpone the press conference.

2. Unfortunately we can not postpone the opening ceremony scheduled on April 21st at 6 pm. according to the contract. The invitations to all the official guests, sponsors, politicians, TV stations and all the media was already sent long time ago. We have signed a lot of commercial contracts with serious penalties for us in case of some changes.

3. 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. This will take some time. We will inform you regarding our decision not later than latest afternoon of 20 April /Tuesday/


President of Bulgarian Chess Federation and member of the Organizing Committee for the match Dr. Stefan Sergiev

Bulgarian Chess Federation, Sofia, 75 Vassil Levski blvd; tell 02/9874522, 02/9300518, fax 02/9874522,
Bank details – BIC: FINVBGSF, IBAN: BG91FINV915010BGN0DEFI,,

Update 17:28 CET - We just received a more lengthy, 'official statement' from the organizers:

Statement of the organizing committee

In relation to the letters of the World Chess Champion V. Anand and the Indian Chess Federation spread through the media, in which they request the match for the world title in chess 2010 to be postponed with 3 days, we have to state the following:

* During her visit in Sofia from 8 to 12 February 2010, Mrs. Aruna Anand, wife and manager of the world champion, reserved two apartments and 4 rooms in “Hilton” Sofia from 15th of April until 14th of May 2010. These were paid for in a timely manner by the Organizing Committee and are at the disposal of the team of V. Anand. On the 15th of April Mr. Hans-Walter Schmitt, member of the team of V.Anand checked in the hotel in Sofia and took the keys of all rooms designated for the delegation of the World Champion. From this follows, that Mr. Anand and his team have checked in the hotel.

According to the Contract (art. 8 “Privileges of the players”), FIDE asks from the organizers to give them, with their good disposition, 7 (seven) days before the beginning of the match for getting accustomed to the new location. This privilege the player uses depending on his judgment. According to the contract, the player is obliged to be present at the mandatory press conference before the inauguration of the game, which is scheduled for the 21st of April this year.

* On the 15th of April this year the Organizing Committee of the match asked in writing Mrs. Anand about the time and number of the flight that will carry the delegation of the world champion, so they can be greeted as it is accustomed, the same way all World Champions have been greeted upon their arrival in Bulgaria. Up until that moment Mrs. Anand had always answered all letters sent to her correctly and in a timely manner. This time there was no answer. A written request to the FIDE Central in Athens was sent immediately, and the answer received was the following: “Mrs. Anand is 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, but we accepted it as a part of the “playing on the nerves game”.

* 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. Even more, according to art.11.2 from the contract (on which Mr. Anand is placing his statements) “If one of the parties meets an obstacle in fulfilling one of the parties duties according to this Contract due to a Force Majeure occurance, this party should, at the first reasonable possibility, inform the rest of the parties for the nature and span of the circumstances that caused the Force Majeure occurance.” The organizational Committee, as well as the team of V. Topalov up to 11:00h at the 18th of April 2010, was not aware of the troubles of Mr. V. Anand. For those we learned first from the press and then from the supervisor of the match, Mr. G Makropoulus.

* According to art. 11.3 from the contract, the party, which states that due to a Force Majeure situation had made impossible or has delayed the fulfillment of one of the party’s duties according to this contract, should use all available means to put an end to the fmajore situation and to find a solution that allows the fulfillment of the contract at hand. If the organizing committee was informed, in a timely manner, for the problem with the arrival of Mr. Anand and his team, we would have given him full assistance to resolve the problematic situation.

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.

As much as we are aware, there is no official sports event (World or European championship) that has been postponed due to the inability of one of the teams (players) to arrive on time. The party that does not show up carries the sanctions accordingly. For your information, for the last games the Champions League in Football, every team should find a way to be present on time for the given competition. In the given case, 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.

Postponing the match will result in losses of tens of thousands euro for the organizers, the disturbance of the schedules of politicians, sponsors and official figures taking part in the event, the obstruction of contracts with the television and other media and many inconveniences for the numerous international guests, who have already reserved their accommodation in Sofia.

Therefore, we consider the request for postponing the game as unacceptable.

The Organizational Committee

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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.


Bert de Bruut's picture

So much for hospitality, impartiality and fairness!

Meppie's picture

I checked te site.
What a terrible site. Mr. Topalov is great and doing all the right things. Mr. Anand is acused of playing tricks. As far a I know, Anand never did things like that.
I hope that Anand will that revenge in a sportive manner: winning with a big difference.

Arne Moll's picture

Of course the official guests, sponsors and politicians are more important than the World Champion himself! Who in his right might would question this?!

S's picture

They don't rule out the possibility of postponing the first game. Fair enough.

Arne Moll's picture

Yes, but only one day. This won't help Anand much even if he arrives within the next two days.

sporty's picture
SXL's picture

That is a fair response from the BCF.

I believe the PM was to make the opening move. Anand should make an appearance at the opening and everyone should workshop hard to make Caïssa smile.

Dikke Deur's picture

- they can postpone the press conference

- they may be able to postpone the first game

- they cannot postpone the opening ceremony

What is unfair about this? Of course, it would look a bit silly to have an opening ceremony with one of the two players missing, but this hardly is Anand's problem.

standardbenutzer's picture

Back to the future, part II, 2010 release.

Arne Moll's picture

C'est le ton qui fait la musique...

Of course we'll never know for sure but would the German Chess Federation or the USCF react with such a cold-hearted letter, even if they thought they were right?

Not a single word of sympathy for Anand's situation, no understanding for the massive problems Europe is experiencing - just demands, bureaucratic reasoning and emphasis on politics and commercials contracts. Are these people even human?
And what kind of politicians and sponsors are this anyway, if they don't understand the seriousness of the problem? I have no words for it.

SXL's picture

Anand will be in Sofia on the 21st, and can make an appearance at the ceremony - he should. And they should seriously consider postponing the opening match to the 24th -- while Anand should recognize that the BCF has obligations of respect to the PM of their country and he should help the BCF look good in their PM's eyes.

It will help chess.

Let's have an excellent championship.

ChessGirl's picture

i personally think this is unacceptable, and that it will only harm Topalov, since if they don´t do everything that´s in their hands to make the situation even for both contenders there will always be people saying "Oh ok Topalov won but it wasn´t fair because... etc."

arkan's picture

To be fair, Frankfurt - Sofia is perfectly doable by bus/train/car within a day so if Anand had made arrangements the day he got stranded in Frankfurt he would have been in Sofia yesterday ....

Nonationalism's picture

Essentially, the organisers are refusing to organise something for Anand. This will definitely help their credibility as an independant body!

Zeblakob's picture

As I expected; Anand will play with a ‘piece handicap’ due to all these sicological pressure on him and traveling troubles, besides; he will win.

Remind that Kramnik also played with a piece handicap in Elista and won.

Rick Massimo's picture

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.”

Fischer-Spassky 1972: Postponed. Ah, but who has time to remember such minor incidents in chess history when there's an opponent to be smeared?

NBC's picture

I think that it's actually a fair point that they have signed contract with TV, politicians etc. As much as I despise the bulgarian team for the toilet incident, it is possible to get to Sofia from Frankfurt by train or car as well as by plane.

Arne Moll's picture

@arkan, NBC: just for fun I tried to book a Eurolines bus ticket from Frankfurt to Sofia for this week, but I couldn't do it. Either it said the buses were full or I got a time-out on the website. I wouldn't be surprised if the same happens for train tickets.
And this is of course not taking into consideration the fact that Anand has lost at least a few precious days to get used to Sofia and to get settled and comfortable. He also needs to focus his no doubt upset mind back to chess. Surely a decent organizer understands this and will try his utmost to arrange transportation FOR the player instead of saying things are impossible and undesirable?

Tom's picture

It's possible Anand asked for three days hoping for one or two, I would guess.

Hanseman's picture

I think in some strange kind of way this discussion will only add value to the WC match. The cold war appeals to the imagination of non chess players.

SXL's picture

The "there are trains" argument is silly. 63.000 flights were cancelled, there have been fights between travellers at stations, trains have been packed.
And Anand had a month's worth of luggage ant match kit.

Get real.

chandler's picture

Can anyone comment on the legal aspects? Anand referred to a particular clause in the agreement; thus I would expect postponement to be either legal or illegal; maybe "three days" can be debated, but not postponement?

Chess Odyssey's picture

First it is a Toiletgate
Now it is a Assgate, sorry i mean ashgate.

What next? Flushgate !?

I missed the old WC Format where each players allowed to 3 postponements.

iLane's picture

Going by car instead of flying is one day more. So postponing by one day seems reasonable. He still has 3 days to accomodate from 21 to 24 April.

Henk's picture

@Arne: I would not expect vishy to use public transportation, but rather a private jet, taxis or a luxurious private mini-van in This is Spinal Tap fashion.

Garnoth's picture

The weird thing is the bulgarians claim Anand is already in Sofia and is scamming. I find this absolutely unbelievable! Here, read this:

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."

Absolutely absurd accusations! What purpose would a postponement serve if Anand arrived in time?

Garnoth's picture

Oh, to add, if Topalov is coming from an island in SPAIN, he of course could fly to Sofia because only NORTHERN europe is experiencing problems from the ash cloud.

I was afraid that the antics of Ellista would be repeated but did not expect it to happen before the start of the match!

Arne Moll's picture

@Henk: even so, shouldn't the organizing commitee be the one to look for alternative ways to get to Bulgaria, rather than leave this to the Anand team? So far, all they've done is crossed their arms and said 'no can do'.

NBC's picture

@Arne: I guess that everyone (except possibly the bulgarians) can agree that the organisers should do their utmost to get Anand to Sofia, preferably in the least stressful way possible. However, if they refuse for contractual or other (bulgarian) reasons, then my point is only that Anand had more than a week to get himself and his team to Sofia. It's not ideal, but it is definitely possible.

Alexander's picture

Well, I think the letter is reasonable and not really that insulting to Anand.

Sanjeevi's picture

I get a sinking feeling while reading all these accusations and abuses hurled against the reigning champion just because he did not toe the line of the organizers in regards with match rules. I hope this behavior is just restricted to a group of individuals in the BCF and the saner public of Bulgaria will be ashamed to see their federation officials behave in this fashion. Are there any independent Bulgarian sports journalists / newspapers critical of BCF behavior?

matanova's picture

Hum, they are going to destroy once again the chess image with their statement. Anand might
refuse to play under such conditions. This is exceptionnal, don't they understand that
everyone is blocked because of that volcano? Even presidents could not reach Poland to
commemorate the plan crash!

Then Topalov will be declared world champion by forfeit and this will create a huge mess
which will weaken FIDE once again!

FIDE must act quickly if they don't want to suffer during next elections. This is good news
for Karpov.

guitarspider's picture

Here they go again...

Sanjeevi's picture

I suggest the Indian prime minister go on hot line and speak to the Bulgaria PM to resolve the crisis.

SXL's picture

I suggest His Highness Ilyumzhinov speaks with the alien intelligence he is in communication with, and have them fix things. They can come down in their space ship and transport Anand to Sofia.

Wouldn't that be something!

test's picture

Why are the "arguments" of Topalov fans always so devoid of reason?

To the organizers: so don't cancel the opening ceremony, just cancel the first (two day) playing session. If that is not possible it will be clear (to the rest of the world) who's side they are on (when they should be neutral).

SXL's picture

BTW - is Ilyumzhinov insisting on being addressed as Higness, or is this the AICF having a spastic incident?

Highness is reserved for ruling royalty and their direct descendants. I didn't know Kirsan was of such birth. The AICF would know this, which leads me to suspect that Ilyumzhinov may have been out in the sun too long.

cheesfan's picture

I fully agree with Alexander's post.

albertrank's picture

I don't understand how Anand could accept to play in Bulgaria:

It is nearly impossible to have something "without problems" when Topalov's manager is there => A "neutral" place was absolutely necessary.

Jeffrey "notyetagm" Hall's picture

Before I was not sure who to root for.

Now I hope Anand wins 6-0.

cheesfan's picture

Mark Crowther is obviously not a bulgarian but on my point a view his opinion on disscusing matter is very balanced and objective.

Hortensius's picture

Topalov would be true sportsman if he would offer draws at the first 3 games...

Vovo's picture

Both Anand and Topalov live in Spain. One of them managed to arrive in Sofia and the other somehow claims that the organizers should manage his own trip?!
The volcano ash represents a force majeure ONLY for the air carriers in Northern Europe, not for the chess players. All othet means of transport work normally. I appreciate that Anand is unlucky with his flying route choice, but this is life. All people cursing Bulgarians should consider that the volcano is still errupting and this ash problem may be much longer than the requested 3 days!! If it is still on after 3 days, then we shall curse the Bulgarians again?
Anand, instead of sitting somewhere and sending letters, should catch a train/bus/car/helicopter or a horse and start moving to Sofia. Force majeure shall be applied only if it was beyond Anand's powers to overcome the events. I do believe that his powers are much greater than just to sit and write letters.

Vovo's picture

... To curse Topalov for the events is insane. What is his fault?

Garnoth's picture


You can't be sure Anand was travelling from his home in Spain, maybe he was preparing for the match somewhere else. He can't smell the ash coming. And finding other transportation might indeed be very hard, seeing as Frankfurt has one of the largest airports of Europe and Anand is not the only traveller stranded. And travelling that far by car/bus/train is not comfortable and can be exhausting, even if you're not the one driving. I for one know that travelling that long (around 15 hours) is not the same as a flight of 2,5 hours or something.

Still, all these things don't take away from the extremely rude reaction by the BCF, absolutely no sympathy for Anand's situation. I really hope FIDE shows some balls and arrange some better alternative than is offered by the Bulgarians.

Tom Vananderoye's picture

I think we are reading too much into this. One day postponement seems fair enough. As Mark Crowther pointed out: Anand has the contacts and financial means to get there by other means.

@ Arne: One of the sensitive points for the Bulgarian organisers is apparantly that the Anand camps refuses to communicate with them. So perhaps they are willing but Anand isn't interested, which is quite understandable given Topalov's antics in the past.

Thomas's picture

@Vovo: Topalov, while living in Spain, feels comfortable in Bulgaria - arriving early to give lots of interviews to Bulgarian journalists.
Anand understandably didn't want to spend too much time in Sofia before the match even starts, he planned to arrive one week early but couldn't make it due to circumstances beyond his control (force majeure). What makes you think that he just "sits and writes letters"? He tries to reach Sofia by other means, but this is neither comfortable nor easy.
Noone is cursing Topalov for the events, but the Bulgarians make it look like it's all Anand's own fault.

@matanova: Agreed, particularly that "FIDE must act quickly". IMO, they shouldn't just _request_ a postponement from the organizers - to which the organizers replied "well, maybe one day, depending on Borisov's opinion". They should rather _insist_ on a postponement in case of need - this depends on when Anand will be able to reach Sofia. But maybe for the third time, FIDE is at least leaning towards the Bulgarian side.
- first time was during the bidding procedure
- second time was when they reportedly urged Anand to comply with Sofia rules, in violation of FIDE's own rules of chess permitting to proposed and accept draws.

Sanjeevi's picture

I think the 3 days of postponement Anand looking for is because he probably has already taken a decision to travel by road or train and want to rest and acclimatize to Sofia conditions.

Otherwise I do not see reason asking for 3 days in specific considering the air travel chaos do not seem to be ending in next few days time.

The organizers can certainly look at postponing the first match by couple of days if not the opening ceremony which is what Anand is looking for. Is this too much of a request for the organizers to accede to?

john's picture

Anand needs to stop whining and get on a bus. If he kicks Topalov's butt then all the better, if not he has a ready made 'excuse'.

Mehul's picture

Anand made the first blunder...showing weakness in this matter. The psychological advantage has passed to Topalov.


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