Reports | July 30, 2010 19:39

Danailov: 'No match in Russia against a Russian player'

Contrary to what was expressed in an open letter last week, Veselin Topalov is, after all, willing to play Candidates Matches in Russia. However, he is "refusing to play a match with a Russian player in Russia, if that match is connected to the title struggle," his manager Silvio Danailov said in an interview with Sport Express this week.

Last week in an open letter Veselin Topalov declared that he wouldn't "participate in any stage of the cycle for the World Chess Title that takes place in Russia, in order to avoid problems and conflicts that already took place there". The former world's number one anticipated FIDE's decision to move the Candidates Matches, scheduled for March-April 2011, from Baku, Azerbaijan to Kazan, Russia. FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov's reaction to Topalov's open letter was that he would send the Bulgarian a letter ‘asking not to take hasty decisions’.

In an interview with Sport Express, his manager Silvio Danailov has now stated that Topalov is, after all, willing to play in Russia.

You should read his letter more carefully. It doesn’t say that Topalov refuses to play in Russia. He’ll go to Khanty-Mansiysk for the Olympiad and will represent Bulgaria on board one. Topalov is refusing to play a match with a Russian player in Russia, if that match is connected to the title struggle. The chances of Topalov meeting a Russian player in Kazan aren’t high as for that they’d both need to get to the final, though it’s a possibility.

In the interview, translated at Chess in Translation, Danailov doesn't mention the name of Vladimir Kramnik, who is the only Russian player who qualified for the Candidates Matches.

The Russian player we played a match against in 2006 in Elista doesn’t exist for us!

Danailov also talks about the World Championship match in Sofia between Anand and Topalov, and once again reacts sharply to the happenings surrounding the vulcano eruption and Georgios Makropoulos' decision to postpone the first game one day.


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.


Alexander's picture

The demand would sound somewhat reasonable coming from a player who haven't played his last two matches in his own country.

Guillaume's picture

I'm sure FIDE will accept Danailov's demands. They will organize everything in Russia, except that if by some unfortunate turn of events the final opposes Kramnik to Topalov, it will be moved to Bulgaria on the ground that Kramnik does not exist.

Silvio, you should hire a doctor in your team.

Corinne's picture

What a wonderful idea! Chessvibes from now on you can apply the same logic:

"The Bulgarian who is giving this interview does not exists for us".

I am sure is not just me, but most readers are very very tired of this unpleasent character.

Henk de Jager's picture


Henk de Jager's picture

OMG Now the Caveman has really gone mad. About his candidacy for the European Chess Union he has the following to say:

,,I know how to turn the ECU into as prosperous and rich an organisation as UEFA."

KingTal's picture

I´m really looking forward for Grischuk i think he´s in a good shape, he deserved the spot in the Candidates cycle. :]

And enough of the dirt these disrespectful and shitminded persons try to put on Russia and its players.

ozan's picture

the term "professional" does not exist in those guy's attitude.
acting w/ the feelings will not bring any thing to topalov.
the only thing they will get is the blunder that topalov had in the WC final games against Kramnik in Elista and against Anand in BULGARIA!
so keep on that manner dantopolov couple.

jan van der marel's picture

Replace Topalov, please. I like his chess style, but the rest stinks.

Thomas's picture

Actually it is not clear whether Topalov is willing to play candidates matches in Russia, nor is he completely unwilling any more!? Danailov said "We’ll study the proposed contract, and if everything suits us then Topalov, of course, will travel to Kazan."

As always, he tries to get the maximum for his protege. Ideally - from their point of view - he wanted the candidates matches in Sofia ("Sofia, by the way, could have offered a million dollars."), which would have been Topalov's third consecutive WCh event in his home country. Now, out of necessity - Topalov's open letter didn't have the desired effect - they are happy with less, but are stilll negotiating ... .

Eric's picture

And Anand didn't play a match in Bulgaria against a Bulgarian player?

James Maskell's picture

I agree with Thomas. Is Topalov going to Kazan or not? Its certainly a possibility that Kramnik could make the final and if Topalov does the same then a match up between the two is inevitable...then what?

Clearly Danailov got worried that Topalov's language was throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but this statement just confuses things.

noyb's picture

Danailov says "you should read the letter more carefully." OK, here it is. Nowhere in it does Topalov indicate he will not play a Russian in Russia. Topalov clearly and categorically rejects Russia because, in his words: 1) "I believe that it is a strategic mistake to stage almost all the cycle in one country" and 2) "I would like to declare that I would not participate in any stage of the cycle for the World Chess Title that takes place in Russia, in order to avoid problems and conflicts that already took place there." Topalov is clearly rejecting Russia, and not playing a Russian in Russia, as Danailov claims. Either they are collaborting deliberately to create confusion for some purpose or else Topalov needs find a new manager who better represents his views and interests.


July 22th, Sofia, Bulgaria

Dear President of FIDE, Dear members of the PB,

I am writing an open letter to you regarding the next World Championship Cycle. After many promises and changes I learn that a new place for the Candidates matches is being discussed, the one of Kazan, Russia.

I believe that it is a strategic mistake to stage almost all the cycle in one country. Four events of the FIDE Grand Prix, the World Cup, and now possibly Candidates Matches are in Russia. This transmits the message that FIDE can’t find sponsors and Organizers from other countries, which is very sad.

I would also like to state that for me the venue of Kazan, or any other venue in Russia, is totally unacceptable for another reason. Everybody still remembers the unpleasant situations which my team and I had to face during the WCC Match in Elista 2006.

Having in mind all this, I would like to declare that I would not participate in any stage of the cycle for the World Chess Title that takes place in Russia, in order to avoid problems and conflicts that already took place there.

The venue of Baku was rejected by Aronian and this looked natural for everyone. Before that, FIDE have changed their own rules and regulations to avoid the WCC rematch Topalov-Kramnik with Sofia as a venue. I believe it is logical to ask, if I play any matches in the future, (especially against Russian GMs), that they should be outside of Russia.

With respect,
Veselin Topalov

john's picture

must be difficult to prepare to face a player who does not exist.

Thomas's picture

@john: Not too difficult, it takes just three steps ... in his database
1) search for "Kramnik"
2) replace all by "NN"
3) check all games played by NN

Baladala's picture

A discussion which disqualifies Danialov's candidature for the ECU. How can he think to act against russian interests already before the election? Should they (Topa and D.) still have a problem with Kramnik, then his ticket is in trouble.

Tony's picture

People are sick of Danpolov and their wild emotional antics.
FIDE called their bluff (If Grischuk is the standby player if someone doesnt want to Play) and they quickly tried to redeal the cards.

While Topalov might have been #1 on the rating list and is now #2 he is also 0-2 in WC matches. [A interesting history I wonder who the last player who reached #1 for a year but did not become WC was....]
Even the match that was ideal for him he lost!
On his home field
opponent was exhausted after a long trip
opponent was past his prime playing wise (not by much but still)
Topalov had state help via a supercomputer (people wait YEARS to get time on a computer like this)

People are tired of excuses for losing!
I am looking forward to the change of direction and excuse Danpolov will come up with when he has to play Kramnik in a match. Oh you dont want to play? OK you forfeit see you in 3 years. Good luck with Caruana, Giri, Carlsen, etc
The assessment of Anand's second was a good one: topalov plays very risky chess and this has good results in tournaments but does poorly in match play.

After a time you just give him a Coke and a smile tell him to shut **** up!

ozan's picture

@tony: totally agreee w/ your comment, especially with that part:
"After a time you just give him a Coke and a smile tell him to shut **** up!"
topalov and his man are like a chess mafia!

Serdal's picture

I do not think it is such an outrageous demand for Topalov to not play in Russia against Kramnik.
1) The argument that Anand played in Sofia is not valid as Anand didn't have to play there but he was willing as Sofie bid the highest.
2) Although the Bulgarian side is more to blamefor the Elistean shenenigans (I can't really say as I was not personally involved), I distinctly remember how dissatisfied they were (before the toilet incident) with playing on Russian turf - press conferences in Russian, almost no none-Russian journalist, the rumours avout Topalov cheating in 2005 that probably came from Kramnik's entourage (never from him personally) etc. I think that was part of the reason they suspected foul play.
I don't think it is justified to constantly bash Danailov no matter how arrogant and dislikable a person he is. He's trying to do what is best for his client and that's totally his right.

KingTal's picture


If the best for Topalov is not to participate in the Candidates matches, then Danailov does the right thing at moment ...

Thomas's picture

@Serdal and KingTal: Of course Danailov has the right to "try to do what's best for his client". He also has the right to hate Russia, Russians and, especially, "one non-existing player" - not saying that hatred is justified (Kramnik's main fault was to win the Elista match after all), just that he can hate whomever he wants. Whether one approves of such behavior is another story.

Of course he doesn't want Topalov out of the candidates matches. "They" overestimated their influence, thinking that an open letter from Topalov would be sufficient to move the candidates matches, preferably to Sofia. Now they are "flexible", but still try to get better conditions, additional privileges for Topalov. He already has the privilege of a comparatively easy first-round match against Kamsky ..... .

By comparison, Aronian put personal safety interests and, possibly, Armenian national pride above his ambitions in the WCh cycle. He could only hope but not necessarily expect that FIDE would honor his - IMO legitimate - concerns.

spiderman's picture

Im surprise!!! Topalov can speak or write English? Im just curious.

spiderman's picture

look like tolpalov and dalnalob select the participant whom they have a chance. If they think that strong players in field, woooww need to formulate some tactics hehehehhehe.

Eiae's picture

Just boot Topalov from the cycle and get rid of all this nonsense.

Guillaume's picture

@Thomas: "Of course he doesn’t want Topalov out of the candidates matches."

Well, he has done it before, he can certainly do it again if it suits his agenda, or out of stupidity. Danailov was the manager of Ponomariov in 2003. At that time Ponomariov had a unique chance to play a "semi-final" match against Kasparov. Who would refuse such an opportunity? Yet, they were refusing to play, and their claims were all very bizarre and inconsistent (date of a rest day, demands to be called World Champion, etc), until the match was finally cancelled. In the last days and hours, Ponomariov couldn't even be contacted. It was all Silvio Danailov's doing, if you ask me. Good thing for Ponomariov, he somehow managed to recover from this blow, but it still took him years. If you wonder why Kasparov personally offered to help Anand in Sofia, look no further. Danailov is the man who blew Kasparov's last chance to reclaim his title (together with Ponomariov's best chance at it).

KingTal's picture

Danailovs attempts to blackmail FIDE for getting better money for Topalov and himself is pointless as he has no basis to put pressure on FIDE. Threatenings of Topalov not participating in the Candidates matches in Russia is no point of pressure and will only hurt Topalov as FIDE already stated that they will just replace him with Grischuk. So thats my point if Danailov will continue this dirty play and put dirt on Russia and its players he will reach only Topalovs dissapearing of the Candidates matches and even more damage to his reputation and it can not be the best for Topalov as he is a high class chess player and is interested in becoming World Champion.

Blighty's picture

If Topalov were to disappear from the candidates matches I say good riddance!

Septimus's picture

FIDE is totally at fault here. If I were the president, I would tell all players that "it is what it is, either you play where we stage or GTFO". Making special arrangements for Aronian started this train-wreck.

As you sow, so you reap.

Thomas's picture

To recapitulate what happened in the rather distant and recent past:
- Carlsen dropped out of the Grand Prix (reasons don't matter here), probably expecting that he would still get a spot in the WCh cycle. Which happened, and for him the worst-case scenario would have been waiting for the next cycle.
- Aronian declared that he won't play in Baku. He was taking a bigger risk (you never know with FIDE), but IMO it was right that he doesn't have to play in a country which is at war with his own country.
- Topalov declared that he won't play WCh events in Russia
- FIDE still awarded/moved the candidates event to Kazan
- Danailov retracts Topalov's categoric statement.

I am certainly not a fan of Danailov, but even he - despite being stubborn as he is - may have learnt from what happened to, or what he did to Ponomariov. True, he is playing provocatively and gambling (just like Topalov OTB) and the final result could still be a cycle without Topalov, depriving him of what may well be his last shot at the title.

I also don't think the non-match against Ponomariov was the reason why Kasparov helped Anand. Garry hardly ever talked about his failed matches against Ponomariov and Shirov, though he talked a lot about a rematch against Kramnik that didn't take place.

rogge's picture


derdudea's picture

I would love to see Topalov not play any further world championships. He´s a great player but after two lost fights for the crown, we know he´s not Fischer and so nobody outside Bulgaria will miss him, since the price of his (or his managers) enduring antics is much to high. So let´s hope that the situation of an upcoming event dependent on those two guys will never reoccur.

Zagreb 1959's picture

If FIDE was a professional and serious organization like ATP or ITF in tennis (and I hope with Karpov this will happen one day), simply Danailov will be punished for at least one year for his constant attacks and stupid declarations and maybe Topalov will be punished too one year for thinking about his behaviour and ethics, professionalism and to know how to be a sportsman, because in tennis if any player or manager act this miserable way, of course this will not pass unpunished. This is bad for chess and for promoting chess and every chess fan is tired of these two!

R.Mutt's picture

If Kramnik doesn't exist, it follows that there are no Russian players among the candidates and therefore there is no problem.

Latest articles