October 17, 2009 2:03

FIDE accepts bid, Anand-Topalov in Sofia

Despite the fact that a formal bank guarantee still hasn't been provided, FIDE today accepted a bid from Sofia, Bulgaria to host the 2010 World Championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Veselin Topalov. The dates have not yet been confirmed but the World Chess Federation suggested starting on April 5th, the birthday of its President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

The World Championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Veselin Topalov is scheduled for April 2010. The match will consist of 12 games and if necessary, 4 tie-break games. Recently we reported about the quite disturbing fact that although the World Chess Federation received three bids (Bulgaria, Turkey and Singapore) to host, organize and finance the match, no bank guarantees were received by the deadline of September 30th. FIDE decided to postpone the deadline to October 15th.

Today the three bids were discussed at the FIDE Executive Board meeting, part of the 80th FIDE Congress which currently takes place in Halkidiki, Greece. As it turns out, the Sofia bid, backed by the Bulgarian government, was accepted. A FIDE official confirmed to us what Chessbase published earlier today:

A guarantee was presented as a letter by the Bulgarian Prime Minister. In the letter to FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov the Prime Minister stated that for technical reasons no formal bank guarantee could be provided, but that the Bulgarian government would guarantee the total costs of three million Euros (two million prize fund, 20% FIDE fees and the rest for organisational costs). The letter further stated that "neutrality would be guaranteed".

The exact dates have not been confirmed yet; FIDE has suggested April 5th to 24th, 2010 to the players since April 5th is the birthday of its President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

The Bulgarians put up a high, and winning stake; they're planning to provide double the amount that was asked for by FIDE. In the bidding procedure published on April 24th, a minimum prize fund of one million Euros (net of any applicable taxes) is mentioned, plus the contribution to FIDE (net of any applicable taxes and not less than 20% of the prize money) and the commitment to cover all the other financial obligations to FIDE and organizational costs.


Anand and Topalov facing each other in Bilbao in 2008

Last month the chances to find sponsors for the new World Championship match looked pretty dim, but fortunately things have lightened up. However, it looks like yet another big chess event won't be financed by corporate sponsorship; this time it's the Bulgarian government that provides the money.

Well, promised to provide. In their bidding procedure FIDE demanded either an 8-month term bank guarantee or a 100,000 Euro deposit before the deadline. Despite plenty experience with organizers withdrawing or failing funds, apparently the word of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov was strong enough for FIDE today. Since everything eventually worked out fine for the Kamsky-Topalov match, we should probably give them the benefit of the doubt.

We tried to reach both players for a first reaction. Viswanathan Anand didn't want to make any clear statements yet:

"I can only say that contractual details are yet to be discussed and an announcement will be made once the contracts are signed It's still too early to comment. As of now only the bidding procedure has finished. So I will refrain from making any statements until the contracts are drawn up and signed. The contractual details are to be kept confidential in normal practice.

We hope that the match will be entertaining and will be a good platform for the promotion of the game. In the end the games should be the highlight and that is what we will strive for."

Unfortunately at the time of writing Veselin Topalov wasn't yet available to comment. We can assume he's not unhappy about today's developments.


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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


redpawn's picture

Hey Anand has to play the top computer first. It's tradition !
Which computer is the strongest now a days? Rybka?

nn's picture

i thought anand wouldnt like to play in topalovs country? and it would be more exciting to see 24 games not only short 12.
so long to wait for this great battle.

yes rybka is the strongest but has elo 3100 and never makes mistakes. so nobody want to play against it.

redpawn's picture

@nn that's 2bad...no one want to pick up Kasparov and Kramnik's gauntlett and challenge the bet computer out there....

Maybee it would not be a bad idea - instead of MAN VS MACHINE.
So Anand can use his favourite PC with chess engine AGAINST Deep RYBKA.
(At least the man get's to stir the position into lines that intuitively feels winning....).
What do you think?

On Anand vs Topalov - for Anand to agree to play in Bulgaria.....kind of scary, (id say he has to watch for all kind of Toilet trickery and shananigans from the Topalov camp.....). Wouldn't it be better to have it in a neutral country ? (somehow - Switzerland comes to mind) :-)

Remco Gerlich's picture

It's all nice and well talking about what would have been better, but the fact is that there are no bids from there (the other two that were mentioned a few weeks ago have apparently been withdrawn).

VB's picture

Just 12 games :(((

redpawn's picture

If I was Anand, I would not agree to play in Bulgaria.
I think India and Bulgaria should disqualify being the home court favorite for either player.

Maybee we should send Obama to bid for Chicago to host the next Chess World Championship.... :-)
Naaaa, that woudl probably result with Brazil winning it (and Obama receiving another peace prize as consulation.....)

Felix Kling's picture

Although it would be nice, Rybka isn't perfect (yet :) ).
The main problem for such a match is organizing money, but it's also quite clear that any human doesn't have a chance against the latest version on a cluster.
Even with computer help it's difficult to beat. You can find a lot of games of man-machine teams against the cluster on the Rybka website.

Ianis's picture

12 games is really a scandal , it's completely ridiculous , you need at the very least 18-20 games for this result to mean anything .

if Karpov-Kasparov in the 1980's was 12 games , Karpov would be world champion. That match lasted 48 games , maybe it was way too many games , but at least , the title had a meaning as a consequence , and it was one of the most exciting chess event ever .

here they say there will be only 12 games ? for the World championship match ? are they kidding seriously ? such an event should last a full month and give the opportunity to both players to give their best and play creatively , you cannot really do this when there are so few games , it's psychological , you tend to play more conservatively , 12 games means th

Ianis's picture

there will be less decisive games , i think Kramnik-Topalov was also 12 games , it was wayy too short and i hated the fact that it was decided by blitz play ..

khishgee's picture


Chris's picture

Well it looks like we need to bring back the USSR.

Because the 24 game WCC only really existed from 1951 until 1990 in parallel (apart from the Fischer hiccup) with Soviet chess domination. All the champions & challengers apart from Fischer were products of the Soviet School of chess (yes, even the dissident Swiss, Viktor Korchnoy.

Before that it was anarchy, with different rules each time there was a match & conditions set by the reigning champion.

Since then it has been anarchy - parallel WCCs, classic but shortened matches on one hand, FIDE KOs & Tournaments & matches on the other with rules set by the Great Dictator, Kirsan.

So bring back the Soviet Union !

Jens Kristiansen's picture

There is one thing that puzzles me in your (and other websites´) announcement of the match.
Quotation: "The match will consist of 12 games and if necessary, 4 tie-break games."
What is this? After the 2008-match we finally have a souvereign and united world champion, Anand. Next time he will meet a challenger, Topalov. If Anand draws the match, I suppose he has defended the title. At least so it was (and in my opinion: Should be).
I really thought we were now over this lunacy, where the WCh could be (and has been) decided by rapid- or even blitzgames.
I have been browsing through FIDEs website, but can not find the exact regulations for the forthcoming match. Are you - Chessvibes, ChessBase, TWIC amo. - really sure the regulations are what you put forward in your announcements?

Peter Doggers's picture

Yes I'm sure. Here's a PDF with the regulations.

Coco Loco's picture

When Anand and Kramnik were battling it out, Topalov was making his run back to number 1 on the list. By the time, Anand and Topalov play, Carlsen and Aronian will be 1 and 2. And so on...

Here's an idea: no more matches until one (or two) player(s) distance themselves a little from the pack. Smth on the order of 50 Elo points. The last two tournament-style championships were great successes, so why not stick to that format for now?

Castro's picture

@cashparov (great nick, BTW)

I agree with your irony, but the Hübner - Smyslov made to me a lot of sense, if the alternative was blitz tie-breaks. They played a classic elimination match for a classic chess title, and they got tied. So any of them could advance.
If there couldn't be played more clasic games, roulette is as fair as it could get!
So your first "sugestion" is way worse!
One thing is letting luck decide, among equal pretenders, at the end of their tied fight, in order to advance to the next stage.
Other is calling other totaly different game (one we make all effords to distinguish and is --- in the chess sphere --- specialy opposed).
It's almost like tie-breaking tennis by a ping-pong game.Outragious! :-)

Castro's picture

*rapid chess, I meant, of course :-)

Jens Kristiansen's picture

Just cheked it, Peter. You are right - all of you.
But it is still disgracefull.
I wonder if or why Anand has accepted these terms. But of course he is a nice and gentle person, apart from when it comes to playing chess - and especially rapid chess!

Castro's picture


Solved?? :-) Not even quite adressed.
New classic? Oh god!
Maybe you'd made some sense if talking about raid chess.
So, no, no questions!

gg's picture

"If Anand draws the match, I suppose he has defended the title. At least so it was (and in my opinion: Should be)."

Anand didn't have draw odds in Bonn either and he was no less unified title holder in that match.

cashparov's picture

why 12 games? one armagedon game should be enough. or spin a roulette wheel like in huebner-smyslov 1983. hahaha.

Ianis's picture

"“If Anand draws the match, I suppose he has defended the title. At least so it was (and in my opinion: Should be).”"

This would be more a like a half match . Imagine if Roland Garros or Wimbledon final was played in 1 set .. how much credibility would the winner have ? this is what will happen in this chess final sadly .

It's good for bookmakers though , as the outcome is more unclear .

Cant' help to think about what will it be next time , 6 games and bullet blitz 2'0 to decide the world champion ? What is their problem to make only 12 games ? hiring of the room and hotel is too expensive ?

gg's picture

"Cant’ help to think about what will it be next time , 6 games and bullet blitz 2?0 to decide the world champion ?"

Probably, with the candidates down to four game knockouts it will soon be less than twelve games in title matches.

Muadhib's picture

Would you rather have 12 hard fought games or 24 games where +60% of them are unfought short draws like in "good old days"?

I prefer the 1st option.

Ianis's picture

I'd prefer to have 24 hard fought games Muadhib ;)

Having 12 games is no guarantee that they would be hard fought IMHO , just means that the first guy to be on +2 is almost world champion , so players are even more cautious when there are few games to play .

Going like this , Kasparov would not have been world champion in the mid-1980's since Karpov was leading for most of the game .

Also i don't agree that in the "old days"' world championship matches were boring but it's true that's subjective , i don't think this upcoming match or Kramnik-Topalov or Kramnik-Anand will be half as good as the duels of the past , like in the 50-60-70's , the golden days of Chess IMHO , with proper candidates selection and at least 20 games for such a historical event (WC match ) . Cheers mate

Muadhib's picture

No you would not get 24 fought out games, you would get 10 hard fought games and 14 short draws.

For example 30 from those 48 games in 1984-85 World Championship match were unfought short draws!

paul's picture

In case of a 6-6 tie..Anand should be again WC...i also think rapid en blitz are not worldchampionship tools. But anyway chess goes were the money floes! Besides that the tension in a 12 game competition will be great...we don't need the extreme number off drawings like Petrosian, Smyslov, Spasski and Botwinnik. Anand and Topalov are the best players since 2007/9..let them clash and we will have a great time watching te games! Ofcourse Aronian en Carlsen are pretty close....a pitty Corus didn't invite Aronian...or did he just needed a rest and simply turned the offer down? I would hope it to be the latter, because without Aronian the tournament will be more drawish! ANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNND by the way,,,why did Corus (Jeroen vdB) invite Tiviakov after his failure to complete the Dutch NK...i would think the guy should have been deprived of any income due to Dutch tournements (besides that we dont like Drawviakov) or is it Trividrawski?

Ianis's picture

but that still supports my argument Muadhib , 48-30 = 18 interesting games ;)
Besides , in the 1980's , it was no problem to make short draws , today it is less accepted , and world championship is with Sofia rules i think .

there was 30 more or less short draws between Karpov and Kasparov because they were tired , 48 games is a lot , 20-24 games like in Fischer-Spassky , Botvinnik-Tal , Capablanca-Lasker etc.. is good IMO , but i respect your opinion .

I'm still glad there is actually a world championship , since it was not something to be taken for granted , as sponsors were not ready to pay millions of euros for this .

VB's picture

Short matches makes nervous a very important factor. Having a short match each defeat is very dangerous

EAMONN REAY's picture

If consistency and equity were universal political, social and sporting traits then we truly would have Utopia. Whilst it is impossible (quite normally) to agree with everything the FIDE beurocracy does, I believe we are enjoying a rich period of chess talent, competition and indeed organisation. Of course there are a lot of contributors to this state. The chess media, all of the national and local organisations, the various mentors. Chess is a game of high ego, both on and off the board
FIDE could do better, and needs good positive criticism to improve. However, without their ruling influence, anarchy would indeed rule.
Long live d4, e4, and all the rich diversity of the game and its promotion.

Castro's picture

Indeed. WCC shouldn't be so short on games.
(Also, obviously, there shouldn't be rapid tie-breaks! That's shameful.)
That said, there have been WCC short matches before. For instance Lasker x Schlecter had just 10 games.

I know the sponsor thing can get difficult, but I think we should return to a certain number of wins, say 6.
The WC keeps the title if he scores 6 wins, and the match stops The chalenger wins the title if he scores 6 wins and if on the imediate next game the WC can't even the score.

Lee's picture

Solution: The longest time control for all chess tournaments and matches is 60+10 Fischer, and if the Wch match is tied, there'll be no need for rapids because rapid is the new classical, so the players will head straight into the blitz. Ditto for candidates.

Problem solved, any questions?

Ianis's picture

It's true the fall of the Soviet Union was a real loss for chess .

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