Reports | October 05, 2011 12:32

Topalov draws Irish Team in clock simul

Topalov draws Irish Team in clock simul

In a clock simul on Monday in Dublin Veselin Topalov scored 2-2 against the four strongest Irish players. Bulgaria's number one player, at 2768 currently ranked 7th in the live ratings, beat IM Mark Quinn, drew with IM Alex Lopez and IM Sam Collins and lost to GM Alex Baburin.

During last year's campaign for the ECU presidency, Silvio Danailov offered to send three GMs to Ireland. True to his word, last November Ivan Cheparinov came and played in the Kilkenny Masters weekender. On Monday, October 3rd it was Veselin Topalov's turn to come to Dublin. Instead of doing the usual talk and simul, the Irish Chess Union thought it would be interesting to have a clock simul against the Irish Men's Team.

The simul took place at the Clarence Hotel on Wellington Quay, Dublin. The time control was 90 minutes plus 30 seconds per move. Unfortunately five minutes before the start the organizers discovered that the hotel firewall blocked FTP traffic, so the games couldn't be followed live online. The digital boards did store the moves, so here they are:

 
 

During the simul the spectators were able to get right up close and personal with the super-grandmaster. This was great for the fans, but it might have been distracting for Topalov.

Visitor Edward Loane, who provided the photos and videos below, wrote to us:

Topalov played for 4 hours straight, without taking a single break or even a sip of water. I take my hat off to the man.

A lengthy comment below this article by Jonathan O'Connor, chairman of the Irish Chess Union and main organizer of the event, includes this bit:

Topalov told me that he had got up at 5:30 in the morning, drove 200km to Madrid airport and flew to Dublin. As everyone knows, chess players do not like to get up early in the morning. This was clearly a factor in the final hour of play. (...) On a personal note, as chairman of the Irish Chess Union, I found Veselin a very modest man, quiet and thoughtful. It should also be said, that Veselin Topalov played this event for free, and the Irish Chess Union paid neither our guests flights nor their accommodation. Many thanks to Silvio Danailov for being true to his word. He has got a lot of bad press in the last few years, but I found him a decent, reasonable man who has a sensible vision for the future of chess, and the energy and drive to get there.

Mr O'Connor also asked both Danailov and Topalov about why he hadn't played for so long, and both confirmed that after losing to Anand, Veselin needed time to recharge the batteries.

They said it was a tough loss psychologically, as after investing so much time and energy preparing for the match.

On his trip to Ireland Topalov was joined by Silvio Danailov. The ECU President met with Phil Hogan, Irish Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government. As the Irish Chess Union website reports, Minister Hogan promised to support the Irish Chess Union's bid for recognition of chess as a sport. He also promised to help secure the votes of the 13 Irish MEPs in a vote for chess in schools program at the European Parliament.

After this clock simul, Danailov and Topalov will visit the island of Jersey where Topalov will give a simul vs. 25 Jersey players on October 5th. On the next day they will continue their trip to Guernsey, where Topalov will give a clock simul against 16 players from this British island.

 

Irish Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government Philip Hogan making the first move at the board of Alex Baburin and Veselin Topalov. Standing (L-R): Ambassador Emil Yalnazov, President of Kilkenny Chess Club Jack Lowry and ECU President Silvio Danailov

Silvio Danailov, here watching, joins Topalov on a trip to Ireland, Jersey and Guernsey

Spectarors gathered around the last board still playing: Topalov is in trouble...

and here has just resigned to Alex Baburin, who thus levelled the score: 2-2

Photos: Irish Chess Union & Edward Loane

Videos

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of ChessVibes.com, 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.

Chess.com

Comments

rob's picture

Maybe I'm missing something here? Topa's good but.... didn't Kasparov thump the German team 3-1! years ago (1992) and that was stronger team!? Helps to put these kind of displays in perspective when compared to each other. And shows what a truly great player he was....

Zeblakob's picture

Kasparov playing the USA junior Team (in 1988 ) against quite a similar strong Team (but of 6 players).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLIeyraVf4k

ps. Kasparov is different, he was born in an egg, you can not compare him with others :)

ebutaljib's picture
ebutaljib's picture
evahaut's picture

Man, what link did you pull up? Amazing stuff, all tournaments listed in a single slide show. Thank you!

ebutaljib's picture

Glad you like it. It's my work. There is one about World championship events too.

Jonathan O'Connor's picture

Rob, it's not quite as simple as that. I too felt before the event, that Ireland would be lucky to get a point, but Topalov felt that a fairer score would be 2.5-1.5 in his favour. So, obviously I am very pleased with the 2-2 draw.

However, if you compare these matches with the ones Kasparov played in the 1990's and early 2000's, I believe the faster time control played a role in reducing Topalov's advantage. I suspect that Kasparov played with 2 hours for 40, 1 hour for 20 and half an hour for the remaining moves. In Dublin we played 90 minutes plus 30 seconds per move.

Secondly, Topalov told me that he had got up at 5:30 in the morning, drove 200km to Madrid airport and flew to Dublin. As everyone knows, chess players do not like to get up early in the morning. This was clearly a factor in the final hour of play.

Thirdly, in comparison to the German team, who Kasparov beat 3-1, I believe two of their players made quick draws, and left their two teammates to fight on. All our players, including Mark Quinn who lost, played long complicated games. Sam Collins should probably have lost, but he continued looking for his chances, and was rewarded with a draw. Alex Lopez got a difficult position out of the opening (although the computer thinks he was fine), and he had to survive some difficult moments, before he coasted to his draw.

On a personal note, as chairman of the Irish Chess Union, I found Veselin a very modest man, quiet and thoughtful. It should also be said, that Veselin Topalov played this event for free, and the Irish Chess Union paid neither our guests flights nor their accommodation. Many thanks to Silvio Danailov for being true to his word. He has got a lot of bad press in the last few years, but I found him a decent, reasonable man who has a sensible vision for the future of chess, and the energy and drive to get there.

On a different not, I have seen some funny comments on chessdom about the games and the event. I have learnt that you should always have a backup plan for such an event, and that an evening event is often harder to organize than a 1-2 week event, because there is no time to fix problems that may occur. My hat is off to other organizers who make this seem easy. It is not.

FInally, contrary to what some people may think, we weren't all drinking in the Dublin pubs. Despite my best efforts, Topalov declined the red wine gambit at lunch, and the Irish players were on strict orders to stay off the booze before the games too!

Peter Doggers's picture

What Mr O'Connor didn't write is arguably the best news: http://www.chessvibes.com/reports/topalov-back-in-the-saddle

Thomas's picture

Of course you have every right to enjoy the event, as well as possible longer-term benefits of their (Topalov + Danailov) visit for Irish chess.

But ... "Many thanks to Silvio Danailov for being true to his word." - IMHO this is at least a bit exaggerated. Danailov has become a chess politician: ECU president with open ambitions to become FIDE president. Is it _that_ praiseworthy if a politician - who might again need the Irish vote (and those from Guernsey and Jersey?) - keeps an election promise? As to Topalov, he returns some favors to Danailov: for several years he benefited, probably more than anyone else, from chess events organized and promoted by his manager!

As others mentioned, Kasparov took such events much more seriously - he certainly would have arrived in Dublin, or at least at Madrid airport, the evening before rather than leaving home at 5:30am. So - @Remco Gerlich below - even if it's a bit unfair to compare the results, it's legitimate to compare how both players approach(ed) such matches.

Jonathan O'Connor's picture

Thomas, I don't know where you are from, but in Ireland politicians, generally, promise everything before an election and deliver nothing after. Having got involved in chess politics in Ireland 15 months ago, I am not so quick to damn them as I would have been. From my very limited experience of electioneering, you get ideas, lots of ideas, for improving the country/organisation. You then publicize these ideas, stating you will implement them. Once elected, you find that only a fraction of what you promised to do, can actually be done.

In the case of the Irish Chess Union, we have a very small budget (25k€/year) and a small group of volunteers who have a limited amount of time to give to the organisation. We have ideas that will take maybe 5 years to implement.

So, regardless of his reasons for doing it, I thank Silvio Danailov for keeping his promise. As to whether he will get our vote the next time, he knows it will depend on the strength of his arguments, and not on his ability to send us grandmasters.

Thomas's picture

For what it's worth, I am German living in the Netherlands. What you write about election promises is partly true: some promises cannot be kept because "reality interfers" - external factors such as the financial crisis or the simple fact that politics includes compromises. It might be more prudent to say "I want to ..." or "I will try to ..." rather than "I will" - but that's not how campaiging works. Yet in the given case, nothing could have prevented Danailov from keeping his promise.

My main point was: This visit is part of Danailov's political campaign, and even if it doesn't secure the Irish vote (in any case, it won't hurt) it provides positive media coverage after months of silence around Danailov and Topalov. Nothing per se wrong with that, but it's naive to think that it was pure generosity without expecting or hoping for anything in return, directly or indirectly.

I am skeptical towards Danailov's ideas - last(?) summarized here: http://www.chessintranslation.com/2011/02/danailov-chess-should-either-c... . And personally I don't think that someone who has close ties with one world top player, and openly hates another one should play an important role in chess politics.

BTW back then (February 2011) Danailov made a promise or announcement that turned out to be at least half wrong: "next year Linares will return to its normal position – March, while this year it’ll be held in October." It remains to be seen if the other 50% happens.

Hughbertie's picture

Mr O connor's comments comes across very clear and reasonable to me. This guy Thomas appears quite foolish imo. I see the event as a complete success from every angle and appears to do Topalov and his team no end of good PR wise.

Rob's picture

Thanks Jonathan you make some good points and help add some perspective to the event. It's always nice to have an insiders view as I'm sure most of chess players would agree. Certainly the early start is a factor...
The Irish may have even more reason to get on the booze should they get to finals in the rugby world cup too...

Remco Gerlich's picture

Kasparov's performances were legendary, but he took the events very seriously and prepared deeply for them.

This is Topalov flying from home in the morning (paying for his own flight) and playing for free in the evening, it's unfair to compare.

Rob's picture

Certainly a nice gesture from Topalov to fly there at his own expense. I personally thought he'd do better than he did and that his result would be similar to a Kasparov style result. Topalov is after all a 'heavyweight' grandmaster.

Stephen's picture

I'm not a fan of topalov nor danailov, but credit where it's due. I think it's an excellent way to promote non-elite chess.

kamalakanta's picture

Wait a minute! "Baburin" does not sound Irish at all! I expect something like "O'Donell"!

Baburin sounds quite Russian!

Septimus's picture

Hats off to the Irish, Topa and everybody involved in the event. Looks like the spectators had a great time and in the end, that is all that matters. :)

Mauricio Valdes's picture

did he shake hands with his opponents?
how many times did the Irish Team go to the bathroom?

chesshire cat's picture

Baburin is a Russian-born GM who has been domiciled in Ireland for some years and has frequently played for the Irish team. He is a bit less active these days.

Jonathan O'Connor's picture

@Septimus: Yes we all had a great time. There were about 70 spectators, almost 10% of our members. I think we beat the recent World Cup by a factor of 2.
@Mauricio: Yes of course, he shook hands with everybody. He is a very polite person. Being Irish, all our team have very strong bladders!
@Chesshire cat: Alex Baburin has lived in Ireland since 1993, and is an Irish citizen.

Clifford's picture

One point to remember about Kasparov's simultaneous exhibitions against national teams is that in at least some of them he asked for a slower time limit than the opposition, to reduce his disadvantage. It wasn't much - something like 40 in 2 hours for the team and 40 in 2 hours 15 minutes for Kasparov - but significantly more time than Topalov.

The Sea Lettuce's picture

I'm glad Topalov is coming back. The chess world needs him!

Poek's picture

"During last year's campaign for the ECU presidency, Silvio Danailov offered to send three GMs to Ireland. "

This sounds a bit shady...

Jonathan O'Connor's picture

It may sound shady, but Ireland actually voted for Ali Nihat in the ECU presidency election.

Anonymous's picture

Well ... at least he beat the guy rated 2398.

Septimus's picture

So, you are an expert now?

Anonymous's picture

Well ... at least he beat the guy rated 2398.

Lozzo's picture

Ever since Topalov was defeated by Anand last year in the world championship his career has been in free-fall.After a barrage of scathing remarks about Kasparov and Anand's relations when 'Numero uno'was a active competitor:'They didnt like one another,it is a well known fact Kasparov used to put Anand down'.
Feeling bitter that Kasparov and Carlsen assisted Anand in his preparations for his match.Being a chess player seemingly not such wise strategy.Both have friends in high places.One thing that struck me 6 years ago when asked what he thought about Kasparov's unexpected retirement at Linares 2005.He replied: Oh,he'll be back.'A statement that goes on to bear much credence.In 2005, he participated in the Credit Suisse Tournament vs Karpov,Korchnoi and Polgar.In 2009, he participated in the world champions simul event to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Horgen.In 2009, the challenge match against Karpov.He is due to play Short in a blitz tournament in Belgium next week.He has been training Carlsen since 2008.His trainer after his retirement was training Sergei Karyakin - not anymore. Soon mark my words... Kasparov will be back playing chess !

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