Reports | February 18, 2009 1:36

Topalov-Kamsky starts with a draw and an odd legal note

Topalov-Kamsky Game 1In a great fighting game, Veselin Topalov and Gata Kamsky have started their Challenger's Match with a draw. In a Grünfeld-Indian, Topalov sacrificed a pawn for some attacking chances but Kamsky comfortably held his own and even took over the initiative for a moment.

The Kamsky-Topalov World Championship Semi-Final Match takes place February 16th to 28th in the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Bulgaria. The Challenger's Match consists of eight games and possible tie-breaks and has a prize find of US $250,000 which will be shared equally by the players. The winner qualifies for a World Championship Match against Viswanathan Anand.

Game 1
Many of you who were following the game live today may have wondered about the following. From the start, below the famous, blue DGT game viewer there was a remarkable legal note:

Warning! It is absolutely prohibited the live broadcast of the moves or video during the game on other websites, media or software without the explicit permission of the orginizers [sic] of the match.

When the game was running for about half an hour, another, interesting line was added:

Currently the broadcast rights are being violated by ChessBase on its software PlayChess.

Since many other sources were covering the game live, including TWIC, Chessdom and ICC, we're clearly dealing with some private war between the Bulgarians on one side and Chessbase on the other. It's well-known that their relationship hasn't exactly been "deeply in love" for quite a while now, but to bring it into the open like the official site was doing today is, well, remarkable, let's put it that way.

Let's move on to more important stuff, like the game itself:

Name Nat. Rtg
















Kamsky USA 2725
Topalov BUL 2796

Chessdom provided all (and when we say all, we mean all!) the details of yesterday's press conference with the players and FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Prime Minister of Bulgaria Sergey Stanishev, who is officially the head of the organizing committee.

Press conference

Topalov, Ilyumzhinov and Kamsky at Monday's press conference | Photo Ivan Stoimenov

Apparently, Kamsky had some requests for changes as far as the playing hall was concerned:

In general he is not happy that there is light into the playing hall. Kamsky and his team want the windows to be covered with dark cloth, while the lamps to be directed only towards the playing tables.

During the press conference both teams were made public as well:

Team Kamsky: GM Emil Sutovsky, GM Evgeny Najer, GM Andrei Volokitin.
Team Topalov: GM Ivan Cheparinov, GM Vallejo Pons, GM Erwin L'Ami

And so the match that was supposed to take place last year, has finally started. Especially after this first game we cannot but think that it's a real pity we're only going to see eight games max! Well, let's enjoy it while we can. Tomorrow at 14:00 CET game 2 will be played.


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.


Michael X Tractor's picture

Actually, the Bulgars recognise that Playchess/Chessbase offer the best coverage. When the official site's game relay went down, because they had more than two dozen visitors, they put a note on the bottom of the screen, recommending that people go to Playchess to see the games!

All that remains is for you guys here to come to the same realisation. Chessbase is king!

guitarspider's picture

I really hope the bulgarian shenanigans doesn't affect the match, but I don't have a lot of hope.

patrickj's picture

not sure what all this is about, but it just shows how silly the world of top level chess is : )
what a joke

Mary's picture

The conflict with Chessbase only shows Danailov's limitations as a manager. One must be equipped with higher skills to deal with the key media actors. He is just a dumb peasant who happened to me near Topalov when he exploded on the world's stage, made some cash in the process, built some connections inside poor Bulgaria and shook hands with some chess people of wealth. Then suddenly he thought he and his team is beyond criticism. He failed dramatically to protect Topalov's image and playing ethics in the last year. "Chess has a positive image", says he in an interview at the official website of the match. Not thanks to him! There's always some KGB, Mossad or toilet seat to blame when things go wrong in his camp. The Balkans are still mesmerized by conspiration theories. With such mindset how to have serious media on your side...


Latest articles