February 19, 2009 4:47

Topalov wins second game with Black

Topalov-Kamsky Game 2Veselin Topalov won the second game today in his Challenger's Match with Gata Kamsky. With Black he answered 1.e4 with 1...e5 and came under pressure after grabbing a dangerous pawn, but Kamsky used too much time in the opening phase and couldn't make use of his activity.

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 2
Like yesterday, we start with something that appeared on the official website. This time it was a note on the home page which said IMPORTANT, so we decided to read on:

In order to put an end to any attepts at speculation by match participants, their teams, and the public at large, the Organising Committee with the consent of FIDE publishes the full text of the signed agreement between Gata Kamsky and Veselin Topalov, as well as the agreement between FIDE and the Bulgarian Chess Federation on the organisation of the Challengers' Match.

Wow, that's not bad, not bad at all! Remember this column of January 7th? We praised Henrik Carlsen for stressing the importance of transparancy, predictablility and fairness. Well, at least we have some transparancy here!

Some quotes from the agreement between FIDE and the Bulgarian Chess Federation (full texts downloadable here):

The Organizer will host and finance all necessary costs of the Challengers' Match 2008, according to the official regulations of the event.

This includes:
a. The amount of 250.000 USD as prize fund (net and free of all local taxes).
b. The amount of 50.000 USD as contribution to FIDE.
c. The amount of 25.000 USD as stipend to the Principals of the Challengers' Match 2008.
d. The amount of 10.000 USD towards the preparatory budget of FIDE's Worid Championship Committee.
e. The amount of 1,500 USD for renting the high power jammer system from FIDE.

TOTAL of 2a + 2b + 2c + 2d +2e = 336.500 USD

As always, FIDE make quite a lot of money themselves, and it would be interesting to hear from them on what it will be spent, exactly. And we needed Google to learn that the "high power jammer system" is destroying the possibility of using a cell phone within the playing hall.

The Organizer is given all the commercial rights connected to the Tournament, and is entitled to exploit all the rights, including but not limited to; sponsorship rights, ticketing rights, Internet rights, televisions rights, graphic, media, SMS rights, all kind of transmission through cellular phones, all sort of electronics broadcast rights aheady existing or to exist , souvenir rights, merchandising rights, advertising and promotion rights, as well as all the source of income through this agreements. The Organizer will print and distribute tickets, VIP passes and working passes needed to enter the Venue.

As was also noted by me (no, not yours truly, but someone who couldn't think of a better name), this paragraph is probably related to yesterday's post about the odd legal note referring to Playchess. It's still being discussed under yesterday's report, but the one question that needs to be answered is: can you copyright a chess move? This has been debated heavily over the years, and to our knowledge, the answer thus far has always been no.

Now, let's move on to the game! Since Kamsky's handling of the clock played such an important role in this game, we decided to include the amount of time he spent at several moments.

Name Nat. Rtg
















Kamsky USA 2725
0 ¬?
Topalov BUL 2796
1 1¬?

Topalov and Danailov

Veselin Topalov and his manager Silvio Danailov before game 2

Snacks and drinks

The players are checked with a metal detector before they can enter the stage - here it's Kamsky's turn

Snacks and drinks

Snacks and drinks available for the players during the game

Topalov adjusting his pieces

Topalov before the second match game, adjusting his pieces

Starting the clock

Arbiter Ashot Vardapetian starts the clock for game 2

Photos © Ivan Stoimenov - courtesy of the official website



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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


Castro's picture


The 1910's are not from the 19th century, hehehe ;-)

A progressive score of a basketball game can not be compared to a "score" of the moves that are being played in a (top) chess game. If the first can be considered important information about the event (to the point NBA going after Motorolla!), now imagine the later! In chess, it's the images and audios that are secundary. There are people who even pay to see Topalov thinking in real-time, but the moves are 99,99% the most important part, for 99,99% of the public. The proof is "on the pudding", the numbers on the various sites must reflect that!

I (again) agree with your practical difficulties, even if we know that by "scrambling" the mobile and internet media in the whole space and if it was illegal to broadcast without paying rights to the one official site, maybe they'd have that time window (during the games round) just for themselves...

Yes, Topalov and Kamsky = Robinson and Friday :-)
After a year or two, we'd just pass in a boat at large and just ask them the score.

Peter Doggers's picture

Agreed, and moderated. Your risking being blocked from the site, Manu.

Alfred Duvall's picture

I think that if chess fans wants always everything for free, it impossible to make chess a professional sport for itself. I will always need as today, Mecenas, that like de game and put their money on it, just for the pleasure of it.
Few professional people in chess...

test's picture

ICC (and possibly others) are also broadcasting the moves. So the fact that they single out ChessBase shows that this is probably some sort of personal vendetta.

ICC has already had several disputes like this in the past. Not 100% sure but I believe they even have been taken to court over this and won.
Anyway, the case is clear: tournament organizers cannot copyright the moves or prevent some sort of live relay by others.

Even if the laws were different, it would only be bad for chess if they could, it's hard enough getting an audience for chess as it is.

test's picture

PS: The "legal note" (see 1st game article) mentions video. That's of course a different story, you can't just copy somebody elses video stream.

Michael X Tractor's picture

Alexander - Man v Machine contests are always "somewhat sad".

4i4mitko's picture

Danailov is a great man at least for me nice game Vesko you can do it:))) Anand is the next.

Manu in Mar del Plata's picture

@Michael X Tractor :
¨Man v Machine contests are always “somewhat sad”.¨ ,
That is just a pathetic comment, right on time after a Topa´s win.
Of course you would chose the ¨i know Gata would crush him ¨ if he had lost ,really lame .

Castro's picture

"pathetic comment"

"Actually, no one knows himself", my granma used to say.

Interesting game, it's a shame it will be just 8 games. Kamsky can react (as Topalov can go further away too), but I think it can be too difficult to get a reliable idea, 8 games is a lousy match at this level.

Manu in Mar del Plata's picture

***insult deleted***

Great insight on the match, though .I wouldnt notice about the 3 possible results without you , thx a lot.

ChessGirl's picture

My mum has a pashmina like his, he looks cute *giggles*

I understand Chessvibes´ point and Gregory´s point... I don´t know enough about all this to have a proper opinion, but it does look like an excuse for executing a personal war.

Alexander's picture

The whole match seems somewhat sad.

Macauley's picture


Please think about it what will ICC broadcast if the organizers don't pay for the broadcast themselves? Nothing. And this is because ICC won't go to Bulgaria or whatever other place, take Corus too for example, they will get the moves directly from the server of the broadcaster.

Actually ICC *does* go to these events. I'm in Sofia at this very moment! I don't plan to be relaying any moves, thankfully. ;)

The moves of a chess game are not copyrightable. It's just information that is in the public domain like the box score of a baseball game. This is settled law.

Video, audio, and annotations (like other writing) are of course protected by copyright. That's were sites like ChessVibes, and ICC (and Chess.FM) add value to their members/readers.

You can watch the moves (via a viewer) anywhere you like, but if you want to do so among a community of chess enthusiasts, you need a chess server or site like this.

Declan's picture

You mean Kramnikbase? ;-)
Well, it seems indeed like a personal feud between CB and the Bulgarians. In any case free chess moves are good for chess events, I mean they get attention with more sites covering them, thus sponsors smile.

RajeshV's picture

So, Gregory, how abt this? Someone, let's call public-interest-guy (PIG ;)), decides to transmit a soccer game by text description. He gets a huge fan base. Then PIG decides - lets get creative. He creates a cool software that simulates the game much like a video game. His software replicates the exact game, frame for frame, live on the internet, but in video game like format. Would that be violation in your book? Obviously, in soccer the real vs fictional characters would make a huge difference for the watching audience. In chess obviously, the case is different.

Gregory's picture

No RajeshhV. Your software replication will again be considered as a broadcast. Otherwise any TV channel could "erase" electronically the faces of football players and still transmit a football game? Of course not.

As I said before, writing the moves is OK but broadcasting the game on a viewer is a different story.

guitarspider's picture

This is bulls***, because every other major chess server also broadcast the moves yet the only one to be announced was Chessbase. This is not about copyright or broadcasting right, it's about the Bulgarians vs Chessbase in general.

Gregory's picture

Writing it down is a text description. Showing it on a virtual chess board is a broadcast.

The same as in football, basketball, etc. So simple as 1 + 1 = 2.

Arne Moll's picture

What about showing the text description on a virtual broadcast (whatever that means), Gregory?

Gregory's picture

Obviously, Chessbase and whoever else likes piracy methods, are more than happy to freely broadcast games while others are paying for it.

Such a case will only erupt when some organiser or sponsor really decides to take this to court.

RajeshV's picture

copyright a chess move - is that possible? from my layman's perspective, I guess it is possible if an organizer says, for example, I own the complete rights to this event, and I am going to allow the media to only report on the results. This means that nobody (other than contracted individuals - such as players, arbiters etc) will be allowed to know the moves until the organizer chooses to publish them (most likely after the fact for commercial benefit).

Naturally such an organizer would not only be hated, but also this idea may not even make much business sense. Other than the above scenario, it is hard for me to see how the moves could be copyrighted, as if 1 member of the spectators or the media knows the moves, it is as good as public information, and the idea of copyright only sounds silly.

Gregory's picture

Anyone can type the moves on a website like 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6, etc.

But using for example a PGN viewer to transmit the actual game on a board is a different story and a clear violation of copyright. And very easy to prove legally.

It is not the first time that Chessbase is messing up with organisers.

Peter Doggers's picture

"And very easy to prove legally." Ehm, sure? What's the difference with writing it down or showing it on a virtual chess board? What's the definition of "broadcast" here?

test's picture

Everything is copyrightable (movies, commentary, analysis) EXCEPT the moves themselves, no matter how you get them. What is so hard to understand about this? You may not like it, but that's the law.

I can understand the point though.
Let's say the organizer wants to do a live commentary. Currently he will have to compete at least with ICC and often also with PlayChess who are also doing live commentary. Is this fair? Is it fair that CocaCola has to compete with Pepsi? One might argue that it's just a free market. Or one might say that the organizer is making it happen, so he should be the only one to be allowed to do a live commentary.
The organizer could make his live commentary more interesting by adding video, nobody is stopping him from doing that. Of course the organizer also cannot stop ICC to send somebody to do video... Oh wait, that's exactly what ICC is doing. ;)

In any case, I don't think the organizer will make a lot of money with the live commentary. I for one have never signed up with ICC or PlayChess just to be able to follow the live commentary. But that's probably because I hardly ever follow the games live, I just don't have the time, and I'm pretty sure the great majority is like me. There may be several thousand people following the games live, but there are millions playing chess and replaying the games later at their own convenience.

Anyway to conclude; it's a bit of a moot discussion as the law happens to be that the moves are free for all, so making a big fuss about this serves nobody imo.

Arne Moll's picture

@Macauley: "The moves of a chess game are not copyrightable. It’s just information that is in the public domain like the box score of a baseball game. This is settled law."

Is there actually a law that says something about chess moves? Or is it some kind of interpretation? Is there any jurisprudence on it? I'd be interested to know more about it.

Thomas's picture

Maybe the only way would be not to do any live transmission, not to allow any onsite spectators, ban the players to a remote desert location (or even better, an uninhabited small island), ... . Then the organizers could sell one tournament book after the match, or a series of booklets after each game. But this really sounds like 20th or even 19th century ,:).

Macauley's picture

@ Arne,

I withdraw my claim that it's "settled law" -- that is perhaps too strong. There hasn't been a court case testing this that I could find. But there have been various failed attempts to copyright games going back to the 19th century that still apply. E.g. Emanuel Lasker, in the 1910s.

More recently, BrainGames tried to restrict access to the moves in 2000 for the K-Kr match in London. Aside from failing technically to do so, there was a precedent from 1997 in which the National Basketball Association went after Motorola for broadcasting real-time basketball scores in the U.S. and lost. So the legal advice at the time was that this was not a case BG was likely to win, even if they did start suing.

(See: http://www.bitlaw.com/source/cases/copyright/nba.html)

As noted, commentary (in various forms) can certainly be protected, but the moves are freely available to the world at large once played, and that includes other chess servers.

In practice, chess moves are so easily recordable and transferable by any observer of a game that there is no reasonable way to protect them from dissemination even if you could win a court case against some parties. So, it's all just academic, really.

Tarjei's picture

There is nothing illegal about what ICC or any other chess site is doing. How many of you haven't gone to a site that shows the current result and a match report during a soccer game in Champions League or Premier League? Obviously a live feed would be different, but it's simply a piece of news item and this can not be copyrighted.

Castro's picture

It's easy to say "The thing is this or that way", based on opinions. The chess moves are not copyrightable in the sense that if some game happened (parheaps the past tense could matter), everybody can publicate it, for instance in a book to sell, without the need to pay rights to nobody. I think it was an old question, and I also think there indeed is jurisprudence on that.
Now, it' could be a completely different issue the live transmision.
If one thinks for a while, we have questions like:
- Why is so acceptable that video or audio broadcastings can be reserved by organizers of sport events (for instance)?
- Why is acceptable that, then, they can sell those rights? (For example, sometimes two companies transmit an event, but one pays rights to the other, or so)
- Why pixels or digitalized audio is accepted to have copyrights?
- And what about text? Can someone, without paying, reproduce live the exact words of a conference where the organizer wants to keep rights on the live broadcasting of that information?
- And chess moves? As the more important piece of information about certain event? What about the organizers having - or not having - the right to profit from that essencial part of his event? Is it not true that it is only posible if they own the rights (and sell them to others, if they want)?
- Isn't it true that others make money on that? Why the organizers of some event don't keep part of that money? Wouldn't it be fair?
- What's the whole philosophy about, for example, the football clubs and federations get paid by televisions, for the most important entertaining part of information of their games?

As I said before, this is not an easy subject for me, maybe not easy to no one, but surely it is not as easy as many want it to look!

Jeroen's picture

I have the same scarf as Danailov is wearing ://

NBC's picture

I agree with Popescu. It is stunning how the two exclamation marks after the computer-like move Rc7 apparently means that there is no reason for commentators to give any lines after Nc8. While I am not a titled player, I am 2000+ and I dont see why Nc8 is worse than c4.

Arne Moll's picture

Like ChessGirl, I know too little of the legal aspects of the subject to get into all the details, but Gregory's argument that displaying moves is somehow different from displaying a graphic representation ot fhose moves is really quite absurd. Gregory, all chess 'broadcasts' (again, define what you mean by it exactly) is simply pgn code (i.e. written moves) translated into coordinates which determine the position of pieces (colored pixels on the screen) on a chess board (also colored pixel). There can't possibly be an essential difference between the two, and if someone claims there is, he better explain himself very precisely indeed.

VB's picture

Nice dynamic chess!

Bootvis's picture

@NBC With help from Rybka I believe the problem with 22 Nxc8 is this:

22 Nxc8 Rxc8
23 Rxe6 Rxc2 (and now the bishop is in trouble)
24 Rf2 d6

White has some problems with his bishop and the quickly advancing d-pawn.

VB's picture

Rc7!! That was a monster move!

4i4mitko's picture

as far as i can understand the idea is if chess is to be developed and to bring more money in it has to be like other professional sports like football for example
where there are TV rights etc. if you bring your camera on some match you can
record it but television without rights can't broadcast your video:)))

Popuscu [Bulgaria] 's picture

Does Rc7 prepare a Knight sacrifice? Is this Topalov's Idea?
We should be abl to look 12 moves ahaid !!

I do not understand why GM in general and Topa and kamsky in particular, do not explain in the chess conference what was turning in their heads during the game.

May be, one can be an excelent scientist but a bad teacher !!!

iLane's picture

What are you talking about? It's not about copyright on chess moves it's about the broadcast! If you are not allowed to broadcast a sport event, don't do it. Of course it can be done technically but there might be legal consequences.

4i4mitko's picture

at iLane are you talking to me:)))
Bootvis nice picture
just to add that it's seems it's all about business and the l?ws are made from
politicians who serve the businessmen:))) and what is write and wrong
in our understanding dosn't matter so the reason that someone like chessbase
are not paying for the broadcast means that there are no big money in chess:)))
and no good laws:)))

Jarvis's picture

It troubles me to see that Manu in Mar del Plata brings what is supposed to be a civilized forum on a sophisticated activity down to personal insults of such demeaning kind. I ask him personally to refrain from such comments, and I also ask Peter to maybe supervise the comments a little stricter. Surely we should react when people behave like that?

pete's picture

why did Kamsky play 22. c4?? .... he could have taken the bishop and the kinght and would have been up a piece. Can anyone enlighten me about that :)

Bootvis's picture

@pete see the post 5 posts before this one with the nice picture ;)

Popuscu [Bulgaria] 's picture

I am very dispointed that we can not discuss the lives games in this Forum as we have done before during Kramnik-Anand Match.

Et c'est la vie ...

me's picture

"ICC (and possibly others) are also broadcasting the moves. So the fact that they single out ChessBase shows that this is probably some sort of personal vendetta"

It says that the match can't be bradcasted without permission of the organizers. So how do you know that ICC and other sites didn't get the permisiion? Maybe it is just ChessBase that is stealing.

Ark's picture

Kamsky has only 6 games left to make a comeback.....is it still not too late to get Nakamura's help?

Owl's picture

The main thing is that ChessBase, ICC or whatever server is broadcasting whatever chess event, during the games are being played, these mentioned servers are taking advantage of the organizers' work. Everything that is related with broadcasting one game in Internet costs the organizers a lot of money so that all we the chess fans can actually follow the games while they are being played and no wait until the PGN upload. All other medias that are using this broadcast for their OWN favour violates the law. Please think about it what will ICC broadcast if the organizers don't pay for the broadcast themselves? Nothing. And this is because ICC won't go to Bulgaria or whatever other place, take Corus too for example, they will get the moves directly from the server of the broadcaster.
I personally do not use any chess server to follow the games because I respect organizers' work as I expect my craetive works be respected by others and not take advantage of me.
In conclusion of my opinion about the copyright stuff I think that noone is allowed to do anything with the broadcast data unless he pays a fee or it is stated aloud that this information is free for any purpose.

Castro's picture

Did I read "insult deleted"?
(It's a shame I didn't see what it said, but sure it was plain old bad-manners-and-no-good-arguments Manu. Education matters, though)

pat j's picture

why does it always look like danailov is ready to eat a live puppy?

test's picture

Nobody is stopping them f'rom asking money for getting access to their own live relay.
Not that I personally would pay for a live relay.

PS: And it would surprise me very much if ICC or Chessdom or anybody else are paying them for getting moves that are -at the moment- transmitted for free on the official website.

Btw: they can't legally prevent a spectator present in the playing hall from sending the moves as they happen. (Although it would be complicated as mobile phones presumably are blocked.)

It's a different story if they transmit a video with live commentary etc like they did with Anand-Kramnik, that stuff cannot be copied, and I _might_ even be willing to pay money for that. But just the moves are free for all.

Thomas's picture

Referring to Jarvis 12:21PM and Peter Doggers 12:33PM: I wouldn't want Manu to be blocked from this site because at least some of his posts are constructive. So Manu, please take Jarvis' suggestion seriously.
(says someone who frequently disagrees with Manu, and generally enjoys it ...).

Castro, Manu's insult was about your grandmother, but not that memorable (you didn't miss much).


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