Topalov Kamsky day 1 LIVE!

Breaking news, Kabardino Balkaria to organize next Grand Prix

topalov kamsky

Welcome to the day 1 coverage of Topalov – Kamsky on! All day long we will have minute by minute updates on the events from Sofia and will bring you the latest details of the Chess Challengers match live. Besides, if you want to know something specific about the match you can send us your questions.

06:00 CET At 13:00 CET we will have special coverage of the press conference with the players and the FIDE President Kirsan Ilymzhinov. The opening ceremony will be held at 17:00 CET. For sure before, after, and in between the press conference and the opening ceremony there will be much news, statements, and additional information regarding the match.

06:15 CET The FIDE President Kirsan Ilymzhinov is landing in Sofia at 10:40. That leaves him about 2 hours to go downtown to the NDK playing hall. After the opening ceremony he will attend the official dinner for VIP guests of the match with the President of the National Agency for Youth and Sports Mrs.Vesela Lecheva.

Early morning on the next day the FIDE President will visit ‘Rupite’, as Silvio Danailov shared in a recent interview. Kirsan Ilymzhinov will be back to the playing hall before 14:00 to make the opening move of the game.

06:30 CET

The other VIP guest during the opening ceremony of the match will be the Prime Minister of Bulgaria Mr. Sergey Stanishev. A few weeks ago he was entitled head of the Organizing committe for the Topalov – Kamsky match. Among the memners of the organizing committe there are more government officials – Vesela Lecheva (as already mentioned), the Minister of Internal Affairs Mihail Mikov, the Minister of transport Petar Mutafchiev, the Finance minister Plamen Oresharski, the Member of the Parliament and Vice-president of the Bulgarian Chess Federation Plamen Mollov, etc.

In a video interview for Bgnes news agency, Silvio Danailov shared, “All money for the match came thanks to the Bulgarian government and Mr. Stanishev. We have their full support.”

Link to the video interview, where you can actually see part of the NDK venue, members of the BCF, Vesela Lecheva, Stanishev, Danailov, and other members of the committee.

06:45 CET

“Nickelback” has just sent a question, “Did Kamsky arrive?” The answer is yes, he arrived, but there is not much information around that. On Friday Kamsky and his team were for sure in Sofia. Saturday in the morning they inspected the playing hall and everything around the venue. Standart newspaper reports that “Kamsky cannot be reached on the phone”, he is making the final preparation with his team and will make his first official statements at the press confernce.

Topalov had quite a different arrival 2 weeks ago, more information here. Both players behaviour is understandable and logical prior to such an important match.


Question from “marco”, “Kamsky – Topalov is like Spassky – Fisher. Just in case, who is on the appeals committee”. The appeals committee for the match is formed by Nigel Freeman, the ECU President Boris Kutin, and Vanik Zakarian. Arbiters are Ignatius Leong and Ashot Vardapetian, while Hal Bond will be match supervisor. Should there be any problem, they are the people to decide.

topalov kamsky playing hall


The match of Topalov and Kamsky will take place at NDK. A month ago we published an extensive report on the venue with photos and historical background. The first picture from inside the playing hall is available, you can see it on the left. During Mtel Masters 2008 the players were sitting on old style Venetian chairs, the organizers this time have a modern decision. The chair is a very important part of the players equipment as this is the place they spend most of the time. As such, it has surely been a mojor part of Kamsky’s inspection of the playing hall.


The second of Veselin Topalov are well known and they have not been a big surprise – GM Ivan Cheparinov (many years second of Topalov), GM Francisco Vallejo Pons (worked with Topalov in Elista), and GM Erwin L’Ami (second of Cheparinov for Mtel Masters 2008).

Kamsky has been hiding quite well his team, the only name that surged out was that of his manager GM Emil Sutovsky. However, it is known that Kamsky’s team in Sofia consists of 4 people.


Who starts the first game with white will be decided at today’s opening ceremony. Both players will get 4 games with white and 4 games with black. Every game they will be exchanging color except in games 4 and 5. The time control is already known: 2 hours for 40 moves, 1 hour for the next 20, and 15 min + 30 sec from move 61. More about the rules of the match here and here.


The players have to arrive at 6th Hall of NDK at least 10 minutes before the start of the games for security checks. The players will be transported every day from the hotels to the playing hall with strict security. Police escort will also be provided at all times.

Strict anti-cheating measures will be taken, no electronic devices or mobile phones will be allowed in the playing hall.

The space between the board and the audience will be 12 rows (about 7 to 10 meters). The journalists at the press conference were quite disappointed when it was announced that no Aquarium glass cage will be used. The only separation between the players and the audience will be a rope.


While gathering interesting information around the match, here is a curious event that will happen during the Chess Challengers in Sofia. GM Kiril Georgiev will attack a Guiness chess record playing a simul against 450 players. The link given is to the news that Chessdom published almost a month ago. Since then over 600 people have signed up for participating and people continue calling to be on the waiting list.

A special labirynth of tables will be built for the simul. GM Georgiev is expected to walk over 20 km for the day. There is a tricky part, if he wins faster he will have to walk less, as the finished games will be removed and the active tables put back together making the space smaller. The organization is quite spectacular and will report for you directly from the hall on the 21st of February.

There is also an update on the article about the record: the valid record holder is Andrew Martin with 321 people simul in 2004. Susan Polgar plays against 326 chess players in Palm Beach for a total of 1136 games. As records cannot be valid in 2 sections, Susan Polgar enters her record in the more difficult one, “biggest number consecutive games”.


More details have been revealed of the weekend inspection of the venue mentioned at 06:45 update. Kamsky’s first visit to the playing hall was on Saturday and he has not had major complaints about the facility. A more detailed look was taken by Emil Sutovsky who walked with a team of several people around the building, checked a few rooms, including the toilets for the two players.

Veselin Topalov also checked the facility later the same afternoon and did not have complaints. Later, there was an official inspection with the FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos, who has confirmed the good state of the venue.


Betting coeficients have been released at different sites. The coeficients for Topalov Kamsky at are 1,30:3,20. gives 1,20:2:00, while Paddypower is with 1,22:3,75


The local chess community will use the importance of the TOpalov – Kamsky match to bring chess to a higher level in the region. After the opening ceremony, BALC (The Balkan Chess Federation) will sign the contract for the first Chess Balkan Grand Prix.

BALC was established on August 20, 2006 in Athens, by the chess federations of Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey as founding members.


The FIDE President Kirsan Ilymzhinov will stay in Sofia for only 2 days. On the 25th, 26th, and 27th of February in Turin (Torino-Italy) there will be an international conference on Chess in Schools, which will be attended by the FIDE President. More details about the event later today on


Only 1 hour is left to the first official players press conference before the match. With the media madness created in the last days and the arrival of Kirsan Ilymzhinov, surely that will be a long and informative press conference.


Breaking news: Focus news agency has just informed that there are some special requests and disagreements coming from Kamsky’s camp. In general he is not happy that there is light into the playing hall. Kamsky and his team want the windowns to be covered with dark cloth, while the lamps to be directed only towards the playing tables. Because of these requests the final agreement document on the conditions has not been signed yet. Update: Focus news agency has added that these are events from last evening’s inspection by Emil Sutovsky, mentioned at the 09:30 update.

In the mean time FIDE President Kirsan Ilymzhinov has arrived in Sofia and is going to attend the press conference. Before that he will talk to Kamsky and his team, while the organizing committee tries to fulfill the last conditions of the American GM.


At this moment the FIDE President Kirsan Ilymzhinov is inspecting the playing hall. He is together with Vesela Lecheva and Stefan Sergiev. After the press conference, Ilymzhinov will have a meeting with the Prime Minister Sergiev, followed by the opening ceremony.


5 minutes before the start of the press conference, the hall is full of journalists. There are several local TV channels and the national TV as well.

topalov kamsky 1


Berik Balgaev and Kirsan Ilymzhinov entered the room, triggering a storm of flashes. Currently the journalists are still taking photos of the players and the FIDE President and the press conference is about to start.


The FIDE President greeted the participants and the audience and thanked the organizers from the Bulgarian governmentand and the Bulgarian Chess Federation.


Details by Ignatius Leong to follow. The chief arbiter is basically explaining the details about the match listed in the 8:00 update.


Now the questions from the media starts, and of course, the first question is to Gata Kamsky, “Why was your arrival to Bulgaria so secret?”. Kamsky replied that it was not a secret, it was according to the organization, and for him it is normal.

The Bulgarian National Radio asks, “The greater number of matches played is an advantage?”. Topalov replied that it does not matter, nor matters the system – weather KO, round robin, or a match. As an example Topalov gave Vishy Anand who has won the title in different formats. Kamsky agreed with Topalov on the subject.

Question from Novinar newspaper, “What does Kamsky think about the condition in the playing hall?”, Kamsky replied that the venue is nice and thatthere is nothing more to comment.

Breaking news: FIDE President announced the next Grand Prix will be on the 12th of March in Kabardino Balkaria organized by Arsen Kanokov.


The press conference continued with questions to Veselin Topalov about his preparation, which of course he tactically avoided. On a later question Kamsky confirmed he did not want to play in Bulgaria, but he has finally agreed. With these questions the press conference finished. The organizers reminded that after eachgame there will be a press conference as well.

The coverage continues, very soon we will bring you more details about the Grand Prix new host city. Update: The Kabardino Balkaria Grand Prix announcement is already on the main page of Chessdom, we will be adding details throughout the day. If you have more questions, feel free to ask in this section of the forum.

The opening ceremony starts in a few hours and meanwhile we will continue bringing you news from Sofia.


The following event in today’s program is a meeting between the FIDE President Kirsan Ilymzhinov and the Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev. Until we wait for official news from there, let’s go back to one of the short, but interestinganswers of Kamsky. Asked if he likes the venue he answered, “It is nice, I do not want to talk about it.” This probably implies that the problems stated above are arranged, and with a better lightning the players can start the match normally.


It has been confirmed that tomorrow’s honorary move will be made by the Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev. The news was officially released by the governmental press service.


Journalists are gathering one more time as the opening ceremony will begin in 1h and 30 minutes. Many reports have already been published in newspapers about the press conference and all of them feature bombastic titles. You can find all kind of ranging from “Spies are looking for Topalov” to “Kamsky wants Topalov in the dark”.


In an interview for a local news agency Silvio Danailov stated one more time that there is no such thing as home advantage in chess. He said, “What do you think, people will enter and start shouting? There will be nothing like this. This is chess.”


After the opening ceremony you will have the chance to see many photos, interesting people, read more interviews and more opinions of chess official. All that on, after the opening ceremony scheduled to start at 17:00.


The organizers sent out a press relese stating there will be journalists from 18 countries covering the event on site. We are happy that Chessdom will be represented by 10 journalists from 4 countries in the playing hall – Spain, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Russia.


The organizers removed the press conference tale and it has been replaced by microphones for the speakers and the translators. Sergey Stanishev and Kirsan Ilymzhinov are expected in the playing hall any minute.


Veselin Topalov entered and he was immediatelly beseidged by photographers. He came with the Prime minister and now it is time for official photos.


There is also a delegation from the American embassy in Sofia.


The ceremony started with a welcoming message for the guests and the Bulgarian national anthem and the anthem of the United States.


No time for applause as some dances started, this time not traditional national as we are used to, but the organizers went for a more classical melody.


The dance is followed by the history of the first World Chess Championship, going through Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, and Max Ewe… followed by dances again, this time with a more modern approach, including elements of acrobatics.


The speaker went throught the history of the next wave of chess champions, including Botvinnik, Tal, etc. And finally what is normal for every chess competition, traditional dances, a typical Bulgarian “horo”.


After long dances, it is time for the story of Petrosian, Spassky, Fisher, Karpov, Kasparov…. and sports dances follow.


Comes the story of the next champions, however, greater attention is given to Anand. This is logical since the winner of Kamsky and Topalov will play Anand for the World Championship.

So the story goes through Kramnik – Topalov and Kramnik – Anand, to reach to another traditional element of Bulgarian culture – the national folklore song that travels in space.


Followed presentation of Kamsky and Topalov, listing their achievements. Finally, a lady is translating in English, so bigger part of the audience will understand the story going on. After some more dances, Veselin Topalov and Gata Kamsky are invited to the stage, together with the arbiters.


The Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev welcomed everyone that is following the event and assured that weeks of emotion, tension, and beautiful play. Stanishev also thanked the BCF for their persistence to organize the event in Bulgaria. Stanishev wished both players nice games, to feel like at home, and to play their best.

Stanishev was fair – he supports Topalov, but hopes of beautiful and inspiring game. “Let the best one win,” finished Stanishev.


Kirsan Ilymzhinov also welcomed everyone on behalf of FIDE. The FIDE President underlined the importance of the event and thanked both players for their contribution to the games.


The most important part of the evening is coming. The draw of colors will start in a few minutes. The colors are placed in special boxes elaborated by Peter Talev.

In the boxes were two bottles of wine. Topalov got the white wine and will play with white in game 1, the red wine was for Kamsky and he will play with black.


That was the end of the opening ceremony, in a few minutes photos from the event will be available in the Chessdom photo gallery and the main page of the site. Tomorrow at 14:00 CET starts the live coverage with GM Dimitrov.

Stay tuned for updates! Feel free to post your questions about the match in this section of the forum.