Kinks in Kamsky Match Resolved
By FM Mike Klein   
November 20, 2008
thumb_kamskycb.jpgDespite a busy February for GMs Gata Kamsky and Veselin Topalov, managers of both players have arduously hammered out the details at the Chess Olympiad in Dresden. According to Silvio Danailov, Topalov’s long-time manager, the contracts were signed today.

“The match will be in Sofia from the 16th (of February, 2009) for the opening ceremonies,” he announced at a press conference following round seven. “First game is the 17th and will be done by the 28th if tiebreakers are needed…Now I think this match will happen and it will be a big event for Bulgaria and chess in general.”

Danailov said that those were the only possible match days to allow Kamsky to play in Corus and get the two-week break afterward that he requested. He said Topalov will have to back out of his contract to play in Linares but that he had the blessing of the Spanish organizers there. “This was cancelled in friendly terms,” Danailov said.

He said the total prize fund for the players will be $250,000, to be split evenly regardless of result. FIDE will take a $50,000 cut. This represents a $100,000 increase from previous Bulgarian bids but is far less than the $750,000 that was offered by Alexander Chernenko and guaranteed by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Both parties moved swiftly once they realized Chernenko’s offer and Ilyumzhinov’s backing were both unreliable.

“That was really the main problem,” said GM Emil Sutovsky, who was asked last week to represent Kamsky. He said there were two solutions to the problem – confrontation and possible litigation, or an appeal to FIDE for certain match conditions. “FIDE needs to finish the cycle.”

“Both parties agreed that if we don’t reach an agreement at that moment then there is no match at all,” Danailov said.

“Gata cannot be happy to play on a rival’s home soil,” Sutovsky said, “but we ask for fair play and equal conditions.” He said that 90 percent of the nearly ten hours of closed-door meetings pertained to security concerns and other technical matters. Earlier, FIDE Treasurer Nigel Freeman, who will be on the appeals committee for the match, praised Sutovsky for his lucid stewardship of Kamsky’s interests.

“I never intended to be involved as a manager,” Sutovsky said. “I see myself as more of a chess player than as a preparer.” Still, in Sofia he said he will reprise his role as one of Kamsky’s seconds (he also served in that capacity at the 2007 World Cup, which Kamsky won to earn the match with Topalov). “Definitely I would help chess-wise, but I wouldn’t be alone, that would be impossible,” Sutovsky said.

The winner of the February match will go on to face World Champion GM Viswanathan Anand, who defeated GM Vladimir Kramnik earlier this month.