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Vesselin Topalov: It is urgent that a huge amount of funds be invested in modern chess

Reckless decision on my part in the last game deprived me of at least a draw against Viswanathan Anand, stated the Bulgarian Grandmaster

  • Автор: klassa.bg
  • Date: 22.6.2010
  • Views: 2376

Danail Kisov

Mr. Topalov, what are your impressions of the game of the high school students against the supercomputer IBM-Blue Gene/P?
- Generally, every unprofessional player stands no chance against this computer. Nevertheless, owing to my assistance in the second game, we managed to reach a draw, which is something I had not actually expected. In fact, when there are no errors on the part of the chess player, parity could be achieved. If you play the correct moves, there is some chance to conquer the machine. You have to bear in mind that starting with the white figures is always easier. So I think that the result of 2,5:0,5 was to be anticipated. The most important thing is that a company like IBM is interested in chess and that Bulgaria is among the five countries in the world that has such a computer at its disposal, which is incredibly useful. 

What is the role of high technology in modern chess?
- Personally, I bought my first laptop in 1992. At that time, computer programmes themselves were not that developed and laptops were used primarily as a library database. Instead of going with a briefcase with chess books, I walked with it. By the way, when the first computer programmes appeared 20-25 years ago, they were so simple that nobody believed that they will develop so quickly. This miserable state lasted until 1997 when Garry Kasparov lost from Deep Blue, an IBM computer. However, I think that currently the actual power of computers is greater than that of a player. In around 99, 9% of the cases the computer offers a pretty good move. In fact, the main reason is that virtually the machine can never go wrong. The IBM computer has helped me a lot during my preparatory training. This does not guarantee my winning, but it allows me to begin my chess games with an advantage. 

It has been two m
onths since the match for the world title with Viswanathan Anand and you have already analysed the individual games. Did you find the answer for yourself - why did you lose?
 - For me, Anand had a very good defence. He used pretty well all his chances, while I failed to use mine in the best way. My loss is relative, because I took a conscious risk in the last game. This proved a somewhat reckless decision, because the game could have ended in a draw. Actually, I was interested only in winning the title from Anand, not to finish on a par with him. 

 You define the big chess system as a pyramid and always state that you cannot play in tournaments for less money. Why is that? 
- More or less, this is very relative. The world champion and the superior bodies should require the best conditions in order to earn reasonable amount of funds. In this sense, it is like a pyramid. If a given grandmaster plays for less money, then how much money will a master take? It is therefore urgent huge amount of funds to be invested into modern chess. 

Is chess an expensive sport and what annual budget is necessary to maintain a good level?

 - Chess is not an expensive sport. For example, it is cheaper for a child to train chess than many other sports. Actually, he or she will only need a laptop. Chess programmes for learning the game are relatively cheap and many of them can be downloaded free-of-charge from the Internet. They are even suitable for self-training. For me, most of the money invested in my preparation was for upgrading my computers, making them more powerful each year. Otherwise, funds are necessary to hire a strong training team for a certain match. Good trainers give you better ideas and these are the most valuable and expensive in chess. Your opponent will not know what they have come up with. It is the ideas that make a difference in a game.

Which are your sponsors at present? Are you going to sign any future contracts?
 - For many years now, we have had an excellent partnership with the mobile operator M-Tel. Two years ago, Societe Generale Expressbank was my sponsor and I was quite pleased with this. When playing in international tournaments, the events are in most cases sponsored by banks. The money is not intended for the player in person, but for the tournament. IBM is one of the frequent sponsors of chess players.

Will you support Silvio Danailov's candidature for President of the European Chess Union?
 - He has achieved a lot without occupying any official post in the international chess. Let us not forget what kind of matches he has organised, like the one with Anand and between Gata Kamsky and Viswanathan. He personally set up two new tournaments - the one in Bilbao and the other in China. That is why, if he is on any position in the FIDE in the European Chess Union, his potentialities will be quite large. And I think that he is able to find much more financing for chess players and tournaments.

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