Anand-Topalov: all the info

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
In just nine days the World Championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Veselin Topalov will start in Sofia, Bulgaria. The opening ceremony is in exactly one week from now. The two will play a 12-game match and possibly a rapid tiebreak. We bring you all details.


The upcoming World Championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Veselin Topalov will be the first match since Capablanca-Lasker (1921) in which no Soviet or Russian player is involved. It will be the third match that will yield an "undisputed" World Champion, after the chess world had to deal with a schism from 1993 till 2006. When Veselin Topalov and Vladimir Kramnik played their "reunification" match in 2006 in Elista, the line of "FIDE champions" and the line of "match champions" (Kasparov and Kramnik) came together again.

A year later, in September 2007, the winner of the reunification match, Vladimir Kramnik, lost his title at the World Championship tournament in Mexico City. That tournament was won by Viswanathan Anand, who thus took over the world title. To some this title was still not undisputed: they argued that a Chess World Championship should be fought out in a match.

The only top player who didn't play in Mexico City was Veselin Topalov. With FIDE he had arranged "compensation" for this: the privilege to play a match against the winner of the 2007 World Cup, to determine the challenger for the 2010 World Championship match. At first this arrangement was widely criticized, but when Topalov kept on leading the world rankings, less and less people were having problems with seeing the Bulgarian playing for the World Title again.

Due to many problems involving venues and managers, this challengers match between Topalov and Gata Kamsky (who had won the 2007 World Cup) took place in February 2009, four months after the new World Championship match was played. In this match, played in Bonn, Germany in October 2008, Viswanathan Anand had retained his World Title against Vladimir Kramnik, who had inherited the right for a return match. The challengers math was won by Topalov, who thus qualified for the upcoming match for the highest title.

The 2010 match

The 2010 World Championship match is the final event of the current World Championship cycle. The winner will be declared World Champion for the period 2010-2011. The match will take place April 21 - May 12 in Sofia, Bulgaria. The match will consist of 12 games, and if necessary, a 4-game rapid tiebreak, if necessary 5 2-game blitz matches and if necessary 1 sudden death game.

The classical games will be played in pairs of 2, so there will be a rest day after every 2 games. No postponements are allowed. The draw for colours will be conducted during the opening ceremony. To prevent having the same player starting with the same colour after a rest day all the time, the colours are reversed after 6 games.


April 21 – 18.00 EEST (15.00 UTC) - Official opening
April 23 – 15.00 EEST (12.00 UTC) - Game 1
April 24 – 15.00 EEST (12.00 UTC) - Game 2
April 25 – Rest Day
April 26 – 15.00 EEST (12.00 UTC) - Game 3
April 27 – 15.00 EEST (12.00 UTC) - Game 4
April 28 – Rest Day
April 29 – 15.00 EEST (12.00 UTC) - Game 5
April 30 – 15.00 EEST (12.00 UTC) - Game 6
May 1 – Rest Day
May 2 – 15.00 EEST (12.00 UTC) - Game 7
May 3 – 15.00 EEST (12.00 UTC) - Game 8
May 4 – Rest Day
May 5 – 15.00 EEST (12.00 UTC) - Game 9
May 6 – 15.00 EEST (12.00 UTC) - Game 10
May 7 – Rest Day
May 8 – 15.00 EEST (12.00 UTC) - Game 11
May 9 – Rest Day
May 10 – 15.00 EEST (12.00 UTC) - Game 12
May 11 – Rest Day
May 12 – Tie breaks


World Champion Viswanathan Anand, India, 11 December 1969 (40 years old). Still one of the fastest chess players in the circuit. Known for his pragmatic but universal playing style. The strongest rapid chess player ever. Lost a PCA World Championship match against Garry Kasparov back in 1995. Held the FIDE World Chess Championship from 2000 to 2002. One of five players in history to break the 2800 mark on the FIDE rating list, and in April 2007 at the age of 37, he became the oldest person to become world number-one for the first time. He was at the top of the world rankings five out of six times, from April 2007 to July 2008, holding the number-one ranking for a total of 15 months. Awarded India's second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, in 2008, as the first sport-person who got this award in Indian history.

Challenger Veselin Topalov, Bulgaria, 15 March 1975 (35 years old). Former FIDE world chess champion and former world's number one. Known for his fighting spirit and aggressive playing style, with trademark exchange sacrifices. Won the FIDE World Chess Championship 2005 in San Luis, Argentina. Lost his title in the World Chess Championship 2006 match against Vladimir Kramnik, during which he accused his opponent of cheating. Was ranked #1 in the world from April 2006 to January 2007, and had the second highest Elo rating of all time (2813). He regained the world #1 ranking again in October 2008, and officially remained #1 until January 2010, when he fell to #2 behind Magnus Carlsen. Has been ranked number one a total of 27 months in his career, fourth all-time since the inception of the FIDE ranking lists in 1971 behind only Garry Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov, and Bobby Fischer.

Previous games

Before this match, Anand and Topalov met 87 times. Anand scored 55%: he won 23 times, drew 50 times and lost 14 times. However, this includes rapid, blitz and blindfold games. If we only look at the classical games, in a total of 44 games, Topalov won 11 games, Anand 10 and 23 games were drawn.

All previous games for replay

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Time control

The time control for each game shall be: 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting after move 61. The time control for the tiebreak is 25 minutes for each player with an increment of 10 seconds after each move (4 games) and if necessary 5 minutes plus 3 seconds increment after each move (2 blitz games). The sudden death game will have the player with the white pieces receiving 5 minutes, the player with the black pieces 4 minutes whereupon, after the 60th move, both players shall receive an increment of 3 seconds from move 61. In case of a draw the player with the black pieces is declared the winner.

Playing conditions

Only the players and stewards shall be allowed in the actual playing area except with the permission of the Chief Arbiter or his Deputy. Both players will have access to the same toilet facilities during the games. There will be no separate rest rooms for the players during the games. Both players shall use the same rest lounge area which shall be on/at the stage and visible by the Arbiter and the spectators.


The Chief Arbiter is Panaqiotis Nikolopoulos (Greece). The Deputy Chief Arbiter is Werner Stubenvoll (Austria).


The venue of the match is the Central Military Club in Sofia, Bulgaria, where the MTel Masters tournament has been held as well. Zoom in below in the map to find the exact location.

The Central Military Club is one of the first monumental public structures after the Liberation. Its foundation stone is laid in 1895 on land bought by the Sofia Officers' Council for 180,000 golden levs. The building, planed and constructed according to the project of the famous Czech architect Antonin Kolar in the Neo-Renaissance style, was completed by the Bulgarian architect Nikola Lazarov and is typical for the Post-Liberation. The three functionally separated floors are allocated typically as for club buildings from the late XIX century.


Tickets for the match will be sold in the Central Military Club. Online purchase won't be available. The ticket price: 10 BGN (5 EUR).

Organizers & sponsors

The match is officially organized by the Bulgarian Ministery of Physical Education and Sports, and the Executive Committee is the Bulgarian Chess Federation. Besides the Bulgarian government the companies Spectrum Net (a Bulgarian internet and telecommunication company) and IBM sponsor the match.

Update: it seems that despite having their logo on the official website, MTel isn't sponsoring the match (after they also refused sponsorship for this year's MTel Masters). According to Silvio Danailov, the company was invited to become a sponsor of the match, but declined. "However, we put their logo on the official site of the match for the world crown of gratitude." This was reported by Dnevnik.

Prize fund

The total prize fund is 3 million Euros: 2 million for the players, 400,000 for FIDE taxes and 600,000 for organizational costs. The winner will receive 1,2 million Euros while the loser receives 800.000 Euros.

Opening ceremony

The opening ceremony will take place in one week from now, on Wednesday, April 21st at 18.00 local time (so not "one day prior to the first round", as is mentioned in the FIDE rules & regulations). Chessdom mentioned a few details:

In the beginning a 20 minutes movie will be projected. It is about chess history, the beginning of the game in India, and its spreading to the Balkans thanks to the proto-Bulgarians. The presentation of each player at the opening ceremony will be 4-5 minutes, with their favorite songs in the background.

Coverage by ChessVibes

ChessVibes will bring on-the-spot coverage from the venue. (Your editor-in-chief booked an appartment close to the venue, so that's all settled!) This means exclusive photo and video material as well as inside stories and interviews. We'll try to bring the games live as well, but we haven't received confirmation yet that the organizers allow other media to do this.

Last week on the homepage (middle column) we put a poll, which for the moment gives Anand as the favourite to win the match, according to our visitors. We have asked many top 20 players what they think, and we'll publish their opinions later this week. Stay tuned!


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