MTel Masters cancelled

PeterDoggers
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There will be no MTel Masters this year. The sponsor is not willing to support both the tournament and the upcoming World Championship match in Sofia, between Anand and Topalov. This was revealed already five days ago by Silvio Danailov in an interview with Bulgarian newspaper Trud, but only emerged in the chess media yesterday.

TrudOn March 26th Bulgarian daily Trud published an interview with Silvio Danailov, organizer, manager of Veselin Topalov and executive director of the Grand Slam Chess Association. Yesterday Chessdom published a full English translation. The most newsworthy is the final part:

It is already clear that there is not going to be a supertournament Mtel Masters? We discussed extensively the idea with the sponsor, since the deadlines did not allow us to organize two big tournaments for such a short period of time – the match with Anand and Mtel Masters.

One of the explanations was that the match with Anand will generate great interest and the tournament will fade away. I did not share this opinion and believe that it is quite the contrary – the popularity of chess after the match would have been greater and the tournament could only benefit from it. Nevertheless, the sponsor decided and they chose not to have Mtel Masters this year, they will only sponsor Topalov personally during the match.

Isn't this going to eventually have a repercussion on the reputation of the tournament for the coming year? It will have a repercussion, but in history there have been such cases with other tournaments – both with Corus and Linares.

But also you are falling in a uncomfortable situation as ideologist and creator of the Grand Slam, part of which is Mtel Masters. Yes, it is not pleasant. But, regretfully, now there is nothing more to be done. There is a temporary crisis, the same in the rest of the world. Chess, after all, is not such an expensive sport and I hope that next year there will be no longer problems.


The main sponsors of the Anand-Topalov match are the Bulgarian government, MTel (the largest GSM mobile phone operator in Bulgaria)

Update: it seems that despite having their logo on the official website, MTel isn't sponsoring the match either. According to Silvio Danailov, the company was invited to become a sponsor of the match, but has been denied. "However, we put their logo on the official site of the match for the world crown of gratitude." This was reported by Dnevnik.

...and Spectrum Net (a Bulgarian internet and telecommunication company). A total sum of 3 million Euros has been collected: 2 million for prize fund, 400,000 FIDE taxes, and 600,000 for organizational costs. The match will take place April 21-May 12, with the first game being played on April 23rd.

The cancellation of the MTel Masters can be considered a major blow for both Silvio Danailov and the Grand Slam Chess Association. As a Presidential candidate for the European Chess Union, Danailov has something to explain during his campaign. Besides, he has some problems to solve with his Grand Slam colleagues.

For the 2010 Masters Final (this year scheduled to be held in both Bilbao and Shanghai), only Magnus Carlsen and Veselin Topalov qualified so far. Carlsen won both the Nanjing tournament and Corus, Topalov Linares. But to our knowledge no other Grand Slam tournament will be held until September; the Bazna tournament in Romania still hasn't been officially included in the Grand Slam.

On a final note, we discovered that the domain mtelmasters.com, where the official websites of the first five MTel Masters tournaments were stalled, expired...

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