Topalov on Candidates Matches: "I won't play in Russia"

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TopalovA few days ago, we published an open letter by GM Sutovsky about the current FIDE Candidates Matches problems. Yesterday, Veselin Topalov published an open letter in response to the news that part of the matches might be played in Kazan, Russia.

According to Russian newspaper Kommersant, the Russian Chess Federation has asked FIDE President Ilyumzhinov to move part of the Candidates Matches from Baku, Azerbaijan - not a very pleasant place for Armenian GM Levon Aronian, who has recently announced he won't travel to Baku - to Kazan, Russia.

This, in turn, has prompted Veselin Topalov to write an open letter announcing he refuses to play in Kazan or any other place in Russia, in part because of what happened back in 2006, during 'Toiletgate'. Here is Topalov's open letter as it appeared on Chessdom:

July 22th, Sofia, Bulgaria

Dear President of FIDE, Dear members of the PB,

I am writing an open letter to you regarding the next World Championship Cycle. After many promises and changes I learn that a new place for the Candidates matches is being discussed, the one of Kazan, Russia.

I believe that it is a strategic mistake to stage almost all the cycle in one country. Four events of the FIDE Grand Prix, the World Cup, and now possibly Candidates Matches are in Russia. This transmits the message that FIDE can't find sponsors and Organizers from other countries, which is very sad.

I would also like to state that for me the venue of Kazan, or any other venue in Russia, is totally unacceptable for another reason. Everybody still remembers the unpleasant situations which my team and I had to face during the WCC Match in Elista 2006.

Having in mind all this, I would like to declare that I would not participate in any stage of the cycle for the World Chess Title that takes place in Russia, in order to avoid problems and conflicts that already took place there.

The venue of Baku was rejected by Aronian and this looked natural for everyone. Before that, FIDE have changed their own rules and regulations to avoid the WCC rematch Topalov-Kramnik with Sofia as a venue. I believe it is logical to ask, if I play any matches in the future, (especially against Russian GMs), that they should be outside of Russia.

With respect, Veselin Topalov

You can fine more detailed background information on the Candidates Matches over at Chess in Translation.

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