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Topalov Trying to Get Back on Top

Dresden, 25/11/2008

Highest-rated player two matches from regaining title

GM Veselin Topalov, former world champion, is clearing out his schedule, finally. After the on-again, off-again match with GM Gata Kamsky is now back on again, he backed out of Linares to accommodate it. He said he does not like to rescind his word when he commits, but there was no other choice. The match will now take place in Sofia, Bulgaria in February.

"So far my score is quite positive," Topalov said of his few historical clashes with Kamsky, before saying that, "he's getting (back) to the level of his best chess before he stopped." Kamsky retired from professional chess in the late 1990s, but returned several years ago.

The two men are less than a year apart in age and Topalov says his generation is able to still compete with the younger players due to better physical and mental conditioning. "This is what I like about chess now," he said. "There are good players of many different generations. Kasparov, objectively, was superior to all of us, but I was not inferior to any other opponents (from 2001-2008)."

"[Kamsky's] style is quite universal," Topalov said. "He is good endgame player. He was really motivated when he was young." Topalov said Kamsky performed well in matches in the 1990s due to his strong nerves. "But it's bad luck that he played too many matches."

The winner of the match will go on to face GM Viswanathan Anand for the world championship. Topalov is just happy the contracts are finally signed. "The last thing you can do is to change the rules in the middle of the cycle. One we had this cycle, we had to finish. You cannot change every two months. Players make plans."

Text: Mike Klein
Photo: Georgios Souleidis