8/21/2005 - There is an interesting interview of Topalov on Chessbase.
The 2nd best player in the world, Veselin Topalov answered the questions like Football
coach Bill Parcels would have answer them. He didnít expose much of himself. Topalov said anyone
could win this tournament. This is a smart statement. He is not ceding
anything to anyone in particular. He did not make the same mistake that Leko
did. In fact Topalov said he didn't have a clue as to who will win. Well
this reporter does have a clue and Topalov has to be the favorite.
Topalov also said heís been preparing a long time.
In a recent New in
Chess interview, Topalov said: " he was not afraid to lose." I say a champion
can't be afraid to play for a win. However Topalov might be over extending when he
plays Anand. Hopefully Topalov has
prepared specifically for Anand and Morozevich. Both of those players have
given Topalov difficulty in recent years. Topalov has had a hard time against Anand
in 2005. Anand has taken 3 out of 4 points from Topalov. Since
Alexander Morozevich has taken three games from Topalov. I am sure
Topalov knows that his road thru San Luis goes thru Anand, Morozevich and
Topalov is correct to say the winner of this tournament will be a fair
champion. But I would like to add that this fair champion will not be a true champion
until he or she defeats Kramnik in a match. Though I agree with Topalov when he says
the double round robin is the best and most balanced way. This is true for
a tournament, but the tournament format is not the most balanced or best way
to decide a true world champion.
The two main weaknesses of a tournament champion system are that the winner doesnít have to
win against the other top players. The winner could be decided by who wins
the most against the bottom half of the tournament. The other major weakness
is that players could join forces and influence the outcome of the
tournament. This occurred in 1962 Curacao. Three top players of that
tournament, namely Petrosian, Keres and Geller agreed to quick draws against
each other. They saved their strength for Bobby Fischer and Victor
Kortchnoi. Petrosian won that tournament and the right to face Botvinnik in
the 1963 world championship. Petrosian would defeat Botvinnik and became the
9th World Champion. Keres and Geller finished in 2nd
and 3rd places at Curacao. This strategy certainly worked quite well in
keeping both Fischer and Kortchnoi from seriously challenging. They finished
4th and 5th respectively.
Topalov is having an outstanding year. He started 2005 with a third place
finish at Corus. He also tied for first with Garry Kasparov at Linares.
Topalov would take sole possession of first at Mtel and a 2nd place finish
at Dortmund. There is no question, Topalov is playing the best classical
chess in 2005. Topalov should be considered the favorite to win at San Luis.