Topalov, a former World champion and reigning Linares champion, shares his thoughts on Anand and world chess in an email interview. Excerpts:
How tough was the World Championship match against Anand?
Physically the match was not so difficult. Twelve games are not so many and there were many rest days. Knockout format is much tougher in this sense. Mentally of course, the tension was very high, but it is also true that top chess players are used to pressure.
According to some reports, it seems Anand was helped by Kasparov, Kramnik and Carlsen for the match. Your comments.
I do not think Anand should be very proud of this. Especially by the fact he accepted help from the first two. I have been among the chess elite for 15 years and perfectly remember how Kasparov treated Anand for years. And not long before the World Championship match in Bonn 2008, Anand had to stand the arrogant statements of his opponent in the press. I would never accept help from people who humiliated me for years even for free. But it seems Anand is different.
Do you think you have got enough recognition for your stance of not accepting draws and making the game uncompromising and more entertaining?
Yes, I think so. Since the Sofia rules (no quick and agreed draws) were invented by my manager Silvio Danailov back in 2005, the results are very positive. Sponsors liked them and new tournaments appeared. Media interest for chess has grown up and prizes increased. For winning the world title in 2005 I received $300,000 and five years later Anand got $1.5 million. This speaks for itself.
Do you think Anand is the most complete player?
Yes, that is something no one can deny. Also, he has been a Rapid World Champion, very strong in blitz play and one of the best blindfold players in the world.
What are your thoughts on Anand?
I think being a world champion is a great responsibility. He has to collaborate with FIDE and attract new sponsors to chess. But Anand does not have a professional team behind him and has failed to find sponsors. India could be a paradise for chess, but the fact that he has not played a single tournament in India since 2002 can only mean two things: either Anand does not like to play in India, or his team is not capable to stage a top level event.