The former chess world champion, Vladimir Kranmik, has spoken out in support of Indian player Viswanathan Anand for his forthcoming match against Bulgarian Veselin Topalov.
The Russian has contended that the decision to stage the tournament in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, is not correct, as it injures the interests of Anand.
“Anand is a better player and I think he is the favorite in the match. I’ve played many times against both. This is nothing personal, but a purely objective assessment,” Kramnik said in an interview on the chessbase.com web site.
“There is a FIDE rule which says that the match cannot be played in the country of one of the players. Anand has every right to refuse and cannot be disqualified,” Kranmik explained.
The row erupted several days ago, when Bulgarian Silvio Danailov, Topalov’s manager, revealed that the international chess federation FIDE had asked Anand to play the Sofia World Title Match according to the “Sofia Rules”, but that Anand’s manager and wife, Aruna Anand, has rejected this proposal because of concerns over the selection of judges and the appeals committee.
The Russian ex-champion Kranmik admitted that he would be keeping his fingers crossed for Anand, “because it would be better for chess”.
The face-off between current world champion Viswanathan Anand from India and Bulgaria’s chess master Veselin Topalov, who is currently number one in the FIDE world ranking (Anand is third), will begin on April 21, 2010.
Topalov and Anand will play 12 games. If they end up level on wins, they will hold a tiebreaker including 4 games of fast chess. In 140 years of chess championships, there have been 19 World Title matches.