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Mtel Masters day 2 live

opening ceremony and pairings

mtel masters 2008 topalov

Welcome to the second day of the live coverage of Mtel Masters 2008 on!
After yesterday’s interesting and balanced game between Jason Juett and Veselin Topalov, today we will see the opening ceremony live on Chessdom. It starts at 17:00 CET and until then every hour we will provide interesting updates and information from Sofia.
After the rain showers yesterday, today the weather is better. There is a little sun and it is a little warmer (11 degrees Celsius). After our visit to Halkidiki chess open in Greece last week, this still feels cold.
The center of Sofia and the area around the playing hall – the Military Club – is rather noisy. There are serious traffic jams around, much bigger than what we remember from last year. Supposedly, this happens because it is the first working day after a long weekend.
The street around the playing venue is even more chaotic because there is a metro station in construction right on the other side of the street. This makes all pedestrians go in front of the Military Club.
But let’s go back to chess, or to what it seems to be the most frequent question coming from our contact form . Who is the girl that moved the figures of Topalov in the blindfold game against Juett?
This is WFM Plamena Andreeva (ELO 2107), many times junior champion and medalist of Bulgaria. The Chessdom team met her first during the CCC 2007, in Onda cafe together with WFM Iva Videnova
WFM Andreeva was a semi finalist in the National Chess Championships of 2007.
Yesterday she was the one to make the moves of Veselin Topalov. Not an easy task, since the players were in severe time trouble with less than a minute left on the clocks.
You can see the photos from Plamena’s performance in the Mtel Masters 2008 photo album These photos are from yesterday, there are more than a hundred of them already in the gallery, and we will keep uploading more.
Juett,Jason – Topalov,Veselin

1.e4 d6 2.d4 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Nge2 a6 6.Ng3 Nbd7 7.Be2 c5 8.Be3 cxd4 9.Bxd4 0-0 10.0-0 b6 11.Nd5 h5 12.Bf3 e5 13.Nxf6+ Nxf6 14.Be3 Be6 15.Qd3 Qc7 16.Rfd1 Qxc4 17.Qxc4 Bxc4 18.b3 Be6 19.Bxb6 Rfc8 20.Rxd6 a5 21.Rad1 a4 22.Rd8+ Rxd8 23.Rxd8+ Rxd8 24.Bxd8 axb3 25.axb3 Bxb3 26.Kf1 Nd7 27.Ne2 Bc4 28.Ke1 Bf8 29.Kd2 Bc5 30.Ke1 Bb4+ 31.Kf1 f6 32.Kg1 Kf7 33.Nc1 Nc5 34.Bb6 Na4 35.Be3 Bc5 36.Bxc5 Nxc5 37.g3 Ke7 38.Bg2 Kd6 39.f3 Ne6 40.Bf1 Kc5 41.Bxc4 Kxc4 42.Kf2 Nc5 43.Ke3 g5 44.Ne2 Nb3 45.h3 Nd4 46.Nc1 Kc3 47.Na2+ Kc4 48.Nc1 Nc2+ 49.Kf2 Nb4 50.Ke3 h4 51.g4 1/2-1/2

These are the moves from the Juett-Topalov game. As Veselin said right after the end of the game, Jason showed serious opening preparation. Jason Juett on the other hand was modest and said, “I felt outplayed during the whole game”
Actually Jason could have held the draw on several occasions, but his last move allows a winning path for Topalov’s knight. The draw was proposed by Topalov, as there was less than a minute on the clock. It would have been impossible for Plamena Andreeva to transmit the moves from and to Topalov and the draw was agreed.
Very nice game by Juett, who has 2000+ rating on the January FIDE rating list. Juett is a 23-year-old mathematician from the USA. Last year he won the game Play like Topalov, that took place during M-Tel Masters 2007. Juett guessed correctly a total of 250 moves of Topalov.
We have just received an interesting suggestion by a reader, Mark from London. He proposes Topalov to go to the next casting of “Pirates of the Carribean” :)
To be honest, Topalov did not feel very comfortable with the size of the “towel” around his face. After Plamena had put it, he asked for assistance, “Can somebody free my ears, I cannot hear!”
Last year Topalov played with a very similar outfit his game against Alex Brunetti. Then, Topalov did not complain at all, but yesterday he seemed uncomfortable on the chair.
The outfit, though, was probably what least bothered Topalov. The people were very close to the improvised scene and the noise level was constantly high. The 10 tone glass aquarium where the games will be played, was still under construction.
The “aquarium” itself is very spacious and gives nice comfort for the players. But it better works by Friday because it is taking up 50% of the hall and there is no other reasonable solution for table placement.
The playing hall itself is on one of the central streets of the town. On the same street is the Parliament, the Sofia University, the Central Department Store, the President’s hall.
On the left of the playing hall is the disco “Chervilo”, and on it’s right is the Russian Church. Right against the Russian Church is the only chess cafe in Bulgaria – Onda. Topalov inagurated it last year and played a friendly game with the owner of the cafe.
Next to Onda is what is creating chaos in the whole zone. For about 10 months a metro station construction is going on. This eliminates the sidewalk and all people pass in front of the Mtel Masters venue.
The venue itself is 1 minute walking from the old venue, the Grand Hotel Sofia. There is the famous chess garden where people stay and play chess all day long.
Some hot news have just come in the press center. Boris Spaski is going to come in Sofia, but later than what was expected. He was supposed to make a simul on the first day of the competition. Finally, the simul will happen, but a week later.
Spaski will land in Sofia on the 14th of may with a flight from France. He will play on the 16th of May against 16 journalists. We will have more info about the simul later this week.
We will be back with the live blogging from Mtel Masters in a few minutes. Reader’s comments have been enabled for the next 30 minutes, feel free to leave your questions.
[Comment From mike]
Have all the players arrived? You said about Topalov, Aronian, and Cheparinov, but I couldn’t see the rest on the photos.
[Comment From zvety]
I believe they have, however they did not parttake in the blindfold game. You probably will see them on the photos of the opening ceremony that is today.
[Comment From Saunders]
Will the sound proof glass be ready?
[Comment From Todor]
What are the chances of other players to beat Topalov?
And we’re back with the live blogging! Thank you for sending your questions.

@mike : All players have arrived. However, only Topalov was present at the game with Juett, the rest were not in the hall.
@Saunders : The glass aquarium is ready, but there is additional work on it – improvement in the soundproof technology, cleaning up, arranging the interior. Everything indicates the game will be played inside.
@Todor : Everyone has chances, the competition is wide open. It is true opalov has won it 3 consecutive times, but in today’s chess we have to get more and more used to surprises.
Feel free to send your questions through this live blog or at , we will make sure to provide you all the necessary info.
The official press conference has started a few minutes ago. Expect fresh info right after its end.
The photos will appear later today in the photo album
This year we will not see Mamedyarov at Mtel Masters, however, we continue to hear about him. In an interview for a local Azeri media, Mamedyarov shared, “Without Anand, Topalov, and Kramnik it was not fun in Baku.”
Mamedyarov continued, “I was close to the victory, but something was not enough. Gashimov chose the right strategy and took the tournament. I liked the most the game with Carlsen, he was the top seeded and it was a difficult game.”
At the same time Radjabov got attacked by the media and the local 24tv channel and they named him “the looser of the tournament”. Clearly that was not the best tournament for Radjabov, but he had very good games and logical final standing. He will surely come to show his best in Sofia.
[Comment From Todor]
Any news from the press conference?
No, not yet. It is still going on.
An interesting press release was sent to the media in Bulgaria a few days ago. Here is the full text.

The international chess and football federations are firm in their statements that the game Levski – Chess United will be replayed on 13 May at 12:30 local time. This became clear after official announcements from the two organizations.

On 15 May last year the chess players lost, but they submitted a letter of complaint right after the last whistle of the referee – the CEO of M-Tel Josef Vinatzer, because of the scandalously disallowed goal of Ivan Cheparinov in the last seconds of the game. Back then for the Blues played the executive director of the team Nasko Sirakov and the head coach Stanimir Stoilov, while Kiprian Berbatov, a cousin of the Tottenham star Dimitar, got his name on the score sheet for Chess United.

“I am pleased with the decision of FIDE and FIFA which is a triumph of justice,” shared the coach of the chess players Silvio Danailov. – “The boys will give their all to take a worthy revenge”.

2 hours before the end of the transfer window Chess United managed to obtain the services of the man who swam the La Manche channel for a world record time – Petar Stoychev. It is expected that the 7-time World Cup winner in swimming marathon will reinforce the defense of the Grandmasters. The skipper Veselin Topalov will lead on the pitch a lineup including Vassily Ivanchuk from Ukraine, Bu Xiangzhi from China, Levon Aronian from Armenia, Teimour Radjabov from Azerbaijan and Ivan Cheparinov. All of them are participants in the fourth edition of the super chess tournament M-Tel Masters.

Traditionally the coach of PFC Levski Stanimir Stoilov will announce his lineup two hours before the first referee whistle.

The two teams will play two halves of 10 minutes on a small football field.
Video from last year’s game can be seen at
The “scandal” itself is described at
(the above news was posted May 2007)
It is very interesting to see who will be the seconds of the players at Mtel Masters. Cheparinov will not be Topalov’s and vice versa, that is for sure. Probably Vallejo will come help Topalov, but that has to be confirmed.
Radjabov was with Igor Nataf in Baku and will probably use him in Sofia as well.
Hopefully after the press conference we will have the chance to find out the other seconds at Mtel Masters.
Now we will take a 30 minutes break. Feel free to leave questions and come back in 30 minutes

All the news about Mtel Masters can be found at
11:48 [Be Right Back Countdown] 30 minutes
And we are back :)
The pres conference is over, a really long one this time. It covered general questions about the Grand Slam and specific topics about this year’s edition of Mtel Masters.
In general there is nothing new than what you have seen in and in
There is only one important correction. As Aronian is already invited to the final Grand Slam in Bilbao, if he wins the competition the second in the standings will go there.
Aronian shared, “I always participate in tournaments to win them. I do not care that I have qualified for the final after winning Corus, I play to win. However, I am not sure what my current form is. I haven’t played in competitions for a month, a month that I dedicated to my family.”
And a very very fresh news from the last minutes, that again you can see only in the live blog of Chessdom. Chess United (the soccer team of Mtel Masters players) received unexpected support against Levski. The Mtel director has fired the coach of Levski, Stanimir Stoilov, about an hour ago.

With this same coach Levski was the first Bulgarian team to enter in the champions league. This leaves Levski without a coach against Chess United, something that was not expected by Danailov or anyone else from the organizers of the match.
This puts a question mark on the soccer event in the rest day. We will try to get in touch with the organizers this afternoon to confirm if there will be such an event.
Getting back to the press conference after the surprising news, the players at Mtel Masters will play their games on chairs from the 16th. The chair of Veselin Topalov will be put on a bid with initial price of 750 eur. The money will be given to the participants in the starting “Mtel Masters Junior” that will be a chain of tournaments in 4 cities.

The unique chairs from the 16th century can be seen here and here
While Aronian doubts in his own form (see above), Cheparinov showed high self confidence. He said, “I hope this will be a good tournament for me and I can use the experience I gained in Baku. This is the strongest tournament in my life and I want to show my best”.
Cheparinov does not have official games against Topalov, Aronian, and Bu Xiangzhi. With Ivanchuk he has +1 =1 -1, and with Radjabov +0 =2 -1
Ivanchuk was asked who is the strongest chess player after Kasparov decided to quit. The Ukranian answered, “He was an exceptional chess player, but for their time such have been Alekhine and Capablanca. So we cannot compare to the past. At this moment I find the style of Morozevich the most attractive.”
Teimour Radjabov will play on Mtel Masters 2008 for the first time. At the press conference he said, “I will play in the Chess United vs Levski match only because I am obliged to. I haven’t played soccer since I was 14” After the sack of the coach of Levski Stanimir Stoilov and the statement by Radjabov, the match that last year created so much interest is in danger.
Radjabov also talked about Baku, “I played very well, but in the endmy score was not good.”
Radjabov continued, “To be honest the series of competitions Odessa Rapid Cup, Corus, Morelia-Linares, Russian Team Championship, and Baku is very heavy. I hope I can do well in Sofia.”
In about an hour starts the opening ceremony. The official guest speaker will be the President Georgi Parvanov. Chessdom will be there as well and you will have all the info right from the playing hall!
We will be back in 30 minutes with more news from the playing hall. See you there!
[Comment From Dimitar Panayotov]
30 minutes have passed:))) joking:))) very nice idea bravo chessdom:)))
[Comment From savils]
very nice touch by chessdom, I just love the new look!
[Comment From anon]
when do games begin?
Hello everyone! We are back and yes its been more than 30 minutes :)
but ok, there was the opening ceremony and lots of stories to tell
The President of Bulgaria, Georgi Parvanov, has officially opened the Mtel Masters 2008. This happened a few minutes ago in the Military Club in Sofia, where the games will take place. At the event were many official guests among which the Mtel director Joseph Vinatzer
Since you are eager to know the pairings, the first round games are as follows:

Aronian – Topalov
Cheparinov – Bu
Raadjabov – Ivanchuk
@anon : the first round starts tomorrow 14:00 CET
[Comment From Per]
do you know who is Cheparinov’s second?
@Per : We have suspicions, but let’s not spread rumors around. Tomorrow we will have the chance to ask him at the first press conference. To be honest, all the Chessdom team is curious as well :)
Of course, you will know it as soon as we do. The information will appear in the general page for Mtel Masters where all the articles from this year’s edition can be found.
Funny enough, everyone was in a dark suit at the ceremony except for Cheparinov. Will this be a lucky charm?
[Comment From Per]
Ivanchuk in suit? *shock*
Ivanchuk was in a suit, elegant with a yellow tie. You will see the photos later, there are some very interesting ones. Just as a preview, Topalov gave as a present to President Parvanov a very funny poster.
[Comment From IW]
Where can I see the blindfold game from yesterday
@ IW : you can scroll up this live bloging and find it at 9:20
Here we post it one more time

Juett,Jason – Topalov,Veselin

1.e4 d6 2.d4 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Nge2 a6 6.Ng3 Nbd7 7.Be2 c5 8.Be3 cxd4 9.Bxd4 0-0 10.0-0 b6 11.Nd5 h5 12.Bf3 e5 13.Nxf6+ Nxf6 14.Be3 Be6 15.Qd3 Qc7 16.Rfd1 Qxc4 17.Qxc4 Bxc4 18.b3 Be6 19.Bxb6 Rfc8 20.Rxd6 a5 21.Rad1 a4 22.Rd8+ Rxd8 23.Rxd8+ Rxd8 24.Bxd8 axb3 25.axb3 Bxb3 26.Kf1 Nd7 27.Ne2 Bc4 28.Ke1 Bf8 29.Kd2 Bc5 30.Ke1 Bb4+ 31.Kf1 f6 32.Kg1 Kf7 33.Nc1 Nc5 34.Bb6 Na4 35.Be3 Bc5 36.Bxc5 Nxc5 37.g3 Ke7 38.Bg2 Kd6 39.f3 Ne6 40.Bf1 Kc5 41.Bxc4 Kxc4 42.Kf2 Nc5 43.Ke3 g5 44.Ne2 Nb3 45.h3 Nd4 46.Nc1 Kc3 47.Na2+ Kc4 48.Nc1 Nc2+ 49.Kf2 Nb4 50.Ke3 h4 51.g4 1/2-1/2
We remind you that the photos from the event are at the Chessdom photo album
At this moment the cocktail party after the opening ceremony is finishing.
[Comment From The Clap]
So what is Chessdoms prediction. Another MTel for Topa, or will Aronian take his first? (=
[Comment From savils]
Where can I see games of Aronian – Topalov, Chepa – Bu, and Radja – Ivanchuk?
@ The Clap : It is so difficult to give predictions in today’s chess. Topalov has won 3 times Mtel Masters, but the young players are always dangerous for him. On the other hand we know what surprising streaks Ivanchuk makes, so it is impossible to predict.
[Comment From Per]
I think anyone could win, last year Sasikiran was first before the last round
Because of the many requests here is the replayable game Juett – Topalov
@ savils : There are commented games of Aronian and Topalov at Chessdom. this is a recent one from Corus.

Cheparinov and Bu have never met in an official game.

Here is a game of Ivanchuk and Radjabov as well

[Comment From The Clap]
Will be interesting to see if Bu can do a “Wang” as well… I have to say I hope for Chucky. He deserves a few big wins again.
8:04 [Image popup] 0000000029.jpg View
lcick above for a photo of Ivanchuk from the press conference
8:05 [Image popup] 0000000033.jpg View
And this one is the official photo from the press conference with all the players
(could be a bit heavy, it is not optimized)
If you have problems loading the photos, try the optimized version at (the last two photos)
With this we will be closing the live blog for today. Expect us again tomorrow, live on! The blog will be open early in the morning (9:00 am Sofia time) and will continue all day long.

Have a nice evening!

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