Silvio Danailov: “Karpov Lost, Kasparov Lost, the Only One Who Remained Is Me”

I will have now more time for the Bulgarian chess and Topalov. I want the wreath of Vesko’s career to be a match for the title with Carlsen, said Danailov.

An interview by Maria Dimitrova

Silvio Danailov won a new term as head of the Bulgarian Chess Federation. During the General Assembly meeting, which was held on 13th of December, 2014 in hotel “Bankya Palace” near Sofia, the manager of Veselin Topalov received 47 votes in his favor from the present 59 delegates. The General Assembly voted him confidence again and he appealed to delegates to be united and in the future to be led only by the love to the ancient game. As Vice Presidents were elected prof. Nikolay Nedkov and Ivan Genov. The new Board members are the sociologist Vasil Tonchev, MP Vasil Antonov, Boyko Hristov and Nikolay Yordanov.


Danailov is an exceptional figure in the Bulgarian and world chess. Many call him a reformer.

With over 100 000 leva he and Topalov are among the biggest donors to the charitable initiative called Bulgarian Cristmas. Their charitable initiatives are numerous and anonymous. With donated 17 000 leva they saved the eyesight of the Bulgarian talent Rumen Nikolov. About his dreams and ambitions Silvio Danailov speaks to the readers of “Standart” newspaper.

  • What a year was 2014 for you?

On a personal level it was not good, because in March my mother died. I had severe elections for the European Chess Union, where I supported Garry Kasparov. Our group was the European Union and America against the Russian lobby, which invested huge resources on a state level and I, and Kasparov we lost. However, people realized that everything was on political grounds and rated my contribution during the last four years as the General Assembly unanimously elected me as an Honorary President of the European Chess Union. I’m not disappointed, because to work 4 years as a head of the European chess is extremely heavy. Now my life is easier. Vesko Topalov failed to qualify for the Candidates Tournament. Thus ended one difficult year, but we look to the future with optimism.

  • And what are your ambitions for 2015?

I am pleased that we have a stable government. On Friday I had a very positive meeting with the new minister of sport, Krasen Kralev. He is a man sportsman and businessman. The things are clear for him and we will work to implement our program “Chess in school”, which the European Union adopted with an official declaration. I will have more time for Vesko. He has a daughter one year old and he is now more passive. He cares about his child and enjoys the family life. I intend to devote more energy to help even more to the Bulgarian chess. The work for the European Chess Union really took me almost all my time. I hope in 2015 we to begin to recover from the crisis and to have one good political year.

  • With the tournament “Mtel Masters” you brought to Bulgaria the biggest chess stars. Can we dream again for something similar?

You should always dream. When we launched “Mtel Masters” Vesko was not yet a world champion. Thanks to these tournaments he has developed rapidly forward. Here came the biggest authorities. Then we organized the match with Gata Kamsky, match for the world title with Viswanathan Anand. Now my dream is to organize an Olympiad in Bulgaria in 2020 or 2022. My other dream is to realize the program “Chess in school”- centralized, with support from the government. I am pleased that minister of social policy is Ivaylo Kalfin. One extremely intelligent and capable person. I know him very well from Brussels. He helped us for the “Chess in school” declaration. I am very pleased with the new minister of sport, Krasen Kralev and I think that with these people we can help chess to develop forward.

  • You are recognized as an innovator. I’m sure that you have many more ideas. The world chess again chose Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. In what direction does the ancient game develop?

The world chess hangup and does not modernize itself. I’ve always been against them and therefore they do not love me. I always have criticized. I am not afraid of anyone and I can’t be bribed. Nobody can’t pressure on me. I am sufficiently independent and a good professional. What they are trying now is to keep the control over FIDE, but the headquarter does not develop. I have achieved everything in chess. The only thing that I didn’t achieve is to become a head of the World Chess Federation (FIDE). But it is possible to happen in 2018. However, if this political configuration with Vladimir Putin remained, I have no chance, because they have huge resources. For them, to invest 20-30 million dollars for elections is nothing. Even the President of the Russian Chess Federation Dvorkovich, who is Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, was substituted, because they doubted that he may be a fan of Kasparov. And he was replaced with the multi billionaire Andrey Filatov, who according to “Forbes” has 2.5 billion dollars. Their task was to totally control Europe and I was uncomfortable for them. I was an opposition. If this centralized power Putin-Ilymzhinov-Filatov remained nobody has a chance to fight successfully with their money. Now I observe with interest the world economy. If the oil price continues to be under 60 dollars, I think Putin will not last long. The Russian economy will collapse and he will be overturned by his own people in the country. If Russia is not the country that is now, then I really will have a chance. Karpov lost, Kasparov lost, the only one who remained it’s me. But I say again – against the Russian government I can’t fight.

  • Can Topalov again climb to the top?

The problem of Vesko is that for many years he worked as a beast. We started when he was 16 years old. The next year he will be 40. These are 24 years continuous hard work. We have achieved everything, even things that we didn’t dream of. When we started it was the epoch of Karpov, Kasparov – giants. We fought the whole this Soviet machine. He is now married, live very calm life, he has a daughter and spends a lot of time with her and he is a little bit relaxed.  This what only prevents him is that he can’t be motivated enough. What he can do? The same thing, which he has already done. To return to where he was. What is the sign of his incredible talent? Without any training he became third in the world ranking, won the gold Olympic medal on the first board, a gold medal at the European championship in Warsaw on the first board, became European club champion with “Socar”. He achieved all those amazing successes without any training. If he is mobilized, he could win the Candidates tournament. Our idea is crown of his career to be a match for the world title with Magnus Carlsen.

  • What is the calendar of Vesko for the upcoming year?

He will play a little bit. He doesn’t want. He is happy with his child. In January he will play in Gibraltar, then we will think.

  • And how would you comment the match for the world crown Carlsen-Anand?

Easy victory for Carlsen. Nobody was expecting something different.

  • Is Carlsen a genius?

 He is a Viking’s combination. Norwegian, cool with iron nerves. Brilliant physics, efficient, quite intelligent. He has all the elements and if he is motivated he can stand at the top for long years. It’s possible someone to beat him. Fabiano Caruana has a potential and can overcome him.

  • Do you have a desire to become a manager of another our chess player?

I don’t have time. This is a very hard work. You should be a coach, manager, mother, father. In the other sports you can build a player even for two years, but in chess you need a minimum of 5 or even 10 years. The process is very long. I don’t have that energy. I prefer to work on social projects. To promote chess and one day FIDE to become a modern organization, which still remains a blocked Russian type. The only important thing is to keep the control over the federations. Now I enjoy life. I enjoy that what I have achieved. I want more of course, but I no longer have that ambition, which I had before. I am more relaxed. I have not resigned however! I will fight!


You could read the original interview here 

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