Sofia will host M-Tel Masters for the fifth time Print
Wednesday, 18 March 2009 13:08
  • The six participants in the super chess tournament (FIDE XXI category) are Veselin Topalov, Magnus Carlsen, Vassily Ivanchuk, Yue Wang, Leinier Dominguez and Alexei Shirov.
  • The games will be played in a glass pavilion on the square in front of the National Theatre Ivan Vazov.
  • General sponsor of the tournament is the mobile operator M-Tel.
For the fifth time Sofia will be hosting the international super chess tournament M-Tel Masters. The competition will take place from May 12 till May 23. The games between the six Grandmasters will be played in a glass pavilion on the square in front of the National Theatre Ivan Vazov.

View from Sofia

General sponsor of the tournament is Bulgaria’s biggest mobile operator M-Tel.

In this year's edition of the tournament will take part the 19th World Champion and leader in the FIDE World Ranking Veselin Topalov, the best young chess player of the last years Magnus Carlsen (№ 3 in the world) from Norway, the 2007 blitz World Champion and winner in last year's edition of M-Tel Masters Vassily Ivanchuk from Ukraine, the best chess player of Asia Yue Wang from China, Latin America's strongest player Leinier Dominguez and № 1 of Spain Alexey Shirov, finalist from the World Cup 2007 in Khanty-Mansiysk.

The average ELO of the six Grandmasters is 2753, which makes the Sofia tournament FIDE XXI category. Only 5 tournaments in the history of chess have been of the same category.

The draw for the competition will be made immediately after the official press conference that starts at 12.00 local time in Sofia Hall of the Grand Hotel Sofia.

The square in front of the National Theatre Ivan Vazov where the glass pavilion in which the games will be played is to be installed.

M-Tel Masters is part of the international chain of chess tournaments Grand Slam that includes three of the world's strongest tournaments: Corus in Wijk an Zee (Holland), Linares (Spain) and Nanjing (China). The winner in Sofia wins the right to take part in the Final Masters Grand Slam tournament that will take place in Bilbao, Spain in the end of the year.

The patron of the tournament will traditionally be the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Georgi Parvanov.

The President of the Republic of Bulgaria Georgi Parvanov at the opening of M-Tel Masters 2008

The Regulations

The time control of a single game is 90 minutes for 40 moves per player and 60 minutes per player till the end of the game. The maximum period for a single game is 5 hours. Each player will play two games against each of the five Grandmasters with exchanged colors. This year again the rules known in the world of chess as "the Sofia rules" will be valid. The opponents cannot communicate during the games and cannot offer a draw. Proposals for a draw can be made only through the Chief Arbiter in three cases: triple repetition, eternal chess and theoretical draw position. When making the decisions the Chief Arbiter will be consulted by Zurab Azmaiparashvili, Vice President of FIDE.

Around the glass pavilion
  • On May 12 at 19.00 local time the demonstrative game between Veselin Topalov and Vasilis Kontos will be played. The Greek chess fan won the game Play like Topalov that is organized on the web site of M-Tel masters:
  • On May 17 will take place the final tournament of the children’s chess chain M-Tel Masters Junior
  • On May 18, the rest day of the tournament on Georgi Asparuhov stadium will be played the traditional football game between the teams of Chess United (Topalov, Wang, Shirov, Carlsen, Ivanchuk, Dominguez) and PFC Levski

The magnificent six

Veselin Topalov
Born on 15.03.1975

ELO on 01.01.2009 – 2796
World Champion 2005.
Chess Oscar winner 2005.

Winner in tournaments:
1995 – Poljanica Zdruj, Elenite;
1996 – Novgorod, Amsterdam, Madrid;
1997 – Amsterdam, Madrid;
2001 – Monaco, Dortmund;
2002 – Kan;
2003 – Benidorm (rapid);
2005 – Linares; M-Tel Masters;
2006 – Wijk an Zee; M-Tel Masters;
2007 – Wijk an Zee, M-Tel Masters, Victoria;
2008 – Bilbao, Njanzin.

Vassily Ivanchuk
Born on 18.03.1969
ELO on 01.01.2009 – 2779

European Champion in 2004.
World Vice Champion in 2002.
Golden medal with the team of Ukraine at the Olympiad 2004.
A participant in Challengers matches 1991.
World Champion at blitz in 2007.

Winner in tournaments:
1995 – Yalta (rapid), Linares, Moscow (rapid);
1996 – Wijk an Zee, Amsterdam;
1997 – Belgrade;
1998 – Elista;
2000 – Talin (rapid), Lviv, Montekatini;
2003 – Malmo;
2004 – Erevan (European championship, rapid), Mexico;
2005 – Aeroflot open (catches up to share 1st place), La Habana, Foros, Odessa (rapid), Montreal, Merida;
2008 – M-Tel Masters, Memorial Tal.

Magnus Carlsen
Born on 30.11.1990
ELO on 01.01.2009 – 2776

One of the most talented youngsters in the world.
Champion of Norway 2006.

Winner in the tournaments:
2004 – Wijk an Zee (group "C");
2005 – Gausdal open;
2006 – Wijk an Zee (group "B");
2007 – Gausdal, Bien;
2008 – Wijk an Zee, Baku, Foros.

Alexei Shirov
Born on 04.07.1972
ЕLО on 01.01.2009 – 2745

World Title Challenger in 1998.
Winner in Team Chess Championship of Russia 2006.

Winner of the tournaments:
1990 – Stockholm;
1991 – London, Bien;
1992 – Reykjavik;
1993 – Munich, Buenos Aires;
1995 – Leon;
1996 – Frankfurt (rapid);
1997 – Ter Apel, Madrid;
1998 – Monaco, Ostrava;
2000 – Monaco, Ostrava;
2005 – Gybraltar, Talin;
2008 – Pojkovski.

Yue Wang
Born on 31.03.1987
ELO on 01.01.2009 – 2739

Champion of China 2005.

Winner in tournaments:
2007 - Subic Bay, Capelle Grand;
2008 – Reykjavik, Baku.

Leinier Dominguez
Born on 23.09.1983
ЕLО on 01.01.2009 – 2717

Champion of Cuba 2002, 2006, 2007.
Blitz World Champion 2008.

Winner in tournaments:
2000 – Valencia;
2004 – La Habana; Guayakil;
2006 – Barcelona;
2007 – Santo Domingo;
2008 – La Habana.

The schedule


May 11



May 12: 12:00

Official opening


May 13: 16:00

Round 1


May 14: 16:00

Round 2


May 15: 16:00

Round 3


May 16: 16:00

Round 4


May 17: 16.00

Round 5


May 18

Rest day


May 19: 16:00

Round 6


May 20: 16:00

Round 7


May 21: 16:00

Round 8


May 22: 16.00

Round 9


May 23: 15:00

Round 10


May 24


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