Friday, September 29, 2006

More ridiculous news from Elista

World Championship Chess Dead?

Game 5 was not played today.

The start of the game was delayed to settle the controversy between the two sides. The game was started at 15:22. Topalov is sitting at the board, Kramnik's clock is running. Kramnik is in his restroom and is waiting for his toilet to be opened. It seems the game is not going to start unless the toilet is opened. Kramnik lost game five on time after 1 hour. Chief Arbiter Geurt Gijssen confirmed that Kramnik has forfeited the 5th game.

Here's the sequence of events that led up to this ridiculous scene...

Appeal of the Head of the Bulgarian Delegation (Danailov)

Apparently Danailov feels that Kramnik (get ready for this) has been going to the bathroom too many times during games. He claims 50 times a day, which is an exaggeration, but nonetheless it probably is "too many" times. But so what? My guess is that it's related to Kramnik's recent illness, and Kramnik feels under no obligation to explain. But Topalov implies cheating.

The bathroom is the only place without video surveillance. [...] We would like to once again remind you that the bathroom is the only place without video or audio surveillance.

Danailov's proposed solution?

To stop the use of the rest rooms and the adjacent bathrooms for both players. If a player needs to go to the bathroom, he can use the public bathroom, but only with permission from the Arbiter and accompanied by an assistant arbiter.

Decision of the Appeals Committee to the appeal of Danailov

The Appeals Committee decided: (a) To close both the toilets in the players’ rest rooms and to open another toilet that will be available only to the two players and (b) Not to accept the request of Danailov, to stop the use of the rest rooms by the players.

Apparently this turned out to be unacceptable to both Topalov's camp and Kramnik.

Open Letter of Kramnik to FIDE President Ilyumzhinov

The WCC Committee is clearly violating both the rules and regulations of the WCC match and the rights of Kramnik. [...] Therefore Kramnik requests to exchange the mentioned persons [Makropolous, Azmaiparashivili] immediately. [...] Our team does not trust the objectivity of the Appeals Committee anymore. [...] Kramnik will stop playing this match as long as FIDE is not ready to respect Kramnik’s rights.

Answer of the Head of the Bulgarian Delegation on the Decision of the Appeal Committee

The ruling in its present form is not satisfactory to us. [...] Topalov is outraged by the suspicious behavior of his opponent. [...] Topalov is willing to continue his participation in the match provided that measures to guarantee fair play are taken. If the match were to continue, the World Champion would refrain from shaking hands with Kramnik before the games.

Topalov will play "provided that blah blah blah" = Topalov will not play.

Not shaking hands? Wow! Time travel back to Karpov-Korchnoi 1981 ... except that back then Korchnoi's family was being held in Karpov's USSR. Hell, even Fischer and Spassky shook hands.

Open Letter of Ilyumzhinov to Kramnik

Open Letter #2 of Kramnik

FIDE President decision to postpone Game of 30 September

There will be no game tomorrow. The next game is rescheduled for October 1. No word on whether that would be game 5 or game 6.

Ilyumzhinov Interview

Now of course, the players and organizer have an actual match-related problem on their hands, Kramnik's technical loss. So before the two sides can negotiate toilets or anything else, they have to work out whether the score of the match is 3-1 or 3-2. I don't see them getting them over this stumbling block. I think the match is dead.

I continue to be appalled at the state of professional chess. Not even Fischer about his most petulant never behaved like this. This match has been 4 years in the planning, and it's going to be cancelled ... over Kramnik's use of the toilet!? Add to this the fiasco over the 2007 candidates cycle, and I don't think world championship will ever recover.

Once again chess has shot itself in the foot; who will want to sponsor a top-level chess match if the whole thing can grind to a halt over a dispute about a toilet? - GM Nunn

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