Carsten Hensel: 'It was a victory for justice'

10/28/2006 – A few days ago we published an accusatory interview by Veselin Topalov. In his reply Vladimir Kramnik's manager Carsten Hensel calls Topalov's allegations nothing but a pitiful excuse after a major sporting defeat. He also releases some additional details regarding the video surveillance of Kramnik's restroom.

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Press Release by Carsten Hensel

The ChessBase report of 27.10.2006 [Gert Ligterink’s interview with Veselin Topalov) contains a number of quotes and statements by Grandmaster Veselin Topalov which are not in accordance with the facts.

Topalov: "I underestimated the reaction of my body. It's not so strange that it relaxed after the intense concentration of the match in Elista. Should I not have come here to play? That did not occur to me for one moment. I have never ever breached a signed contract. I am not Kramnik. How often has he withdrawn with vague complaints of fatigue? This spring he withdrew from the tournament in Monaco immediately after he had signed the contract for the match against me."

Vladimir Kramnik has never, in the course of his career, broken a contract. The reason for his not participating in the tournaments in Corus 2006 and Monaco 2006 were medical. Everything was done in close contact and agreement with the organisers, who were presented with the relevant medical certificates at early dates. The contracts were dissolved in amicable agreement by both parties. It is furthermore wrong to claim that Kramnik cancelled his participation in the Monaco tournament after signing the world championship contract. The world championship contract was signed in April 2006, while the release from the Monaco contract came in February 2006.

Topalov: “After the fourth game my manager asked to see the surveillance tapes in order to find out exactly how my opponent was spending his time in the restroom. He saw that Kramnik visited the toilet very frequently, and so we became suspicious. Naturally this is suspicious behaviour. The toilet was the only area that was not covered by the surveillance cameras.”

Because of this remark we are now publishing a report by Mr Valery Bovaev, Chairman of the Executive Committee in Elista. From this report it is possible to tell exactly who played what role in the release and viewing of the video recordings, which infringe on the personal rights of Vladimir Kramnik. It becomes clear that the video recordings were not requested only after the fourth game, but already some days before.

Topalov: "The Appeals Committee agreed to lock up the toilets in the restrooms. Kramnik reacted like an injured innocent. Contract this and contract that, how dare they insult me. It is always the same with him. He breaks the rules continuously, but heaven forbid his own rights should be touched. That Kramnik did not show up for the fifth game was his own fault. He thought he could get away with anything. I would have preferred to play the game and see our protest comprehensively addressed. Instead I got one free point. But Kramnik got his way in all the other points. He could do anything he wanted in his restroom, and the Appeals Committee was dismissed.

The consequence was that starting from the sixth game I no longer knew whom I was playing against. Kramnik had been quite vulnerable in the past year, but in this match he hardly made any tactical mistakes. I began to have doubts. Was Kramnik my opponent or was it Kramnik assisted by a computer? In order to keep him at the board as much as possible I started playing very quickly. Too quickly sometimes. The blunder which caused me lose the ninth game was the result of a decision I had taken too quickly.”

Mr Topalov still owes us an answer with regard to precisely which rules Vladimir Kramnik is supposed to have broken. What occurred was quite the opposite. Incidentally, because of the breach of contract by the Appeals Committee of FIDE, game five, in a judicial sense, was never played. So the result of the classical chess match is 6:5 in favour of Vladimir Kramnik.

The doubts expressed by Mr. Topalov are nothing but a pitiful excuse in connection with a major sporting defeat. It is especially inconsistent when you consider that all the measures taken to prevent possible manipulations (the glass wall and light curtain, the prevention of any kind of electronic signals in the playing zone, the resting rooms and the toilets, the physical search and examination of the players and all the rooms before the start of each game) were initiated by the Kramnik team. Before the start of game one Topalov’s team did practically nothing to ensure this kind of security. It is a fact that the organisation took all necessary measures to prevent any kind of manipulation from the outset. The further intensification of the controls during the match were welcomed by Kramnik and in some cases demanded by him. In Elista new standards were set which can be regarded as an example for professional chess in the future.

The fact that the Topalov team allowed themselves to be carried away and use their very close connections to highly-placed FIDE officials to damage Vladimir Kramnik is an act of unsporting behaviour the likes of which have never before been seen in the world of chess. This is true in connection with

  • the public release of the private video recordings, which represent an infringement on his personal rights,
  • the illegal forfeit of game five after FIDE had broken its contract, and
  • the indirect accusations and allegations of cheating and the consequent damage to the reputation of Vladimir Kramnik.

The PR disaster that followed for the Topalov team was the result of unprofessional behaviour and an underestimation of the intelligence of the public, as well as the clear sporting defeat. This can only be seen as a victory of justice. The acceptance of defeat in by Mr. Topalov is, from my point of view, the only reasonable sentence in his interview.

Dortmund, Germany, 28.10.2006

Carsten Hensel
Manager to Vladimir Kramnik, World Chess Champion


Statement

In my capacity as the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the World Chess Championship Match Topalov-Kramnik that is taking place in Elista from 21 September to 13 October 2006, and in connection with the events around the Game 5 of the match and before it, I would like to state herewith the following.

As per the oral demand of the then Appeals Committee of the Match (in person Messrs. Makropoulos, Azmaiparashvili), the examination of the video recordings of the rest rooms during the first two games in the cottage of Veselin Topalov was carried out on 25 September 2006. In the examination of the video recordings the following persons took part: the representatives of the Executive Committee: Gennady Namsinov (Head of the Informational Resources Department), Mingian Bazyrov (Vice of the Informational Resources Department); experts of the Bulgarian delegations headed by the manager of Topalov Mr. Silvio Danailov. The Appeals Committee members did not participate in the video recordings examination.

Messrs. Makropoulos, Azmaiparashvili and Vega initiated a second examination as well and it took place on 27 September 2006. The three members of the Appeals Committee together with the Chief Arbiter of the Match Mr. Gijssen and the Deputy Arbiter Mr. Nikolopoulos, who were also invited, watched the recordings. On behalf of the Executive Committee there were Messrs Namsinov and Bazyrov.

The third examination of the video recordings, which took place on 28 September 2006, with the Chief Arbiter Mr. Gijssen and his Deputy Mr. Nikolopoulos and also with the participation of the Bulgarian experts and the representatives from the Executive Committee Messrs. Namsinov and Bazyrov was carried out. The Appeals Committee did not take part in the examination of the video recordings.

Two last (second and third) examinations of the video recordings took place in the Office of the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Match.

After the resignation of the Appeals Committee I took the decision to stop providing the Bulgarian Team representatives with any further video.

Elista, 9 October 2006

[Signature]

Bovaev Valery
Executive Committee
World Chess Championship Match Topalov-Kramnik
Chairman


Press release by Carsten Hensel in the original German:

Der Chessbase Bericht vom 27.10.2006 enthält Zitate und Behauptungen von Großmeister Veselin Topalov, die nicht den Tatsachen entsprechen.

Topalov: "I underestimated the reaction of my body. It's not so strange that it relaxed after the intense concentration of the match in Elista. Should I not have come here to play? That did not occur to me for one moment. I have never ever breached a signed contract. I am not Kramnik. How often has he withdrawn with vague complaints of fatigue? This spring he withdrew from the tournament in Monaco immediately after he had signed the contract for the match against me."

Vladimir Kramnik hat niemals in seiner Karriere einen Vertrag gebrochen. Die Nichtteilnahme an den Turnieren in Corus 2006 und Monaco 2006 erfolgte aus Krankheitsgründen. Dies geschah im engen Kontakt und Einverständnis der Organisatoren, deren frühzeitig medizinische Zertifikate vorgelegt wurden. Die Verträge wurden im gegenseitigem Einvernehmen aufgelöst. Falsch ist demnach auch die Behauptung Kramnik habe sich vom Turnier in Monaco nach der Unterzeichnung des WM-Vertrages zurückgezogen. Richtig ist, dass der WM-Vertrag im April 2006 unterzeichnet wurde und die Auflösung des Monaco-Vertrages aus Krankheitsgründen bereits im Februar 2006 erfolgte.

Topalov: “After the fourth game my manager asked to see the surveillance tapes in order to find out exactly how my opponent was spending his time in the restroom. He he saw that Kramnik visited the toilet very frequently, and so we became suspicious. Naturally this is suspicious behavior. The toilet was the only area that was not covered by the surveillance cameras.”

Aufgrund dieser Äußerung veröffentlichen wir einen Bericht des Herrn Valery Bovaev, Vorsitzender des Executive Committees in Elista. Aus dieser Erklärung geht eindeutig hervor, wer bei der Ansicht der video recordings – unter Verletzung der Persönlichkeitsrechte von Vladimir Kramnik – welche Rolle gespielt hat. Es wird deutlich, dass die video recordings nicht erst nach der 4. Partie angefragt wurden, sondern schon Tage zuvor.

Topalov: "The Appeals Committee agreed to lock up the toilets in the restrooms. Kramnik reacted like an injured innocent. Contract this and contract that, how dare they insult me. It is always the same with him. He breaks the rules continuously, but heaven forbid his own rights should be touched. That Kramnik did not show up for the fifth game was his own fault. He thought he could get away with anything. I would have preferred to play the game and see our protest comprehensively addressed. Instead I got one free point. But Kramnik got his way in all the other points. He could do anything he wanted in his restroom, and the Appeals Committee was dismissed.

The consequence was that starting from the sixth game I no longer knew whom I was playing against. Kramnik had been quite vulnerable in the past year, but in this match he hardly made any tactical mistakes. I began to have doubts. Was Kramnik my opponent or was it Kramnik assisted by a computer? In order to keep him at the board as much as possible I started playing very quickly. Too quickly sometimes. The blunder which caused me lose the ninth game was the result of a decision I had taken too quickly.”

Herr Topalov bleibt die Antwort schuldig, welche Regeln Vladimir Kramnik gebrochen haben soll. Das Gegenteil war der Fall. Durch den Vertragsbruch des Appeals Committee’s der FIDE hat übrigens Partie 5 im juristischen Sinne niemals stattgefunden. Das Ergebnis des Wettkampfes im klassischen Schach lautet demnach 6:5 zu Gunsten von Vladimir Kramnik.

Die im folgenden von Herrn Topalov geäußerten Zweifel sind nichts anderes als eine peinliche Entschuldigung im Zusammenhang mit einer schweren sportlichen Niederlage. Widersprüchlich ist auch die Tatsache, dass alle Maßnahmen zur Verhinderung etwaiger Manipulationen (Glaswand mit integriertem Lichtvorhang, Bann aller elektronischer Signale im Spielbereich, den Ruheräumen und den Toiletten, physische Untersuchung der Spieler sowie aller Räumlichkeiten vor Beginn jeder Partie) vom Team Kramnik eingebracht wurden. Das Team Topalov hat sich vor Beginn der 1. Partie so gut wie überhaupt nicht um diese Sicherheitsaspekte gekümmert. Fest steht, dass seitens der Organisation alle Anstrengungen unternommen wurden, jegliche Art von Manipulationen von vornherein auszuschließen. Weitere Verschärfungen der Kontrollen während des Wettkampfes wurden von Vladimir Kramnik begrüßt und teilweise selbst gefordert. Es wurde in Elista ein Standard entwickelt, der für die Zukunft des Profischach beispielgebend sein kann.

Dass sich Team Topalov dennoch dazu hat hinreißen lassen, enge Bindungen zu hochgestellten FIDE-Funktionären zu nutzen, um Vladimir Kramnik zu beschädigen ist ein beispielloser Akt von Unsportlichkeit, der nicht nur in der Schachwelt seinesgleichen sucht. Dies gilt im Zusammenhang mit

  • der Herausgabe der privaten video recordings unter Verletzung von Persönlichkeitsrechten
  • der widerrechtlichen Aberkennung von Partie 5 nach Vertragsbruch durch die FIDE und auch
  • den indirekten Anschuldigungen und Betrugsvorwürfen unter Rufschädigung der Person Kramnik.

Das folgende PR-Desaster des Team’s Topalov resultierend aus Unprofessionalität und der Unterschätzung der Intelligenz der Öffentlichkeit sowie die klare sportliche Niederlage ist nichts anderes als ein Sieg der Gerechtigkeit. Die Akzeptanz dieser Niederlage durch Herrn Topalov ist aus meiner Sicht der einzig vernünftige Satz in diesem Interview.

Dortmund/Germany, 28.10.2006

Carsten Hensel
(Manager to Vladimir Kramnik, World Chess Champion)


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