Elista 2006: Match to continue with game six

10/1/2006 – FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has announced that the World Championship match will continue on Monday, October 2nd, at 15:00h, after the toilet situation has been settled, and the Appeals Committee replaced. The match will proceed from a 3:2 score for Kramnik, i.e. Topalov retains the default point he got in game five. Full crisis blog.

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Veselin Topalov vs Vladimir Kramnik

Twelve games, played from September 23 to October 12 in Elista, Kalmikia. The games start at 15:00h (3:00 p.m.) local Elista time, which translates to 11:00h GMT, 13:00h CEST, 12:00h London, 7 a.m. New York.

Live coverage is available on the official FIDE site and on Playchess.com (with live audio commentary by GM Yasser Seirawan for ten Ducats per day). You can buy them in the ChessBase Shop.

Latest developments

Final entry is here

14:15h Elista time

There has been no official announcement yet, but our sources in Elista tell us that there will be no game played today. After the announcement by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov (below) that the toilet issue has been decided in Kramnik's favour, and that the Appeals Committee has resigned, the issue remains how to resume the match.

As negotiations continue the problem remains: will the fifth game be played or will Kramnik be forfeited. The latter option has become unlikely with the concessions made to Kramnik's demands, and especially with the resignation of the Appeals Committee, which is a tacit admission of having taken a false decision. On the other hand Kramnik's failure to appeare at the board when the game was started on Friday at 15:22h constitutes a technical breach that can be penalised.

It is unlikely that Kramnik will agree to forfeit a game after the organisers have admitted that his demands, presented before game five, were correct, and have taken measures to fulfil them. Kramnik also has the full backing of his federation. The same applies to Veselin Topalov: the Bulgarian Chess Federation has formally backed his position, and from outside sources we hear that the Bulgarian President has personally urged Topalov's manager Silvio Danailov to stick by his guns.

On the other hand Veselin Topalov has stated that he wants the match to continue: “At the moment I only know that there won’t be a game today. All the negotiations on my part are being led by my personal manager Silvio Danailov,” he said. Asked about his mood Topalov replied: “Absolutely normal. I am preparing for the next game. I strongly hope the match would continue. There won’t be any hindrances on my part”.

So there is still hope...

16:00h Elista time

We have been reading the inofficial Veselin Topalov web site and their description of "Toiletgate", a moniker for which we failed to register a copyright. There we learn that on the day before game one shower cabins had been removed from the bathrooms of the players, at the request of the Topalov team. During the second game apparently two strangers had access to Veselin's rest room. After a protest FIDE immediately restricted access. Then the Bulgarian team discovered that the video records from the rooms were missing. "With open access to the rooms and no official records anything could have happened in the rooms." Then came the well-known protest that Kramnik was visiting the bathroom too often and the decision by the Appeals Committee to seal the private toilets of the players.

In spite of the fact that all their requests had not been met – the rest room tapes had not been made available to the mass media, assistant arbiters had not been assigned to the bathroom areas – Topalov had appeared for the fifth game in time. Kramnik didn't, and was defaulted. "Kramnik stated that he is deeply disturbed by the accusations of Veselin Topalov and Silvio Danailov," says the article. "However, no accusations were made. The declarations simply expressed concern for Mr. Kramnik’s behavior as sportsman and minor concerns for facilities. The refusal of Vladimir Kramnik to sit and play a game is a clear breaking of rules and a direct offence to Veselin Topalov. Will he continue to play or abandon the match? Is this just a psycological game? How will this affect future chess events??"

We have also spoken to Bessel Kok, who ran for FIDE President at the Chess Olympiad in Turin. We will be publishing his views shortly.

17:00h: Restroom issue resolved

The World Championship organisation has found the right term for the delay in the match, announcing a "technical time-out" for today's game. FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov announced that negotiations between the teams of Topalov and Kramnik were porceeding, but "with greate difficulties... Both Veselin Topalov and Vladimir Kramnik are expressing their readiness to continue the match. There have been several points to be solved, and we are solving them, step by step."

Ilyumzhinov elaborated on the earlier press release: "We reached an agreement regarding the restrooms (and bathrooms). A permanent restroom will be assigned to each player for the whole duration of the match. The representatives of each team will be provided with a possibility of a thorough check of these rooms. Right now we are heading to the Conference Hall of the Government of Kalmykia, to undertake the respective inspection. From now on the issue regarding the restrooms has been taken off our list and we are going to move forward."


Dansilov, Ilyumzhinov, Hensel meet the press


Still some critical issues to be resolved

With regard to the sticking point, which is the score at which the match will be resumed, Ilyumzhinov said that there were some proposals, which were still being negotiated. "We do not stand still." The managers of both players, Sylvio Danailov (Topalov) and Carsten Hensel (Kramnik) declined to comment.


Danailov and Ilyumzhinov conferring...


...and reaching agreement on at least one point

Afterwards the FIDE President together with the representatives of the teams started inspecting the restrooms. The press was not allowed to enter the rooms, but could watch on CCT screens.


Inspection of the players' rest rooms (on CCT screen)


A view of a player's' resting room – are they allowed to move pieces on the demo board?

Photos courtesy of FIDE.com

18:30h Elista time

Negotiations continue, but things are looking far from settled. Veselin Topalov will apparently abandon the event if he cannot retain the default point he got from game five, which was according to normal chess rules (non-appearance of the opponent); and Vladimir Kramnik is insisting on playing the game, especially since his demands (no unilateral change in the conditions, removal of the Appeals Committee) have been met and his complaints post factum justified. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is battling to save the world chess federation from its biggest debacle. We currently estimate the likelihood of the match continuing at 40% and the chances of one of the players boarding a plane back home on Monday at 50% (there is a 10% chance that something completely different will happen).

19:00h Elista time

Mig Greengard of Chess Ninja has posted the following appeal:

Hello Veselin. Long time no see. We hope you are well. Things here in the chess fan world have been very busy lately. We were all enjoying your chess and your first world championship match in Elista. You and Vladimir have fought like champions. Many of us were expecting another of your famous comebacks. Now it appears the match may not continue because of the forfeit of Kramnik in game five.

We realize we may not understand everything that has gone on in Elista. Despite all that has happened, we believe you want to win this match and become the unified world chess champion and that you want to do this at the board. You have the respect of the fans of the chess world as a player, fighter, and sportsman. Accepting a point you did not win over the board is beneath your position and reputation.

We understand that the forfeit was not your fault. But you can still save the match by doing the right thing. We ask you to give back the point and show your abilities and character at the board. We want this match and we need this match to continue. The world is watching chess in Elista and you are the game's representative.

Saludos, Mig and those signed below.
[200 signatures follow]

19:30h Elista time

The FIDE office has issued a press release entitled: "The issue of the bathrooms" has been finally resolved: "Representatives of the two teams agreed on the allocation of the restrooms between the players. The rooms will be assigned to each player on a permanent basis until the end of the match. After this, the representatives of Topalov’s team made a thorough inspection of the room allocated to Mr. Kramnik. A detailed report of the inspection was prepared. It was signed by the Bulgarian side and the representatives of the Organising Committee. The parties remained satisfied with the inspection."

21:00h: Elista time

ITAR-TASS is reporting that the Tolapov team has issued a threat to abandon the World Champship match if the forfeit of Kramnik in game five is repealed. This is according to an announcement by Topalov's manager, Silvio Danailov. According to Danailov the 3:2 result has already been fixed by judges and cannot be changed. "If the result of the fifth game is cancelled we are leaving the match. It is unacceptable Kramnik to play games with everyone and most of all with FIDE and the organizers,” Danailov said.

23:00h Elista time

Save the World Chess Championship 2006 – Hero wanted!!! Somebody has started a campaign on eBay, offering to sell his (or her?) World Championship 2004 memorabilia – "Ultra-Rare WCC 2004 Kramnik vs Leko package" – and donate the returns to Veselin Topalov "if he agrees to continue the match with the 3-1 result as it was after the 4th game". This is in the spirit of the 1972 donation by James Slater to the Fischer-Spassky match. "1972 the HERO was Mr.James Slater – 2006 the HERO will be: YOUR NAME," writes the eBay vendor.

24:00h: FIDE Press Release 7 – Tomorrow 6th Game of the Match

After the numerous rounds of the negotiations with the teams of Veselin Topalov and Vladimir Kramnik, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov managed to reach the considerable progress.

As it was informed before, the question on the bathrooms was solved positively by mutual agreement of both teams. After the voluntary resignation of the members of the 2006 World Chess Championship Appeals Committee, the new members of the Committee, who have already arrived to Elista, were assigned.

The FIDE President has made several proposals for further continuation of the match, which unfortunately were not accepted. After the detailed study of the current situation and the consultation with the FIDE Legal Advisor, the FIDE President decided:

Tomorrow, 2 October 2006, at 15.00, the 6th Game of the World Chess Championship Match Topalov-Kramnik with the score 3:2 in favour of Kramnik, will take place.


Press release

Elista, 1 October 2006

On 29-30 September 2006, in City Chess the FIDE President has held several rounds of negotiations with the representatives of the World Chess Championship match participants. Despite existing deep contradictions in the approaches for the settlement of the conflict situation, the parties have succeeded in reaching considerable progress.

Firstly, the issue of the bathrooms for the players has been solved. The team of V. Topalov has agreed for opening the bathrooms in the restrooms of the players. Also, an agreement has been reached that the players will be using the restrooms permanently assigned to each of them during the whole duration of the match. The both teams will be provided with a possibility of thorough inspection of the respective opponent’s bathroom.

Secondly, the members of the Match Appeals Committee with the aim of assisting to the FIDE President in finding a solution in this conflict situation and fully realizing the necessity to continue the match, have submitted a letter with their voluntary resignation to the FIDE President. The petition has been satisfied. Until the appointment of the new members and their arrival in Elista, the functions of the Appeals Committee will be performed by the FIDE President.

At the same time there is a continuation of the negotiations in respect of the issues, which have remained unsettled. The FIDE President once again addresses both parties with an appeal to meet each other halfway in order to continue the match for the sake of the millions of chess fans who are impatiently waiting for the peaceful outcome of the conflict.


29 September 2006
To the President of FIDE
Mr K Illumzhinov
To the Organisation Committee of the match for the world chess championship V Kramnik – V Topalov,
Elista

Declaration of the Russian Chess Federation

The Russian Chess Federation expresses its regret that Grandmaster Topalov (Bulgaria), in his match for the world championship against Vladimir Kramnik (Russia), should have resorted to incorrect methods of behaviour. Such events should be decided in an honest struggle at the chessboard, and not by poring over video footage of Kramnik in his rest room, and counting how many times he visits the toilet. The protest by the Topalov team reflects the weakness of their playing position in the match.

The Russian Chess Federations demands:

  1. The cancellation, as being unethical, of the decision of the Appeals Committee to allow the video footage of the players’ rest rooms, taken by the judges, to be made available to the members of the two players teams. This is because we believe such action is a breach of the privacy of the players, and also allows the opposing team to see how the player thinks and reacts to his opponent’s moves.

  2. The cancellation of the decision of the Appeals Committee to close the individual toilets attached to the players’ rest rooms.

  3. The replacement of the members of the Appeals Committee.

That the match Kramnik-Topalov be continued, with the score 3-1 in favour of Kramnik, under the exact conditions in which the match was started. The Russian Chess Federation hopes that the President of FIDE and the Organisation Committee will act wisely and not allow the Topalov team to terminate a match, which has begun badly for them.

The Russian Chess Federation

Translation: Steve Giddins


Bulgarian Chess Federation Supports Veselin Topalov

30 September 2006

We have learnt that the Bulgarian Chess Federation is firmly supporting the demands of the FIDE world champion Veselin Topalov, "so the fight for the title could continue in normal conditions that exclude all doubts for getting additional help during the games.” This is part of the declaration published in the official website of the Bulgarian Chess Federation.

“We support the decisions of the Appeal Committee of the match and insist all parties to abide to them. All demands for change of members of the committee are an attempt to discredit the International Chess Federation and its president. The chess should be played on the stage, at the TV cameras and in front of the spectators," the declaration says.

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