[The interview took place before it was known that Kramnik would play game six]
Karpov: I would like to say that the problems Illumzhinov is wrestling with are of his own making. This is because in recent times, serving on an appeals committee has become a reward for past services rendered. But in reality, this is a job for specialists, who have proven themselves to be above reproach. In my day, the procedure for appointing members of an appeals committee was as follows: the international federation presented a list of five people, with suitable qualifications; and the participants each listed them in order of preference. Each was given points, and the ones who got the most, went onto the committee.
And there were no protests?
There were protests. But the Appeals Committee was comprised of people who could be trusted, and were of unimpeachable reputation. And specialists, naturally. There is no need to speak of Azmaiparashvili, and particularly of his reputation. Thanks to the fact that the players were given no say in the matter, you end up with “operators” like him on the committee. Work on this committee is paid, and paid very well, so of course, there are lots of people wanting the job. But only those who are reliable and deserving should get it. It seems clear that Illumzhinov realised that they had messed up, but he was unable to clear up all of the mess. And if Kramnik continues the match, it means that they have simply stolen a point from him.
Perhaps Kramnik’s team did not do things quite right? They could have protested before the game.
In general, frankly speaking, I do not understand all of these goings-on, but it is perfectly clear that the Bulgarian delegation wanted to disturb Kramnik’s equanimity, and thereby to try to improve their chances. They have succeeded. They got a point illegally. I don’t know how this has affected Kramnik’s morale, but it can hardly have helped. I would say that they used immoral methods. It would perhaps be difficult to sue anyone over this, although I think it could be possible to do so successfully, all the more so considering that Illumzhinov, as President, has the power to overrule the Appeals Committee. If he can overrule their first decision, and dismiss them, then that means he can overrule their subsequent decisions also. If their first decision is illegal, that means so was their second.
Illumzhinov said that legally, the score has to be 3:2...
He got himself into this mess, and getting out of it is not simple. Of course, whatever you do, one side or the other will be unhappy. If one speaks of the moral side of it, I don’t understand how Topalov can continue to play on with such a burden. I could not. But as far as Topalov is concerned, everything is great – he took a shot and seized his chance!
If you were in Kramnik’s place, would you play on?
I would not continue the match.
Interview by Oleg Pervakov in 64
(translated by Steve Giddins)