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Korchnoi: 'I would have walked out!'

10/7/2006 – Actually, if we were sensationalist our headline would have been: Viktor Korchnoi: "I agree with Karpov!" For once the great chess veteran of three world championship matches joins his arch-opponent – in these matches and life in general – in supporting Kramnik in the World Championship crisis. Viktor is also worried about chess being dragged into the toilet. How will we find sponsors?
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Korchnoi: “In Kramnik’s place, I would have walked out!”

Victor Lvovich, share with us your impressions about the Kramnik-Topalov match.

The match creates a strange impression. I have watched how Topalov generally plays. In every event, at the start he falls behind, almost as if he’s pretending to be playing badly, and then at the end, he wins every single game. For that reason, I am fearful about the end of this match.

What do you think about the off-board controversy?

The underlying cause of all this is the articles, which have appeared in the press, about how Topalov allegedly has been and is using computer assistance during games. And then, the moment Illumzhinov had left his fiefdom, Topalov’s team took the initiative and accused Kramnik of cheating.

It is no secret that you signed a letter in support of Kramnik. How do you think Kramnik should handle this difficult situation, what steps should he take?

It is a rare case when I am in total solidarity with Anatoly Karpov. In Kramnik’s place, I would just have walked out.

Do you think Topalov has been involved in all these shenanigans, or is it just the people around him?

I do not believe the others can do anything without his approval.

What is going to happen to world title matches in the future?

All this talk of how someone or other is cheating leaves its mark on chess, on its integrity and honesty, and is very bad. But I hope that means will be found to prevent information being passed, and so to preserve chess as it is.

But is it so bad? After all, thanks to the scandals in Elista, chess has made the front pages of the newspapers. Perhaps the game can take advantage of this increase in popularity?

I find it hard to believe that all this talk about toilets is going to lead to an increase in sponsors – after all, it is pretty dirty publicity.

What would you like to say to Vladimir Kramnik?

That he should walk out!

The original interview, conducted by A Kentler appeared on the e3e5 web site.
Translation by Steve Giddins

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