Elista 2006: the latest before game seven

10/4/2006 – Everything in Elista is set for game seven. Well, almost everything. A number of issues are still festering, and it is certainly not smooth sailing after the difficult compromise achieved by FIDE President Ilyumzhinov on October 1st. Game seven preview.

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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.

Game seven preview

The difficult compromise achieved by FIDE President on October 1st had set the stage for game six. At the very least Kirsan Ilyumzhinov had managed to get both players to resume the interrupted match in a tolerable atmosphere. The FIDE reporter describes it thus:

Everything onstage was highly respectable: Kramnik and Topalov shook hands, and even smiled – they were hungry for chess. However, the press conference revealed oppressing tension; Vladimir even sat some distance away from the opponent and peacemaking Kirsan Nikolayevich. It cannot be helped: the players unintentionally entered the war path, and this makes watching the remaining six games even more exciting. Everything is at stake; not only the title of the world champion, but also something incomparably more significant, which exceeds the bounds of a chess board.

Kramnik played the sixth game under protest, after Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, together with Veselin Topalov and Silvio Danailov announced the evening before that the match would continue with a 3:2 score, i.e. that the defaulted game would remain unplayed and Topalov would keep the point. A strong protest was handed to the President before the sixth game by Vladimir Kramnik, who decided to play under protest "because I do not want to disappoint the overwhelming majority of the chess fans which are hoping for the unification since so many years."


Transcription of the Press Conference after game six

The press conference after the Game 6 was greatly anticipated. The match has continued, Topalov shook hands with Kramnik, and the latter easily made a draw, playing black. In addition, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov took a seat between the players, saying: "Dear Vladimir, dear Veselin, on behalf of the FIDE leadership and millions of chess fans all over the world, let me express great gratitude for you for coming to this game and resuming the World Chess Championship match! Thank you for your courageous decision!" After this introduction there were questions to the players.

Veselin, one of the statements issued by your team asserted that you will not shake hands with Vladimir and will not participate in joint press conferences…

Veselin Topalov: Perhaps it sounded too emotional; it is nothing for me to be proud of. I shook hands with Kramnik, and the match continued. I believe that his play is fair, and my decision to continue the match proves it. We are humans, and sometimes we make mistakes.

So you agree that you flew into a passion?

Topalov: Yes, clearly.

You played so quickly at the start of the game… Is that because you missed chess too much?

Vladimir Kramnik: I think I was prepared for this game quite well. As for the speed… yes, I missed chess – for a last couple of days I was busy with other things that distracted me from chess.

Topalov: This was just a casual opening, a well-developed line. Of course, one can spend an hour on playing them, but isn’t it better to play the known moves in a minute without wasting time?

A question to Mr. Kramnik. Vladimir, what is the match score after today’s game?

Kramnik: I published an official protest. I consider the decision taken by the Appeals Committee illegal. I do not think I lost in the Game 5. The decision regarding this problem is delayed, and my further steps depend on it. If the Appeals Committee decides to replay the game (which is legally and morally correct), I will continue the match unconditionally. Otherwise, I will consult my lawyers…

Vladimir, when exactly you found out about the decision to continue the match from the Game 6?

Kramnik: Yesterday in the evening, like everybody else.

– A question to FIDE President. Kirsan Nikolayevich, when the Appeals Committee will review Kramnik’s appeal, and can you tell us the names of its new members?
K.I.: New Appeals Committee consists of ECU President Boris Kutin, International Arbiter from Azerbaijan Faik Gasanov, and Continental President of Latin America Jorge Vega. The appeal was received at 14.30, and now it undergoes formal procedures.

When did you decide to play today’s game?

Kramnik: It was a very tough choice. To be honest, for a long time I intended to ignore this game, which would mean the end of the match. However, after lengthy consideration I decided against abandoning the match, feeling uncomfortable in the face of chess community. I still hope for positive result of my appeal.

Will you keep playing, if you appeal is declined?

Kramnik: The only thing I know for certain is that I will sue FIDE in this case. I will have to consult my lawyers to decide whether I should continue the match.

A question to both players. To what extent all the preceding debates influenced the play?

Kramnik: Today’s game was not very exciting. We spent all our energy on non-chess struggle. No, I am kidding. Of course, it is better to play after a rest day, when one is calm. Playing today was a bit difficult for both of us.

Topalov: It was easier for me in this sense, because my manager Silvio Danailov handles almost all the negotiations. Therefore I got tired of resting, and really wanted to return to the board and play a good game. Alas, this game turned the least exciting in the match, but this wasn’t done on purpose.

Vladimir, who offered a draw today?

Kramnik: Veselin.

And what about the 4th game, when your position on the move 20 was rather unpleasant?

Kramnik: I offered a draw in that game, because I considered the position equal. Offering draws in my business, so to speak, and it is up to Veselin to decline or accept the offer. In today’s game everything was exchanged automatically.

And another question about the 4th game. Is it gentlemanly to offer a draw on the move 20 when playing black, with the match score being 2-0? Or it was a psychological move?

Kramnik: It had nothing to do with psychology. Who cares about 2-0?! The position was approximately equal, so there is nothing unethical about my offer. If one considers it unethical, then how to assess the actions of the other party? It is difficult to find the right words…

Kirsan Nikolayevich, yesterday you said that if the match goes on, one of the players will become a hero. Do you consider Vladimir’s decision heroic, and when he will be awarded a Hero of Kalmykia?

Ilyumzhinov: You know, the situation on Friday night demanded some immediate action, and the ball was on my side. I did all I could: changed the Appeals Committee, and settled the issue with bathrooms… The process started. After that it was the players’ move. Veselin or Vladimir – on of them had to yield. 3-1or 3-2? Vladimir yielded (we only have to deal with his appeal about the 5th game). I express gratitude to him on behalf of the entire chess.


New Appeals Committee

In the meantime the original Appeals Committee had resigned and a new one had been instated. FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov appointed as Chairman the Continental President for the Americas Jorge Vega, who was part of the original Committee; the Continental President for Europe Boris Kutin; and the Delegate of the Azerbaijan Chess Federation Faik Gasanov. Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos was appointed as the FIDE Observer for World Championship match.


The new Appeals Committee, with Boris Kutin, Jorge Vega and Faik Gasanov

The first action taken by the new Appeals Committee was to reject the protest filed by Vladimir Kramnik (and mentioned above). This is the official ruling:

Decision of the Appeals Committee to the appeal of Mr. Kramnik

Elista, October 3, 2006

We hereby acknowledge the receipt of your Appeal dated October the 2nd, 2006 addressed to this Committee. We have taken note of your arguments, however we should like to point out that the appointment of the new Appeals Committee does not mean that the new one appointed has the power of overruling any decisions taken by the former Appeals Committee, which are absolutely final.

According to the stated above, the new Appeals Committee has the power to decide on any appeal submitted starting from the 6th Round of the match.

Under this consideration, the Appeals Committee decided that no fee shall be charged from your prize money due to your appeal dated October the 2nd 2006.

Truly yours,
Appeals Committee
Jorge Vega, Chairman
Boris Kutin
Faik Gasanov

Late Tuesday night we received a reaction from Kramnik's manager and head of his delegation. This stated:

Gentlemen,

FIDE published its decision to Vladimir Kramnik's appeal due to formal reasons. Vladimir Kramnik will continue the match subject to the condition to clarify his rights regarding game 5, due to the facts that

a) FIDE breached the contract,

b) an illegal protest of Mr. Topalov has been approved by the former FIDE Appeals Committee (this decision was already final and confirmed by the FIDE President in writing),

c) Game 5 should have never been started under these conditions

Mr. Kramnik will follow the strong advise from his lawyers to sue FIDE after this match has been concluded.

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

This is the situation at the current time (Tuesday night). We assume that both players will appear for the seventh, Vladimir Kramnik again under protest, and that there will be more negotiations in the background. We hope that they will not affect the players too much in their concentration, and that no new disturbances will be perpetrated by any side.

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