Friday, September 29, 2006


Update 6:30 PM:
Seirewan has weighed in with a pretty reasonable opinion. The best coverage of Pissgate is at Chessbase.

Why can't chess championships be normal?

I woke up early today to look at the game between Topalov and Kramnik. It turns out that Kramnik just forfeited Game 5!

Why did he forfeit when the stakes are so high? Has his life-threatening illness returned? Is he making a statement about crumbling democratic reforms in Russia? No. It is much more important than that. He is protesting that FIDE asked him to use a different bathroom.

Here's the chronology. First, Topalov's team complained that Kramnik went to the bathroom as many as 50 times per game (this after reviewing bathroom video!). FIDE then made a subtle change in the bathroom rules: they want both players to use the same bathroom, but would not limit the number of visits. A letter from Kramnik's camp shot back that "Mr. Kramnik will stop playing this match as long as FIDE is not ready to respect Mr. Kramnik’s rights, in this case to use the toilet of his own restroom whenever he wishes to do so." Indeed, Mr. Kramnik forfeited his game today. Because he wants his own bathroom. The most important match in chess in the last 34 years, and he forfeits because he wants his own bathroom.

All the different official documents are online here. You can find out what Kramnik thinks here.

Oh, and Topalov has hired a parapsychologist.

Note this is not a joke. Why can't chess championships be normal?

Some of the video footage of Kramnik's "special" bathroom.


Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Yes, you are right that I have put a comical spin on it. It is indeed true that FIDE has changed the contract in the middle of the game.

I think that Topalov shouldn't be blamed for this, but FIDE (shockingly) has grossly mismanaged yet another WC Match. They should not have given the video to the Topalov camp, and should not have changed the contract.

That said, Kramnik was kind of crazy to do this. A full point because they changed the rules about the freaking bathrooms!

I know you can say it's the principle of the thing. But losing a full point in the WC is a stupid way to stand up for this particular principle. If they changed the time controls, or gave Topalov more time on the clock than Kramnik, that would be worthy of forfeit. But this was the same for both players: they both now have to use the same bathroom.

Yes, FIDE was wrong, but this is a trivial offense in the big picture. Kramnik's behavior is Fischer-esque (in a bad way). Why not kick Topalov's ass OTB and then have a press conference, or protest through normal bureacratic channels? Or just use the designated bathroom and focus on chess?

Again, I understand the principle, but this is turning a molehill into a mountain.

9/29/2006 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Translation, from babelfish, of the previous post (it ain't perfect, but I don't have the time to edit):
In efecto.ha be fide, when changing the rules unilaterally, to please to topalov.(al to seem with friends in comite, which makes seem partial the performance of this comite).sin to consult to Mr. Kramnik the one who has caused the problem. The rules of the game and the premises, already were exposed and ACCEPTED BY BOTH PLAYERS. Ahoa topalov, as one is lost, and mainly because it cannot make the plays shiningly doubtful that it did in linares 06 where I win with a brilliance but that suspicious since with his normal game, that it is the sight, it is to say what this doing aqui, is seen like kasparov, without being able to gain NO GAME. It initiates for that reason, a war sicologica.Pretende to destabilize to Kramnik, with sport problems extra, sending accusations that are an INSULT,a a player of the stature of Mr. kramnik. The games, have not been no suspicious one to use maquina(las hers if in linares 06), I gain kramnik. A game that was tables, but pride made him try to gain and perdio, but with plays naturales.Otra,la has won, but topalov(no does not see the winning line is fault of the clear computer of kramik...)y despues, which happens in chess when you waste occasions, returns to perder.y the other two without interest nor special fight. Nothing suspicious in these games, and IF those of linares, that seems of a maquina. Because asi?.Ha does not play aqui had 4 opportunities. When match begins, with raglas ACCEPTED by both players, they are not due to change, safe with mutual agreement, but they are not due to change. Not to have accepted those conditions if it were not of aucerdo, but creia that this was linares. And if it thinks that there are traps, that ACKNOWLEDGMENT and does it with Tests, not with personal conjectures and suspicions of badly perdedor.O THAT IT ASKS FOR an INVESTIGATION, not THAT IMPOSES CONDITIONS WITH THREATS, SINGLE To the FIDE,Y ASI ITS FRIENDS Of the COMITE, PLEASE IT IN 12 HOURS. Without practicamente informing suitably to Mr. kramnik.Maximo when already they habian expressed I arbitrate and the head of comite who was tonterias those hints, that Topalov IN GAMES PREVIAS..CLARO had done previously a TWO ZERO DUELE..Y MAINLY the IMPOTENCE THAT THIS FEELING,AL TO SEE the FORCE Of the OPPOSITE and the SHADE FROM WHICH HIM PASSAGE To KASPAROV.(2-0 IN 15 PARTIDAS.)Y DOES NOT ARRIVE At KASPAROV NOR At the CORD OF ITS WORSE ZAPATOS.LO IS THAN SHE KNOWS IT.

9/29/2006 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Susan Polgar provides some very useful rules and regulations of the match.

Apparently, the Appeals Committe was fully within its rights to make changes to the match. This was part of the contract, so Kramnik's position is significantly weakened from a legal standpoint.

I wonder if our resident lawyer, Patrick, has any thoughts. :)

9/29/2006 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I want one of the those bathrooms!

9/29/2006 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger katar said...

why yes, i do have thoughts, which are freshly posted.

9/30/2006 01:22:00 AM  
Blogger Temposchlucker said...

I would love to see reaction of Kramnik when he is asked for doping-control after a game! That will take him at least another hour of squeezing:)

9/30/2006 08:31:00 AM  
Blogger transformation said...

your photos are starting to get really, really good! whether it be the one of topy and k with the wheel barrel or now this. LOL. dk

10/03/2006 03:25:00 PM  

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