Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Essent 2006

| Permalink | 177 comments

This annual double quad begins on Sunday. Topalov, Mamedyarov, J Polgar, I Sokolov play. The world junior champ from Azerbaijan is actually higher rated than Polgar, and this easily makes for the strongest Essent event ever. Sokolov won the event outright in 2004 but is the rating underdog here. Of course all eyes will be on Topalov, playing just a week after losing the title match. He begins with black against Mamedyarov and it will be interesting to see if the other players press the world #1. I would recommend against the Slav...

This is Judit's first serious chess since her last trip up river to spawn so that's something else to watch. I believe it's her first classical tournament since San Luis a year ago. Is she going to try and come back to the top ten or coast? Super-GM prep with tots roaming and wriggling around can't be easy. I know lots of male GMs also have little kids but I seriously doubt they spend as much time with them. And I know they don't do much housework or breast feed. On that high note I'll add that there's a big Essent open running alongside the Crown event. Gurevich and Cheparinov are the top seeds.


Interesting to note is that Cheparinov was also in Elista as second to Topalov, i.e. the inventor and the one of the f4 fame.

Moreover, Topalov/Danailov travelled as a single person to Essent in the beginning of this week. However, Topalov's games start at the end of this week and Danailov himself does not play, according to a search that I did of the list of participants on the official site.

Which makes one wonder what the single person Topalov/Danailov does in this week. Honeymoon in a Dutch toilet?

Polgar played in San Luis last year, not two years ago.

But anyway, who cares about any of this when there are those lil' orphaned Mexican T-shirts to be thinking about?

I think it will take a long time for Topalov to rehabilitate his chess reputation (that is, leaving aside the shenanigans with Danailov and the questionable moral character this revealed). If he does really well here, it simply confirms that he can win in tournaments, but is a big-match choker (a flat-track bully, as they say in cricket: the Graeme Hick of the chess world). On the other hand, if he does poorly this too confirms our suspicions: he's out of form, he just had a fluky couple of years, he's been mentally broken by Kramnik, his cheating methods have been disrupted, etc. (take your pick from reasonable to loony).

This lose-lose situation is of his own making, of course. How sweet.

Hope Judit kicks ass and shuts up any jokes about "first game since last spawn" and "breastfeeding while castling".

Topalov has played just one match. Its a bit of a stretch to call him a "big-match choker". In fact I think both players showed emmense mental toughness in Elista. What a totally bizarre posting.

Judit is great. I think she will show it at this tournament.
At the same time Topalov will show one more time he is a nice person. zero@ego, on the question what Topalov is doing. I am sure he is among the people, giving autographs, playing blitz game with the audience. That is what he always does. I think it is a behavior that everybody should look up to. All chess players try to concentrate, etc. on the contrary, he tries to promote chess. And I think it is great.

Topalov has arrived in Hoogeveen without Danailov.

I don't know who designed the site for the youth games in Batumi; it's awful.

What is the link of the site?

First round of the Essent: a beautiful win with blacks for Cheparinov against Zeinab Mamedyarova. A sacrifice of a bishop, then at the edge of a loss, then powerful queen-knight-rook attack and win. Reminds me little of his secondee brilliant knights win at Elista.

link: http://www.essentchess.nl/
live flash available for the most interesting rpoceedings

Mark Crowther wrote (about my post): "What a totally bizarre posting."

You missed the series of blunders made by Topalov in the match, did you? And the accompanying chorus proclaiming him not mentally up to the challenge? (And that this wasn't the first time that Topalov had folded under pressure).

I think it's generally acknowledged that the pressure of a match is of a greater intensity than that of a tournament. It doesn't matter whether this was Topalov's 1st or 50th match: he didn't come through the crucial parts well -- and he has yet to demonstrate that he can in such a sitution. (Kramnik, on the other hand, demonstrated that, while his chess may not be scintillating, he is currently without equal when it comes to mental toughness).

That was the crux of my post -- and if you missed that, then I can only shake my head with "emmense" pity.

Agree with Mark on the bizarre post by the other guy. Leaving aside the non-chess tactics, Topalov arguably played more interesting chess in Elista and could have won the title if he had found the simple RxN+ in game 2.

He's tough and uncompromising. His nerves is another thing...

Where can I see the game of Cheparinov?

Well, saguni, that's my point: his nerves are what I'm talking about. (And "tough" and "uncompromising" play doesn't really help if you bottle it at the crucial points).

cheparinov's game agst mamedyarova: http:/inally.www.veselintopalov.net/article/ivan-cheparinov-wins

essent's site has for now only live game's, but they surely will have some archive soon. interesting, they put 2 web-cams for the crowns (so we can now count the toilet runs of the players, just kidding).

Well both players made blunders in the match and they mostly came in the first few games.

That's been seen an awful lot in player's first world championship matches (and in fact this it Topalov's first proper match not including the FIDE KO) so to call him a big match bottler in this situation is extremely harsh, even if you accept he did bottle this match. Personally I think Topalov was a little over excited at the start. There may have been more errors in the match than some in the past but there's been more chess (outside theory) played in this match than most. If there was to be a criticism its that he was too committed to trying to get a result against a player who was a bit too strong to try this against. Fischer had this problem early in his career and Kasparov too tried too much in the early games against Karpov in their first match. If there had been a normal world championship system over the last decade then Topalov would have also learned this lesson by now.

Topalov's reputation has suffered in the match but its off the board not on it.

Well, I suppose that makes sense, Mark, and thanks for the historical contextualisation. Perhaps it's just the product of a poor brain, but my memory of the current match is dominated by Topalov's f6?? and Rxc5??, both of which occurred towards the end of the match, not at the beginning.

So, fine, "big match choker" might be putting it too strongly. The best we can say is that, in the absence of more matches, the jury's still out. My opnion is that Topalov does have a suspect temperament, though (crude attempts to "unsettle" his opponent by blitzing out moves, over-pressing, etc.). But perhaps he'll grow out of it. It would be nice to be proved wrong, and, if Topalov does indeed engage in the kind of chess he's best at, I'm sure the demonstration would be well-worth watching.

thanks for the link. It actually is http://www.veselintopalov.net/article/ivan-cheparinov-wins
You have something extra in it in the beginning.

Well, they do not have replayable game as they used to put for Topalov. But the file is there. I just had a look at it, and it is a beutiful game by Cheparinov. Very agresive and sacrificing material. I think we can see him soon in top 20, and why not in top 10.
Topalov various times mentioned that exactly Cheparinov is his driving power, the man who is looking for all the novelties. He joined exactly before San Luis. I see big future for him.

Its really a shame that we haven't had a proper world championship cycle within FIDE. These matches are quite different to any other form of chess and do take some getting used to. Smyslov was the best player in the world from 1952-3 until the emergence of Tal in 1957-8. Smyslov started his 1954 match loss, loss, draw, loss and although he eventually took the lead he drew the match in the end. He won clearly in 1957. Whether we can take Smylov's contention he was ill (flu if I remember) when he lost the rematch is hard to know. Petrosian lost the first game against Botvinnik. Its part of the reason these matches need to be 24 games (although whether we could have put up with the off board stuff for that length of time is anyone's guess). Oh and Leko lost game one in Brissago and eventually tied the match. Its a tough old game.

so Cheparinov - next Topalov then? There will be a surge of interest by the main tournaments to him after he hits 2700 soon. His style is similar to Topa’s – courageous and exploring. He’s playing now agst Steve Berger: http://www.essentchess.nl/live/tfd.htm - follow 6 interesting games there.

Mark C, you wrote in defence of the match tradition in your latest write-up, what a relief. It's a little inconsistent with your defence of Mexico, though, just because of short term considerations, thereby helping FIDE in their efforts to kill the match tradition.

Wow, sni,
Yeah, I think Cheparinov has a nice rise in the rating. If he keeps up the pace it will be great. And looking at his two games at Essent he is really aggressive. Could he be in the place of Memedyarov next year and play in one tournament with Topalov?
It will be great.

The surest course to chess heaven is a credible threat that if Kirsan does not provide a WCC cycle/match:
a) Zhukov will beat him up and
a) Kramnik will set up a cycle on his own

Not inconsistant, just an incomplete explanation.

I believe that you need to hold a world championship regularly and have sadly come to the conclusion its not possible, we've damaged the cycle too much. There may come a time when we can do it again but probably not at the moment.

A classic candidates series would consist of three sets of matches. You have to get sponsorship for one set, then another, then the candidates final and fit it in with the normal tournament schedule.

The money would have to be very good because you'd expect the players to spend at least a couple of months preparing. Where is there any sign there is this kind of finance, and where are the gaps in the schedule?

On to the world title matches themselves Kasparov couldn't find sponsorship for a match against Shirov and then took a year to find sponsorship for a match against Kramnik. Kramnik in turn took over a year to find sponsorship for his match against Leko.

At the very least we have to go back to Interzonal, Candidates tournament and World championship match to fit everything into the modern chess calendar and have events attractive enough with a reasonable likelyhood of getting sponspors. Sponsors of a long world title match also have to put up with the possiblity it might be a rout. I suggested a match tournament, 4 players 6 or 8 cycles as a possible replacement that might give a chance of more interest (more competitors more countries possibly) and with a better chance of something to play for until the end. I know all about the possiblity of fixing results but chess desperately needs events to happen.

Also I think you can't announce a world championship tournament in Mexico and then just cancel it because the wrong player won a match, it seems unfair to the other players to me. If there is a clammer for something else after this then fair enough. But I think the winner of such an event with the best and the possibility of qualifying for everyone else is better than no event at all. Cancel Mexico and we could be talking years down the line to get something else going. You can say its FIDE's fault but if its accepted by the people likely to play in it I don't think we have the right to say we don't agree.

I don't think its a short term consideration to hold this event. I think its important we show we are able to hold events we schedule, and by we I mean the chess community. In the outside world it would reflect badly not only on FIDE but on us all.

Topalov and Danailov did go to Hoogeveen according to Zhivko Ginchev, a member of the Bulgarian team, see veselintopalov.net

(sarcasm) How noble, Topalov spends a whole week giving autographs and playing blitz chess with the audience (end of sarcasm) Not even veselintopalov.net says that, veselintopalov.net does not say at all what the one person Topalov/Danailov is doing in the week.

Based on what happened at Toiletgate I would not be surprised if we hear of shenanigans by that one person Topalov/Danailov in Hoogeveen.

I disagree with the rigid and convoluted views on how a match cycle should look like.

The qualifier could be as simple as San Luis or Mexico. The qualifier does not have to be a match, it could be a tournament, nobody really cares. However, the final determination of the title has to be a match, that's the key point of the match tradition.

In fact, San Luis/Elista could be seen as a complete match cycle. Mexico/Elista could be a complete match cycle too, fully consistent with the match tradition.

I'm sure you can see the tradition that way just so long as you don't mind completely ignoring the other players and sponsors. That's the heart of the problem for me.

Kramnik should play in Mexico. Why else even bother to play against Topalov? Just to grab half a million dollar? Quite opportunistic if you ask me.
If he wins Mexico he truly is the world champion.
He tried it on his own and that wasn't a big success. In an ideal world we would see matches but in the real world a few decent people have put a lot of money down to organise a WC-tournament in Mexico. Let's see how that goes before everybody cries murder.
If Kramnik doesn't play: FIDE strips him of the fide title. Kramnik will claim he is the classic worldchampion. In the end we have some sort of boxing situation: different titles. The value of each title will be decided by a) who holds it and b) how much cash there is to be earned.

Actually the key point of the tradition set up after the second world war was that everyone had a chance of entry and the winner was the sum of all these qualifications and thus undisputed champion. Before the second world war it was at times anarchy which is what we have now. The qualification series were the making of the players.

The “championship match system is not reliable for potential investors: it is too easy to postpone/interrupt the match because of sickness or (imaginary) offence or suspicion for fair play, hence too risky investment. Not only the regular championship system will attract more often (small and medium size) investments than a challengers-match system, but it is much far more fair and accurate in measuring who is the best chess player in the course of the time, what is stimulating to all sides involved. I think a system similar to the football world championships would be good. There is a balanced privilege for the champion but the final challenge is at a tournament where title is defended/lost at equal terms among the best 16, double robin (8 is a bit short to be accurate).

Cheparinov won!!!!!
Beautiful game. He created many pins and in only 30 moves his oponent gave up.

"a) Kramnik will set up a cycle on his own"
In a way, Kramnik has already two cycles behind him after winning the title in 2000: Dortmund/Brissago and San Luis/Elista. I trust he will have more successful cycles.

Go Kramnik!

essent open: cheparinov and brodsky have won after 34 moves, very intriguing games. gurevich is also in a way to win. the other favorites are in equal positions. interesting chess.

I don't think "completely ignoring the other players" is true at all. All realistic candidates have been given a chance in San Luis, all realisted candidates will be given a chance in Mexico.

On "completely ignoring sponsors": a first mistake made does not justify making a second mistake. The more so, since the first mistake has only short term consequences, whereas the second mistake has long term consequences.

If Kramnik refuses to play in Mexico, he should renounce his title (absolute) world champion and return the award from the last match to FIDE. It is included in the contract I suppose. And the blame for splitting again the world of chess will deservedly be on him. Such a probable (according the last interviews of Kramnik) development will not need to be dramatised though. Well, one league of course is the best, but two leagues solution is also acceptable, as far as these do not exclude each other. Then the money-attraction aspect will be the decisive for the outcome of the rivalry between these two, and it is possible that one of them will cease existence after long period of fund-starving.

Come to think of it, the organizers of Essent may have told that one person Topalov/Danailov: "Our sponsors do not want a Toiletgate II. Please sign an undertaking that you will refrain from doing anything that may soil the name of our sponsors." That would be a plausible explanation why that one person Topalov/Danailov departed so early to Hoogeveen.

If not an outright ban, the other organizers (Wijk an Zee, Linares, etc) may reasonably want that one person Topalov/Danailov to sign such an undertaking.


Definitely agree that the old way was best.

Corus, Linares, Dortmund and Sofia have little meaning beyond themselves. (Who cares about Topalov, Anand, and Kramnik racking up ELO points beating up second-tier players?) But the path of zonals, interzonals, and candidates matches enfused scores of events with the drama of WCC implications.

That old path carried a lovely symbolism: every player on earth had a clear path to the title. But practically speaking, the lower levels of that path are unnecessary. Anyone capable of dethroning Karpov, Kasparov, or Kramnik is going to be a top dog. You don't need zonals and interzonals to locate the top dogs.

We knew which performers were candidates to dethrone top-dogs Sinatra, Elvis, or the Beatles. We didn't have to search for them (and we wouldn't find them) on American Idol.

Given the choice between
a) a "American Idol" cycle ending in a WCC tournament and
b) a "top-dog" qualifier ending in a WCC match,
I'll take the top-dogs and the match.

Once again, I hope Kirsan can work out (be bludgeoned into) an accomodation satisfactory to the Mexico sponsors and the WCC match tradition.

But most of all I hope Kramnik will some day become aligned with Mig's economic interests so we can all kick back and enjoy the spectacle of an incensed Mig calling Kramnik-bashers SCHIZO NUTBALLS, nihilist geniuses, and the like.

"Her last trip up river to spawn"??



And what swims upriver to spawn? A fish.

Well of course I'm no supporter of Kirsan and this problem was at least in part of his making. I certainly don't see a problem with having Mexico and then going back to matches. In the end I'll do what I always do, wait and see how it plays out. But lets hope it doesn't play out in the next world championship being in 2010 or another immediate split the sport is damaged enough.

"...up river to spawn."


Not your best work.

"I certainly don't see a problem with having Mexico and then going back to matches."

It's not that simple, is it? Kramnik taking part in Mexico would handle the unified title to Kirsan. Who says Kirsan'd prefer matches?

If the Mexico 2007 winner wants to be thought of as a genuine WCChamp by the public, he will need to challenge Kramnik to a match immediately after Mexico 2007.

I would rather have the wcc title split between match vs tournament champions, than have it "unified" as a mere tournament wcc title that tries to drop the 'tournament' modifier.
Mexico 2007 can only confer a tournament wcc title.

FIDO did not create the Steinitz Match World Chess Champion title. That historic title is not the property of FIDO, as 1886-1946 proved, and 1993-2004 proved again. FIDO manages that title only when the globe's chess public consents by consensus.

If FIDO tries to say the Mexico 2007 tournament winner is the new Steinitz WCChamp, I will disagree. All by my little self I have no impact of course. But the web chatter this past month shows I will not be alone. I was far from alone in refusing to recognize the San Luis 2005 winner as a match wcc. There is strength in numbers.

Mark Crowther and "zero" (hiding behind anonymity) both debated with many thoughtful comments, some of which I agree with.

Unfortunately, regarding Mexico 2007's wcc title claims, Mark also wrote that we don't "have the right to say we don't agree".
Where I live we do have the right to disagree, and we do have the right to say so.

Gene Milener

To Gene M: Please stop unnecessarily numbering points in your post as if you are making profound statements!

However, I agree with you and others that the WCC should be decided by a match. Not only is there a historical tradition of this, but the drama of a match just can't be matched by a tournament.

Mexico will probably (and appropriately) turn into a qualifier to decide who will challenge Kramnik.


[1] Is there a reason why you refer to Kirsan's organization as "FIDO" rather than "FIDE?"

[2] Are you calling it a "dog" organization?

Yes, slightly unfortunate way of putting things we of course have the right to say what we want but I think its the players who are competing who are far more important.

I was desperate for Bessel Kok to win the last FIDE election, he didn't and I don't see any way he can be unseated.

But if Kramnik signed a contract to play under FIDE under a single crown I would have thought it would mean he would have to play in their scheduled event.

I just don't think its that big of a deal to play in Mexico in an event which will be classical in style and as strong as it can be and then revert back to a match if that proves feasible.

What I can see happening is Mexico is cancelled, the candidates series limps on and we get a title match in 2010 that simply not acceptable.

On Essent, I guess this could be an opportunity for Mamedyarov to show he is able to get strong performances in high profile tournaments. Players like him seem to be in a inferior echelon with respect to the top players if we judge by his horrendous performance in Corus, but his Elo rating is very high thanks to open tournaments and club championships. For example, with his recent participation in the European Club Championships, his rating is going to be even higher than Aronian and Leko (>=2745 aprox in contrast to 2741 of the latter). As well as Morozevich (of course, respecting the proportions), he seems to have an ability to crush 2500-2600's thanks to his imaginative tactics (and is also an excellent blitz player), but his positional play is still inferior to most of his 2700's colleagues.

For Judit, I hope this could be a nice first step back in classical tournaments; I would like to see her invited also to Corus 2007. An for Topalov, we can criticize everything about his manager and behavior during the WCC Match, but he is a top player and his preparation and aggresive play brings exciting chess in every tournament he participates; no doubt he deserves another shot for the title (either participating in Candidates tournament or a rematch).

Possible prediction:

- Topalov
- Polgar
- Mamedyarov
- Sokolov

PS: Unfortunately, every forum that includes the word "Topalov" is subject to off-topic post since now.

And if the page http://www.veselintopalov.net has information and chess news around the world (or coverage of Bulgarian players), it is more than welcome (I wonder who is the webmaster: A Topalov non-bulgarian fan, a bulgarian fan, ...)

A question (for people who know): The fact that Topalov is out of the rapid chess tournament announced today in Chessbase (which includes Kramnik, Anand, Morozevich, Aronian, etc) is part of a objective decision?


I don't think many (any) serious persons are suggesting that Mexico be cancelled. There are many ways for FIDE, Mexico and Kramnik to agree to a formula that may satisfy all parties.

--Kramnik plays the Mexico WCC tournament, then plays the highest finisher in a WCC match,
--Kramnik plays the Mexico WCC tournament and the top two finishers, whoever they are, play a WCC match the following year.
--Kramnik abdicates, then plays the Mexico winner (and new WCC) in a match,
--Mexico2007 becomes a Candidates event, and Mexico gets the WCC match the next year.

We should know before long whether they can work it out. If not, Dortmund2007 can be recast as a Candidates Tournament; and they'd have two years from today to find a sponsor for Kramnik's 4th WCC match in 2008. Adding a year for unforeseen delays still gives us a 2009 WCC match; and "every third year" was long the WCC standard.

I think the decision is a purely political one. Although Topalov does not show the same level of play at rapids as in classical, the tournament is ACP main event. As such he may not be very desired there. No one in ACP wants to see Kramnik defeated. And we know Topalov motivates in exactly the same situations.
Another option is if Topalov has a tournament confirmed for that time. He has a busy schedule.
Correct me if I am wrong....

Mark I think you are being too fatalistic and too pessimistic.

I see no lack of sponsors. for example I am sure that Radjabov would be happy to play kramnik in a match. I am sure that if push came to shove that money can be found in India for an Anand match with kramnik.

now really who else is there. Topalov seems to be saying he has the money lined up for another match.

That is 3 matches without even looking for anyone. they are lining up.

Magnus Carlsen. I guarantee could come up with the money if he were ready for the match. He is still not ready. but the money is already there and waiting.

that is now 4 match.

I say dump the stupid tournaments. Mexico better wake up. does it hurt Kirsan and fide. Well good. I dont like fide and I dont like Kirsan. so maybe the world will finally get rid of both of them.

New World Chess Organization. Kramnik is champ. Money is everywhere.


I doubt that the decision is political at all. According to the article, the event was for those who finished on top in the ACP standings as ACP members. The article gave the impression that only ACP members would be invited. Since Topalov isn't a member of the ACP (believe it or not: http://www.chess-players.org/eng/member/members.html ), I don't know if he would have been invited even if he won and acted like an angel.

In a greater scheme of things, the match title belongs to the world at large and to the game of chess as such since several centuries.

In his interview on the day after the match, Kramnik said that he did explore the title ownership issue and said that he did not own the title, but merely borrowed it for some time. By the same token, FIDE does not own the title either but merely administers it for some time.

All the other issues are subordinate to this greater scheme of things. For example, since FIDE has misadministered the title since Campomanes' days, then the world at large and the game of chess as such ought to cleanse itself. IMHO, the cleansing has begun with Kramnik winning the match title.

The logical continuation of the cleansing will be a Mexico qualifier tournament followed a title match in my hometown. Hooray!

The Topalov-Danailov symbiote left the ACP in December 2004 over politics. I think they were loyal to FIDE already back then.

"In an open letter to the ACP Board and signed by Ruslan Ponomariov, Veselin Topalov and Silvio Danailov they state "we disagree with the politics and most of the decisions of the ACP Board. Having in mind this, we declare that with this letter we cancel officially our membership in ACP". There is no specific explanation of why this announcement came about but they are significant losses to the membership which was recently joined by Viswanathan Anand."


I was searching for Radjabov's accomplishments as I was surprised to hear people talking about him as a WCC contender already...considering what happened in Elista, I found the below story painfully interesting.


Seirawan shreds Gijssen's attempt to explain himself innocent http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=3441 In so doing, Seirawan also exposes some of the machinations inside FIDE.

Read it, and then try to say with a straight face: "No problem, first WC tournament in Mexico and matches afterwards." You will find it impossible to do.

Even without Seirawan's latest article, FIDE's reign of errors, to borrow an election phrase from Seirawan, will continue beyond 11 years.

Okay, "up river to spawn" was, um, picturesque and not really flattering, but on my reading, Mig's sense was on the whole sympathetic to GM Polgar.

In the end it doesn't matter what I think. But if Kramnik were to insist that he had to play a match to defend his title rather than Mexico then the problem of pre-existing contracts with players and organisers would definitely become germain. We will see what we will see. Sure I hope for a candidates series and a world title match. I just hope we don't end up with none of these things and lots of legal activity something the game of chess can ill afford.

On FIDE, there is absolutely no prospect of a change of FIDE leadership as far as I can see, the sitting President has to be an idiot (in political terms) to get tossed out. That was the depressing verdict on the last elections, I can see Kirsan being President for life such are the grace and favours he can grant, otherwise any overthrow would have to involve such a level of cynicism and corruption that the winner would be worthless anyhow.

I just think that some of the ideal world suggestions that have appeared in this thread don't understand just how precarious chess' situation is with sponsors and indeed with the mass media as a whole. We're staggering here already. I hope I'm wrong and understand the opposing points of view totally, I'm a chess purist at heart (perhaps even snob). But I simply don't share the rosey view of where we are right now.

I think you underestimate your own influence. Considering the number of people reading your site, it does very well matter what you write, although it is well toned down there.

Anyway, no candidate *series* is needed, IMHO, direct democracy a la ancient city of Athens is no longer practiced either, but giving the top dozen of the world a chance in San Luis or Mexico should be sufficiently democratic to determine a credible challenger (every odd year with title matches in the even years, for example). Getting potential challengers into the top dozen does not really have to be streamlined, let the cream float itself to the top, I would say.

If part or all of that has to be done outside FIDE, so be it. I don't think anyone of us here has pink glasses on.

However, after Kramnik's victory and Russia getting sensitized to the issues, the chess world has now a weight comparable to that that Kasparov had in 1993-2000 if not more. If nothing else, the Russian superfinal could be opened up (every other year, for example) to determine a challenger for Kramnik for the match title. I don't think Kirsan would dare to sanction the participants of that cycle.

Seize the moment!

I agree with 'zero', that Seirawan's article is excellent. I could feel Seirawan's emotions coursing in his words. Yet his ducks are in a straight row, and they are quacking in unison.

No one person caused the crisis by himself, it was a systemic series of mistakes. Seirawan's primary complaint is the dodging of accountability in this post-match period: how can nothing and nobody have been in error? With such dodging, the failed system will not be honestly assessed nor improved before the next occasion.

Seirawan's article is probably the single most well reasoned piece yet written about the political mess of this K-T match.


A couple of days ago we discussed the role of the chief arbitor at Elista. If anyone is interested in talking to Geurt Gijssen and telling him how you feel on the issue I will give you his email address.

If you support him then let him know. If you do not support him then let him know.

I would recommend that you pass this out on other chess boards and ask people to let Geurt know how they feel.


Do not use this for spamming and everyone should talk to Geurt with dignity and respect. I do not want to hear any feedback from Geurt that anyone talked to him in a bad way. Remember it is ok to disagree if you do it with dignity and respect.

if you expect him to give your letter consideration you should include your name and country of origin. Remember he just might publish what you say in his monthly column at chesscafe.

Sorry I don't buy Seirawans crap. I don't Gijssen could have done something about it even if he wanted to... It would require a law degree for the arbiter if he has to decide if a decision from the appeals commision is right about something that is in the contract. It's not like the appeals commision decided to forbid Kramnik to castle long or something.
Seirawan is also wrong about his interpretation of the power of the president. In fact he didn't change anything about the decision of the appeals commision: he just got both parties to agree to not abide by the ruling, the appeals commision decide to resign itself (probably thanks to the president but this is an age-old political manouvre: technical you can't fire them but you make sure that when they don't their future might not be so bright) and in the end he upheld the forfait.
Sorry Seirawan is trying to please the general chess fans and is not searching for the facts, something I find very dissapointing.
The behaviour from team Topalov was very poor, the decision of the appeals condition was way of, but Seirawan taking it out on Gijssen is very childish.

He is nothing but a journalists. And he is not even an updated journalist, he lives in the century where ACP was created. It is a semi dead organization now. FIDE will prevail, it has Kremlin behind it.
But let's not get distracted. Clearly chessbase together with Seirwan lead a campaign against Topalov. And it was a dirty one. Only Topa knows the real story. But he is never going to share it, or at least he will not fall to the level of Seirwan to do unsofisticated chat on the internet.

ACP was created three years ago.

Chessbase leads no campaign, they just publish everything they get from all sides. (Kramnik camp, Topalov camp, FIDE, ...)

Seirawan's latest letter was so-so, embarrassing in part but with some good points.

Obviously Geujssen was not strong enough for this job. He behaved more like a clockwatcher than an arbiter.

What did chessbase publish from Topalov's camp?????? Just selected lines, commentaries that can be used well against Danailov.
Yes, they hate him because he is the one that created Mtel Masters ($1000000) and the one that will create the Grand Slam. I think they have issues.
One more time I say, what they publish is biased and they never published the most important news about Topalov.

What Chessbase published from Topalov's camp? Except all their open letters, press releases, interviews etc during the match? And that letter of support from Bulgarian GM's? What more should they have published that they didn't?

If Chessbase is so biased against Topalov (they hate him for MTel and the Grand Slam??? Get real!) perhaps they would have showed it before the match as well? It's just paranoid nonsense to be honest.

I think they published only the biased info that they can use against Danailov. Have you read Short's and Seirwans comments? They are ridiculous

marca, what should Chessbase have published that they didn't? Are you Danailov's Mom? Hhmm..?

I have just read Seirawans article in chess base and I want to say in the immortal words of Tony Miles it was "utter crap" Sorry to say this but the wsy he wrote the article was really disingenuous. We all know Kirsan called the shots ordered the toilets closed - what an earth has that got to do with the Chief Arbiter?? Yasser goes on to make a bunch of points which have nothing repeat nothing to do with the central issue. All these so called inconsistencies and ooh Kirsan is really powerful and could do what he wanted. The issue was what do we reasonably expect the chief arbiter to do in the situation he found himself in? Of course he proably thought closing the toilets was wrong - whats he supposed to do resign over the decision of the Appeal Committee? Yeah right. he is priamrily there to monitor events at the board etc and yes I know there are situations where he could decide he could no longer lend his name by staying on in his job. This was not one of them. Not all these pathetic debating points Yassers came up with. you got the rules wrong Yasser (outdated version) you went ballistic against the guy who did his best and behaved perfectly correctly. Now you suggest he could have postponed the game for 24 hours? Your playing with words Yasser - he suggested a short (15 minute) delay with MUTUAL CONSENT of BOTH players so the letter could be read he did not order it. Yasser telecopes this into a new power for the arbiter ah if he did that he could have delayed the game a whole day. As far as I am concerned Seirawans reputation has suffered more than the Chief Arniters I support what he did 100%. What madness to try to blame him when you have the Appeal Committee and Kirsan blatently guilty of wrong decisions and particularly Kirasn of irredemiably compromising the integrity and independence of FIDE instititutions - a point incidentally made long ago in this blog before Yasser picked up on it.

as I said it here in the thread "He Said, He Said, Etc.".

Seirawan points it out.

Gijssens reputation is null and void forever. He must retire from his job. He is not longer bearable as arbiter after his "childish [cit. seirawan]" letter.

Bad for Gijssen, we had almost forgotten about him, and now this silly letter...

Gijssen is of that sort of people we had in Germany 60 years ago

chessbase should have published the truth.
And it is that a sports person should stay on the stage. And Kramnik did not do it. Thus he offended the whole chess world.
If you disagree with that you are missing one of the most important concepts of chess.

re: "Gijssens reputation is null and void forever. He must retire from his job. He is not longer bearable as arbiter after his "childish [cit. seirawan]" letter."

May be for you his reputation is null or void, but not for me and for chess comunity. He has applied the written procedures accurately and without bias or personal interpretation. Isn't it what we want from a judge?

Compairing the letters of Gijssens and Seirawan, everybody can see why the applying strict law code is so important compairing with freevolant personal biase to what is moral and what is not.

essent: in 15 min. the crown and open matches start. follow some of them live at: http://www.essentchess.nl/live/tfd.htm

On the site you can find web-camds for the crowns I suppose.

You can later download all of the games pgn following the News link of the essent site (web-design and navigation could be better)

Exactly Sni - Elrond you need to get perspective this reference to people in germany 60 years ago I guess you are trying to compare to Nazi's and Nazi sympathisers or perhaps the millions of germans who voted Hitler into power. Maybe you would like to clarify that for everyone. In the meantime I believe that Mr Gijessen has the support of all reasonable objective people (self serving, self important chess journalists apart)

"chessbase should have published the truth.
And it is that a sports person should stay on the stage. And Kramnik did not do it. Thus he offended the whole chess world."

Fascinating to learn that Chessbase is biased because they don't publish the opinion of a small minority as if it were objective truth. Anyway, is this some kind of collective joke? Nobody was annoyed by this perfectly common and uncontroversial practice until Danailov started this stupid spin.

"This is Judit's first serious chess since her last trip up river to spawn so that's something else to watch."

Um, Mig? That is really a tacky, even tawdry way to refer to GM J. Polgar's decision to have another baby

"I believe it's her first classical tournament since San Luis two years ago."

San Luis was last year (Fall of 2005)

"Is she going to try and come back to the top ten or coast? Super-GM prep with tots roaming and wriggling around can't be easy. I know lots of male GMs also have little kids but I seriously doubt they spend as much time with them. And I know they don't do much housework or breast feed."

Maybe she has a maid to do the housework. She can certainly afford one.

One can speculate about her current circumstances, and how they will affect her play. However, it ought not be dismissed that she reach her career highs, both in rating and in ranking, AFTER she had her first child. Given how competitive she is, it must still be her ambition to be the World Champion--and she is probably quite optimistic about her chances to crack the Top 10 once more.

today rounds of essent have started:
interestingly, topalov's first name is spelled "ivan", obviously wronly copied from the names of ivan sokolov or ivan cheparinov:).

"Fascinating to learn that Chessbase is biased because they don't publish the opinion of a small minority as if it were objective truth. Anyway, is this some kind of collective joke?"

Yes, the name of this joke is "democracy". BTW we do not publish the vews of minorities because they are true or not:)

Topalov has played just one match. Its a bit of a stretch to call him a "big-match choker". In fact I think both players showed emmense mental toughness in Elista. What a totally bizarre posting.

Posted by: Mark Crowther at October 21, 2006 04:49

With all due respect, Mark, I strongly disagree about your assessment that Topalov ALSO displayed [i]mmense mental toughness in Elista.

1) He blundered more frequently than Kramnik.

2) His blunders were grosser (more obvious).

3) Instead of taking his poor start like a man, he fell apart and willingly allowed himself to be "saved" by his Svengali manager, Danailov.

4) It was weakness to refuse to make joint appearances at the Press Conferences.

5) Even when he got the lead in the match, thanks to the gift point, he could not handle the pressure.

6) He lost his objectivity, his composure, and even his fighting spirit in several of the games. All indicative of cracking under the pressure.


What an inexpicable comment!

What is "democratic" about letting a minority define truth? That opinion was published, but as an OPINION (Topalov's), not a fact! What more can you ask?

"inexplicable".... etc..

What is this doing in the Essent thread though?

yes, they have published some "minority" opinions, and then i presonally do not think chessbase have expressed their bias in text. so far so good. if only there was not a bias of what their selection of what to publish, in the first place. they are very close to what we call a "white propaganda". They first publish opinions which coinside with their view point and then (with good delay) the "minority" opinions.

Ivan Topalov = Topalov with Ivan Cheparinov inside, but it is more appropriate to talk about
Dan Topalov = Topalov with Danailov inside

Goooooo Topaaaaaaa!

Ellrond, what sort of people you had in 1946 in Germany? Could you elaborate on that? You mean the fellow-travellers chancing colors overnight? A Restauration at Stunde Null, or a Neubeginn?

Is it honest and sound of you to integrate Mr. Gijssen into the history of your country? Can't you imagine that the comparison is utterly painful and improper. It hurts. As a Dutchman Mr. Gijssen and all his compatriots had the honour going through 5 years of occupation by the uninvited and most unwelcome Germans. In 1946 Holland was destroyed and plundered by them.

It is unnecessary and silly of you to evoke this past. Let's hope it was a slip of your pen.

Posted by: Andy at October 22, 2006 06:49
as I said it here in the thread "He Said, He Said, Etc.".

Seirawan points it out.

Gijssens reputation is null and void forever. He must retire from his job. He is not longer bearable as arbiter after his "childish [cit. seirawan]" letter.

Bad for Gijssen, we had almost forgotten about him, and now this silly letter...

Gijssen is of that sort of people we had in Germany 60 years ago.

If you are implying that Gijssen is like those German Judges who applied and enforced unjust Nazi laws [because those laws were claimed to be valid], then you are perhaps being a bit unfair.

The thought did cross my mind, though, and I was wondering if anybody would bring that up as an example. Of course, this is just chess, and it was only Kramnik's career--not his life-- which was jeopardized by Gijssen's blindered approach.

Seirawan's response is devastating, because it demonstrates how Gijssen simply ignored the facts when he made his actions in Elista, and when he tried to defend himself in the Chess Cafe column.

The question is whether or not the Chess World wants an arbiter whose main loyalty is to FIDE (in practice, indistinguishable to loyalty to Kirsan), or to the integrity of the game.

After this debacle, I would hope that Gijssen's star status as an Arbiter will dim, and that tournament organizers will simply opt to employ another of the hundreds of equally qualified Arbiters, most of whom can be expected to have better common sense about how to deal with real world issues as they crop up in a match.

Gijssen's close association with FIDE has tainted his credibility. He receives lucrative paydays as FIDE's Top Arbiter. Is it any shock that he tows the party line? In any case, even without the financial ties, one must finally question the character of somebody who seems not to feel any qualms with being so closely associated with such a scandal-ridden organization. His need to compartmentalize, to suppress cognitive dissonance, to rationalize, etc. seemed to have rendered him morally senile, even if his cognitive abilities are unimpaired.

His loyalty to Kirsan will ensure future gigs at Official FIDE events. However, independent organizers ought to blackball him from here on out.

How will children affect Judit's chess career? For man or woman, a well-ordered family life can be a source of strength. A disordered family life, on the other hand, custody battles, etc., can be a fatal distraction.

Seirawan: "His article reminded me of the French inspector in Victor Hugo’s classic, “Les Misérables.” The inspector would cry, “The Law is the Law. Right or wrong it makes no difference.” So my first dispute with Mr. Gijssen’s article is on a basic principle: Yes, right and wrong are different. All of us should strive to do right. When an injustice is committed it should be righted"

Seirawan himself sets Gijssens behavior in relation to the well known shadows of the past. I fully agree to him.

Ellrond: blaming the principled judges is unfair to Gijssen in the context of events from decades ago. If anything, the judicial "activism" and lack of sticking to established rules was one aspect of the time (the 20's & 30's) as it is today --"make the rules as you see fit" dangerous form of liberal righteosness that will lead to another Weimar or worse consequences in the chess World.

The "right" thing is fair and simple -- postpone a game and then start a clock when the other party is perfectly capable of attending, but unwilling to do so.


mamedyarov - topalov, draw

oops, mamedyarov with a new continuation:)

The attacks against Gijseen are so unfair. He was supposed to be the arbiter of a CHESS match, then out of nowhere Topalov's camp start behaving like jerks and the AC makes that stupid decision backed by Kirsan. The arbiter found himself in the middle of this escalating stupidity and tried to follow the rules to try to put some sense into the situation. Now it's easy to say "no, that was a bad decision, he should have stopped the match". But at the heat of the moment he probably felt that suspending a WC match when Kramnik could walk 5 meters and start playing would have added even more nonsense to the whole mess.
And I think that attacking Gijseen has the side effect of diluting the blame that Topalov and FIDE (AC & Kirsan) had in all this.

excellent game M:T. veselin still finds somehow to defend against the white attack, but shachryar plays beautifully and with imagination and is close to a win.

Indeed, skeptic, the attacks against Mr. Gijssen are unfair. There may be good arguments left to attack him on proper grounds. Who knows. I'm curious to know the good arguments. I have not seen them till now.

We share with Mr. Seirawan a common condition. We do not belong to the inner circle were all was decided. Be it in Elista, Moscow or any other place. How can we talk about the role of Mr. Gijssen without knowing exactly what really happened after the 4th game? Too much stays in the dark.

It is so cheap attacking Mr. Gijssen. Is G.I. Joe more to blame for the Iraq disaster than Rumsfeld and Bush? Because Joe fired a shot.

This time I do not see how VT can save this game...


M-T 1-0.

Hmm. Topalov setting up another comeback?

First I thought Mam was stupid playing right into Topalov's WCC-prepared opening. He still won it. What does this say about Topalov? Mamedyarov? Topalov's preparation in the semi-slav?

Topalov lost, so we can all post all sorts of oh so gratifying rationalizations on how he was mentally crushed by Kramnik ;-)

Topa is the slave of the slav.
And loses again!

Childish or not, but have to feel good about the result Toiletlov's opponent - Toiletlov 1-0. Will (maybe)change my attitude towards the guy when he apologizes for his and his big mouth's(Danailov) outrageous behaviour and statements.

Mr X, Zero, etc.: Childish and stupid indeed. I'm sure you think you're very funny, but soccer thugs have more sense.


Topalov shows the same lack of objectivity that led to his defeat against Kramnik.

He overestimates himself. He will end up completely broken.
Why did he decide to come to play just a week after the WCC match ? He is exhausted, he needs one month rest (and another manager and a thyroid test).

The Essent tournament contracts were signed much before he was coerced into signing up for the Kramnik match.

Call it what you want Dimi. I am just one of those guys who love to see the 'bad guy' get his nose rubbed in crap (in the toilet)..rather than the good guy you know. ;)

Unlike Kramnik, Topalov is not in the habit of copping out at the last minute.

Toppy missed an instructive draw: 35.. Rxc8 (instead of 24.. Nf4?)36 Rxc8 Rxd6! 37 exd6 (36 Qg8+ Kh6 makes no diff) Qd2! and white cannot avoid the perpetual eg 38 g3 Qd1+ 39 Kg2 Nf4+! Mamedyarov played really well though

When Elista was announced last April, Topalov might have excused himself from Essent in plenty of time for them to find a replacement. Credit Topalov for honoring his commitment and cut him some slack if he doesn't do well in Essent.

But I'll still be rooting for the guy (or gal) sitting across the table from him.

yep, 35 Rxc8 followed by Rxd6! and Qd2 draws,
thx Andy for the observation, you may also send an email to Topa (a.k.a. as "Danailov")
to inform him.
Danailov may spank Topa this evening for this.

Mig always spanks me for promoting my blog but I have full Rybka analysis of the Mamedyarov - Topalov game posted. And yes Topalov blundered with 35.. Nf4? while Mamedyarov played with computer like precision.

Must be all his blitz games on Playchess ;-)

Love your site Mig, cheers!


No one is blaming Gijssen for the fiasco in Elista. Sirawan is definitely not blaming him for the situation.

However, Gijssen was Chief Arbitor and as such he had some powers and especially he had some big responsibilities.

Sirawan is simply saying that Gijssen had the opportunity to turn around the big mistakes that were being made and keep things in a place that would have made negotiations and a resolution of the problem much easier to resolve.

Most people will probably agree that if it were not for the forfeit game, it would have been much easier to find a solution to the problem. Yaz is making the point that Gijssen had the power to not start the clock and suspend the spiral that was running out of control.

As Chief Arbitor it should have been obvious to him that there was a big problem that needed a resolution and he should have realized that causing a forfeit was not going to make things easier to find a solution.

My personal experience in courts of law is that the judge and jury can rule either way. they can say guilty or innocent. and still whichever way they rule it is fair to say they could have ruled the opposite way.

Gijssen claims it was impossible for him to rule any other way. Sirawan points out that this is absurd. Gijssen could have ruled whatever way he wanted to rule. And this was exactly the problem. everyone was arbitrarily ruling against Kramnik with no regard to the facts.

It would be more honest of Gijssen to say that he could have ruled either way but he personally felt his ruling was the better choice. Thus Gijssen would be accepting the obvious responsibility for his decision.

More and more we are seeing the results of the corruption that money brings to FIDE and its decisions. Gijssen is getting paid by Kirsan so he rubber stamps Kirsan's decisions. We now see Mig himself getting paid by Mexico and changing his stand on chess so abruptly to support those who pay him money.

I hope that Gijssen reads these columns and gives good hard thinking to the ideas expressed here and elsewhere. not with the purpose of defending himself, but more to derive a deeper understanding of his role in a chess game so that he can be a better Chief Arbitor in the future. We all can grow. It is important for chess that he continues to evolve a correct understanding of the role of the Chief Arbitor for the future.

I believe Gijssen is a good man. I believe most people consider him a good man. I am sure he will learn from this experience.

>I believe Gijssen is a good man. I believe most people consider him a good man. I am sure he will learn from this experience.

I am not sure why you are so sure.
He is quite old (late 60s or early 70s) so what to "learn frome experience" ? He should have, and of course he has, experience.
But, simpler, he just isn't a "good man". He knows well what he does and does wrong nonetheless.
As the saying goes : "Forgive them God because they know what they do !"

The reason for Topalov playing a mere week after the Elista match? About a year ago, Danailov said that a champion has no right to be tired. Easy for him to say that, because he gets 50% of what Topalov earns without doing the work that Topalov does. Reminds me of what a pimp does ... oops


the reference from Ellrond was probably not to the millions that voted Hitler into power, but rather the millions that "just did their job/duty" when the s*** really hit the fan. There were guys that scheduled the trains to Auschwitz. Honest, hard working railway men. They were just doing their jobs, right?

While I don't agree with Ell. and think the comparision is PREEETY strong tobacco, his finer point is simply that hiding behind rules and regulations is, in the end, lame when indeed your conscience tells you (or should tell you) "This is simply WRONG!!"

In essence, wrong way to make a valid point.

good, get back to real.

Gijssen himself has put himself into a political discussion which is not appropriate for an arbiter who should be neutral and above the things.

It would have better suited for him, if others had written, he had done good work (which I dont think he has done but others may think), for example iljumshinov should have written a word about gijssen.

With this political discussion associated with Gijssen he cannot work as an arbiter any more.

An arbiter, who is controversially discussed by leading Grandmasters, cannot act any longer as arbiter.

PS: Albrecht von der Lieth got it. It all depends of the concrete situation, and there is no absolute law where you can hide.

"In essence, wrong way to make a valid point."

Al. Who the hell cares what Hitler would think of being dragged into a discussion of villanous chess toilet conduct? The man's been dead for 60 years and he was a miserable jerk anyway.

If really Kramnik must take part in the Mexico tournment then he should put at stake only the FIDE world chess champion title and NOT the Classical World chess champion one.
To underline this decision he should announce a new match against perhaps Radjabov to take place sometime after the Mexico tournment...

Well, then we will need again another reunification match between the Classical and the FIDE champion...
But, in this way, FIDE will have time to organize a candidate tournment/matches to decide who will be the next challenger of the world chess champion (for a match hopefully a bit longer than 12 games...).

Godwin, wherever he is, is smiling now.

Agreed Greg. And, a very sure way to make a point that is bound to result in off-topic responses and such, too.

Still, I think that what Elleron had in mind is just about what Yasser is saying in this letter. So I thought I'd bring this back on-topic ;o)

Gijssen is a 'rules-are-rules' man and has been clearly misused by FIDE to execute the 'final' decisions of the Appeals Committee. In this way, FIDE has total control of the match, at least according to their self-proclaimed finality.

I too lay part of the blame on Gijssen for causing the Elista chaos, but I think from a human point of view, there has to be some consideration made for him putting on his 'rules-are-rules' blinkers, because that's his second nature. The Russian themselves appear to have made this consideration, Gijssen was present at the post-match conference in Moscow.

BTW, FIDE's self-proclaimed finality is utterly ludicrous, why not self-proclaim divinity?

Drawing parallels between the actions of an arbiter to a sporting event and those of people who closed their eyes to horrific crimes against humanity is the most ridiculous thing I've ever read on the dirt. It's unfathomably beneath the level of presumably intelligent people such as those 'contributing' here.

This is not a social issue residing in the gray areas between law and morality. Contrary to the crap Seirawan's preaching in his article, sports rules ARE written in stone and sporting federations go to great lengths to eliminate situations requiring the arbiter/referee to interpret things according to his subjective judgement, even in split-second decisions. These are games we play, and we use clear rules so that we can have a beginning and an end. The rules obliged Gijssen to continue the match after the commitee's ruling, and he did what he was supposed to do - the appeals commitee's and FIDE's job was to safeguard against such a crisis and take charge of the situation responsibly, and in this they failed. If you still want to discuss sports alongside morality and politics, how about doing it under the chapters of scapegoats and hidden media agendas ?

'up river to spawn', 'do much housework or breast feed', 'tots roaming and wriggling around', So do you hate women or just feel threatened by them?

Voluminous expresses his point well, yet still it's not fully convincing.

Forget about Hitler, yeah that was an idiotic analogy. But do think about law and justice -- the concrete practice of it (sport, game, whatever label you like to put on the "structured rule-based competition" aspect of it), not the high-blown concept. I think that sphere of activity provides a possible analogy with the situation Gijssen faced, and if so, the parallel would suggest the arbiter does have some discretion under certain circumstances.

In law, the rules are often highly detailed, yet still cannot absolutely match the facts of any given situation. So judgment calls often come up. Judges have to interpret the law. And in so doing, they presumably take their guidance from striving for fairness and justice, for upholding the spirit, the overriding policy goals, that lie at the center of the particular laws that apply to the case.

Personally I'm more familiar with accounting. Like law, there is a detailed body of rules structured in a hierarchy. It addresses many concrete situations that come up in practice; yet of necessity, particular situations also come up that call for interpretation (usually on the part of an auditor). GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) includes a series of "Concept Releases" that spell out the broad conceptual goals of accounting -- complete and fair presentation of the financial performance and health of an entity being one of the broadest and most important such goals. If an accounting problem comes up that falls in a grey area where separate accounting principles, each potentially applicable, lead to different conclusions, then an auditor would look for a resolution that best fulfills the aim of a higher-level, more general rule.

In sports, the broadest policy goal is a level playing field. That's why we have rules, and arbiters, in the first place.

JJ, there is an obvious difference in scope between law ( as applied mostly to democratic society ) and the infinitelly narrower and well-defined limits of 'rules' of a sporting competition. The law itself admits it's obvious inability to fully adress every situation arising in in our daily lifes, and allowance for subjective interpretation is built within its very fabrique for the purposes of lenience and fairness. But this can also give cause for concern because it can serve favoritism and absolve true wrongdoing.

What is there to compare with sports ? The sport/game in iself and its competitions are defined by a few simple rules, which in essence ARE the game. Laws, ARE NOT the definition of our lifes, this is why they often require something more from a judge for him to reach a fair verdict. And this is something that to me, personally, adds to the appeal of sports - their straighforwardness and objectivity. ( I should also add here that I positively detest all judged sports such as diving and gymnastics, which though fully admirable as efforts and spectacles are often manipulated and destroyed by subjective judging of 'style').

Sporting federations want their athletes to be the protagonists of the competitions, not the referees. FIFA goes to great lengths to define when a soccer game is to be cancelled because of bad weather or fan behavior, and even then there is a FIFA or federation observer in the match whose job is to assist the referee in making such a decision and put his signature on it. Similarly Tennis tournaments have officials on court to stop play if the need arise. They do not want the arbiters to enter subjective territory, this is a decision left to federation officials who safeguard the integrity of the competition, which INCLUDES the referee and his actions. It is in this that FIDE utterly failed in this match, placing its arbiter in a situation between breaking the clear rules in existence, or allowing what ( to most of us ) seemed like an unfair turn of events. I am 100% with what Gijssen chose to do - it was his job to apply the rules of the contest, and it was FIDE's job to safeguard ( and even later restore ) the integrity and fairness of the contest by suitable action beyond the scope of an arbiter's responsibility.

You are right, the thing Mam tried was only draw, but stupid Top didn't understand it ;)

One measure of the absurdity of criticising the Chief Arbiter is that it was a knife edge decision from Kramnik himself not to come to the board as there WERE two toilets available not just one (see chesscafe interview) but Kramnik apparently was worried that Toppys team might plant a "chip" in the women's toilet. So all this philosophical stuff about rules versus principles and concience being the final arbiter is out of context. Finally someone has said what the Chief Arbiter "should" have done - not started white's clock which would have been a dramatic intervention, on the basis that the appeals committee were wrong - so no need for an appeals committee then as the Chief Arbiter
can effectively over rule that Committee when he thinks they are wrong by not starting the clock!!
Is this what some of you are really suggesting? As has been said before the only action he could have taken was resigning on the grounds that the Appeals Committe made such a manifestly unfair decision that he did not want to be associated with it by continuing. Of course someone else would have pressed the clock but "Yaz" would have thought he was a great guy.

Topalov should hurry to issue his rematch challenge to Kramnik while his rating is still above 2700...

Here is a quote from GM Keene who among other things has organized the Kasparov-Kramnik match in 2000:

"re gijssen-he very nearly blew up the match with his fide cronies-in future he shdnt be allowed to oversee a kindergarten outing to the zoo let alone a world chess championship-doubtless tho kirsan will continue to reward him for his faithful service"

The actual arbiter of the Kasparov-Kramnik match, Eric Schiller made similar comments, all posted on chessgames.com

Not that I agree completely with those comments, but they have nevertheless considerable weight, IMHO

Oh my god: Keene and Schiller. I admit to my bias. Whatever they may say I simply cannot take seriously.

LOL, and I sincerely thought that they were better than Tom and Jerry

Topalov is 2791 today. He still has 5 opportunities left to bring his rating to the Anand/Kramnik 2770 zone !! In order to achieve this goal, two more defeats and three draws could be just perfect for him.

It mustn't be easy to feel that you have lost the entire respect of the chess community.

Anyone would be caught off guard by the bizarre conduct of the Appeals Committee, but with the benefit of hindsight:

A "difficult situation" was turned into a "crisis" when Kramnik a) did not request a Game 5 postponement and b) did not make his decision to stay away from the board until the last moment.

Upon receipt of the Appeals Committee decision, Kramnik's camp should have immediately petitioned Kirsan for a postponement of Game 5: a) to adjust to the new playing conditions, b) to consider quitting the match, c) to get some sleep after the battling all day with Topalov's (untimely) appeal.

Article 3.3 of the Match Regulations: No postponement of any game shall be allowed except with permission of the FIDE President.

On the eve of Game 5, Kramnik should have been resting, preparing for the game, or watching futbol. Instead, Kramnik was battling Topalov's late appeal. Under the circumstances, it was negligent of Hensel to even consider allowing his disrupted player to come anywhere near the stage without first having asked Kirsan for a postponement.

On the eve of Game 5, there had been a great deal of complaining from the Kramnik camp, but no serious threat to bolt(?) and no request for postponement. Kirsan not unreasonably expected that Kramnik would play Game 5.

Kirsan was probably informed of Kramnik's "no-show" right around the time the arbiter started the clocks; too late for him to do anything.

Once Kirsan became aware of Kramnik's threat to bolt the match, he flew back to Elista, fired the Appeals Committee, and restored the original rest-room accomodations. But by then, Game 5 had been forfeited irretrievably (unless you don't mind Topalov quitting and suing).

This strongly suggests that a timely request for postponement by Kramnik's team on the eve of Game 5 might would prevented the forfeit. Seirawn bashes the arbiter for not granting a postponement, but wasn't it Kramnik's responsibility to timely request one?

But I'm glad it all played out as it did. We learned of Topalov's unfortunate relationship with his manager. And the relaxed, confident manner in which Kramnik triumphed over a) Danailov's attacks, b) three straight blacks, and c) a forfeited game showed the chess world what he's made of.

The litany 'rules is rules' is no excuse. Yasser Seirawan makes an important point, namely that the 'rules' are in place to help things go right, not to be twisted to unfair ends, which is exactly what happened. So either Gijssen understood what was happening and went along willingly, (collusion), or understood what was happening and hid behind the rules, (cowardice), or did not understood what was happening, (stupidity). No matter which one, Mr. Gijssen should not be an arbiter at any level of chess.

Ray Keene:

"Of course you can't legislate for every situation but the arbiter has to use his brain -if he has one -and do his best to avoid match threatening disputes. Lothar Schmid and Eric Schiller are pastmasters of this art-if the arbiter is wrong better he takes the flak than a player defaults or walks out."

So, to be specific, what was Gijssen exactly supposed to do then ? Ignore the appeals commitee that was set to oversee him, create match rules of his own by introducing an arbiter's postponement, bypass the president of FIDE and actually call such a postponement, in other words become a one-man show assuming all the roles and responsibilities of chess officials in Elista ? Why have officials and regulations in sports then, lets just put people with common sense and good faith in charge of events ( both of these very subjective character traits ) and let them carry all the responsibility upon themselves. What idiocy!

Supposed Gijssen had gone mad and broken the official rules by calling a postponement before game 5. That would give danailov a perfect excuse to walk away ( Topa was 0-2 at that moment ), and sue FIDE for breach of contract for breaking the signed match regulations. Remember how many people were speculating about such a turn of events at that point ? Do you seriously believe that it was the arbiter's responsibility to take upon himself such a decision and all its possible ramifications, and not the responsibility of the various fide vice-presidents and secretaries present there, and ultimately of the fide president himself ?

Seems like Seirawan and Keene are trying to make amends for their past behavior with the office of the president, absolving him of any responsibility for the mess and making a scapegoat out of the only man there who did his job as he was expected to. Kirsan has plenty of what makes this world go round, and everyone eventually has to come around to his point of view.

I agree with Voluminous... Gijssen probably didn't even know all the things we know now... you cannot demand of an arbiter to run whole the show if you do not grant him that power at the start of the tournament... Kramnik didn't complain about Gijssen so I guess he doesn't hold him accountable for what happened...


Gijssen delayed the start of Game 5 for 22 minutes waiting for Kirsan's letter. With the benefit of hindsight, perhaps he could have delayed it a few more minutes to make a phone call...

"Hey Kirsan, Kramnik won't play. There are some big problems here that you might like to talk over with the parties before the match goes to hell. Can we postpone Game 5 for a day?"

Greg, I believe we can safely assume that Gijssen is not demented enough to have forgotten the existence of telephones and faxes in the year 2006. My understanding from what was written is that Gijssen delayed the start of the game while trying to talk Kramnik out of staying away from the board, not to wait a courier to come rushing on the stage with a saving letter from the president. I think my point was clear to you and to all - from the moment the crisis errupted ( topa team threatening to leave, then the appeals commitee upholding a controversial decision ) the ball was firmly on iliumzhinov's court, who was the only person authorised by the established regulations to grand postponements. You can't put that responsibility upon the arbiter and ask him to arbitrarily break the rules he was hired to observe, and then take upon his shoulders the burden of the inevitable chaos that would have followed regardless of what decision he would have made.

Just imagine what would this blog look like had Gijssen postponed the game and topa had walked out. ' Who the hell put that lunatic arbiter in place who thought himself big enough to go against agreed regulations and superior officials and destroy the match ', is what everyone would have been crying out.

Geujssen acted like a slave of Kirsan. The problem was that Geujssen closed the toilets and therefore broke the rules of the contract.


Topalov didn't bolt at the 22 minute delay. Would he really have bolted at another 15-30 minute delay while the arbiter asked Kirsan about a postponement?

I was a big Topalov fan before the WC in Elista. Then the WC events changed that. I thought that it will pass and I would remain a fan of his game.

But I think I'm wrong. I'm really happy he lost his first game. Probably until Danailov is around, I will not change. But who knows?


Come on Greeeeeeeeeeg, what is it that you're up to now ? The match was staged in Ili's capital city, run by his own entourage/officials and paid for by his money - you thing he needed Gijssen's phone call to tell him what the whole world already knew ? ' Gee, what are you saying Curt, is there realy something wrong with how the match is going since I left town two days ago ? Wow! ' I mean, its not like as if G.W. was somehow running that show.

My guess goes like this. Topa threatens to leave, Ili classically instructs the appeals commitee to find a compromise between the set regulations and each of the two parties involved. Not surprisingly it turns out bad but the president has not authorised a postponement in such case and Gijssen does what he is supposed to do - follows the regulations and enforces the commitee's decision. Ili realizes that he's heading towards a major disaster, but he can't put the responsibility upon the arbiter ( who strictly followed the regulations and left no grounds for the players to accuse of him of anything ) and so he disbands the appeals commitee, essentially assigning them the blame because their decision was more of a subjective interpretation and thus open to critisism ( in contrast to what Gijssen did ).

Kirsan knew everything...except that Kramnik wouldn't sit down for Game 5. He didn't learn that until the clocks were started and it was too late to do anything about it.

Why not give Kirsan a chance, BEFORE Game 5, to do what he did AFTER Game 5? Why not delay the game a few more minutes and call Kirsan to request a postponement so that things could be hashed out at "leisure"?

So you folded against the propaganda of Kremlin?
not good....

Greg, even if what you're saying was true, in the cell phone age there was plenty of time for someone like, say, the fide vice-president and head of the appeals commitee to give Ili a ring and ask for a permission to postpone. It is not the arbiter's job to go for that, because it implies favoritism towards one of the two contestants ( Kramnik in this case ) who refuses to play. This is the job of the fide officials, to safeguard the integrity of the contest ( which INCLUDES the arbiter ) and make that phone call you're talking about.

But in any case, this is all irrelevant. It is inconceivable that the appeals commitee went to session without first consulting Ili, and out of all bounds of naivety to assume that the possibility of one of the two players refusing to play ( specifically kramnik ) was not even mentioned to him. It must have certainly been discussed - but if Ili said something like ' in that case just forfeit him ', you can be damned sure NOBODY will ever say it in public and make the president look prejudiced or inconsiderate.

"My understanding from what was written is that Gijssen delayed the start of the game while trying to talk Kramnik out of staying away from the board, not to wait a courier to come rushing on the stage with a saving letter from the president."


"I was informed by Mr. Makropoulos, Deputy President of FIDE, that the FIDE President, who was in Sochi at that moment, wrote a letter to Mr. Kramnik and the letter was supposed to be delivered to Mr. Kramnik before 15:15 hrs. Therefore, I attempted to postpone the start of the game for about 15 minutes. I went to Mr. Topalov and informed him about this letter and asked his approval to postpone the start of game five."

Anyone knows why the players in Essent are playing with mechanical clocks? Just curious ;)

A von DL, this is even better. It was between Makropulos and Ili to arrange for a postponement, not the arbiter's responsibility to mediate for the case of one of the contestants to the president by himself. That was clear to everyone around.

So, Topalov got spanked, huh? I'm glad this happened after Kramnik won the championship.

I think Kasparov is going to make a comeback after he has finished with Russian politics. It may take years though, considering current state of affairs under Putin command.

Vol: It wasn't Curt's job to call Kirsan, and it wouldn't have mattered if he had called him.

Greg: Curt wouldn't have broken any rules by calling Kirsan; it wouldn't have hurt, and it might have helped.

I feel an ADD attack coming on. Let's agree to disagree.

Never before in the history of chess, or any other sport has someone made such a fuss over a locked "private" restroom.

Never before has a referee been ostracized so severely over the decision to forfeit a game when the other party demonstratively refuses to play over a contractual issue with the magnitude of "locked private toilet".

Keep going, we're making breakthroughs all around in the sport.


Like so many times before, Dimi misses the point altogether. The point was summed up by Kramnik very nicely: "My decision not to appear for game 5 was an act of desparation. Locking the toilet was the last shenanigan in a sequel that would never end."

Zero: you're missing the point and the many other jihadists, pardon activists.

The chess match artiber is not the court in Lozanne, Ok?


all the "universal" moral values folk.

There is no such a thing. The ethics is what the law says namely because it codified current state of understanding the justice (i.e. good moral). It is very simple: if the judge interpret and deviate from the procedures "with good intention" that is he takes side, what means in Lozana the match will be given to the other side! Simple.

in other words if Gijssen has been "pro-active" to postpone the game 5, actually Topalov leaves then Lozana says match is default for Topalov as the organizers did not follow strictly the procedures what leads to damage for Topalov. So, in fact such a "good-intened" policy leads to deprive Kramnik from his chance to continue the match and win. Gijssen not only saved the match with his precise decisions, but also "made" the better player in this match a winner!

Absurd thoughts:

Topalov is evidently bound tightly to Danailov; psychologically and by contract. If there's anything to the San Luis rumors then they're bound together by guilty knowledge as well.

At some point Topalov may find Danailov less a help than a burden. But how to break away?

Well, if Topalov crashed, Danailov would drop him. Maybe in the back of Topalov's mind there's a freedom-loving inner voice whispering, "lose, lose, lose."

Minor annoying thing: the ChessBase News report calls Sokolov the "Dutch Number One" and "Holland's strongest player", but I think he is currently #3 in FIDE ratings in Holland, and didn't Tiviakov win the last Dutch championship?

Polgar spanks Topalov after presenting some tough issues for Toppy to work out OTB...zeitnot for T = 1-0! Kudos to the mommy of two for 2/2!

cs: at essent event they take the number one Dutch player in april and invite him. As Sokolov, Van Wely and Tiviakov all are in the same rating bracket the number one position changes regularly between those 3 players depending on who has the best form in a period.


nothing to do with the kremlin. I got the anti-Topalov feeling just when Danailov starting playing the fool, long before I read anything about it.

Now he loses to Judith...again I'm feeling happy. Kramnik must be wondering how he took so long to beat Topa. :)


What is Topalov's glass screen rating?

Looks like Shako and Judit are both going to open with 2/2.

Given Topalov's tournament history, he'll probably now come on strong to finish. However, even if he runs the table, all that Polgar or Mamedyarov have to do is score +1 to finish in clear first. Certainly it makes their encounter tomorrow very interesting, doesn't it?

Ray Keene suggests that Lothar Schmidt was something of a peacemaker, and indeed the Fischer-Spassky 1972 match might not have finished without his proactive participation. However, let's not forget Game 2, where Fischer refused to appear because the noise of the camera bothered him. You can see in the history books that that game was forfeited by Fischer to Spassky.

Another forfeited game was the Kortchnoi-Spassky Candidates game 12 in 1977. Spassky refused to play without being able to see a demo board (is that situation not almost as peculiar as our own watergate?) and was forfeited. Kortchnoi sportingly allowed the game to be (re-) played.

So for Mr. Gijssen to postpone the game instead of starting White's clock would have been a bit of a groundbreaker. And do you expect that from the man who for over a decade has been the co-author of FIDE's Laws of Chess and has shown himself in both deed and word to be a "law is law" man? No. That would be too much to expect. Kramnik and Topalov chose Mr. Gijssen, and they got exactly what they chose.

For Mr. Gijssen to have acted otherwise, he would have had to have seen himself as the only fair dealer in the group, defender of the faith, almost this:

Let's not forget that Mr. Seirawan and most of the chess world see 99% of the fault for this near-disaster in FIDE (for going to its old boys network in making up the Appeals Committee), in the Appeals Committee itself, and in the Danailov team. What they've been arguing about is whether to assign 1% or 0% of the blame to Mr. Gijssen.

Bent Larsen wrote that the best arbiter is the one whose name you've forgotten a week after the tournament. Unfortunately, I can never fall into that category because he knows me! At our most recent meeting, almost a decade ago, while I was doing the things that an arbiter does before a tournament, he spoke to me for hours about the works of Henry George the economist, Major Douglas the founder of Social Credit (not to be confused with Tommy Douglas who as Premier of Saskatchewan introduced state medicine to Canada).... In fact, he seemed to know more about the major events of Canadian political and economic history than I did, which was embarrassing!

Anyway, if an arbiter works so seamlessly that his name truly is forgotten, how is a top player to choose him from a list of a dozen people he's never heard of before? I was on such a list provided by FIDE once (for a Women's Candidates match, I think), and it truly is just a name. Not even a two-line biography or a list of major events directed. I imagine that the top player does not spend much time with the list, and tends to go with "the devil that he knows". After all, there are worse variations than somebody who knows and enforces the rules.

Way to go, Judit! You did well hitting that scumbag with your handbag!

Zero: here comes again -- the soccer thug attitude...

If Kranmik loses tomorrow that wouldn't necessarily make my day.


There are not many top GMs around (if any at all) who got chess lovers as polarized as Topalov got for what he did off the board. On my memory, he is in league on his own. Even Fischer, and Karpov-Korchnoi are left far behind (may be, because they were so far ago, who knows). I hope, this is a temporary madness, but my only wish when Topalov plays, is seing him beaten again and again. And he can blame only himself for this.
Judit is _SUPER_ GM! ;-)
Thanks, Judit!

Go, Sokolov, go! Kick that *** in the groin!

That's Ok, Vlad. It's a free World. I just can't resist with some of the petty and dumb remarks.

Anyway, polarization -- that's good for chess, I guess. Not many people cared who is winning after Kasparov? The bunch of no-personality, draw masters killed the popular interest. Now you see even the soccer thugs getting excited about the ancient game... Kudos to Topalov for that.

Topalov's losses give you a reason to be happy, Vlad? That's good, but what are you gonna do if/when he starts winning?


The important thing to remember for Judit is that most chess players have had a successful family life, or at least one we hear absolutely nothing about. This applies to both married and single GMs.

My favorite soccer team is Dynamo Kiev (Ukraine). If you look at their scores in this year's Champions League, you'll understand that I will survive in any crush, even if Topalov shows 100% in next 100 games ;-)

Don't bother Vlad, the last letter of his name should really be the first

Breastfeed? LOL

I completely despise the actions of "Team Topalov" in Elista.

Still, I cannot hate Topalov. To my mind, it is not impossible that we are witnessing the beginning of a tragedy. Portentous words, I know, but I seriously feel there is something very wrong.

Sorry, but I just wanted to say it.


Well said.

Charles Milton Ling : Still, I cannot hate Topalov. To my mind, it is not impossible that we are witnessing the beginning of a tragedy. Portentous words, I know, but I seriously feel there is something very wrong.

Charles, I hear you -- everything in life is possible, of course, but the line that somehow:
"Torn by inner doubts and deep remorse he lost his edge and never
returned to his former self" sounds a little bit too Hollywood to me as
a potential scenario. These guys come and go out of form based on
other factors.

Topalov has lost other close games, Kasimjanov in 2004 was
particularly painful. I've never heard him squeak. The situation in
Elista was weird and regardless of what all of the do-goody gullible
folk says, there is a vast World out there that sees things
differently. It's just not apparent sometimes because all of the
screaming congregates in one place and creates a false reading.

People are influenced by people who win -- the momentous right is
highly dependent on that. When Kramnik was down some people here, were
ready to send him into an early retirement. When he came back, oh so sudden,
the best thing on Earth, Now Topalov is down and all of the freaks
jump up and down in delirium. Well, who knows what will happen
tomorrow and how things will turn around.



The Topalov-Danailov tragedy has been in the making for a long long time, for almost 20 years now.

Danailov took 12 year old Topalov from his parents, cared for him personally and trained the promising chess prodigy (Danailov himself is an IM). Danailov said a few days ago that "Topalov and Danailov are one person".

The two share income equally. And at least after San Luis last year, Danailov squeezes Topalov like a lemon, latest example: Essent tournament only 8 days after Elista match. In this regard, their relationship is not unlike that between a pimp and a whore :-O

Anyway, a real tragedy

Congratulations for Judit P. and her new bouncy baby!

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on October 20, 2006 7:43 PM.

    Anand Starts at +1 was the previous entry in this blog.

    Essent 06 r2 is the next entry in this blog.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.