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WCh News n' Views

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Chessbase has put up list of the latest news and letters. It starts with something of a disclaimer regarding Topalov's charges about Chessbase being "on Kramnik's side." The most relevant letter is that of Hans-Walter Schmitt, the influential organizer of the Mainz Classic events. He threatens, or suggests threatening, a boycott of Topalov "if they do not immediately cease with their accusations and tricks." With FIDE lacking brains and the ACP lacking balls and no Wizard of Oz in sight, the organizers have most of the real power in the chess world today. The recent move to organize into a Grand Slam could increase that influence.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, but in this case it's a little troubling to see how FIDE is such a mess others are making moves to influence matters from afar. It's not as if Schmitt suggested only a boycott by his event out of a sense of personal affront. He even tacked on cheating insinuations about Topalov's rise. And this after complaining that such accusations are damaging to the sport! Of course Schmitt is entitled to his opinions and to flex his muscle. Just the other day I was talking about the likely lack of repercussions for unethical behavior in the chess world. I'm not backtracking on that, but it shows how little FIDE is capable of when frontier justice threatens to become the norm.


Schmitt did mention the Grand Slam (see the full interview), and he seems to suggest that it could be used by Kaissa Management and Danailov precisely to "increase (their) influence" over tournaments like Corus & Linares:

"Fatal würde ich es jetzt zusätzlich empfinden, wenn das bulgarisches Kaissa-Management (Danailov) auch noch den Grand Prix der klassischen westlichen Turniere Corus & Linares unter seine Fuchtel bekommt."

"He even tacked on cheating insinuations about Topalov's rise. And this after complaining that such accusations are damaging to the sport!"

I think what he meant was that Topalov's insinuations at Kramnik has opened himself to cheating insinuations from others too. Not that Schmitt himself was accusing Topalov of cheating.


What I find most amusing about that Chessbase piece is the letter that is allegedly written by "famous Bulgarian GMs"; so clear a farce there has rarely been in the world of chess! My goodness, at least forge signatures, strong-arm people into signing, or something! For goodness' sake, do not make it so obvious that this "letter of support" is a sham! I cannot understand why Bulgarian officials seem so intent on consenting to being a laughingstock; supporting your player is one thing, but producing false support and therein claiming that it is Topalov who has suffered some injustice is just too much!



Ah, that'll be Chessbase bias, you see, Maliq.


Jeff Sonas has produced some stats re the "rise" of players at roughly Topalov's age. The gist is, that it's very, very rare that a player at or beyond his 30th birthday consistently improves his rating by any sizable number. Topalov is the very gross exception to that rule by climbing just about 70 points or so within a year(!) after being more or less "average 2700" for what? - 10 years? - or so.
I think this intuition, that this is highly exceptional, is what Schmitt is referring to as well...

To: Ken,


Of course, Topalov's team never accused Kramnik of cheating either. This appears to be a double standard.

No, I think the correct word is insinuation, like Ken said. And Schmitt's comment about a possible boomerang effect seems apt.

Well, most 29-31 year olds do not put in any new and special work regime.

If someone goes through personal, physical, and training changes (such as Leko giving up 100% vegetarian diet, although he was younger than Topalov it seems a relevant example) then surely they can increase 80 points over 2 years at nearly any age.

Oh get a grip, Mr Miller. Of course they did. This hiding behind 'oh they're only Fritz statistics' is pitiful.

Anyway, Ken said 'insinuated'.

Topalov was rated 2750 in 1996. 10 years later he is 60 ELO point up. How unbelivable!

And, BTW, Kramnik is average 2700 player for several years. But several years ago he was rated 2800. He must have been comp cheater in the time of his rating peak :).

Mr Hans-Walter Schmitt will not have the opportunity to boycott Topalov, because Topa usually did not participate in his tournaments :).

Bobo, he was briefly rated 2750 in 1996, a year in which he did very well and was regarded as joining the world elite. I remember Gazza saying that with his performance in Novgorod (!) Topalov had joined those with legitimate pretensions to the world championship. But only briefly. The last two years he’s been consistent at a far higher level. From 2750 to 2810 is not like from 2250 to 2310: the gaps grow bigger at this rarefied level.

I don’t think there’s much doubt he’s reached a new level just lately and that this is a rare thing at his age. But there are many innocent explanations. Cheparinov has clearly been a big help, and while I know Danailov has been on the scene for years I have the impression from Topalov interviews that he’s taken a bigger role during the last two years in protecting Topalov from day to day distractions than before. I suspect Topalov has also benefited more from computers legitimately than most GMs. He’s always been an exceptionally hard worker with terrific opening preparation: I think perhaps computers have helped him develop this skill rather than helped others catch up. It must be logical that computers help those who see chess as hard work rather than a creative art, and he’s always given me that impression. Kramnik on the other hand has spoken of the drudgery of doing two or three days work with a computer a month just catching up on developments.

But a leap like this will always produce whispers. Morozevich and the others didn’t behave well, but it doesn’t begin to excuse the way Topalov’s behaved towards Kramnik.

Rubbish, bobo. Kramnik’s been over 2750 ever since he was number one on the list for the first time in 1996 or 7, with the exception of his recent slump just before his temporary retirement.

Can Topalov supporters keep the outright lies down to the minimum required by way of homage to their man’s antics, please?

i just wonder how the situation would develop if kramnik's team just said "kramnik needs to go there due to health reasons" instead of the ridiculous "he likes to walk" explanation and going counter-aggressive about it.
we all would probably have forgotten about it till now..

Presumably they stuck to the truth. I dare say it seemed the obvious course to them.

As you say, they would hardly have made up the story they did.

Granted, a large performance improvement at the age of 30 is unusual. Lots of things are unusual, but it doesn't mean someone cheated when they happen. Don Larsen was a career journeyman pitcher, but he threw a perfect game in the 1956 World Series.

No one has explained how, if Topalov is cheating, he manages to blunder so often.

Even if he, or Kramnik, cheated (presumably with direct or indirect help from chess engines - let's pretend that it is even practically feasible..), he wouldn't do it on every move. Blunders disprove nothing. The best way to deal with these cheating accusations, no matter who is accused, is to dismiss them as nonsensical unless someone actually comes up with hard evidence.

Albrecht von der Lieth, would you have a link to Jeff Sonas analysis of players rising around age 30? Where did he discuss this issue? I looked at Topalov's history on Chessmetrics, but the graph ends in 2005.

By the way, on Chessmetrics Bobby Fisher holds the #1 spot for '1-year-peak range':


It was in 1972, Fisher was 29 years old.
Botvinnik comes third, and he had his peak when he was older than 30. Their peak is quite high above their normal performance level. It really looks like a sudden burst of performance as well.

If we look at players like Kasparov, Karpov, Anand or Kramnik, they don't have that kind of burst of performance.

So, as much as I dislike Topalov's behavior off the board, I don't think his burst in performance is necessarily that odd. It would definitely be odd if Topalov was able to maintain this level of play 10 years more, but look at his perf against Kramnik in Elista. It's just slightly above 2700...

Or presumably one could argue that he’s been cheating recently and has found his method doesn’t work in Elista because of the security measures, or whatever. Once you start, there’s no stopping.

Acirce is right; there is only one way forward. Listen to and consider all general measures to eradicate cheating on the merits and implement them or not. Ignore whispers. And make it clear that any protests, press releases, rumour-mongering or other unsporting behaviour alleging or otherwise insinuating cheating during a competition (unaccompanied by evidence) will result in swingeing penalties against the protester.

Fischer’s peak was after a three-year break from the game, which of course might cut either way. Botvinnik’s I think was during the war or more likely its immediate aftermath. Different degrees of social dislocation might have had an effect, and indeed perhaps the same thing – a long period away from the game but with time to work at it. Although I dare say Botters was busy engineering some electrical device to help the war effort during the war..

Also, Fischer’s peak came in matches, and those are different; once an opponent becomes demoralised one can rack up big scores. And if Botvinnik’s came at The Hague/Moscow, that was sort of matches as well.

Botwinnik has an easily explanation. He was the only Soviet GM who during the WWII was alllowed to continue working on chess preparation during regular business hours (there was a special order signed by Stalin to let him spend 2 business hours a day if I do remember correctly). Every other Soviet chess player had to work full day as regular workforce.
Fischer phenomena had to do more with psychology, IMHO. He managed to totally demoralize even as stable masters as Petrosian.

"Even if he, or Kramnik, cheated (presumably with direct or indirect help from chess engines - let's pretend that it is even practically feasible..), he wouldn't do it on every move. Blunders disprove nothing. The best way to deal with these cheating accusations, no matter who is accused, is to dismiss them as nonsensical unless someone actually comes up with hard evidence."

Of course blunders mean something. Since there is no direct evidence of cheating, you would need to look at the circumstantial evidence. Blunders are clearly part of that evidence, since avoiding outright blunders is one of the things computers do best.

You suggested he wouldn't cheat on every move, but when there are message board posts counting the percentage of moves that correspond to Fritz or Rybka, it comes pretty damned close to suggesting that a player IS cheating on nearly every move.

If the accusation is that the player is selectively cheating on only *some* moves, how is this determined? One way is to look how the player reacts in certain game-critical situations. Topalov's blunder in Game 10, for instance, was played after a reasonably long think --- 5 or 10 minutes, which by his standards is an eternity. If he had any means of gaining outside assistance, surely this is the time he would have used it.

BREAKING NEWS: Topalov's security guards arrested in Elista

Source: http://topsport.ibox.bg/news/id_1952943067

But calm down. These are six local poicemen quarding Topalov's villa. And they were catched to sleep at their posts :).

rdh wrote: This hiding behind 'oh they're only Fritz statistics' is pitiful.

Not as pitiful as not seeing any distinction between suspicious behavior and accusations of cheating. The Topalov team never accused Kramnik of anything more than suspicious behavior. And that is a fact!

"Occasional blunder" is a poor strategy for a computer using chess player. If you screw up on move 20 by not consulting your computer, a lot of the time it won't matter if you play best continuation on move 30. When you combine this with the possibility of an engine not finding the best move, it's strange for a chess super-GM to risk his career for a relatively minor improvement.

Isn't Topalov's style with tremendous blunders even less computer-like than Kramnik's? If you want to claim he played with the help of an engine at MTel or Linares or here, I would hate to use that engine. Or you could be logical and attribute Topalov's results at MTel to home field, and San Luis to every dog having his day. Topalov since 2002 really has been one of the top four players in the world.

rdh wrote: And make it clear that any protests, press releases, rumour-mongering or other unsporting behaviour alleging or otherwise insinuating cheating during a competition (unaccompanied by evidence) will result in swingeing penalties against the protester.

So what you are saying is that one must have irrefutable proof of a crime before one is allowed to vocalize any suspicions, yes? I doubt such a draconian laws will see the light of day in the free world.

The full German version of the Schmitt interview is much more passionate, BTW. One needs little imagination to hear and see him fume with chagrin at the interview. In my view, this is the reason why the English version of the Schmitt interview on chessbase is only a summary of the key points, and moreover, chessbase has mixed the summary with and in between other entries to further tone things down.

I am positive that Schmitt has already contacted the organizers of Wijk aan Zee, Morelia/Linares, Monaco, Mainz and Corsica, as he himself suggested. It is also likely that he got some traction, considering that Danailov is not further ramping up as one might have expected after his early 'successes', but he is rather ramping down now.

A fresh piece of official commentary from the organizer (emphasis added):

However, as the match finish approached, the Russian initiated a counterattack. A few hours before the start of the Game 11, Carsten Hensel issued an open letter, clarifying Kramnik’s position about FIDE decision regarding the Game 5. After the game Vladimir said that the goal of this letter was to confirm his position in anticipation of future legal actions, and ruled out a supposition that this was an attempt to exert psychological pressure on the opponent. However, it looked exactly so from the outside…


I don't get it. Are these people children? What part of STFU don't they understand? Not only are they supposed to be neutral between the contenders (good reason #1 to STFU) but they are also party to the potential legal dispute with Kramnik (reason #2 to do so). Don't they have lawyers who can explain this to them, in simple terms?

The pro-Kramnik camp has been insisting that Kramnik's blunders prove that Kramnik had not been cheating. But Jennifer Shahade reports that Kasparov stated that such elite players (as Topalov and Kramnik) would not need a long computer generated variation to cheat. A simple hand or facial signal from a trainer (via a computer), to "attack", or to "go for it", could easily tip the match decisively. It is interesting to note that such a method of cheating would not rule out blunders.

OK, so HTML does not display. The second para above is a quote, and the last sentence therein was meant to be in boldface.

A big performance improvement at about 30 or older seems by no means unusual. Consider:

(1) Botvinnik. With his 1935-6 performances he 'had joined those with legitimate pretensions to the World Championship'. However his results in the next 4 years were not so good. 1941 with the USSR 'Absolute Championship' was the start of his really big 'Great Leap Forward'. He was aged 30 then.
(2) Smyslov. In his 20's he was good, but always only 'thereabouts'. Only by winning the 1953 Candidates did he take a quantum leap to become one of the two best in the world. He was aged 32 then.
(3) Petrosian. Only in 1958 did he start consistently getting seriously good results. This was the first of 4 extremely strong consecutive USSR Championships in which he was either first or second. In 1958, Petrosian was 29.
(4) Euwe. Not previously particularly highly regarded, Euwe suddenly beat Alekhine in 1935 and maintained a strong presence for 2 years. In 1935, Euwe was aged 34.
(5) Alekhine. He went one year better and beat Capablanca in 1927 at age 35. Previously he had been regarded as seriosly inferior to Capa, and was also behind Lasker. Then he had his fantastic results of San Remo 1930 and Bled 1931 at ages 38 and 39. Hard to believe Alekhine peaked so hugely so late.
(6) Korchnoi. Well, we all know about him. His big run started at the 1973 Interzonal. Aged 42 then.

So Topalov's case is by no means unique, there seem to be quite a few similar cases.

Cheat, cheat, cheat. Blah, blah, blah.

It is not very hard to sequester the players (physically and electronically) during games. Beforehand: search the players and the premises. Do electronic sweeps. During: the players aren't able to see the audience or anyone else. Do electronic sweeps. Afterwards: another physical search.

Using these simple techniques (with some adjustments if necessary), here's what we have ruled out: computers in toilets, radio reception, hand signals, and every other means of outside communication.

I can't believe that any of these guys cheat. There is just far too much to lose when your reputation and your life's work is at stake. And wouldn't cheating completely demoralise the cheater? Wouldn't he be depressed with a low self-esteem and paranoia?

On a slightly different tack, it was stated above that it is hard to improve one's rating after 30 or so. I guess that must only apply to the elite as the rest of us have no problems putting in a bit more hard work for improved results...?

Chris B, thanks for your post. Had not seen it before writing mine. Glad you came up with those examples!

Yeah, Korchnoi is the easy example. His peak strength actually happened after 40! I don't think it's just performance in his case, I think the 42-year old Korchnoi was actually stronger than the 32-year old Korchnoi. Topalov's example is not only lacking the qualifier of being unique, it is also not even the most striking case.

Thanks, David, Joshua.
Actually, I forgot to mention that Korchnoi's first big breakthrough came in the USSR Championship of 1960, at age...29.

C'mon, this after-30 list have an easy explanation. Almost all players mentioned are Soviet or Russian. We all know all Soviet players were cheaters (and still are). Korchnoi became refugee because Soviet authoritied did not allow him to cheat (they did not like his outfit). He had to move to Switserland to became free and to cheat as much as he wishes till now. Euwe stadied to cheat from Stalin agents to beat Alekhine who was anti-Soviet, and later he was promoted to FIDE presidency by Soviets to help them cheat in future!
Fischer was a communist (ancesty from his mother) and therefore a cheater. He visited Moscow to get lessons in cheating from best Soviet players and the reason he frequently disappeared is in the fact that he had a need in private lessons in KGB laboratories on psychology. Soviets did not trust Spassky, they prepared Fischer to beat him, and made an order to all Soviet GMs to lose to him. This is why he managed to so easily beat all Soviets in 1971 to play with Spassky!!!
And what we see now? Don't you all know that Topalov is Russian by grand-grand-grand-grand-father who served in Russian armed forces leaded by Suvorov in Bulgaria?
Russians are coming!!!

Anothing thing that got buried or almost buried in the news is the surprise change from GM Inarkiev to GM Belov as the game annotator on the official match site.

Is that because GM Inarkiev confessed of a change of belief, from a tournament believer to a match believer? This could have irked the FIDE organizers who want to kill the match tradition.

Maliq: What I find most amusing about that Chessbase piece is the letter that
is allegedly written by "famous Bulgarian GMs"; so clear a farce there
has rarely been in the world of chess! [deleted rant]


Maliq, such a passionate rant over such a minor point. And so little
clue... Anyway.

For what it's worth, the letter is real. It was signed by several old
GMs of "local fame". Why would anyone "fake" such letter?!?

The tendency I see is that currently active players on the cirquit
thread away from taking sides. Nigel's outburst yesterday was provoked
by Kamsky avoiding lashing statements against Topalov.


Why even БТА did not publish names of these local "famous GMs"? Here is the full text of БТА release:
Regarding active players, the list of active GMs who publically stated they support Kramnik and/or put Topalov under fire grows every day. And Russians count for, may be, 50% of those who voiced their word.
And they go against FIDE supported Topalov with full knowledge that FIDE knockouts are one of bigest sources of chess income for them.

Your post looks seriously strange to me (are you actually serious?), but I'll let others comment in case you think I'm biased.
But if you want another non-Russian, then Steinitz wasn't considered anything special until he beat Anderssen in 1866. At age 30.
And weren't many of the under-30 list also Soviet/Russian? - Bronstein, Tal, Spassky, Karpov, Kasparov, Kramnik...

All Bulgarian GMs support Topalov except one gay-GM who thinks that Topa is a cheater :).

Oh Chris,
Soviets were allowed to cheat since 16, at the same time they were allowed to vote. But they did not have enough computers to serve everybody.
Remember, Botwinnik spent his life on building chess computer?
May be, Korchnoi was usually granted only second hand models? This would easily explain his anger, of course.

P.S. For those who are almost ready to jump from window: this is a joke!

I don't see the big fuss about this huge performance increase being linked to cheating... Topalov has been a mid 2700 rated player for over 10 years... it's not like he's an old guy that just started playing chess and went from 2500 to 2800 in a year... He's been in the elite for years... and has now caught his groove... although the blunders in this match have just been ridiculous on Topa's part. I love the style in which he plays way more than Kramnik's who i find is horrible for chess... but in order to be in the top like Kasparov was, he can't blunder so often.

Ok, joke.
Hey, I just thought of another one! Nimzovitch had the two best results of his life at Dresden 1926 and Carlsbad 1929. Aged 40; 43 respectively.

Having said that I can't believe these guys cheat (by which I mean using electronic aid) I do consider off-the-board tactics to be cheating, if one deliberately seeks an unfair advantage in this way.

If I may postulate...

Maybe Topalov's jump in strength simply is because he doesn't have to play Kasparov anymore?

According to a ChessBase Search, (Mega 2006), Kasparov was +19 =17 -6 vs. Topalov.

I'm sure that counts for more than several rating points.

Another news item is that Susan Polgar has a "Rank your world champions" item on her blog that has photos of the FIDE line leading to Topalov, but curiously enough, also has a photo of Kramnik who is not in the FIDE line at all.

That's another manifestation of Susan's bizarre sense of neutrality, I guess

"Another news item is that Susan Polgar has a "Rank your world champions" item on her blog that has photos of the FIDE line leading to Topalov, but curiously enough, also has a photo of Kramnik who is not in the FIDE line at all.

That's another manifestation of Susan's bizarre sense of neutrality, I guess."

That's just a wacky comment. Susan lists the same ten champions since 1970 that the FIDE world championship website itself lists.

See this page: http://www.worldchess2006.com/main.asp?id=875

"Anothing thing that got buried or almost buried in the news is the surprise change from GM Inarkiev to GM Belov as the game annotator on the official match site.
Is that because..."

No. It is because Inarkiev is in Austria playing at the European Club Cup for last years' winning team Tomsk.

"Not as pitiful as not seeing any distinction between suspicious behavior and accusations of cheating. The Topalov team never accused Kramnik of anything more than suspicious behavior. And that is a fact!"

The trouble is, Team Topalov did more than air simple concerns of suspicous behavior. They also demanded changes to the venue and threatened to walk if their demands weren't met. It's clear to me their intention was to insinuate cheating.

Topalov will announce that he's decided to abandon his forfeit-win and will agree to play Game 5.

How do we know?

Kirsan's interests:
--politically dependent upon Putin, Kirsan does not want to be involved in screwing Kramnik out of his title
--Kirsan wants to avoid embarrassing and potentially expensive litigation

Topalov'Danailov's interests:
--Topalov is uncomfortable with becoming a pariah; preferring to be viewed, once again, as the noble, fighting hero
--Danailov does not want the chess world to boycott his Sofia tournament,
--Danailov does not want the chess world to dis-invite Topalov from future touraments
--Topalov keeps 500k win or lose
--Topalov will be entered into the next FIDE WCC cycle win or lose
--a Top match loss would cost him nothing in Bulgaria, where everyone would assume he'd been screwed and pressured and cheated out of the title.

--the Bulgarian PM commented about playing all the games
--Danailov has been silent (muzzled?)
--Kramnik's "we're going to sue" letters are drawing no response from Kirsan.
--Topalov's Game 11 interview seemed more relaxed, somehow, as if he'd decided to solve all his public relations woes in one blow.

I wrote an introduction to the World Championship Match on the eve of the event.


Some of its kind of funny in light of what actually happened. I think these accusations are a poison which will gradually kill the game.

They're going to be pretty standard from now on I guess. I've no doubt that at some point someone will try this kind of cheating at the elite level but I see no real evidence so far, only paranoia. That's unless players actually know its going on for another reason, they're involved in it or know for certain someone is.

Here is the quote anyhow!

"Topalov's career has been largely free of controversy but his victories in San Luis and some of his performances in 2006 have been the subject of what I can only call scandalous professional jealousy. Some of his rivals have initiated a vicious, anonymous and untrue whispering campaign against him since he became champion that he has been using computer assistance during his games. The "proof" goes along the lines of "I looked at his games in Fritz and he played many of the same moves" but it reminds me most of all of the Fischer attacks on modern chess where apparently he believes all the top games have been fixed in advance for years. The impact on the match will be that there will be a lot of anti-computer security which should favour Topalov as it should silence these critics."

Though I agree that Topalov needs to be punished I do not share some Schmitt's comments, like Fisher Random Chess (aka Chess960) or rapid chess would be the future. You can even cheat there.

On the subject of improving after you're 30, that's what happened to me. I just stopped melting down quite so often (still happens occasionally) and was generally calmer (you actually have some sort of chance of reading my scoresheets these days). I think as you get older you're emotional reactions just aren't quite as strong. Everyone knew Topalov was at his best terribly strong but he was very nervy, maybe he's just a bit less nervy.


A genie appears out of a bottle, saying, "I watch Topalov and Kramnik at all times and I know for certain whether either of them has been cheating. Choose one man: If you choose Kramnik and he turns out to be a cheat, I give you $1,000,000. If you choose Topalov and he turns out to be a cheat, I give you $50."

I'm not confident that I'd win money choosing either man. But without hesitation I'd choose Topalov.

How about you?

greg, I know what you are trying to say, but I think most people would choose Kramnik. Hell, I'd probably choose Kramnik myself. And it is not because I think he is cheating. I think neither of them cheats. And I think if one cheated, chances are it is Topalov. But still, I, as well as many other people would pick Kramnik for the same reason they play the lottery - everyone wants a quick $1 000 000, even if it is highly unlikely.

But if the money reward was anywhere close, most people would indeed choose Topalov, I agree.

ha ha ha hans-waltah schmitt he big liar, yes? he copy every mouth sound i make in post july 31! is what you call plagiarism, yes? he copy my brain please see july 31 post here and read all post by me chop!


oh please here is text of my posts on july 31 schitt copy. you mediate for self i running out of mouth water talk too much!

ha ha ha topalov hceat, yes? he use geekbox to relay move to brain yes? please go now mr topalov we no need you no more.

allow me explain how topalov cheat, yes?

1. he no relay move because all moves are relay via big network call internet
2. he receive move via some mode communication inside playing room
3. he no play like kasparov 2800-style because when kasparov no win it big event but topalov lose lose lose then win win win so big curve in rating but end up with same rating performance at the end
4. in san luis he always sit same table
5. his rise immediate after reach 2700-plateau many years earlier, yes? that no normal.

topalov big cheater man please go now away from chess and join other cheater like landis and gaitlin.

chop suey hang bang
Posted by: Chop Suey Hang Bang at July 31, 2006 13:20

please allow me to explain again topalov losing in libya:

1. it make sense topalov lose in tie-break or blindfold (amber) or blitz because it harder to get computer assistance, yes?
Posted by: Chop Suey Hang Bang at July 31, 2006 13:34


Please excuse my moderate language for a moment folks, but here's a little thought experiment to follow on my previous post. Suppose I made the following statement:

"I've met a lot of women like your mother; every one was a slut."

I imagine a few people might get upset to hear that. My defense?

"I never called your mother a slut. And that's a fact!"

koster: "A genie appears out of a bottle, saying, "I watch Topalov and Kramnik at all times and I know for certain whether either of them has been cheating. Choose one man: If you choose Kramnik and he turns out to be a cheat, I give you $1,000,000. If you choose Topalov and he turns out to be a cheat, I give you $50."

An extremely poor example for the point you are trying to make. Are you saying that you believe that the probability of Kramnik cheating over Topalov is 20,000 - 1? Really? Twenty thousand to one when we really have no information other than third hand reports of these two players (I know I've never been in the same room as either)?

This is very close to saying that the probablity of Kramnik cheating is approaching absolute zero, and the probability of Topalov is very close to absolute for you to justify a choice of Topalov so confidently at these odds. If you really don't know about either (and you don't) you would be an absolute fool not to choose Kramnik at thses odds.

But I get what point you are trying to make.

Mig: "With FIDE lacking brains and the ACP lacking balls and no Wizard of Oz in sight, the organizers have most of the real power in the chess world today. The recent move to organize into a Grand Slam could increase that influence."

Doesn't this weaken the whole argument that FIDE is what is keeping big corporations and big money away from chess? If big organizers can bypass the dictums of FIDE so easily, why can't corporations do so as well? Of course anyone who holds the money has the power in chess. I've said it before (and was bashed for it) but I will say it again: is it because of Ilyumzhinov that chess has no corporate sponsorship, or is it because chess has no corporate interest that it has Ilyumzhinov?

Without robbing the people and coffers of Kalmykia, how sustainable is any form of a championship cycle at the inflated rates that players now expect for thier play? 15K for candidates matches will probably be closer to the norm than a gross exception to the market value players should adjust to.

BTW, all this talk about integrity, honesty, ethics in chess, and no one brings up the fact that it takes direct stealing from the public funds of one of the poorer countries of the former Soviet Union in order to have any chess played at all. Can you find Kalmykians besides Kirisan that thinks what is happening there is worth the money? Weighed against the public works that the 1 Million prize fund, the cost of building the ridiculous "Chess City", the cost of housing and entertaining the players, the cost of supporting the press and security, etc., could provide for the people, many of whom struggle at the poverty level, and the whole toilet scandal seems trivial in comparison to the bigger scandal of robbing Elista itself.

To: dkg,

dkg wrote: Team Topalov did more than air simple concerns of suspicous behavior. They also demanded changes to the venue and threatened to walk if their demands weren't met. It's clear to me their intention was to insinuate cheating.

I would disagree, their intention was to preclude any cheating. There were already metal detectors and survivance cameras in place. Was that because the organizers knew that both Topalov and Kramnik were known cheaters? No, these precautions were in place to preclude any cheating.

You appear to have a hard time distinguishing between suspicion and accusation. As for your "little thought experiment," I would add one of my own. When I attend tournaments and see an adult female I generally suspect that she is either (a) a chess player herself, or (b) a chess mom. Indeed, at my last tournament I asked a woman if she was a chess player or a chess mom. That was my suspicion. It turns out she was a chess mom. But I could have been wrong. She could have been a spouse or friend of a chessplayer, or an employee of the building we were in and just happen to stop by and watch. Simply put, a suspicion is not the same as an accusation.

If you were at a bar and saw someone drinking a Guinness, one might suspect that this person likes drinking Guinness. But this could have been this persons first Guinness and upon reflection this person might decide that he does not like this type of beer. As often happens one's suspicions can be wrong.

The Topalov team saw Kramnik away from the chess table a lot during the first few games. This appeared to them as suspicious behavior. They felt that changes to the venue were needed to preclude any cheating.

Many people seem to think that it is wrong to even suspect that one might cheat. But what are the metal detectors and survivance cameras doing in the first place?


Don't be silly. What I am saying is that the time to make regulations governing behaviour, put in place anti-cheating measures, and so forth, is before the match. After that, nada. Chess doesn't need this sort of stuff.

Free society. Draconian laws. Jeez. You really don't seem to have any idea of the distinction between the laws governing society at large and the regulations people may choose to put in place to govern their own behaviour pursuant to contracts.

Stern: I think you underestimate us. One of the things many of us have against Ilyumzhinov is exactly this; that his money is not his own. It goes without saying that virtually every poster on this board would welcome Ilyumzhinov disappearing in a puff of smoke.

I entertain neither and it must be at least subliminaly that the accusations have cast a shadow over Topalov that you make the offer.

Of course I'd choose Kramnik on the same basis as I do the lottery. Before San Luis Topalov had no stain on his character at all, and I can't help thinking that all the anti-computer stuff for this match (I think it was a good precident simply to get rid of such suggestions) was more than a little insulting to Topalov. But it made the accusations all the more disappointing because they knew how hurtful they were. I'm told Kramnik has never subscribed to these or had any part of the propogating them.

I've met and talked to both players, both are good company (Topalov's a bit quite but extremely nice) and I respect them both as great players and people (drank JD with Kramnik and Ivan Sokolov during which he extolled the virtues of Paul Morphy's games). Which is why I find what Topalov's camp did so disappointing. Hell I've had no problems with Danailov either when I've met him and brought up the subject of why he made Ponomariov look so ridiculous (was a bit drunk at the time so can't remember what was said but there wasn't a real answer).

Anyway, more to the point, in 12 hours' time they start the last game, and if it's a draw, the next day Steinitz' title may - oh joyous day - be decided by a draw in an Armageddon blitz game. I almost hope it happens. It would the perfect way to remember Ilyumzhinov's FIDE.

Can any Bulgarian posters help us with the letter from the President?? I very much doubt he's actually saying he wants game five played properly. After all Topalov is popular in Bulgaria, and presumably they have elections over there. I never heard a politician slag off a popular sportsman yet.

I take it that he is considering game five already fairly played, and from his reference to how we know that the player from the organising nation sometimes having advantages what he actually means by saying he wants all the games played is, 'I hope cheating Russian bastard will not walk out' [this doubtless insincere] and at the same time 'I hope cheating Russian bastard organisers will not take point earned from heroic Bulgar so that heroic Bulgar will have no choice but to walk out' [this more sincere].

Would that be fair?

Kramnik likes Jack Daniels? Well, why not?

Clearly, those who claim that Topalov's team never accused Kramnik of cheating are knowingly talking idiocy; their assertions are therefore not relevant. Topalov's team has maintained a steady assault against the character of Vladimir Kramnik both through the press and through FIDE cronies, all in the hope of creating enough tension that Kramnik would lose or forfeit the match, or that Topalov would at least be viewed as some victim otherwise. There is NO ground for supporting the ridiculousness of Silvio Danailov other than clear bias in favor of Topalov, come hell or high water. Please, do not pretend that you are offering some objective viewpoint if you are supporting the outlandish actions of Topalov's team; you would do better to say "Yes, I am a Topalov supporter through-and-through" and thereby confirm what is obvious -- that your position is both without merit and without sound reason.



I think it was more because I was drinking JD at the time. I've given it up, its brain rot. It was a few years ago at Frankfurt. He said Morphy made decisions that were astonishingly good for the time he played, Kramnik had been playing over his games at the time.

It was the event Kasparov didn't reach the final and played Ivanchuk in the 3rd-4th playoff. Kasparov looked astonishingly diminished during the event, a small tired man, I'm not sure he wasn't ill. After one bad loss Kasparov dashed to the bar and downed a drink in between games (just the one, I gather he almost never drinks). He was back to his normal self when I saw him at a news conference in London some time after.


"It would the perfect way to remember Ilyumzhinov's FIDE."

Remember Ilyumzhinov? You must be new here. ;)

Settle yourself for a lot more years with Ilyumzhinov. He's here to stay. Even the aliens didn't want him.

"I would disagree, their intention was to preclude any cheating."

There are any number of less offensive ways to preclude cheating than the approach taken by Team Topalov. It was a display of poor sportsmanship though and through.

I can distinguish between suspicion and accusation, but I'm not arguing this point. Of course they make no accusation; they completely lack evidence. Given this fact, they nevertheless did their best to raise outrage and controversy over something that should have been settled civilly.

Instead, they My point is Team Topalov did not make an accusation because they had no evidence. Instead, they chose the most

Oops, left a little draft fragment at the end there. ;)

I wouldn't bet $50 at 20,000 to 1 on Kramnik cheating because I feel the chance of him cheating is approximately zero. It's just a feeling based on following the guy and his games for ten years. I'll concede Stern's point that I haven't enough evidence to support this extreme position.

Having accused Kramnik, Topalov can no longer complain if his own conduct is discussed.
--Topalov is evidently dominated by a manager who is a win-at-all-costs character; whose photos make him look like a raving nutcase,
--a spectacular ratings rise at an advanced age,
--accusations from a number of opponents, in an environment where no(?) other top player is being accused.

I'd say it's more likely than not that Topalov is clean, but if the genie offered me 5 to 1 on him I'd take it.

rdh: on the President's letter

Anyway, I read the letter in both languages and I'm still not clear what it says. But then you find me a politician who ever says anything substantial, or fulfills his pre-election promisses...

Stanishev is not the one to spew out anti-Russuain propaganda -- keep in mind that he is half-Russian (by mother). If anything, he's from way up high in the nomenclatura ranks and is very cozy with the Kremlin cadres. His father was in the Politburo and his mother is a daughter of such (in Russia).


I read some old threads -- you've been on Topalov's case since long ago. In fact, it was extremely revealing to see just how poisoned by grudges the chess community can be. My brother was a tournament player many years ago and he used to tell me. I was an idealist and didn't believe him, but now I see.


One more thing -- a friend of mine, high in the "reformed" Socialist government told me a couple of days ago that there were some concerns about the probability of chess creating a little tension during the visit of a high-ranking Russian delegation the other day. The subject of chess was purposefully kept out until the Russians broke out the topic by talking very highly of Topalov, but no mention of the events in Elista until a few drinks later in the evening. After a few drings one of the Russians made comments that after they closed the toilet all the "zhuchki" (little bugs, in Russian??) started falling out...

I think they'll bury the issue since it created too much excitement already and some rhetoric that is probably more global than it should be.
We, the little people get all bent over that. These people have more important things to do, like preserving the oligarchy and filling a few pockets... This gas has to flow, man. Chess is nonsense.


I repeat: if you accuse Topalov of cheating, because his ELO jumped in an unprecedented way, then Polgar must have been the first computer cheater, because here case is even more singular.

So much for the "logic" of chess players pff the board.

No Steven

I think you are missing the point. There are several issues. Was the compaint by topolav reasonable ie were his suspicions reasonable? Does he have the right to make any comaplaint reasonable, unreasonable or even absurd? Were the decisions flowing from the complaint reasonable?

In my view the complaint arose because Topolav was 2-0 down and this understandably affected him and his team. 2-0 down against Kramnik in a 12 game match is a very bad situation obviously. If he was 2-0 up against Kramnik he would be chillin and wouldnt care less if Kramnik spent the entire time in front of the demo board or on the toilet he would perhaps make a joke about it in his post match celebration conference. He would let his chess do the talking.

Was the complaint reasonable? - no not really it was a product of tension - pure match tactics. There is nothing in the rules that says you have to stay at the board. The drinking guinness parallel is dopey - the link bwtween observed consumption and a presumption this comes from liking what's being consumed is huge - not being at the board and linking that to "something suspicious" is miles away. By the way just think how it happened - they didn't/couldn't know whether Kramnik was spending all his time on the rest room and never going in the toilet they couldnt know until they got the tapes. Bingo guys going in the toilet a lot - we can make something of this go for it, do something knock him off balance get a psychological inititive whatever.

Its not a raesonable complaint but its perfectly legal and therefore valid attempt - match tactics. Topalov can comaplain about pretty much anything eg being glared at, shiny refelective tie, Kramnik walking behind him, standing too close, accuse Kramnik of leaning to close at the board whatever. The point is to complain about something.

Finally were the decisions right. Here's the only problem in my view - all the complaints in the world dont matter a damn its the decisions that flow from them that matter thats all. Does anyone really think that if the toilets had not been locked Krmnik would have been too much bothered no way, no forfeit, no problem and almost certainly match over with a Kramnik victory

OK the manifestly wrong decisions all taken by Kirsan personally (appeals committee irrelevant - they dont breathe without Kirsans permission he's the paymaster)1.0 Handing over the tapes = wrong
2.0 Closing the toilets = wrong 3.0 Forfeiting the game = wrong 4.0 Insisting on match continuing with the forfeit = wrong

The only sensible mature grown up way to respond to the comaplint is to say ok we have considered it and we have not found any evidence of cheating in the absence of that we cannot alter THE STATUS QUO under which the games have been played so far please carry on and be good boys and play chess under the conditions that have prevailed so far before a single pawn was pushed.

So its not Kramnik's fault nor is it Topalov's fault its 100% the fault of Kirsan and his appointees. Similarly the ooh his moves are like fritz chess release is just a bit of gamesmanship by Topalov's side WHICH WOULD BE IRRELEVANT IF THEOSE BAD DECISIONS HAD NOT BEEN MADE.

To be sure Topalov's tactics are not particularly eddifying and I cannot imagine Kramnik indulging in them and there is no doubt that Topalov has damaged his reputation a bit.

In the end surely the most important point is that at the chess board ,to date, Kramnik has defended his title 3 wins 2 losses and Topalov has failed to prove that he has the right to call himself world champion. No amount of forfeited games is going to change this simple fact.



i agree with you at most of your points
if its not Topalov or Kramnik's fault, how do you explain the open letter of this German orgamniser?

Interresting to hear your thoughts.


I think the whole anti-Topalov thing might come back to bite us in the end. I don't dislike either of them. But, remember how difficult it was for Kasparov to get a rematch with Kramnik, and the long stretch between matches for him. Besides do any of us really want to see another match like Kramnik-Leko I?

Like him or not, Topalov's style of play and his presence makes matches worth watching. I'd much prefer a fighting champion who might possibly be willing to abide by the FIDE championship schedule, than one who might "hijack" the crown. I'm just afraid that Kramnik's upcoming "lawsuit" against FIDE will once again give him reason to NOT defend the Chess World championship, much to the disdain of all of the now pro-Kramnik chess world.

Since most of you do not follow Russian press, I want to remind some things. Several months before the match there was campaign in Russian nuwspapers and chess cites that Topalov i9s computer cheater. It was initiated by paper in Russian newspaper written by Morozevich's second IM Barski where he accused Topalov in cheating. There was responce to this paper by Danailov with some strong words against Morozevich, Kasimjanov and other explicit accusers.
Ever since then in interviews russian journalist do not forget to ask Kramnik the comfortable question whether he thinks that doping or electronic assistence are serious problems in today's chess. And answer is always: no, doping is not a problem, but alectronis assistence is a serious threat to chess. And he and his manager are asked more directly whether they think Topalov is a cheater, the answer is always something vague like: we do not pay attention to rumors but we want tightened security measures which is good for chess and so on, and so on.
Thus, for several months Kramnik is trying to capitalize on the rumors initiated by his russian fellows and explicitely accueses Topa in chetaing.
After this behavior of a coward, it is outright impudence for him to expect kind words from Team Topalov.

Well, I mean Kramnik's, Morozevich's and Kasimjanov's accusations were implicitly, not explicitly, sorry.

One of the early World Championship blogs on the Chess Life site came out pretty strongly against the possiblity of Topalov having cheated in San Luis.

Illuminating post, bobo. I suppose we should have worked it out. It’s OK for Topalov to behave appallingly because there’s been a wicked Russian smear campaign against him. Is that the general view in Bulgaria?

I can’t incidentally, see much wrong with any of the remarks you attribute to Kramnik. Everyone agrees that more anti-cheating measures are needed, including Topalov, largely I imagine to protect him from the sort of nonsense he’s had to put up with. And of course it’s not a question of ‘kind words’ he’s expecting, merely something short of spying and outright lies. If that’s the best excuse you can come up with……

Dimi – not sure what you’re talking about with long-term grudges against Topalov? There’ve been these rumours for a while but no credence given to them: on the contrary he was very popular in the West before this episode.

Hi Geno

I have just read the transalated part of the German organisers letter on chess base. Clearly he is very unhappy with Topalov's tactics and blames Topalov. However what was really upsetting him, I suspect, was the prospect of Topalov winning the match because of the forfeited game and the consequences of this on Kramnik. His letter seems to be full of anger at the unfairness of the match result being against Kramnik because of the forfeit which forfeit he in turn links to Topalov's pyschological tactics. I think there is a mistake here by the author of the letter. The "forfeit" was not caused by Topalov's gamemanship or complaints it was the wrong decision from hearing the appeal. Following the forfeit all Topalov's tactics look ten times worse than if there had been no forfeit - I think thats the key to understanding the situation.

Actually the wrong decisions were purely a function of Kirsan's persoanlity and dictatorial life and approach. He runs FIDE like he runs Kalmykia. So the appeals committe could never function like a committe there attitude (undertandably to some extent) is better check with Kirsan. The conversation between committe and Kirsan on the conference call probably went something like this "Toppy's threatening to walk he wants the toilet closed what shall we do?" "ok close it"

The point is that the committee had no sense of independent function - everything has to be checked with Kirsan for fear of getting it wrong and incurring the wrath of the big boss. Of course the Committe got the blame when it all went wrong. That is how it is when you work for these kind of people - ie like Kirsan. Heads they win tales you lose. Still both players will get there $500,000 but Kirsan is 100% to blame for this situation but his money his show. At least we got some chess.

I stress the correct decision was really obvious - players sometimes go a bit loopy under all the stress its up to the committee (epsecially the Chairman) to be sensible and tell everyone to politely get on with it. You simply do not alter the status quo without compelling evidence thats just common sense.

As for Toppy he will get over this and it will die down but at the moment it appears he has not quite got the chess strength to knock Kramnik off his crown. Lets see what happens today.

Kramnik has never made any implicit accusations, Bobo. Let’s keep the lies to the necessary minimum.

Incidentally, what has Kasimdzhanov said, in public? The worst I’ve seen attributed to him is this comment that the security arrangements were inadequate, that you could easily have taken a pocket Fritz through the metal detector, and that as computers get more powerful the temptation to use them grows. By themselves those aren’t particularly accusatory. Has he actually come out with anything that could be said to be directed particularly at Topalov.

I agree with you, Andy - a very good analysis.
If we had decent people running FIDE, this situation would never have blown out like this. We have had this sort of rubbish, in various forms, for over 20 years now. It suits people like Ilyumzhinov and Campomanes to have these conflicts, which cause players to be at each other's throats. This prevents the players uniting against them as they should do. Divide and rule.

Wake up Mig, create a thread for game 12. its already underway... c'mon x 3

Kramnik looks like he is going o be satisfied with a draw in this game.. he is not allowing Topalov the kind of complicated position Topalov likes...

Topa didn't try for a complex position; he's stayed solid but in a different opening. Not what one would have expected.

It's already 13th move and Mig and Susan seem to be sleeping. Wake up folks!

For whatever it is worth, Kramnik isn't at a time disadvantage out of the opening. All the simplification suggests he'll be content with a draw.


Or maybe not! 13...f5 - crikey. Is that how Black normally goes about this sort of position?

i forsee Topalov offering sac.. Rook on e4. a la Shirov in what's also been as move of the century.. go Topalov.. win this game.. and play rapid tie break games though u suck at rapid chess... or atleast the old Topalov used to

rdh, 13 .. f5 is a fairly obvious move with the plan of blocking e4 and providing support to an eventual N on e4. Think of the Stonewall defense. Are you really of IM strength?

Can't see Topalov playing rapids if he wins this one - he'll start prancing about proclaiming himself champion on the basis of his glorious 3-3 victory, surely?

This game looks to be a case of who blinks first.

Positions are organized and symmetric. I guess we'll have castling, some more exhanges and a drawn endgame and then all can go home.

hey d, Kramnik played 14)0-0. What move do u think is fairly obvious now?? Quick answer before Topalov plays g5 or something and self destructs

I guess not: time to revoke my title. I wouldn't be happy about weakening my g7/g6 complex. And I wouldn't have gone 00, either; that looks like the most vulnerable place for White's king to me. But I look forward to being enlightened by this game.

hope that Topalov (read FIDE) does have enough brains to play the rapids if he wins this one or else we would again have 2 world champions. no dont hope- pray.

Why stringTheory? How about paying for some classes if you want Chess tuition?

dont hold ur breath for enlightenment rdh. A single game will never do it. Try 1 million.

"Why stringTheory? How about paying for some classes if you want Chess tuition?" --d

Why d? Go win some tournaments to earn money if you are that good.

Andy: great and balanced view

The score obviously cannot stay 3:2 Kramnik and for Topalov to have a claim on having won anything. He has to win at least one more game or the tie-break, which then puts things in balance.

The forfeited game was only indirectly caused by Topalov or FIDE -- it was purely a Kramnik decision not to appear at the board. It ia hard to balance such a dramatic step with the reason -- locked private restroom. It was a pure blunder, IMO. And it sets a very dangerous precedent of future repetition if it is ignored now.

Anyway, let's see how the game(s) go today/tomorrow.


Come, Dimi, does the revelation that the Appeals Committee have allowed your opponent to spy on you, and indeed considered his protest out of time, mean nothing to you? Kramnik didn't only want his lavatory unlocked. He also wanted the replacement of a biased appeals committee.

Although mind you since it's clear there is no appeal committee, only Ilyumzhinov, it's not clear why he bothered.

I too have a horrible feeling Topalov will win the rapids. Friday 13th as well, and see what happens in Lausanne, I guess.

Nothing will happen in Lausanne. I doubt if Kramnik will even appeal there, he has a very weak case (which sport court would consider a choice of toilets as "playing conditions"?). And in any case, even if Kramnik appeals there, by the time of the final decision, Mexico will be over already...

But all of these scenarios will happen only if Kramnik doesn't win the tie-breaks which I fear he will... :-(


Well, I have the same horrible feeling -- Kramnik will win the rapids. Topalov will blunder.

So, that being said. If Topalov wins I will present you a special gift -- a photoalbum of Topalov, silver bound, luxury edition. So that you can enjoy looking at it when something bothers you. It will have a healing powers.


P.S. I think that Danailov again failed to reboot the cheating machine. Topalov didn't get any good moves.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on October 11, 2006 7:48 AM.

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