Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Foul Play In Chess

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I'm on Chess.fm live now with Larry C but wanted to get this item up so you can stop crushing the regular Corus threads with it. ChessBase has posted a full translation of the "cheating in chess" article in the large German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (original here). Basically the guy watches Topalov's manager Silvio Danailov exhibit some unusual behavior during a few games. It has gone around the press room in Wijk aan Zee today. Apparently the arbiters are basically not dignifying it with a response at this point. More later. Please don't get into it in the regular Corus threads, thanks.


You gotta wonder: why do they publish this today? It has Carsten Hensel's fingerprints all over it.

Isn't it funny how Mig immediately endorses the wording:

"Silvio Danailov exhibit some unusual behavior"

And of course Chessbase rushes to translate the article, although it was published only today in German!

The rush shows how desperate they were to get it out before Topalov might win the Corus event. The whole thing smells dirt from far away... Much worse than any of Danailov's statements...

Why not Danailov's fingerprints? Not only will Topalov get the sympathy for being accused without proof (like Kramnik was in Elista), but it also puts a little question in peoples minds that perhaps Topalov is cheating, so it is a good mind game in that regard, too. Looks a lot more like Danailov than Kramnik to me, if I were to assume the article is not legitimate concern by some journalist.

The only thing the rush proves, is that they actually have a news section. You know from the word new, meaning...

Giannis : "The rush shows how desperate they were to get it out before Topalov might win the Corus event. The whole thing smells dirt from far away... Much worse than any of Danailov's statements..."

Giannis , I do remember Danailov being in a rush when his guy went down 2-0 in Elista match to come up with something. It is not like he waited until the end of the match to publish his press releases.

"You gotta wonder: why do they publish this today? It has Carsten Hensel's fingerprints all over it."

Suspicions against Topalov and his management = bad. Suspicions against Kramnik and his management = good.

Yes Quely,

But for other really major news, they take days to publish...

Yes Russianbear,

No respect for Danailov, no respect for Chessbase.

The difference is that Topa is not crying like a baby and plays his game today despite this dirty attack.

This does look very suspicious, yet very hard to prove.

I may have to revise my often-stated opinion that the chatter about Topalov cheating in this fashion during San Luis 2005 was nothing but scurrilous rumor-mongering.

When Mig said last year that he viewed the possibility of such signalling as a bigger threat than cheaters receiving moves through an invisible, concealed wireless device, I found his suggestion outlandish. Now it doesn't seem that way at all.

We'll have to wait and see what develops. Even if there are more witnesses, it's hard to imagine what other evidence might appear that could strengthen the case Breutigam made in the article. But maybe something will come out.

I'd say that Breutigam's observations by themselves (especially if corroborated by other eyewitnesses, as seems likely) are credible enough to place Topalov under a justified cloud of suspicion; yet do not amount to "proof", even from a "preponderance of the evidence" standard. So we're in kind of a grey area.

Looking on the bright side, this sort of thing should be much easier to prevent and deter in the future, than the more high-tech communication alternatives based on microcircuitry, body implants and the like.

Vision-blocking barriers were used at the Elista WCC match (at Kramnik's request, I believe), weren't they? That seems a foolproof method of stopping spectators from sending any visual signals.

What's more, now that the chess community has been alerted, I suspect that standing in a public area making all sorts of gestures, will no longer be a viable method for anyone to cheat (not saying that Topalov/Danailov actually did). It will be too visible, too conspicuous to get away with from here on.

Rush? It was published online yesterday and many people read it just after that (it was discussed i.e. on Susan Polgar's blog). It was not Chessbase guys who rushed, but the printed edition which (inevitably) delayed.

There is credence that to the notion of bias in the way it is dealt
with such allegations:

1) When Danailov complains he is utterly turned into the biggest devil and scum on Earth. Because going to the bathroom 80 times during a game is perfectly natural, you know, it's in the contract...

2) When some German guy complains, it becomes -- yeahh, you know, we should look into this some more. Did you see Danailov scratching his butt in game 3? What message is he sending to the people?

And so on and so forth...

On the brighter side, these things can easily be prevented. I am strongly on the opinion that nobody from the players entourage should come anywhere near the players during a game or in a visual contact, just as well as, please no 'private rooms', 'private toilets' during the games, that sort of thing...


Yes, it's fascinating how Jon Jacobs finds the behaviour of Danailov suspicious but not Kramnik's 20-30 visits to a wired toilet...

Lets move the games to a closed back room and take apart the chairs beforehand, just to make sure.

So why shouldn't chessbase release this news report when Topalovs ridiculous cheating allegations towards Kramnik certainly got press? This one seems to have more merit to it and it's certainly from a less biased source! Topalov deserves no pity from anyone, he's getting a taste from of his own medicene. He might be cheating, I don't think it's above and Dainalovs ugly personalities pulling stunts like these. It wouldn't be hard coining a mark system like this. More security is needed at chess events.

Ok, now that is interesting... veselintopalov.net comes with a fast reaction.


They are right saying,
"Well, there is something that deserves a comment. The article says, “Neither Danailov nor Topalov were available for comment during the past week, in spite of repeated attempts to contact them.” Is this a joke? Are we supposed to laugh?"

Topa is a nice guy, why they keep on attacking him?

It's hard to decide which phrase from the Topalov site is the funniest...

"It is obvious that some people just cannot accept the fact that the first player in the ELO list is not the one that played against Fritz."

If I rephrase that, it says Topalov did not play Fritz. This seems to be a convinction of the people that claim Kramnik was playing Fritz's moves :-)

"If you people, that write articles with no facts or credible arguments, do not care about the future development of chess and the ones that work for it’s promotion, you should at least not hinder that process."

At last they have seen the light! Surely this is a promise to stop the attacks on Kramnik, right?


As much as I respect Topalov's chess, saying Kramnik cheated without any proof is decidedly not nice.

Hey Beryllo,
The nice article in chessbase seems to directly say Topa cheats... Topa never said it directly and publicly until he was not attacked. It is a defence mechanism.

And any comment on the "I want a draw" play by Kramnik???

Hey guys, on that video, didn't you notice Danailov in the front row rubbing his balls and shaking his... What message was he sending Topalov?

Anyway, I'm going to the mountains for a couple of days, will miss the last round, but I pretty much know what will happen.

I will inspect carefully what has been written here and offer suggestions for improvement where needed.



Lol hehehehehe

>>> Topa is a nice guy, why they keep on attacking him?


I'm not sure wheather to take the allegations seriously or not. I've only been following professional chess closely since about early 2005. Since then, I've been continually impressed with Topalov's fighting, uncompromising style of chess. While other players are content to take rest days, and have insipid, short draws, Topalov rarely does that, and plays to the deadest of dead draws. If Topalov were cheating, the most depressing thing about it would be the fact that I would have no one to turn to for constant fighting chess. Chess without Topalovs and Kasparovs is pretty boring. Luckily, the arbiters have refrained to comment on this situation, meaning that there is not much seriousness to the charges yet, but I'll be watching this space.

P.S. If you were going to cheat, why cheat against Van Wely, and Karjakin? Why not Kramnik, or Svidler, or Aronian?

>>> Topa is a nice guy, why they keep on attacking him?


Both accusations from Topalov's and Kramink's supporters to each other are baseless.
For example, I just read this "article" translated on Chessbase. There is nothing even close to sounding substantial or convincing there. I am surprised that such rubbish can be published by a major German newspaper. Looks more fit for the yellow press.
This "article" is in no way better than the accusations made by Topalov and Danailov in Elista - both types of slander deserve nothing but derision.

There is not such a thing as bad publicity. Danailov is a very smart guy and since we are on conspiracy theory territory I would speculate that he is actually acting weird on pourpose, just to provoke Topa's accusers and get some publicity in the meantime. Frankly to do what he is being accused to do before an audience of dozens of people would be extremely stupid. Therefore I don't believe he did it. From a publicity point of view it is not to Danailov's interest to categorically prove that he is innocent (which could easily be done by for example disclosing his phone calls during rounds 2 and 3). It serves him better to keep people and media wondering. However I support the introduction of a visual barrier between players and audience in the major tournaments. Caesar's wife must be above suspicion.

Cheating paranoia is going to do more damage than the actual cheating.

If you start with a such a kind of theory then anything (scratching the forehead, picking the nose, sucking the thumb) can be interpreted as "codified signal" because, after all, it is "codified".

ed wrote:
"From a publicity point of view it is not to Danailov's interest to categorically prove that he is innocent (which could easily be done by for example disclosing his phone calls during rounds 2 and 3). It serves him better to keep people and media wondering."

Kind of like what was said (quite plausibly, I think) about Saddam's behavior in the runup to the invasion. He consciously tried to make his Arab neighbors and his own army generals believe he did have usable WMD stashed somewhere, so they would fear him and/or remain loyal. Later it was definitely proved that Saddam was in fact innocent (of having WMD).

Still, in Danailov's case this theory seems to break down.

In 2005 and earlier, I don't think the fear of cheating (specifically: the fear your opponent might be getting computer help) was terribly important as a factor in top-level competition.

I could be wrong, since I don't move in those circles at all. But if I'm right, then it makes little sense to postulate that Danailov deliberately caused all the cheating speculation about his client as a way to scare future opponents.

The fear of being cheated against only really took off last year, largely as a consequence of the 2005 San Luis rumors followed by Danailov's spectacular disinformation campaign against Kramnik at the 2006 WCC.

Yet from what Mig wrote on the other thread, Danailov and others close to Topalov (i.e. Cheparinov) have been spotted behaving in a similar way, going back to at least early 2005, maybe even 2004.

At that time there was little or no publicity, and no intense widespread fear of cheating. So it's hard to see what advantage Topalov could have obtained from mere "simulated cheating" (having an associate visibly gesturing to him from the audience).

All future professional chess tournaments will be played in sealed vaults. An unbiased arbiter will be assigned to each board and players will only be allowed (after intense drug testing has been implimented) to wear only g-strings for purposes of modesty...size does matter. A single toilet only will placed in an appropiate corner and a screen wil be provided, once again for purposes of modesty. Gas masks will be placed on a small simple table to an appropriate side of the "facility," and used by personell when deemed appropriate. When games are completed the players will sit on a large simple bench on the opposite side of the small simple table with gas masks and wait upon the completion of all games. When all games are finished, players will be waned, g-strings included and if nothing nefarious is encountered...size does matter, the vault will be opened and the players will be allowed to leave. Once all players have exited the vault they may dress and leave the premises if so desired. Participants are asked to ignore the wild gesculations of a certain Mr. Danailov upon departure. Thank you.

Oscar Chortled:
"If you people, that write articles with no facts or credible arguments, do not care about the future development of [Editor: insert noun here] and the ones that work for it’s promotion, you should at least not hinder that process."

You totally just described Mainstream Media in the United States.

Giannis: After you are finished with your Topalov eyewitness rectal exam, try being objective about what is going on. You seem to have a front-row view of his colon lately...Mig was simply doing what reporters do...report. If the news so bothers you, defect from the Dark Side of Chess and come on over to the Kramnik camp where skies are purple, women like him, and Chess is grande!


Very interesting article by Martin Breutigam.

But it'd sound much more believable if it wasn't from IM Martin Breutigam. He is an old Hensel pal who wrote the book "Kramnik vs Leko" http://uscfsales.com/item.asp?cID=0&PID=1284 . Coincidentally, Kramnik's manager Carsten Hensel was the manager for both, Leko and Kramnik, back in the days.

The guy was also a correspondent during the Kramnik-Fritz match as can be seen from this photo http://www.chessbase.de/2006/bonn/P1060801.jpg where he is with Frederic Friedel from Chessbase.

He produced another biased article few days back for Der Tagesspiegel http://www.tagesspiegel.de/sport/archiv/15.01.2007/3021929.asp More of the same crap, but going back to Elista. There are some interesting comments from the readers below.

I was also curious how come a press-correspondent has no single picture. Perhaps he could've used the camera on his cell phone or borrowed one of Danailov phones.

Hensel is not as hands-on-guy as Danailov. He likes to keep quite and delegate the assignments to others. It sounds very similar to Barsky/Dolmatov ranting in the Russian press last year.

"Chess is grande" on the Kramnik side? Gee, I will puke...

The other guy wrote it correctly somewhere above: "Without Kasparov and Topalov chess would have been so boring".

You Mark, you can continue to fantasize about Kramnik's "grande chess"...

There seems to be a misunderstanding Mark: the quote isn't mine, but of the Topailov site.

forgot to put the source of the picture above

I do find it somewhat ironic that some people are having problems with information being released, and the amount of time it takes on this blog. I mean it is titled "THE DAILY DIRT CHESS BLOG." I can't say for certain, but some of you may feel more comfortable perhaps starting and blogging at the Mamby Pamby Chess Blog.

Oh, another fascinating piece of guilt by association. I'm surprised that this time it wasn't enough that Breutigam and Hensel happen to be of the same nationality, though, as in the case of "the Russians".

Jon Jacobs,

I am not suggesting that prior to 2005 or during the San Luis WCC he was deliberately trying to simulate cheating. I personally don't believe Topalov ever cheated. The burden of the proof is on the accusers and so far I have not seem any hard evidence of cheating. However I do believe that after 2005 Danailov realized the publicity potential of the cheating allegations and thus has been trying to capitalize on them. Not to mention the psycological effect the allegations might have on Topa's opponents as you correctly indicated. The risk of course is that Danailov will overdo it and debase the reputation of chess vis-a-vis potentail sponsors even further. However from a game theory perspective he really does not care about the reputation of chess: as long as his client and himself are able to financially capitalize on the publicity that is being generated, even if it is for a short period of time, then they will have served their own self interest better , which is what matters for them (and for most humans beings anyway).

I am not commenting on the content of the article since every self-respecting journalist would by ashamed to have his name connected with it (I hope they sue), but let's take a look at Martin Breutigam: author of several Chessbase CD's and the "official" book covering the 2004 Kramnik-Leko match (yawn). So it's obvious that this is part of an orchestrated smear campaign against world #1 Topalov and who is behind this. Before I will buy a Chessbase product again I will take that into consideration... Yasser is great but I am probably switching to ICC where there's life commentary too (for free) - I enjoyed the show today with LarryC no less.


Your last post hits the nail on the head and that is what makes Danailov's presence so insidious to the future well-being of professional chess. With him it is all about publicity, money and self-interest only, and much to the extreme.

This whole 'is someone cheating?' saga has become ridiculous.

But unfortunately future tournaments and matches will have to deal with it.

So body searches, audience screens, move relays of 10 mins as suggested earlier and restricted bathroom visits will have to become part of the match/tournament conditions of the future.

We can not allow any possible doubt if chess is to survive as a professional sport...

Any two-bit conjuror knows how to transmit or receive information with an accomplice in this kind of situation. Putting on glasses (for example) could mean 'look carefully here, there is a strong continuation', and even transmitting a specific move would be simple using 'normal' human gesture-language.
It IS possible; there WOULD now be advantage to be gained; it WOULD be difficult or impossible to prove.
Therefore, regardless of whether these particular allegations are founded or not, precautions (e.g. one-way glass screens) should, in my opinion be introduced at major events - if only to rid the chess world of this kind of damaging speculation.

Uhm, exactly why would CB be biased against Topalov and for Kramnik?

"Uhm, exactly why would CB be biased against Topalov and for Kramnik?"

because of the money Dondo

Kramnik uses Fritz exclusively (or at least states so).
CB organizes Kramnik vs Fritz matches and pays him $100k/game.
CB owns Fritz. CB sells Fritz. CB has vested interest to have Kramnik as #1.

Cheater, Cheater, Pumkin Eater!

I'm no expert (Really, I'm not), but even in my class tournaments it has NEVER occurred to me to ask IM friends of mine during a game to 'take a look at my game and meet me in the hall' to discuss it against the rules of chess.

Simply put, even at my level, getting caught is so not worth the agggravation it would cause, and morally, I could not do it. Chessically, it goes against my instincts to garner help from another. I want full credit for my wins, and full credit for my losses.

Enter Top Level GM Chess
"Money is the root of all evil"

I find it hard to believe any chess fan still with full mental facilities (read: 'Un-Fischered')could think Topalov cheats. The exposure these guys are under is incredible. Any accomplice, no matter how trustworthy, is dangerous. Falling-outs occur: someone, somewhere would talk to a friend, a wife, an associate, and that would be the beginning of the end of it all. An accomplice ALWAYS wants more money - eventually. And do you think Danailov is getting moves via cell and signaling them to Topalov? And do you really think Topalov, #1 Rating in the WORLD, has ever been in a chess position where he said to himself 'Come'on Danailov, what is taking so long? I have no idea what to do here!'

Sure. That's how one of the most feared tournament players of modern day conducts business on a day to day basis.

If you think that, then there is a whole bunch of conspiracies you need to be introduced to that have far more dire implcations than the win/loss of a chess game.

This whole cheating BS is just what it is: BS. It serves one purpose: To give Mig some fresh Dirt to pile on here.

Tomorrow I am hoping for some fireworks. Here are my picks:

R. Ponomariov - A. Motylev 1-0
V. Anand - D. Navara Draw - Anand takes another day off
L. Aronian - S. Tiviakov 1-0
M. Carlsen - A. Shirov 0-1 Shirov presses for the win
P. Svidler - S. Karjakin 1-0, but nobody cares
V. Kramnik - L. van Wely 1-0 Slow squeeze
T. Radjabov - V. Topalov 1-0 Raddy decides to fight it out

Ra-DIE-a-bov wins the tournament, Aronian leapfrogs Topalov into 2nd, Kramnik wins to tie for third...

Definitely has come down to a very interesting final round.

"CB has vested interest to have Kramnik as #1."

So they are biased against Anand as well?

>>The whole thing smells dirt from far away... Much worse than any of Danailov's statements...>>

Oh yes, much worse, because this one is against someone you like.


I love DD threads like this. They're time savers. It exposes those who are deficient in critical reasoning skills so we can then skip anything they write after that.

>>Posted by: Giannis at January 27, 2007 10:38
The difference is that Topa is not crying like a baby and plays his game today despite this dirty attack.>>

LOL. He may have cried like a baby every day for the last 4 months, but he's not crying today, and today's the only day that matters. But if Topalov's not crying, how come you are?

Mark said:
''Any accomplice, no matter how trustworthy, is dangerous. Falling-outs occur: someone, somewhere would talk to a friend, a wife, an associate, and that would be the beginning of the end of it all. An accomplice ALWAYS wants more money - eventually.''

Wise words, and I personally agree with you.

Some people are not cheats, some people would like to cheat but are averse to risk.

However, experience shows that others conduct their lives differently.

" "CB has vested interest to have Kramnik as #1."

So they are biased against Anand as well?"

Who cares, Anand is irrelevant.


One small correction, it's not "Money is the root of all evil," but, the love of money is the root of all evil. Which really suits Danailov's motives more clearly.

>>>>P.S. If you were going to cheat, why cheat against Van Wely, and Karjakin? Why not Kramnik, or Svidler, or Aronian?

Because like in San Luis they want to get off to a big starting lead. Then the other games are not so important. They do not want to be under duress in the later games. Remember this was game 2 and 3.

How come Topalov won no games at all in the entire 2nd half of San Luis. Of course he did not need them to win the tournament.

Next it would seem simpler to cheat against the lower players since they are expected to lose and most importantly the amount of help needed should be less.

It only takes a few extra 1/2 points to change from the middle of the pack to the winners circle.

By the way it took a long time for the information to come out. The report was after game 10. The story is about game 2 and 3. This was not rushed out as a story by Kramnik. That is a rediculous thought.

I would much preferred if they had video taped Danailov with a time stamp and Topalov also. I would have preferred if they could figure out the signals and then call the moves from the signals.

I think it is a pretty cool idea that someone can come along and cheat and take the World Champion Title. Who would have thought. Most are still unwilling to think. Well I am not saying he cheated. But I want to see some good scientific evidence one way or the other.

We know from people like magicians that all kinds of tricks are easy to pull. The Amazing James Randi debunks lots of fakes. He is famous for exposing fakes.


and has written books on exposing fakes. He is a tough customer. He would be good at finding out what is happening.

I find it interesting that as soon as this story broke Topalov lost to peter svidler while Topalov made some very bad moves. I have seen some of his wins match the computer perfectly in the later stages.

Someone needs to go over the games more carefully.

>>>>This whole 'is someone cheating?' saga has become ridiculous.<<<<<

Maybe just maybe we are about to catch someone. That would make the headlines. So and So caught with his pants down and his hand in the chess cookie jar. LOL.

I just checked the German chessbase site (chessbase.de), and they have indeed some interesting stuff that's not on the English site. To me, it seems as if Topalov is the one who started the whole thing.

First, there's this:
On Jan 26, the booklet "Toilet war" was published in Sofia - accusing Kramnik of cheating, yaddayadda blah.
Is it a coincidence that this is published right during Wijk an Zee?!

Then, there's this Topalov interview with Dutch TV station NOS (Dutch, but Topa himself speaks English):
Again, he openly accuses Kramnik of cheating. Note that they also want to ask Kramnik, but he refuses to comment! (which IMO speaks for him)

So, yes, to me it seems quite possible that the Breutigam article is a mean spirited hit piece, and that Carsten Hensel is behind this. However: Considering the outrageous attacks by Topalov, I find it hard to blame him.

Danailov reaction is typical again: First, he starts throwing mud (and does not object at all that Topalov uses Chessbase as a forum for this!). Then, when the other side snipes back, he cries 'no fair!' and whines about evil biased Chessbase and the evil media. Nauseating.

A rather dodgy article, if you ask me. Yes, it is odd that Topalov went from 2740 to the top player, but such things have happened, right? A few points:

-The article makes Van Wely sound like THE opponent to be scared of at the tournament. I find it hard to believe that Topalov would need to resort to so much assistance to beat Van Wely. He's a good player, but even if Top. cheats, he is still a mid-2700 player and shouldn't have to worry about losing to Loek.

-How exactly is this signalling supposed to communicate? Wouldn't it be completely difficult to memorize enough codes to communicate specific moves?

"LOL. He may have cried like a baby every day for the last 4 months, but he's not crying today, and today's the only day that matters. But if Topalov's not crying, how come you are?"

The immortal movie _Conan the Barbarian_ provides the answer, when Subotai is explaining why he's weeping at Valeria's death: "He is Conan, Cimmerian, he won't cry, so I cry for him."

I'd say it was a good idea to have one of these threads every day or two to hold all the "Drawmnik (or Topailov [sic]) is teh sux0rz" posts and keep them away from other threads, except I know from experience that it never works very well.

Oh - for the link to the NOS interview, you have to scroll down the page!

First, quick notes: (1) Nobody "rushed" to translate; I saw the article about 4pm yesterday posted as a Babelfished comment to the 109-move game in Susan's blog; I considered translating it better myself but didn't have time.

(2) Susan's blog has been down since late last night for migration to the new Google Blogger system. (Even migrating the single story in my own (non-)"blog" had a nontrivial time lapse...!)

(3) Can anyone find the floor plans of the Elista rest areas? If (as I've heard) the bathroom was fully as big as the rest of the (small!) lounge, then someone needing to pace would go in and out of there "just because"!

(4) Does "Toaletnata Voina" ("Toilet War") give any floor-plan detail, and does it describe how they conducted the Fritz-match tests described in Danailov's Oct. 4 letter?

Personally - if I was gonna cheat at chess - I'd just tape an electrode to my stomach and have the moves transmitted to me by someone following the internet relay with a computer running some chess engine. But that's just me.

Physical signalling by some guy in the audience might be harder to prove and end up as word against word, but it sure is a lot cruder and would not always be possible as you'd need line of sight with your signaller who would have a to try to keep unnoticed at the same time or risk stuff like this happening.

That being said, how the hell do you explain Danailovs behaviour as described in that article? I can't even find a plausible non-suscpicious excuse. Maybe he was checking up on his granny sick in the hospital? Every few minutes?

A few things are striking:

- Chessbase doesn't mention the Breutigam-Hensel connection;
- the article comes out just before the game, the timing is too perfect to be a coincidence;
- the article looks journalistically sloppy (short on sources, no pics, little background).

It looks like a revenge in kind for the similarly timed, similarly elusive Elista allegations.

If they just would want to stop the (alleged) cheating, it would be very easy. They can go to the arbiters or the tournament director. Its their job to prevent such things.

All of which does nothing to indicate if the allegiations are true or not. I simply don't know what to think. Maybe there is a whole lot of things going on behind the scenes. Maybe its all part of negotiating over World Championships and $.

>>The immortal movie _Conan the Barbarian_ provides the answer, when Subotai is explaining why he's weeping at Valeria's death: "He is Conan, Cimmerian, he won't cry, so I cry for him.">>

Yeah, but does Conan have any RIGHT to complain that there's too much hacking and slashing going on?

I mean I agree that Suddeutsche may have jumped the gun here, but no Topalov fan has any right to agree with me. They've supported the same thing in the past, and support it still whenever it suits them.

What IS the Breutigam-Hensel connection, other than that they are both Germans and Breutigam wrote a book about the match between two players who have Hensel as manager? Perhaps I should know, but I don't.

“How to explain Danailov’s behavior as described …?”
Yeah, this is really difficult to explain if true. Even with cheating. Why the hell he has to go out and call somebody while he could get the moves by SMS?
But as in any conspiracy theory, the villain has to be extremely clever and extremely stupid in the same time.

The immortal movie _Conan the Barbarian_ provides the answer, when Subotai is explaining why he's weeping at Valeria's death: "He is Conan, Cimmerian, he won't cry, so I cry for him."

Topalov just released an entire book on the Elista match. For the last 4 months, crying has been the least of his problems.

>>>How exactly is this signalling supposed to communicate? Wouldn't it be completely difficult to memorize enough codes to communicate specific moves?
-Posted by: rdavis at January 27, 2007 15:44

I don't think it would be too difficult, for the reason that the exact move need not be conveyed. For example, communicating only the piece to be moved might well be enough in the majority of situations, especially for a grandmaster. So, a very simple system might be X (1 to 8) nose rubs to signal the file, and Y head scratches to signal the rank. There are myriad ways to reduce the number of gestures and make such a system both more efficient and less obvious to observers. BTW, this does not mean I believe the accusations against Topalov.

Last night and now, I've run *quick informal tests* of the moves mentioned in the article, with various engines at 512MB hash, and various kinds of trials. In Rd. 2, moves 26-35, trials of engines (Fritz 9, Rybka 2.2n2, Glaurung 1.2.1, Naum 2.0, Toga II 1.2.1) either

() say Topalov's move is *obvious*, or
() narrowly prefer a different move!: 29.Rg4 or 29.Be6 to Topalov's 29.Nd3, or 32.Rd2 to Topalov's 32.Be6. E.g. Rybka has steadily liked 29.Rg4 (0.91 or 1.02) over 29.Nd3 (0.89, OK in the *17-ply* search 29.Nd3 hits 1.15, but who can search so deep in real time?).

There have been almost *no* trials where the engine's top move is followed and is 0.01--0.50 better than the next move at any depth 11-16, IMHO the reasonable window for confederate cheating. This doesn't prove no-cheating, of course, and I don't have (Deep) Fritz 10, Junior, Hiarcs, Zap!, or Shredder etc., but the patterns I see give much less support to the Rd. 2 allegations than I expected even "by chance"! Rd. 3 shortly...

In fact, the same system could obviously be used to also identify the destination square.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: the really sad thing about these cheating allegations, on either side, is that they implicitly acknowledge that computers play better chess than humans in all circumstances. The moves of Fritz or Rybka or whatever other engine are now the standard against which human chess play is to be measured.

what a surprise ernest, did you just discover that computers are better than humans?

I guess I did. I must not have been the only one; otherwise the recent Kramnik vs. Fritz match should not have been any more seriously considered a contest than Uwe Boll's boxing match with Richard "Lowtax" Kyanka.

well, still, that recent match showed us best who rules the chess world. and no switch back to human supremacy will ever happen.

@acirce: You are right.

> What IS the Breutigam-Hensel connection, other
> than that they are both Germans and Breutigam
> wrote a book about the match between two players
> who have Hensel as manager? Perhaps I should
> know, but I don't.

I've checked the links and googled around a bit: Apart from jhoro's "He is an old Hensel pal" there is nothing substantive to such a connection.

IM Breutigam publishes a lot with Chessbase, but that's only incriminating if you buy the Chessbase-Kramnik conspiracy in the first place.

Sorry, it was silly to state it as a fact. I'm back at start in this guessing game.

@jhoro: Do you know more?

And Ernest, in connection to all that, doesn't our pathetic discussion over cheating from some equally pathetic chess players Kramnik and Topalov sound rediculous when the true world champs out there can crush a Kramnik/Topalov tandum with no difficulty whatsoever?

Shame on Chessbase for posting that hateful article full of nothing but speculation. Reading the article you'd think it would be easy to record Danailov making such gestures, but not a single picture was produced.

Sounds like "the large German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung" is a tabloid when it comes to fact checking and gathering firm evidence before publishing accusations.

Obviously Breutigam would have used a cell phone to video Danailov making excessive scratching gestures, if Danailov were really doing that.

At the Topalov page at chessgames.com, a member has pointed out that Chessbase has changed the header of the article from "Does Danailov signal Topalov" to "Danailov accused of signalling Topalov."

all I know is, if I see anybody scratching their nose or stretching within view of my board at my next weekend swiss I'm gonna deliver a hearty solar plexus punch to their midsection and ask questions later. I expect most of you will do the same.

Chess is dead and you're all dancing on its grave.

(It's fortunate that I finally stopped caring about it.)

"(It's fortunate that I finally stopped caring about it.)"

If I may ask the same question I asked of another--if you stopped caring then what are you doing here?

I simply stop in for a look now and again. Force of habit more than anything. I do it less and less so, fear not, you needn't be concerned about my presence. ;-)

"I do it less and less so, fear not, you needn't be concerned about my presence. ;-)"

Eh, I stopped caring.

Great News!

In an effort to rid chess of any allegations of cheating etc FIDE has wisely announced a change of venue for all future FIDE matches and tournaments.


Wise men indeed...

Well if Fide is going to hold the tournaments at Lake Como Resort then I sure hope they get the video working. That should increase viewing audience participation.

Some have been wondering why there are no photos or videos of Danailov acting suspiciously. Are photos, videos, cell phones, etc. actually permitted in the hall during play?!

Photos made by Carla Amse are showing Topalov's reaction to the ridiculous article. http://wcn.tentonhammer.com

I am Kramnik's fan, but this is too much.

After the accusations Danailov laid out, this actually seems much more feasible. I am sure Kramnik is not behind this at all, so no need for Topalov fans to start soaping the rope for Vladimir. The suspicion against Topalov is just building up, so these things start/keep poppin' out... from surprising sources it seems.

For chess I hope NO ONE is cheating, but for the BS Danailov has pulled I am glad they get to taste their own medicine.

I have finished the Rybka run of Game 3, and I've also posted an in-depth Fritz run backing up my assertions above, which were based on more-informal tests.


The funny people in Chessbase are saying now that they have no connection with the German IM Breutigam.

But the truth is different of course. Breutigam works for Chessbase since at least 2002: http://www.chessbase.com/shop/product.asp?pid=143

Let's see with what else they come up with next time...

Where do they say they have no connection with Breutigam? "We hardly need to stress that the report by Martin Breutigam was not initiated or published by ChessBase. It was the work of a major independent newspaper with which ChessBase has no affiliation or editorial influence." is quite obviously not the same.

Oh yes acirce, very coincidential.

Breutigam is working for both Chessbase and Hensel but his article is "the work of a major independent newspaper"...LOL

They obviously cannot fool anyone who can think on his own...

How is Breutigam working for Hensel?

Some guy wrote it above, Breutigam was the author of the official book for the Kramnik - Leko match in 2004:


Breutigam also works for Chessbase producing some of their opening CDs:


"Breutigam was the author of the official book for the Kramnik - Leko match in 2004"

I know that, but writing a book two years ago about a match between two players with Hensel as manager isn't exactly much of a connection. Why drag Hensel into this at all based on virtually nothing??

Giannis, I have two questions for you:

Has Breutigam produced 'some' CDs for Chessbase or just the one on the King's Indian that you link to?

Do you think he works for Chessbase, or is it just that they paid him to do a CD? I suspect that Breutigam did it on a freelance basis.

Just because Breutigam did a CD for Chessbase 2 or 3 years ago, that doesn't mean he works for Chessbase or has any connection at all with Chessbase now.

Oh yeah, everything is so coincidential... I'm almost in tears for the unfortunate coincidences and the so innocent Chessbase...

Chessbase are the same people who were claiming "neutrality" in the FIDE elections and at the same time were producing secretly Kok's campaign website and registering the Right Move's domain name.

In this case though, Chessbase behaves smarter. They know that they cannot say themselves such things against Topalov so they put a meaningless front man to do the "dirty job". But as I said before, they cannot fool anyone...

So in similar fashion, whenever somebody who has ever been the author of a Chessbase CD/DVD says or does something, it's really Chessbase behind it.

Keep that in mind when listening to Shirov, Kasparov, Korchnoi, Van Wely, Kasimdzhanov, Marin, Rogozenko, Aagaard, Wells, Ftacnik, ...

"Chessbase are the same people who were claiming "neutrality" in the FIDE elections and at the same time were producing secretly Kok's campaign website and registering the Right Move's domain name." This is much more interesting if true.

Danailov busted by Carla Amse. Photos on http://wcn.tentonhammer.com/

ChessBase and Kramnik and Hensel Have NOTHING to do with that story. Stop trying to change the subject away from Danailov's actions. Lets talk about Danailov's actions. Danailov's actions as reported in the german article are terrible. Will the ethics committee of Fide slap Topalov with a 3 year ban from playing chess?

This looks precisely like the kind of article which it's possible to write without a strong libel possibility (since one would have to produce evidence of where Danailov was standing, what he was doing, doubtful). So does anybody know if arbiter and organizers were informed/are considering taking action? Did Van Wely actually say what he is being quoted on in the article?

Van Wely said that he was lost after mistake in the opening. See his press conference http://www.chessvibes.com/?p=527

My wife is psychologist, and has absolutely no interest in chess. I talked to her about the toiletgate, giving substantial information. "This guy (Topalov) is too obsessed by cheating. I'm sure he's not clean about that" she said to me. This came like a shock to me, because she's almost never wrong about such "feelings".

Haha! Hilarious!

"My wife is psychologist, and has absolutely no interest in chess. I talked to her about the toiletgate, giving substantial information. "This guy (Topalov) is too obsessed by cheating. I'm sure he's not clean about that" she said to me. This came like a shock to me, because she's almost never wrong about such "feelings".

You Kramnik fans are so funny! LOL LOL
I almost fell down laughing!!

How reliable and well known is this guy Barden from the Guardian ?



The interesting part in the article above is of course the last paragraph.

Respected as a former British Champion (1950's) and the Guardian and Evening Standard correspondent for about a hundred years. As a junior organiser, perhaps more responsible than any other one individual for the so-called English Chess Explosion. He had his little foibles which the juniors used to mock, for example Jonathan Mestel's famous anagram of his name, but on the whole I think his contribution would be widely admitted.

Must now be in his eighties and doesn't get out and about much, but still surprisingly active on the internet (one of the stronger over-80 bullet players out there, for example) and also well-connected. I would be surprised, for example, if he truly believes that it emerged only yesterday that Kasim and Moro had things to say about San Luis.

As to his last paragraph he will be right that there is such a rumour, I am sure, but then there are lots of rumours.


thanks for info on Barden.

The thing in the last paragraph I found interesting was not the rumour, but wether it is really true that Kasparov would get involved even a tiny bit in such things.

Watching the video, which was recorded a few days after the article's publication it seems like Van Wely's comment was more to the degree of: "Yes, somebody said Danailov was acting funny" then "It seems like there is some evidence Danailov was acting funny". Which is the difference between acknowledgement that these allegations exist and giving them credence. One has to wonder if the person making these observations about Danailov and "informing the arbiter" is Martin Breutigam himself, since there is little evidence anybody else noticed it.

Has anybody found out this guy is? I don't think he is Team Kramnik, but it would be nice to know if him and his site are known for journalism.

"Doh, weren't you arguing that there were already tournaments in history, so Mexico doesn't break with tradition completely?"

Well, I said Mexico might just be a temporary interruption, and so not really necessarily a big deal on the whole. Whether there have been such interruptions before isn't that relevant, but the fact that there was does illustrate my point. You explained WHY there was a tournament, but that doesn't change the fact that there was a tournament but that tradition was still saved and still considered so.

Sorry, posted in wrong thread. Please delete.

I think if Kasparov had commented specifically on any of the Topalov cheating allegations, we would have heard it here first, by way of Mig. I do recall Mig quoting him on toiletgate; but I don't recall what if anything was attributed to Kasparov here at the time of the first San Luis rumors.

The one thing I do recall clearly is that Kasparov was quoted here being very explicit that a signal could confer a major advantage in a game between top-level opponents -- EVEN IF THE SIGNAL COULD BE GIVEN ONLY ONCE IN A GAME, AND EVEN IF THE SIGNAL WAS VAGUE, RATHER THAN A SPECIFIC MOVE. ("Go for it", was the phrase I recall Mig gave as Kasparov's version of a hypothetical signal.)

Kramnik beat Kasparov
Kramnik beat Leko
Kramnik beat Topolov
Kramnik is unified world champion

Topolov and his used car salesman will do anything to get to the top.

Who is more likely to cheat...

The truth about those cheating allegations is that you can never know for sure if they are true or not. It is far to easy to cheat in an intelligent way. Those Indian and German Amateurs who were caught cheating, and the one American at the World Open last year - they were all caught just because they cheated in quite an idiotic way. And if I were in Danailov's place, I would certainly NOT cheat by putting a thumb in my mouth! The point in giving secret signals is that those signals have to be secret, right? Those anti-cheating detectives should be a bit more imaginative. Just as the really clever cheaters surely are.

I used to admire Topalov's playing style and still do, although it's now tainted by his behaviour. I used to think that Topalov is completely clean, even during Elista and shortly thereafter.

However, the longer Topalov exhibits his cheating paranoia, the more I doubt that he is really clean. Only a cheater himself could exhibit such a paranoia on so little "evidence" for so long.

"Kramnik beat Kasparov
Kramnik beat Leko
Kramnik beat Topolov"

Shirov beat Kramnik.
(and Kramnik only drew Leko)

And who is this "Topolov"?

do you have to 'shout' at us Jon? We can read.

"Haha! Hilarious!

"My wife is psychologist, and has absolutely no interest in chess. I talked to her about the toiletgate, giving substantial information. "This guy (Topalov) is too obsessed by cheating. I'm sure he's not clean about that" she said to me. This came like a shock to me, because she's almost never wrong about such "feelings".

You Kramnik fans are so funny! LOL LOL
I almost fell down laughing!!"

I'm not Kramnik's fan at all. I found his games and style of play awfully boring. I WAS a total fan of Topalov. Now, I still don't like Kramnik, but I'm so disappointed by Topi's actions. This is just too much...

According to an Indian website http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1077079 Nigel Short believes it is possible that Topalov could have been cheating at San Luis.

I remember that Short was in San Luis doing commentary, and that he was also on good terms with the Topailov camp - they considered him a lucky mascot and insisted that he had breakfast at their table.

I quote from this article which is apparently in Short's words:

"It is my understanding that the majority of players in San Luis privately believe that Topalov received signalling from Danailov during play. The essence of these allegations, which I heard personally from disgruntled players in Argentina at the time, was not that Topalov constantly received computer advice but only at critical junctures. Indeed, if one were to cheat, a player of Topalov’s strength would only need two or three computer moves per game to put him at an overwhelming advantage vis-a-vis his opponents."

Unless there is video evidence of signalling by Danailov then this would remain an unproven suspicion - but at the very least Danailov should be prevented from having eye contact with Topalov during the games. Also even with video evidence, the code needs to be cracked to really prove anything.

While one of the greatest stories (or non-stories) in chess history was playing out under his nose in San Luis, Nigel was devoting most of his reportage to the joys of alcohol consumpion.

While performing as Team Topalov's mascot, did Nigel ever once put on his "reporter's cap" and question his breakfast companions about the cheating rumors?

After hearing the repeated rumors, a chess reporter (as opposed to whatever Nigel is) would have sat in the playing hall observing Topalov and Danailov and would have reported what he saw, or did not see. A neutral (and preferably sober) individual could have done the chess world an immeasurable service by confirming or rebutting the players' charges.

Instead, Nigel waits eighteen months before breathlessly reporting that some of the San Luis players suspected cheating!

I'd trade Nigel's ten-dollar words and "witty" commentary for an intelligent, unbiased high-schooler's report of what did or did not take place between Danailov and Topalov at San Luis.

"...the code needs to be cracked to really prove anything."

Not necessarily, it depends on the standard of proof. If the standard of proof is 'preponderance of evidence' (the 'more likely than not' standard), then a video with some correlation to what happened on the board, may well be sufficient to prove cheating at that standard of proof. I think that this is what some people are tacitly (or not so tacitly) are thinking of.

Of course, there are higher standards of proof that would then yield a 'no cheating' verdict.

I'm glad to see this matter getting attention, and happier still that the discussion has been pretty sober and civil thus far. (Though I'm not so naive as to assume it will remain that way.)

The (potential) signalling problem is looking more and more like a major point of departure between pro- and amateur-level chess.

I continue to believe that players below professional strength, even FMs, could not benefit significantly from receiving signals at only a few key moments in a game.

At one time I thought this applied even to strong GMs; but I have changed my opinion in deference to what Kasparov (by way of Mig) and now Short (reportedly, by way of the Indian interview) have said about that.

So it seems Mig was right to enshrine signalling as the biggest cheating-prevention issue facing professional chess. (Note that I'm taking no position on the Topalov allegations; like most commenters here, I believe they are serious and merit further attention, but are unproven. Not to mention, hard to prove, which was Mig's original point.)

Still, if indeed it takes only a few signals (Short's view) or only one signal (Kasparov's view) during any particular game to give Topalov "an overwhelming advantage", then it's hard to see why Danailov would have felt the need to do it so frequently, and so conspicuously, during those games in Wijk.

Video evidence? Breaking the code? If one had video of a suspected signaller, especially covering more than one game, then it should be fairly easy to "break the code." The game scores are publicly available, and the video would presumably be time-stamped which would allow specific gestures to be synchronized with specific moves, so that patterns of correspondence would gradually become evident.

Even absent video evidence, given a certain critical mass of independent eyewitnesses, one could possibly assemble a collective picture of a suspected signaller's physical movements that could be reliable enough to build a case.

I am not suggesting that a formal case can or should be built against Danailov / Topalov based on what has come out so far; we'll just have to wait and see what other evidence, if any, might surface.

More important is how playing conditions can be designed to prevent such possibilities in the future.

One-way glass separating players from spectators seems an obvious answer. A visual barrier was used for the Elista WCC match -- at Kramnik's insistence, I think.

This probably will have to become standard practice somewhere down the line. Simply isolating Danailov or any other individual will achieve nothing, since if Topalov was cheating, he could easily use a different accomplice. (And to be fair, one or another of his opponents could try the same idea.)

Now, there's a serendipitous thought! With that last, parenthetical sentence, I may well have stumbled upon that Holy Grail we've all been looking for elsewhere: how to turn chess into a true spectator sport!

Just picture a top-level match or tournament where two or more players were receiving signals from accomplices in the audience. Some spectators would be repeatedly slapping their head, touching their nose, flapping their elbows....Simon Says do this, Simon says to this, Do this! Meanwhile other spectators would outdo them by getting on all fours and doing leg extensions, squat-thrusts...even break-dancing!

Soon the entire spectator area would resemble a vast improv performance-theater. The TV crews would eat it up.

Not to mention the viewing audience: instead of suffering "brain-pain" (a favorite expression of my 11-year old daughter) trying to work out what the objectively best continuation might be for Anand or Carlsen in some position, the remote audience would focus their eyes not on the board position but on the audience in the playing hall.

Trying to decode all those spectator gestures would be so much more telegenic, and so much more fun, than trying to divine what a super-GMs sees when he analyzes at the board. Both ICC and Playchess would find themselves leapfrogged in an instant by ABC, CBS and Fox: TV cameras would suddenly eclipse real-time Java boards, for conveying the essence of top-level chess competition.

A clear analogy comes from the world of bridge - the Reese/Shapiro scandal of 1965.

There appears to be photographic evidence that Reese/Shapiro were signalling other in some way, but they could (and did) claim this was just nervous mannerisms. There were also eye witnesses (and not just their opponents) who confirmed the observations.

Then somebody broke the code and showed an extremely high correlation between the finger signals and the cards that they held (the number of cards in the heart suit).

This to my mind was the proof in the case of Reese/Shapiro (not everybody will agree with me - the World Bridge Federation convicted them, the British Bridge Federation acquitted them).

Circumstantial evidence - looking at how the hands were played in view of the supposed information known by the two players - could be argued either way. Thus in the chess case we try to prove cheating by comparison with chess engines. However this is always circumstantial evidence - top chess players (above 2750) should be expected to find the best move most of the time anyway.

Anyway this is why I think the code needs to be cracked to really accuse Topalov of cheating - but in the mean time I agree that by putting up the screens (again they do this in international bridge) we can at least stop this form of cheating in the future and ensure that it really is Topalov playing rather than Topailov.

BTW - it is possible for an IM to beat a future world champion with only a few pieces of advice - Fischer-Kovacevic, Rovinj/Zagreb 1970 - according to legend Kovacevic was being advised by Mrs Petrosian who heard Korchnoi's comments on the game as it was in progress ("But they didn't tell him all the moves - just the killing ones" according to David Levy).

Dunno if it's been repeated here, but it's conventional wisdom that you don't need to transmit specific moves at all. At the top level it would be enough to signal danger or sacrifice or some other nearly binary information. Hell, even the confidence provided by the knowledge of such assistance being on hand would probably raise your Elo. The possibility of receiving move after move is nil as well as unnecessary. If you could consult a computer, say, four times (four moments) during an entire tournament it could have a major impact. Two or three half-points - in defense or offense - is a lot and the chance of being caught very low. Certainly no way to divine a system.

Computer aid for one move would be enough. Much the way Kasparov said Deep Blue would be dramatically stronger if it got just one or two moves from a GM.

Garry has not spoken directly on any allegations, but he has used them to speak out strongly on the need for anti-cheating measures. The videos show (in passing) stuff similar to what was described in the German article on Topailov's behavior at Corus. E.g. being seated in the same place, line of sight, exiting-calling-entering-fidgeting. A few players complained about it (Leko, Kasimdzhanov, later Moro) but few went on the record or named names. I've also received email describing similar stuff from two people who attended the last MTel.


You are becoming even more paranoid than Danailov.

Giannis, you have so discredited yourself here that I wouldn't believe one of your posts if it only said "Hello."

You don't even have anything to disagree about in my post. Or do you disagree with my statement that one or two computer-influenced tips could be decisive? Or do you disagree with what the videos you've never seen show? Or about the content of my email? Keep talking like that and I'll be paranoid all right, about you looking over my shoulder.

Mcb – in fairness to Reese and Schapiro you should perhaps point out that that:

1. The American accusers of Reese and Schapiro had also accused the great Italians who kept beating them of cheating, an accusation regarded by the entire world as laughable .

2. Two of the American accusers were also accused of cheating themselves in the US and, for a short time, banned for playing in partnership.

3. The WBF hearing took place on the spot, on the day, with no consideration of the internal evidence (the hand records, that is) whereas the BBL enquiry took months, with considerable consideration of the hands, both parties legally represented, cross-examination of witnesses, and so on.

4. One of the US witnesses, Dorothy Hayden, was caught in a demonstrable fiction at the BBL enquiry, while attempting to discredit the evidence of the Canadian captain, who was told the alleged code, watched a session during which it was allegedly in use, and saw no coincidence whatsoever between the supposed finger signals and the heart holding.

I also disagree with you that the photographic evidence appeared to show anything at all, and that the hand records are ‘circumstantial’. To a strong player the hand records are very important indeed in such allegations – ‘it is written in the hands’, as a French tournament director told the BBL enquiry. I don’t see how they could be argued either way either; Truscott’s attempts in his book to do this were pathetic (one of the main things that inclines me against the accusers; Truscott’s arguments are so bad that it is not possible to conceive of an unprejudiced mind putting them forward).

You do have to accept, mind, that either the Americans were at the very least embellishing their evidence or that R-S were signalling. This is why it’s so emotive even now.

You may not know, by the way, that someone recently made a small splash in the UK recently by announcing that Reese had told him before he died that they had indeed been signalling, but purely by way of demonstrating how easy it was for a book Reese had been planning to write. This of course would reconcile the eye-witness evidence with the hand records. On the other hand, it is not a very plausible story, and most people dismissed him as an attention-seeking old queen.


Before losing your cool, ask yourself a simple question: If you really have a video of Danailov's "suspicious behaviour" why don't you just publish it? So we can all see and judge?

Otherwise it's obvious that you just want to help your friends in throwing mud and baseless accusations against Topalov for winning Corus.

Mig, by getting nervous just because someone exposes your bias and double standards, then you only help in discrediting yourself and no one else.

To be honest, I think Mig is mostly extraordinarily fair in this blog. I have seen absolutely no bias or double standard in his coverage of this, he's merely expressing his sneaking suspicicions, and that too only after somebody else published something. And I am a Topalov fan..

To be honest, I think Mig is mostly extraordinarily fair in this blog. I have seen absolutely no bias or double standard in his coverage of this, he's merely expressing his sneaking suspicicions, and that too only after somebody else published something. And I am a Topalov fan..

greg koster: "Instead, Nigel waits eighteen months before breathlessly reporting that some of the San Luis players suspected cheating!"

And Short goes even further:

"Nigel Short, the former world title challenger, has called for an International Chess Federation inquiry into cheating allegations against the world No1-ranked grandmaster, Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria."


The same guy who was dining with Topalov every single day in San Luis. Incredible. A viper in the bosom.
I think there is a good chance that Short's actions will drain back some sympathy for Topalov.


When Kramnik was accused of cheating, Mig took a clear stand and rightly condemned Danailov for his accusations.

When Topalov is accused now for cheating, Mig says stuff like "let's see", "maybe the video is that and blah blah", "I received emails blah blah", and all that crap. No clear stand by Mig against baseless accusations this time. And this is what I clearly describe as "bias and double standards".

On the other hand, I also appreciate Mig's website and this is why I post in his blog. I think Mig can stand a bit of criticism so don't worry about him! :-)


Linux fan, I'm thinking you've not met Nigel? Nothing could be more in character or less incredible (in the strict sense anyway).

"I think if Kasparov had commented specifically on any of the Topalov cheating allegations, we would have heard it here first, [...]"

But is Kasparov the kind of guy who will silently accept being quoted in a major newspaper for something he never said ??

I've certainly never met Nigel Short, but have certainly read plenty about him both here and in reputable publications, that indicates he much prefers to kick easy targets: Enslaved people, his rivals' cadavers (didn't Nigel brag about bedding Tony Miles' girlfriend -- within an OBITUARY he published about Miles?), Gata Kamsky's father.

Topalov while he was riding high and letting Nigel into his inner circle, certainly wasn't an easy target. Now, it seems that he is.

"Nigel Short bedding" has to be an oxymoron.

Giannis, on one side we had Kramnik's opponent and his opponent's manager breaking up the ceiling in a bathroom and sending out ridiculous Fritz analysis to slander a player. DURING A WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH. On the other side we have various third-party reports of consistently odd behavior at multiple events by Danailov. What I am I suppose to stand up and take a clear stand against? That the behavior didn't occur? It did. That the behavior is meaningless and innocent? I don't know that, and neither do you. That all the reports come from people and players all over the world who are in a mysterious cabal against Topalov? They're not.

My reaction is different because the cases are different. It's called "thinking." Anyone who thinks they are identical is delusional.

In Elista there was never a single thing said, found, or even suggested that opened up the real possibility of cheating, unless (based on your magical insight) you really think Kramnik had the ability to do so in the bathroom. I don't. I haven't made any accusations about Topalov and have said in the past that I didn't think he was cheating. That doesn't mean these reports don't exist or that they should be trivially discarded.

danedude, nice one :-)


The case of Kramnik in Elista is very clear: Kramnik was of course NOT CHEATING. The case of Topalov is also very clear. Topalov is of course NOT CHEATING. Unless we take seriously people like Nigel Short, Martin Breutigam or Sam Sloan.

If anyone really thinks that Danailov has any chance of transmitting moves to Topalov by eye glances or nose picking, then - apart from being paranoid - it's obvious that his FIDE rating strength is not more than 1800...

Mig. Well said.

But we don't all have magic powers like you do, Giannis. You must forgive us and accept our limitations. The rest of us depend on observable facts and deduction, we don't "just know" like you do.

Now Nigel Short is calling for an investigation on Topalov. He now says that he also witnessed suspicious behavior in San Luis...This apparently was not enough for Nigel to stop eating lunch with Veselin before each game though.

Giannis wrote: "If anyone really thinks that Danailov has any chance of transmitting moves to Topalov by eye glances or nose picking, then - apart from being paranoid - it's obvious that his FIDE rating strength is not more than 1800..."

How do you explain Kasparov's comments, then? Kasparov hasn't said he thinks Topalov received signals, but he has clearly stated that this sort of thing is possible and would make a major difference even if done on just a single move in a game.

For that matter, many who posted here saying it is possible are well above 1800, including myself. I'm keeping an open mind on whether the accusation is true. But, what special information about the playing hall are you privy to that the rest of us are not, that makes you think it isn't possible?

Perhaps your friend Kirsan secretly informed you that his allies on Alpha Centauri deployed invisible cosmic photon-shields between Corus players and spectators, so that Topalov could never actually see Danailov even if everyone else in the playing hall thought he could?

OK Mig.

So we are waiting for you to upload the video of Danailov. In that case we can also have access to some "observable facts". Unless of course a video of Danailov having a suspicious behavior doesn't exist...

PS: A typical view of Danailov signalling Topalov: http://wcn.tentonhammer.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=1127&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0 LOL

There may be some translation difficulties, so: "observable fact" means "a fact which is able to be observed."

A tournament spectator gesturing in view of a competitor would be an "observable fact" whether or not anyone had videotaped the gestures. The vast majority of "guilt beyond a reasonable doubt" verdicts and findings are obtained even though videotaped evidence is unavailable.

Nigel Short remembers after 18 months, and after Topa's 1st place in Corus, that Topalov was ...cheating in San Luis.

But the same Nigel Short was present in San Luis, and here is his report after the end of the tournament: http://www.ajedrezcampeonatomundial2005.com/home.asp?lang=en&op=det_com&id=25 I just quote here the first part of Short's report:

"San Luis World Chess Championship: a personal view
– by Nigel Short.

The players and officials have left. The last wooden piece has been packed away in its box.

Chesswise San Luis 2005 was totally Veselin Topalov’s tournament. The other seven participants – all great names - were relegated to the role of supporting actors while this colossus confidently occupied centre stage.

There was no daredevilry to his game, but nor was there fear of complications. Here was one man who trusted himself to emerge unscathed from any treacherous labyrinth. One player after another fell victim to this unstoppable force. Inspired by this tornado, each and every participant traded lusty blows.

Seasoned observers of elite chess tournaments throughout the world were both astonished and thrilled by the bloodthirstyness of the play."

So what should we believe? What Short was saying immediately after San Luis or what he is saying now, 18 months later..?

Giannis---I had similar thoughts re: GM Short. I'm am always suspicious of after the fact revelations such as this one, and such as Danailov's claiming to fear for their lives in Elista. If it's a big issue you usually say something at first opportunity, not wait 18 months (Short) or 3 months (Danailov); they only spoke up when similar stories hit the media (i.e. more cheating news, or poisoned Russian spys).

btw, please don't make a habit of posting things that make sense...you'll get me confused. :->

Relax, he's still not making sense. If you have seen something suspicious and a few others share their similar concerns with you, but you are a chess professional with a reputation of your own and have no real evidence, you don't have much choice other than to keep your mouth shut. Anything else would basically be slander. A few players did let some comments leak at the time, mostly obliquely, and in some cases they were attacked for being sore losers, etc. So when 18 months later or ten years later a major newspaper goes on the record documenting just the sort of thing you observed back then, you are much more likely to speak up.

If you go outside and see a UFO flash by in the sky you probably don't tell anyone. Maybe a friend or two. You don't want people to think you are crazy and you don't have any proof. But if a year later there is a story about UFOs that look just like the one you saw in the same area and there are witnesses going on the record, you aren't going to feel those earlier constraints. It doesn't mean the UFOs exist, mind you (regardless of what Ilyumzhinov says), but the storyline here is absolutely natural.

I felt the same way with the email I received after San Luis and Sofia, as did the authors of the email. It was off the record because they didn't want to be attacked for it. The report in the German paper made it relatively okay for people to say, "yeah, me too." Not a conspiracy, just human nature. We'll see if others go on the record in their publications now.

The bottom line in all of this for me is to make sure all doubts are removed with anti-cheating measures.

Don't panic Mig.

Short and your friends in Chessbase are fully exposed... It would be wise if you tried to keep a distance.

BTW, Susan Polgar is also highly critical of Short's baseless public accusations: http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com/2007/02/difficult-question-about-right-or-wrong.html

Heh, "proper and official channels." As if such exist in the chess world. As I said long ago, "FIDE ethics" is an oxymoron. It's been the case for years now that the only way to prod FIDE (or anyone in the chess world) to do anything is to either threaten public exposure and independent action or to do it. That's why everyone is press release crazy. There are no proper channels or responsible authorities.

I'm still not clear on the conspiracy. What am I gaining? With whom am I collaborating and why? Bizarre.

Good old Susan - you can always rely on her for some apple-pie observations in support of Topalov.

Bit rich calling Short's stuff 'accusations', though. He says there was suspicious behaviour observed, nothing more. It seems pretty clear that there is and has been suspicious behaviour observed and that Danailov isn't interested in stopping it. Although calling for a FIDE inquiry, of course, is just mischievous. They couldn't inquire into their own bottoms with a toothbrush.

Reminds me, how did they get on considering Kramnik's ethics complaint?

Breaking news : FIDE's headquarters (in Athens) have now officially taken side. They will stand by Topalov, whatever Kirsan thinks. Kudos for the courageous stance!

And no, Nosher didn't say (at least so far) that he personnally observed anything amiss. Only that the present situation (especially after the German article) would allow for an official inquiry (if FIDE and ethics were not such antinomyc words...). That would at least clear the smoke a bit and maybe it could also propose measures to prevent further "suspicious behaviour".

Short apollogies to Silvio Danailov in a letter:


Short apologizes to Silvio Danailov in a letter:


"proper and official channels." Susan is biased. But has anyone ever wondered why is Susan Polgar so biased in favor of Topalov ? It is called "sour grapes".

Susan Polgar against Kramnik -> 2-0
Sofia Polgar against Kramnik -> 1-0
Judit Polgar against Kramnik -> 20-0 , 16 draws

Polgars - as a family - have NEVER won even a single game against Kramnik.

I am not a Kramnik fan but used to be a major Topalov fan. Now I detest him, courtesy his great manager. Susan , though , does not help the cause.

Apparently, Short wants to clarify something, but it does not seem that it is an "apology".

PomDa: "I am not a Kramnik fan but used to be a major Topalov fan. Now I detest him, courtesy his great manager. Susan , though , does not help the cause."

"the cause"? Who cares about you?

"Dear Silvio,

Thank you for your e-mail. The statements attributed to me in quotation marks in the original DNA article in India are entirely accurate. However I am not responsible for the commentary and interpretation of those statements in that newspaper, which were done by the journalist, Vijay Tagore. If you check the original article you will see that I did NOT say that I observed “something sinister in San Luis”. This was Mr Tagore’s interpretation of my comment that I was struck by how close you were sitting to Veselin. I did not say that you signalled to him or that I personally observed anything untoward. My comment merely was intended to demonstrate that , had you wanted to signal, it would have been remarkably easy – which is very far from saying that you did such a thing. I might add that I telephoned Frederic Freidel last night to complain about falsely attributing the “something sinister in San Luis” quote to me. The quotation marks were removed in the chessbase report after that phone call. I had earlier telephoned Chessbase to complain about falsely attributing the “It is possible that Topalov cheated” remark to me on the German webpage. That was the heading of the DNA piece, and they were not my words.

Best regards,



Sab :"the cause"? Who cares about you?

Trolls like you do not. Players who care about their fan base do. Got it ?


The Polgars have never beaten Kasparov in a classical game either; and indeed Judit could well claim that Kasparov cheated, but I don't notice any anti-Kasparov bias on her site.

Chris B.
You are incorrect. Judit has beaten Kasparov once. It was a Ruy Lopez.

That was a rapid game.

yes. I looked up the game, acirce, you are correct. It was the Russia vs the rest of the world, 2002. Nice game, worth going over once again !

[Event "Russia vs The Rest of the World"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2002.09.09"] [EventDate "2002.09.08"] [Round "5"] [Result "1-0"] [White "Judit Polgar"] [Black "Kasparov"] [ECO "C67"] [WhiteElo "2681"] [BlackElo "2838"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. Nc3 h6 10. Rd1+ Ke8 11. h3 Be7 12. Ne2 Nh4 13. Nxh4 Bxh4 14. Be3 Bf5 15. Nd4 Bh7 16. g4 Be7 17. Kg2 h5 18. Nf5 Bf8 19. Kf3 Bg6 20. Rd2 hxg4+ 21. hxg4 Rh3+ 22. Kg2 Rh7 23. Kg3 f6 24. Bf4 Bxf5 25. gxf5 fxe5 26. Re1 Bd6 27. Bxe5 Kd7 28. c4 c5 29. Bxd6 cxd6 30. Re6 Rah8 31. Rexd6+ Kc8 32. R2d5 Rh3+ 33. Kg2 Rh2+ 34. Kf3 R2h3+ 35. Ke4 b6 36. Rc6+ Kb8 37. Rd7 Rh2 38. Ke3 Rf8 39. Rcc7 Rxf5 40. Rb7+ Kc8 41. Rdc7+ Kd8 42. Rxg7 Kc8 1-0


Yes, it is a nice game, but a rapid game does not have the same status as a classical game.

I don't think your accusation against Susan is a very nice or justified one. In view of my post, do you stick with it?


Really ? Are you saying that the Elista decider was useless?

I think I will stick with what I wrote.


Ah well, I guess the spin of a roulette wheel (the decider in Smyslov-Hubner 1983) has the same status as a classical game, then.

I would imagine that any anti-Topalov "cause" would probably prefer you weren't a member of it.

Check this out, it is bigger than we thought


Chessbase cry like little puppies. And do they have permission to publish mails??? I will never write them.

Topalov's site also answered.


Dear Chris,

You obviously cannot talk with data and prefer hallucination to fact. I am not a part of any anti or pro Topalov campaign, but wish good luck to Topa nonetheless, whose game I admire. That does not take away from the fact of my main post, which was a comment on Susan's blog.

Now this is interesting. Why was the following paragraph omitted from what was supposed to be "full text" from Short to Danailov. Who edited it off? Veselintopalov.net or Danailov? Maybe it doesn't matter. Maybe they are the same thing.

"I stand by my remarks about wanting an inquiry. As you are doubtless aware, the chorus of suspicion about the alleged signaling between you and Veselin is very loud indeed and comes from many different quarters. Indeed in my 24 years as a chess professional, I have never heard anything like it before. The allegations are of a very serious nature and it is important, for the sake of chess, that the truth is learned. As you do not have anything to be concerned about, you should welcome this proposal."

Actually it seems to me that Susan Polgar is what is commonly called as 'controlled opposition'. When the time is right and "evidence" "overwhelming" enough, she will relucantly say something like "i wanted to believe Toppy was innocent but am crushed that can't anymore..." so as to seem that even Topalov's supporters now believe all the garbage.

Chessbase bias is obvious first and foremost from the SLANT of their reporting. Just like Kasparov's bias towards certain chess players and against some others is obvious from the way he writes about them...one just needs to read the whole text and observe the overall 'feel' that it provides. (Just using it as an example, no need to start talking about it...i know many people will not agree and think Garry is fair and i have no intention of objecting).

It still amazes me how easily people are manipulated by entities like Chessbase.

Chessbase pulls back from the allegations against Topalov. They admit that they didn't reveal the truth from the beginning but preferred to ..."abstain(!!) from editorial comment"!

The text quoted from http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=3649 (somewhere in the ...middle of the page) :

Chessbase 3 February 2007:

We would like to add one more note: during our stay in Wijk aan Zee we kept a sharp look-out for any signs of signaling by Silvio Danailov or Topalov's second Ivan Cheparinov, during rounds six, seven and eight.

We can state with a fair degree of certainty that no signaling took place. Danailov and Cheparinov were mostly in the press center, and when they were not there we did not spot them in the playing hall.

We could have mentioned this as an editorial comment to our report on the article that appeared in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, but then we would also have had to mention that a number of people claimed to have seen signaling in earlier rounds (thus corroborating the story in the Süddeutsche). Neither observation is conclusive, one way or the other, and so we abstained from editorial comment.

Frederic Friedel


So what else can be said? These people can make Danailov look like a saint...

First off, from what I've seen ChessBase hasn't made any allegations against Topalov.

So ChessBase - who you constantly accuse of bias - should have editorialized instead of putting up the German paper's article on its own? Of course that's what you're saying, because you agree with the implied conclusion of that last comment Frederic made. But had they added, "during San Luis in 2005 we saw similar behavior" you would have freaked out. ChessBase doesn't have the job of editorializing on every article they reprint. In fact, that's what usually leads to trouble.

They can editorialize if they want, with signed pieces, or they can reprint things unspoken. Of course the choice of what to reprint is made by humans, but it's hard for me to believe anyone thinks that newspaper article shouldn't have been reprinted on a major chess website.

The above argument about ChessBase slanting its reporting and poor, stupid, readers being manipulated implies that there is a benefit. What on earth do they have to gain from reprinting that article on Topalov that they otherwise would have lost?


We can pretend that there is no benefit for Chessbase as long as we pretend that Chessbase, Hensel and Breutigam have never worked together.

Still, I'm glad that everyone is taking distance from all these allegations now (even though their primary target has been achieved, ie to partially ruin the value of Topalov's success in Corus).

Giannis, can you read? Have you seen the paragraph from Short's email that Topa's site deleted?

I really was a complete Topalov fan till Elista.
I just was faszinated by his games
which made chess more exciting for me.

What made me start to get suspicious was
the fact that his support team in Elista included
no less than five team members (from ten)
with no declared function.
Of course u can make a very subtle and easy to handle signaling system, the more people are involved.
So I could understand very well, that Kramnik insisted on semi transparent glass walls.

Of course I hoped (and hope!) these suspicions would turn out as wrong.
But than Danailovs behaviour really didn't help in that case.

But certainly I'm biased, because not only I am german but additionally I have a grandfather whose name is Fritz :-)

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 27, 2007 8:23 AM.

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