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Recrimination du Jour

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Here by popular demand is your item on the latest round of insults, insinuations, and idiocy that followed in the wake of the German newspaper article on Topalov's manager's suspicious behavior during Corus. (Since acting suspicious is subjective and isn't a crime there is no need to call it "alleged suspicious behavior.") ChessBase first put up excerpts of some of the fall-out and follow-ups in mainstream papers, including some chess columns. One was a DNA Sport item that interviewed Nigel Short, who was a commentator at the San Luis, Argentina, FIDE world championship tournament. (Most of my San Luis coverage with lots of links is on the Oct 05 archive page.)

That, of course, is where Topalov blitzed to a dominating victory. At the time and immediately after the event there were a few grumbles from Topalov's competitors about his seating position, the strange habits of his team during the games, and the ease with which he could have been signaled (little security on site, lots of coming and going). The comments by players were made almost apologetically and were mostly discarded as sour grapes and confusion at how Topalov could crush them so easily. There were stronger statements made off the record and in 2006 a few Russian columnists rattled sabers and stirred the rumor mill about high-tech cheating. Behind the scenes a few people who had attended various top events in 2005 and 2006 compared notes on the odd activity they had or hadn't seen Topalov and his associates engage in at several events. Videos, pictures, stories, most of them corresponding with what the Süddeutsche Zeitung story reported.

Short's money quote: "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-à-vis his opponents."

[By popular demand, this final paragraph of Short's reply to Danailov, which was cut by the Topalov site and therefore deserves greater consideration. "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."]

There is now a follow-up at ChessBase with some clarifications on a mild misattribution and more from Short, as well some reader letters. I'm a little mystified at all the "ChessBase bias against Topalov" guff people are coughing up because they chose to reprint the Süddeutsche Zeitung article. I know fans will be fans, and jihadis don't care why something negative about their hero is being said. But it would have been bizarre to ignore something like that appearing in a major paper. Another factor is that it wasn't much of a shock for the CB guys, who, like me and most other people on the circuit, had been talking about and in some cases seeing similar behavior for quite a while. In sum, while there is no proof of Topalov receiving signals, not reprinting that story would have been inconceivable, if not irresponsible. Imagine the Miami Herald reporting allegations that Peyton Manning is taking steroids and American football websites ignoring it because they had no proof. Hell, it has never been proven that Barry Bonds ever took steroids but it's been the biggest story in baseball for years. News about news is news. The fan bias test is simple: imagine the exact same story coming out but replace the name "Veselin Topalov" with "Vladimir Kramnik" or "Garry Kasparov" and be very honest with yourself about what your reaction would be.

To go into the obvious, there is little similarity between this and what happened in Elista during the Kramnik-Topalov match. There one of the players and his manager filed a protest about Kramnik's bathroom visits (which was reasonable, although they shouldn't have had access to the video) and followed it up with public declarations of suspicions (not reasonable). Topailov continued by publishing spurious statistics alleging Kramnik was receiving computer assistance during the match (unforgivable). Again, this was one of the participants saying these things about his opponent while a world championship match was still going on. Topailov continued by ripping open bathroom ceilings, mocking-up photos and sending them out far and wide pretending they were evidence Kramnik was cheating. They even sent such things from false email accounts, pretending to be Russians who attended the match. And when we all wanted to believe this was just sour grapes and a way of coping with the loss, especially back home in Bulgaria, Topalov gave the ABC interview in which he flatly stated he believed Kramnik cheated.

Yes, there was a protest in San Luis about Topalov; Leko complained that Topalov was the only player who always sat in the same place. The most relevant difference is that there was never, ever, even a hint of the possibility that Kramnik cheated in Elista. His frequent bathroom trips were unusual, but unless you believe he was receiving clues through the plumbing (or electrical wires inside the ceiling), it's only weird. Consistent behavior that looks a lot like signaling is another matter. Proof? No. Enough to start an investigation and to hassle Topalov? No. Does he get the benefit of the doubt with me? Yes. Worth taking precautions in the future? Absolutely.

This isn't mass hysteria or a global conspiracy of jealousy to tear down Topalov. Nor do I think it's payback for Topailov dragging chess into the toilet in Elista. I don't doubt those two things are potential factors, but so far it hasn't been visible. In reality, very little has been said. There are legit concerns not always expressed in the most responsible way. The best thing we can do now is take measures to remove all doubt by preventing the possibility of signaling and electronic communications at top events. My gut feeling is that one, Topalov is a great player who has raised the level of his game and should maintain a top-three position for the next five years. Two, Danailov has a documented history of reprehensible behavior and that makes it easy to assume he would stop at nothing.

Leadership is needed and FIDE has been as quiet as you might expect from a group for whom "ethics" is a four-letter word. Bessel Kok will have some influence soon, but that won't affect traditional events. The Grand Slam of Corus, Linares, Sofia, and Bilbao that is coalescing might also realize how essential anti-cheating measure are, but Danailov himself is one of the prime movers in it. I suppose this is a chance for him to turn his own anti-cheating rhetoric into action.


Good summary amd clear analysis of the situation Mig. I guess everyone would agree that the most important tournaments and matches should, from now on, use one way viewing glass as was used at Elista?

Very well written Mig. Nicely thought out. Good ideas expressed very well.

I think the easy way to do the tournaments is to put the players into a separate room and restrict those who may enter the room. I can only guess that these one way glass partitions are very expensive and not so easy to obtain.

I would vote for separate rooms over the next year and then phase in glass partitions. I favor the separate rooms for a year to give strong signal to the public that the games are being played fairly with no cheating. I think a separate room is more secure than glass partitions. One year is simply one tournament since most are on a yearly basis. And using a separate room should cost no extra or only a minimum amount extra in some cases.

I certainly hope we can put this controversey to rest very quickly. It would be nice to see Fide take a stand on the issues.

One way viewing glass is not a solution since the external world still can analyze games in the _real time_ and it is only a matter of figuring out a clever way (electronic signals to a body strap?) of passing moves to the players. Delaying the demo board by a fixed amount of time solves the problem much easier and better.

For the record, I do not believe either Kramnik or Topalov cheats IMHO. (just look at the games from 90s involving those two, and also between them...)

Are you sure there is no proof? Nigel Short, the official commentator of San Luis says that the whole event was recorded. So it is possible that they (FIDE) may find proof if they examine all of the San Luis footage that they have avaible.

Delaying the internet broadcast by 10-15 minutes is already close to being accepted. Makes things harder at no cost. Someone in the audience would have to send and receive moves.

The word "proof" should not be used lightly. It's almost inconceivable that anyone would or could use signals so regularly and specifically that it could be identified as such. Just a few tips would be more than enough and even if there was a camera on the signaler(s) the entire time it would be very tough to prove anything. To a reasonable doubt, maybe, but there's no such consistent footage of the audience.

After reading the beginning of the latest Chessbase report:

"We have been taken to task by the Topalov web site for "falsely attributing statements to Nigel Short" about his observations during the world championship in San Luis. Really? "

You realize once more by reading this paragraph that this whole thing seems to be more an argument between the Webmaster of veselintopalov's website (of course, you know that is not Topalov who put the messages) and Chessbase website.

In this era of blogs, myspaces, etc; people like to be heard, but then when you have the means to put your opinion and perspective in a more influential Website, some people cannot resist the temptation of imposing their truth, damaging the quality of information we receive; of course, conspiracion theories and a lot of crap is mixed too, unfortunately among the good and informative content.

This is not the first time we question Chessbase, but I may ask: If we assume the vesilintopalov's site is not sufficiently serious or responsible (or the ones who run it are not more than desperate attempts to manipulate opinion), why Chessbase would bother in reply their message in a second report?? It does not look very good. Now if a blogmaster put another comment against Chessbase, them they are going to reply too? No, because the issue became personal.

This is as pathetic as when you see in a blog (or sites as chessgames) two people kibitzing for pages contradicting each other. Definitely, the whole thing should be handled in more professional terms and if a legitimate chess organization has something to say, manage it in the most responsable way, for the ultimate benefit of chess.

Kudos on an article! Agree with the whole analysis of the situation completely.

As for delaying the internet broadcast...For open level events that might provide some protection, but if we are talking about Wijk and Linares, you've got to be kidding. If somebody decides to cheat at that level, he will find a "friend" to sit in the audience and text out moves. In 5 years the texting part will be irrelevant as Fritz on a mobile phone will be just as good as on PC.

Playing in a separate room with no audience seems drastic and unlikely to be implemented. In terms of stopping physical signalling by observers of the players delays on demo boards/ internet transmission are an alternative to one way glass presuming the observers cannot see the moves played on the actual chess board from the audience area. The main cost of the one way glass is the large glass unit itself as the chemical coating is relatively cheap. Still the more this problem is analysed the worse it all seems....

nice summary but lacking a few key details. does video footage of San Luis exist? If so, who has it? Who all can see it? can we see it on Youtube? also no quotes from Kasparov? what about Kasparov finding the video evidence suspicious?

putting the cart before the horse .. if there is video evidence of cheating, Topa is not the FIDE champ .. which means Elista was not a unified championship .... what does it all mean?

Very well written, Mig. You have succinctly presented the issue, current opinion and your views on a topic that has been agitated ad nauseam. The whole thing about cheating is that even the merest suspicion of it will make people's interest in chess disappear. You are so right in proposing that we must think of ways to prevent the possibility of signalling and communication. The time lag thing is the best first step. Even the audience, at important tournaments at least, needs to be kept away far enough to have to see the moves on a demonstration board or a large screen, because text messaging thru cell phones makes it possible for the analysing computer to be remotely located.

2cent's delayed demo board solution:

1. players use laptops with privacy screens affixed instead of regular chess boards (laptops are already used during amber blindfold so this is not entirely new).

2. the audience on site can see players, and the demo boards (but not the boards on the computer screens)

3. each demo board for spectators on site, including chess commentators, plus a feed to internet is delayed and shows at most the previous to the last move ie it is never current.

4. (optional/future) players are examined for hidden cameras.

I agree with the main points here (about the need for anti-cheating measures etc.). One quibble, though: several of the letters criticizing Chessbase for the way they published the article (or publishing it at all) also criticize Topalov. GM Rowson, for example, is hardly a "Topalov jihadi" (not a phrase I would have chosen). The "fan bias test" is insufficient to dismiss all the criticism of Chessbase as "guff."

Chessbase perhaps might have been spared some grief had they distanced themselves more carefully from the article at the start (looking back, they're very enthusiastic about Herr Breutigam's credentials in that original report, and they could be seen as making an implicit argument for the seriousness of the article's case in starting out portentously "This is a very grave question to ask . . .").

This whole situation is starting to look a lot like something out of a plot by SPECTRE, the secret organization that James Bond battled in several movies. They used to send messages to chessmaster Kronsteen in napkins that Kronsteen would read through the bottom of his glass of water as seen in "From Russia with love." Something to add to the already known elements of this intrigue: plumbing, wires inside the ceiling, hand signals, electromagnetic waves, and now ... napkins.

I just want to say that I like Chessbase. I support their publishing all their chess material including this one. I am in favor of getting the information out to the public. Chessbase is a news reporting organization and I do not think we should be criticizing them for reporting the news. I support Chessbase. They do a great job. Everything about this controversey of cheating is news.

Look at all the news reported on Barry Bonds in baseball. All of it is considered news. Here the cheating alligations are critical to chess. It is all news. Keep reporting it.

It reminds me of the old saying. The news was bad so they kill the messenger. LOL. Stop focusing on Chessbase.

Let us go deeper into the behavior of Danailov and Topalov. Lets get the definitive proof that he is innocent or guilty and end the matter. Bring in professionals to watch these 2 guys and video tape everything. Have them play chess on a poker / blackjack table in a gambling casino. Everything will be recorded by the best professionals. They know how to spot the cheating in a casino. It can be done.

Frank H,

Even Chessbase themselves admit now that they saw nothing wrong in Topalov's behavior. In case the Kramnik jihadis missed it, here it is again 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

And for some more "healthy skepticism" to add to Frederic Friedel's comments, see my stuff at http://www.cse.buffalo.edu/~regan/chess/fidelity/Corus2007.html and some links therein.

Admittedly a shameless plug, but hey, (*) I still seem to be the only one who's published any hard data, and (**) what I really need are some more volunteer data-gatherers...

I'm not sure how much one-way mirrors and broadcast delays are going to help if players are still allowed to spend half their time unsupervised in another room.

It's all in the detail...

I find that no listing of Topalov accusations on Chessbase, whether as a reprint or a blurb or anything else, is not accompanied by ridicule and scoff from the staff. Deservedly so? Sure, but that's not the point. Some of these statements do not come out till weeks later.

Then first this Breutigam piece and then the Short accusation surface. Both are rather ridiculous..I already talked about how Breutigam piece is fluff in another thread, so I will not repeat it here. Short, as others pointed out, waited a year and a half, till the point that there was little possibility the allegations could be verified, acted upon or otherwise have something done with that could actually make a difference. His story is a lesson in how mentally unstable hacks can get media attention.

Instead of getting dismissed until further evidence comes along, Chessbase gives both these bizarre random witnesses immediate prominent feature on their page.

Now I am not saying this is a capital case of media bias. But I don't feel that Chessbase coverage of both sides has been very equal. Then again, if Topa's side continues to spew idiotic venomous garbage, why shouldn't he end up with all the journalists in the community antagonized against him?

What's all this "ChessBase admitted" crap, as if they had previously said anything to the contrary. Frederic's brief comment - added to calm the jihadis - doesn't even contradict anything in the newspaper article. In fact, it has been their ONLY statement about what they saw there. It looks like ChessBase is part of a pro-Topalov conspiracy.

Please don't start up with the letters again, as if ChessBase should either print all or none. Some of the letters criticize Topalov, so? This is bias? If ChessBase receives 200 letters criticizing him and 20 in favor, should they run three of each? We went through all this pseudo-objectivity silliness during Elista. That the letters ChessBase published reflected the fact that an overwhelming majority of fans and players supported Kramnik was supposedly bias on their part.

"Still the more this problem is analysed the worse it all seems....
Posted by: Andy at February 3, 2007 22:07"


Exactly my sentiment. Think about it. Fritzes and Rybkas will become even stronger (thus increasing the benefits of cheating), transmission devices much smaller and smarter, tournament organizers will have to spend much more money on drastic anti-cheating measures (they have no choice - otherwise the whole thing will become one huge farce that will make toiletgate and danailovgate pale in comparison), which will in turn inconvenience and drive away the chess public (how would you like a sporting event held in some kind of a bunker with no live transmission and no live audience?), which will be already disillusioned by the atmosphere of suspicion and widespread accusations of cheating (inevitable and already starting to happen) and by the obvious absurdity of implementing extraordinary security measures to deny human players access to basic knowledge that any fan can buy for $29.99. Any one of those things alone can severely damage or even kill a sport, but when they start to form a vicious circle... All of that probably means that the only forms of human chess that can survive in this era of AI and technology are blitz and random.

So Yuriy, at what point do they publish something, when incontrovertible proof comes along? As with Barry Bonds? Or when a major newspaper writes an article? Or when a top GM makes comments? It would have been bizarre not to publish either of them. Should Danailov's press releases during Elista not have been published? I suppose they could have reported the game five forfeit as "for unknown reasons."

As I said in the main item, the fact that Breutigam's "fluff" corresponded very closely with what others saw and had been seen before made a difference as well. Short spoke now because of that article, it's not as if it's a coincidence. They aren't bizarre or random. Or prominently placed, for that matter. Everything on the page comes and goes with the same size and shape. Either it's there or it's not.

And as you suggest, it certainly hasn't helped to have them sending out increasingly antagonistic releases. And what, exactly, would a photo by Breutigam of Danailov have shown? Him wearing glasses or not wearing glasses? Talking on his phone? Big deal. It would have been even more laughable. Following him around with a video camera wouldn't have been practical. So either you believe Breutigam's description, one, and believe that what he describes is suspicious, two, or you don't.

Anyone making bias comments needs to explain how it should be covered. If, say, one of the San Luis players sends in comments, should they be ignored? Why? I'm not sure why people are saying we should bury this. It's not pretty, but there's a way through to an important debate the community should be having.

In Breutigam's article, part of the suspicious behavior involves Danilov making calls on his cell phone. Of course interception of phone call content and even the wrapper (the numbers involved and the time of the call, etc) cannot be obtained without a court order.

But, having that info would go a long way to answering the questions involved, at least in this one case. The phone companies know who Danilov called, when, and for how long. That alone might be enough, if there is some way to obtain this data (legal or not). Is there a way to force a legal confrontation in which this phone call evidence could come to light?

But there is a more interesting and fun possibiity. As anyone following the US controversy about wiretapping knows, every bit of every phone call everywhere is scooped up by the various secret agencies of every powerful country. And many cryptographic experts are chess lovers besides. And surely they know, or could find out, what the Content of Danilov's phone calls consisted of, and could leak it somehow...? No, surely even if they love chess, their sense of secrecy and the protection of methods and means would prevent them from revealing what we'd like to know, right? Hmmm...


News about news is NOT news. It is gossip.

True-ish, but not true. Gossip is personal and this is professional with serious implications for the entire sport. Again the comparison to athletics and performance enhancing drugs is apt, if not perfect. When rumors and allegations and a lot of circumstancial evidence come up, it's news. When top players talk about other top players, it's news.

By the way, I am just finishing James Bamford's book, The Puzzle Palace, about the NSA and its British equivalent, the GCHQ. In the section from pg 168 to 173 (in my paperback copy) Bamford discusses the attempts to suppress a book on cryptology, written by David Kahn. Kahn agreed to suppress about six paragraphs, which Bamford reproduces on pg 172-3. The last paragraph mentions that among GCHQ's best cryptanylists was... "C. H. O'D. Alexander, one of England's chess champions."

Plus I've read elsewhere that both John von Neumann and Alan Turing were big chess fans, along with being heavily involved in the crypto community. That is the basis of my remark above, that cryptology experts are often also chess lovers. I just wish one of them could let everyone know, if there is something to know, about the content of Danilov's cell phone calls. But it is doubtful that any of them would break the secrecy of their jobs, as Bamford makes clear, they are very quiet, as they should be.


Mig you can try as long as you want to convince us that you are from another world but facts are facts:

17 January:
Danailov, together with the organisers of the most famous tournaments Corus, Bilbao and Linares, announce their agreement to form the Grand Slam in chess. An important news item which Chessbase "ignored" completely.

26 January:
Topalov, still the world's No.1, is rolling over everyone in Corus sailing for 1st place. He is also about to face Kramnik (with white) over the board the next day.

So on the 27th of January, how does the opposite organised group of Breutigam, Chessbase, Mig and Short react to Topalov/Danailov successes in and out of the board?

Of course by releasing again all the mud against Topalov, initially through the German newspaper where Breutigam writes, and then by "reprinting" it to Chessbase together with their direct or indirect endorsement of Breutigam's and Short's allegations.

But now, and after all the disgust this group has received worldwide, one by one is trying to "correct" themselves and pretend that they never meant to endorse the accusations against Topa.

At least Frederic Friedel of Chessbase was brave enough to state the truth directly. Although not brave enough to make a seperate item on his website with flashy headlines, as he did with his pal's Breutigam article. But anyway, even this is a step forward.

Let's take this for what it is - the behavior of Danailov has been nothing but one of the most disgusting behaviors by a manager/second/team member since Rustam Kamsky.

When has the bulk of the chess world dealt with Danailov?

1) When he convinced Ponomariov (or made decisions of his own accord) to go bonkers of absurd minutiae, causing the match to be abandoned, and Pono missing out a half million dollar payday and the experience of a Kasparov match. Ponomariov's career has never recovered.

2) Turned Topalov from one of the most beloved chessplayers to one of the most hated over some egregious behavior. Running around laughing about toilet stuff post-Elista didn't help.

So, uh, what good does this guy Danailov do? He manages you and all of a sudden he costs you money.

Yeah, great guy.

1: Grand Slam? Where's all the info? It was even less than they said last time, in fact. Nothing added, nothing concrete. And what does this have to do with anything? Is it a big bad ChessBase conspiracy against Linares and Corus?

2: Maybe you should read the things you are talking about. ChessBase put up a report from a German newspaper after it came out. They continued to put up daily reports on Corus. I put up a tiny item with a link (long after everyone here started posting about it constantly) and no added information and got back to Corus.

As for "organized group" you are making a joke of yourself. Next ChessBase will be the second JFK gunman. They are a chess software company with a chess website, not ClearChannel. Your suggestion that they should not have reprinted such an article is silly. You still haven't explained 1) what ChessBase did that was wrong and what they should have done instead and 2) how ChessBase would gain from these accusations. Each time someone comes up with some information you don't like you just add them to the big bad conspiracy even if they have no relevant connection and are obviously speaking for themselves.

Btw, if you want to talk about things like truth you should post them under a different name. You've proven once again here you don't understand the word. It doesn't mean "what I think, in exclusion to all other information."

Jfern: But Pono got a large chunk of the money in advance and kept it, which is why Kasparov suggested that perhaps Danailov is a genius for his work on the 'paid not to play' model. Game 5 in Elista was similar. First win without playing.

At least ChessBase prints everything. Although veselintopalov.net claims to print the full text of the letter Short sent to Danailov, I'm still searching for the following part:

"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."

As for the "Grand Slam", was there even a press conference announcing it? It was planned on the 18th of January, but that day there was a big storm in Holland. It was advised not to travel after a certain time, and many events were cancelled. Maybe this press conference as well?

very nice thoughts and post commentary. However, you ignore everything said on Topalov's site. They have some interesting points showing internal connections.
It has Hensel's fingerprints all over it. What's more, it is very crapy, hard to believe. Don't you think?

Internal connections? Such as? Suppose that their information is correct, that "Breutigam received the task to write the book directly from the players’ manager Mr. Hensel". What kind of internal connection would that prove?

What will be next? Something suggestive like "Van Wely lost quickly to Kramnik in the last round, without a fight. He is on the payroll of ChessBase. A coincidence?" Another internal connection? Come on!

If Danailov / veselintopalov.net does not like something, be it the news that a rematch before Mexico is not possible or an article in the newspaper, they never try to set the facts straight. Instead of answering the issues raised (rules of FIDE, strange behaviour) they immediately start a new attack, trying to divert the attention. I find that very annoying.

It has become clear that Danailov acted strangely in many places, Mexico, M-Tel, Wijk aan Zee. Too many people, players, even Dutch amateurs, have confirmed this. Does this imply he signalled Topalov? Of course not. Maybe he is just very nervous during the game of his pupil. Then just say so, instead of screaming murder and pointing fingers at people who report this.

Oscar, Danailov is always strange, but why the article got published the day before Kramnik Topalov???? Hmmmmm.... just a strange coincidence. Well, it's been too many of them. Maybe it is also a coincidence that the first man who supported Kramnik in Elista was the Fritz boss. Maybe it was a coincidence that Zhukov played a main role in Elista. May be it is coincidence that he is one of the bosses of KGB.......
Take half of this as coincidence, then the rest is too much.

Marca, why the book about Elista got published the day before Topalov-Kramnik???? Hmmm... just a strange coincidence. Well, it's been too many of them.

Of course the article and the book were published shortly before Topalov-Kramnik. In that way they would get far more media attention. The story of Breutigam was only published in the newspaper on the day itself. Many newspapers are larger on Saturdays (so that their customers have something to read during the weekend), it is very well possible that there was no space available on other days.

Could you back up at your allegations about the Friedel (the "Fritz boss" and Zhukov) with facts? I fail to see how printing all news is helping out Kramnik. Proof about a link of the KGB with the match would be highly interesting. Please don't hesitate to share it with us!

Zhukov is what? Bizarre. And who is the "Fritz boss"?

It was published the day before Kramnik-Topalov? Why don't these guys go crazy about the Topalov team publishing their book on Elista slandering Kramnik on, you guessed it... the day before Kramnik-Topalov? And this was most definitely planned in advance - and you don't have to cook up any kind of far-fetched theories about connections to Topalov.

Oh, the book I mention is "Toilet War", by Zhivko Ginchec. Strange enough it has not been kept silent at all by ChessBase:


Of course this news item is part of their evil scheme, although I have failed to see how and why. Very clever, those ChessBase dudes!

Yes, of course. Chessbase giving all that attention to Topalov's book obviously means they're biased against Kramnik.

Well Oscar,
I do want to share everything, but it has been shared long time ago. Just look in news, even chessbase mentioned it somewhere. Of course without analizing. They say something, just republish. As always....
I want to say that the book date could have been a coincidence. No material was published from the book, even on the topalov site that everybody thinks supports topa to the end.
Also please research some information on govermental functions of Zhukov. You will be amazed.
Think about it.

Praise the Lord, for I have seen the light! At first I thought "What a strange coincidence! veselintopalov.net only printed a part of the letter that Short sent to them. Only the part that supports them, but not the part that calls for an investigation.".

But thanks to marca I have realized that this is part of the immense KGB/ChessBase/FIDE scheme to make Topalov look bad! Surely the Bulgarian site, known for its objectivity, would have printed those lines. IF they had received them.

I am sure now that the KGB has intervened here as well. It is common knowledge that Topalov has been declared "enemy of the state", and instead of transmitting moves to Kramnik in Elista they now concentrate on tainting the name of the nr 1 in the world.

The only thing I'm sure about yet is the way they acted. Did they intercept the e-mail of Short, removed the last paragraph, and sent the rest to veselintopalov.net? Or did Short never send that paragraph, but was he threatened by a Russian hitman, after which he claimed to have sent that last paragraph as well?

Eh, marca, now you say ChessBase only republishes, not analyses the news. But all those horrible accusations against Topalov they made by themselves, not by others! Surely there exists a page where it says something like "We, ChessBase, think Topalov and Danailov are way out of line here. We support our man Kramnik all the way!". For that is what you claimed previously.

Just show me the facts. A link will do.

That Zhukov is very, very important in Russian chess and Russian politics is a known fact. But until know I have seen no fact that he somehow influenced the course of the match in favor of Kramnik. Could you provide us with one? Surely, if it is that clear, it must be very easy to give us some factual information.

By the way, do you think that the KGB helped Kramnik by sending him moves, as Topalov claims?

I'm not 100% sure, but I believe this the first time Topalov is directly accused of cheating by people connected with Kramnik-Hensel team.

Previously they have talked more vaguely.
This could be important legally as well as being remarkable. The world #1 accused of cheating shouldn't be dismissed as sour grapes.

If the author can't back it up, and he can't, why shouldn't there be censure or worse ??

I am sure that Chessbase, being the fair people they have always been, will delete the article from their website.

This may end up being a Big Deal. I'm more annoyed about this the more I think about it. Imagine it in another sport. Blatant cheating accusations at the highest level are not at all common. It damages both players and the sport.


What is the sense of the last paragraph of Short's letter???? It brings no information. It is just a weapon of defense for people who cannot look the truth into the eyes.
You of course take the corus of chessvase and sing along. Because it requires thinking and small research (well, in Russian also) to find out the simple economically profitable connection. It is obvious but impossible to prove. It will require something more powerful than Zhukov, and such a thing is not present.

Why didn't Kirsan stand his initial position of the first letter to the players, but had to make a new one?? Kramnik broke the rules in game 5, eversed a committee decision, and basically did whatever he wanted. Why?? He had the support.

I cannot prove it. But it smells. And not from Kramnik's toilet.

You dragged me into this discussion. I do not want to go back to Elista. The thing is, the book was not used (not yet), and the article was republished by chessbase at blazing speed. Fot other news it takes them ages. Lame.

I will keep on reading chessbase, but from now on I will know they are either not independant, or just do not have the ability to differenciate between gossip and news.

"Kramnik broke the rules in game 5, eversed a committee decision, and basically did whatever he wanted. Why?? He had the support."

It was FIDE that broke the rules. They did it on Topalov's request. And if you recall, Kramnik WAS FORFEITED in game 5, and did NOT get the point back, so quite obviously he couldn't "do whatever he wanted", exactly because he did not "have the support".

Why do the Topalov fans so love to ignore the elementary facts here? The whole world saw what happened and some people insist that Kramnik was favoured (!!) in Elista!? How totally bizarre is that?

The last paragraph of Short is not informative? Isn't that something that should be left to the reader to decide? Tsss... If I wouldn't know better, I'd think the webmaster of veselintopalov.net started his career at ChessBase!

You claim that Kramnik did whatever he wanted and got his way - sorry, but I don't buy that. What did Kramnik achieve? A minor decision was overturned, the committee replaced, but the main thing, a loss by default, still stands. Surely the mighty Zhukov could have changed that as well, couldn't he?

I fail to understand the "simple economically profitable connection" or "the book was not used". Could you be more specific about that? It seems you don't only fail to deliver facts, but even can't substantiate rumours.



Yeah, I read in chessbase that. But in Russian media they do not support so much Vladi. Isn't that strange?? In sport express I think, they wondered howcome a players protest can fire a whole committee.

No Elista anymore:) The future is ahead and it is obvious. If Topalov hadn't blundered against Svidler he would have been clear first. Still he is N1 in the lists. That is what is ahead.

Zhukov.... do a small research I leave it to the reader ;)
The book... it contains fotos, stories etc. all talking against Kramnik. Why were they not republished the day before the game Topa Kramnik? But the story in chessbase could not wait a day.... Gossip.

The profit. The world champion played against Fritz, not just a top GM. If you fail to see the promotion difference I do not know what to say.


You keep repeating questions for which you have received the answers more than once.

So you better find some other defence for your actions and for those of your German friends. If you cannot come up with any new argument, then you can make use of the wise old saying: Silence is Gold.

It would have protected you from many slips last week.

Such a pity marca, most of my answers were not answered. Why it is a coincidence that the book is published a day before the match, and that it is not a coincidence that the article is published on the day itself. Why it is normal that an important part of the letter by Short is missing on the topalov site. Whether you believe Kramnik was sent moves by the KGB. Why the allmighty Zhukov did not order the 5th game to be replayed, or where the facts how he won the match for Kramnik can be found.

Just the same, repeating again and again, "just look it up, everybody knows but you". Well, if even you can't give me a link, then who can?

Still I fail to see how ChessBase supported Kramnik in Elista. Yes, it would be more profitable for them if he won, that is clear. If only you had made clearer which "economically profitable situation" you were talking about, I would have understood that at once. But you can't even point out how they supported him.

Their report about the book appeared earlier than you think, albeit in German (they are Germans, you see, probably with Russian ancestors):


It also says they don't have a copy of the book, so quoting text and pictures from it would be quite hard, wouldn't it?

You are right about something: the future is ahead and it is obvious. The large gap between Topalov and the rest becomes smaller and smaller. He lost many points in Elista and Hoogeveen, and gained only a few in Wijk aan Zee. He even had to share first place with two other players.

Per Mig, I'm imagining the exact same story with "Kramnik" replaced for "Topalov".

Wow... Danailov sitting nearby, Kramnik making eye contact with him repeatedly, at the game's critical junctures... possibly receiving signals... Danailov coughs, Kramnik plays Nc5...

You're right, that is one monster of a story!

Seriously, use your IQ andd goole "Zhukov".

Also please, I answered all your questions, the book, Fritz connection. But you keep on asking. It is common sense, but impossible to prove. See the actors, what they can gain from the situation and then think.

I also want to ask you a question. How many interviews and public games with amateurs, kids etc. did Kramnik do as a Wc? Why will he not participate in Linares? Why does he already have an arranged rematch for after Mexico?

At the same time how many public promotional and for fun games Topa did as a Wc? Do not try, the answer is many, difficult to count. Did he and does he participate in major events? Don't try, the answer is yes. Will Mexico be interesting without him? Maybe, but not as much.

Conclusion, from the financial interests that ruined Elista chess suffered. It lost the brightness that Topa was bringing into it, and is still without a Wc. Because a Wc is among the people, talking, promoting chess. Not at home with Fritz.

Do not understand me wrong, Kramnik is a nice man. But his position is not right, he is a top GM, but not a Wc. It is sad for chess.

Who should be? I would not say definitely Topa. Topa would be great. But also Radjabov and Aronian. Very nice open guys, need some experience.

marca, it seems you still don't understand what the words "fact" or "link" mean. No info on Zhukov and how he won the match. You keep telling me again and again that it can easily be found on the net, but fail to give one single link. You claim that everything is so obvious, with ChessBase as well, but you can't even give a simple example. The book? They mentioned it, well in time. They didn't keep quiet about it at all.

Contrary to the Topalov site, who left out an important part of a letter.

You only choose to "answer" a few of my questions. You complain about me asking new questions, while you yourself constantly make new allegationes. Now you claim something, that is only a very vague rumour: that Kramnik will get a rematch if he doesn't win Mexico.

Then you revert to the same tactics as the Topalov site: you try to divert the attention. What has the fact that Topalov might better for publicity than Kramnik to do with the whole issue? Nothing.

You easily find information about Alexander Zhukov. That much is clear. He's Russian Deputy Prime Minister. So? We already knew that. Everybody did. Is it now we are going to be "amazed"? Or is it when marca is finally able to substantiate his rather more far-reaching claims?

And you claim that Zhukov "played a main role in Elista". Care to tell what this role consisted in? Not that he was in the Organizing Committee, but what he actually DID that made such a difference (in contrast to the Appeals Committee and Kirsan).

Great, we need World Champions who are "nice guys". I guess it's okay if the WC's manager isn't a nice guy though.

who is this Giannis? Maybe Susanpolgar or her friend truong posting here under pseudonym?

Susan's view on the whole story will be: All behave badly and should return to chess. Sic!

That's what she always sais to new bottom-line behavior of Topailov to throw dust over this.

Danailov must have a strong contract with Topalov to bring things so far. This will come to a bad end for Topalov, things are getting out of his hand. If all things collapse the usual excuse "I was under the control of Danailov" will apply. You will see, its every time the same

No Steve,

We need a World Champion

a) who doesn't take draws in 10-15 moves,

b) who plays all the games til the end,

c) who plays in all top tournaments and not only the "convenient" ones,

d) who believes that being World Champion means winning games not drawing them,

e) who keeps us from ...sleeping during his games.

I guess it's not much to ask from a top player in any sport. If you have forgotten if such World Champions exist, I remind you of Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov, Topalov. Have a nice day.

Zhukov has a governmental function as acrice told you, one of the functions of this position is to control KGB. That means, he is something above law in Russia.

Some news about Zhukov and chess


Today in the “Central Chess Players House” Vladimir Kramnik gave a press conference together with Alexander Zhukov, Vassilii Smislov, the chief of President’s Putin administration Arcadii Dvorkovich


Kasparov in the article:

Well, there's obviously some for supporting Kramnik. Alexander Zhukov has mobilized resources for this, now we see Svidler and Bareev heading to Elista. Kramnik's team is becoming as big a state priority as the old Karpov teams!

And in the same he says

Just like their brothers in spirit in the Kremlin, the chess nomenclatura hope to prolong the anarchy and corruption from which they have profited for so long. Mr. Ilyumzhinov needs this match to continue, but it is he who sowed the seeds of its downfall.

Of course Kasparov doesn't put proof. It is impossible. Can you prove that 20 GM's were helping Karpov in his match against Kasparov? No, but everybody knows it. Did things change in Russia so fast, or you Oscar do not know how stuff functions there?

Dvorkovich, Zhukov, Putin..... how deep can it get?

And the Fritz Kramnik connection cannot be denied, the boss as I told you arrived in Elista hours after the scandal with a charter. Do you also want a link for that or you know how to use google?

Now having this in mind think again about Elista and Topalov claiming extreme outside pressure from KGB and other institutions.

For the sake of God, KGB doesn't even exist you ignoramus, it was dismantled in 1991.

For the sake of God, acirce, KGB still exists and it has been renamed to FSB (Federal Security Service).

Try to find better arguments.

No, the KGB was dismantled. The FSB is a different organisation, not the same with a different name. If you mean FSB, then say so, but saying KGB instead is wrong and only done as a trick to make sure people associate to the old Soviet system.

yeah acrice,
giannis is very right in his last posts. He gives perfect definition for behavior of a world champion. And your KGB comment is funny. Maybe everybody should update their history and ask some local Russian people how the country functions.


How naive... Acirce believes that FSB fired the KGB staff (see "agents") and hired new ones! Now I got it..! LOL

marca, the discussion on how and where a World Champion "should" play is entirely separate, but you and Giannis can discuss that with each other if you so desire. I'm not interested.

Now if you would like to substantiate your claim that "one of the functions of [Zhukov's] position is to control [FSB]", please do. Don't just claim things and pretend that your claiming them makes them true. Why would the Deputy Prime Minister have that function?

By the way, I do not believe that Kramnik cheated in Elista.

Even if there was indeed some infrastructure set up for any future use (suspicious or not), after Danailov's "revolution" in the 4th game, they wouldn't dare to make any use of it.

Just to make things clear before anyone associates my comments for KGB/FSB with cheating allegations against Kramnik.

Why would a Deputy Prime Minister have that function?
Because he does. It is like this, try to change it if you want ;) Of course you should not worry because there is no KGB, just FSB.

marca, thank you for giving "facts", at last.

Friedel, who writes also news items for his site, goes to Elista, therefore ChessBase is supporting Kramnik. I get it. I thought they were only biased in his favour, but, as you write, there is a Fritz-Kramnik connection. Probably you want to say that Friedel went there to hand over an improved version of Fritz, or something else to help.

You also back up your claims with an article of Kasparov. Surely you know Gary Kimovich has a grudge against his successor? That he rather cut off his right hand than use it to write something positive about Kramnik, or the Russian government he is fighting?

And what exactly is your claim about Zhukov? I thought you wanted to say he did something illegal, something above the law, using former KGB connections to win the match for Kramnik.

But from the information you provide I only see that he supported Kramnik. Maybe even called in some extra grandmasters to help him. So?

I'll do you a favor. You can say whatever you want about Zhukov. How he influenced the match in an illegal way, using KGB tactics to defeat Topalov. And you do not even have to give facts here. Just be very, very clear, so that there is no misunderstanding possible what Zhukov did exactly. But what was it?

Chessbase is clearly at fault for continously publishing articles that do nothing but list a number of strange things that might be connected to cheating on Topalov's side. Is there proof? Is there anything serious inside? No. But still CB deems it to be important enough to continously put them on the webpage.

Topalov has not made many friends in the last months, and from what i can see rightfully so. This has made him a target. Let's assume somebody were to watch, let's say Ivanchuk for a while. I cannot imagine a more sportsman chessplayer. After cautious evalutaion of this i could find that he scratches his head more often in complicated positions. He also might tap his feet four times, sometimes five times. And to elevate this to "major news" i could also see that a buddy of his walks back and forth in the audience and leaves the playing hall every five minutes.

Is it wrong to assume that if this article would be published in some major newspaper (who i would assume have no editor whatsoever who can judge what happens or does not happen at chess events), one cannot simply continue to publish it? Not without making a clear statement of a professional chess magazine that no proof is inside this, not even an allegation? Because i for my part would feel very bad to ruin the reputation of a player by throwing dirt at him and hide behind "Hey, we're only quoting. What does it matter to us that by us republishing this we inform the whole chess world instead of some readers in Germany."

But hey, the last part cannot be really expected, right? In order to make chess interesting, to get some spicy "news", someone apparently has to suffer. Toplaov is currently not very much liked, so lee's take him...

And as a last point: does anybody think this "news" would have surfaced if the Kramnik-Topalov match had never happened? I don't think so either...

But of course it's very good for the Kramnik fans to drive the discussion out of the chessboard and on subjects like cheating, gossip, etc.

They know that on the chessboard Kramnik is the worse World Champion of the last 35-40 years. As I have said before, he is the only WC to finish ...last(!!) in a tournament: http://www.fide.com/ratings/trarc.phtml?event16=1527&codt=16

I see, just another thing on the long list of things that you can't prove but "everybody knows", I guess.

But from what I can find the FSB is subordinated to the Ministry of Justice which is headed by Vladimir Ustinov and in turn subordinated to Putin. Where does Zhukov enter the picture? If you don't give us a real answer this time either I will stop wasting my time.

Suppose Kramnik is really the worst world champion of the last 40 years. Then who is this Topalov, who is not even the world champion?

"I guess it's not much to ask from a top player in any sport. If you have forgotten if such World Champions exist, I remind you of Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov, Topalov. Have a nice day."

I know hardly anything about chess history. What tournaments did Fischer win after becoming WC ?

Who is Topalov?

a) FIDE World Champion 2005-2006,

b) Winner of most top tournaments 2005-2007,

c) World's No.1 in the Rating List since 2005.

Apart from the above, Topalov is the most exciting player on the chessboard after Kasparov's retirement (BTW, Gary's last game was a loss to Topalov).

Is this enough for you Oscar?


>>>"No, the KGB was dismantled. The FSB is a different organisation, not the same with a different name. If you mean FSB, then say so, but saying KGB instead is wrong and only done as a trick to make sure people associate to the old Soviet system."

Good point. Let's quote Topalov:

"The trick is that no professional player was implicated, and those who told him the moves were fans or from the KGB."


Giannis, Oscar needs to live in Russia for a while.
But speaking about chess, yes, Topalov is the one that makes the game interesting in the last years.


We said it already, KGB has not been dismantled, it is KGB under a different name. Unless you and Acirce believe that KGB's staff (see "agents") were fired and FSB hired ...new ones!

And anyway, Danailov has already stated that Topa never said these things in the interview.


I will give you the benefit of the doubt on points a) and b) (althought they are now being questioned - cheating allegations, etc. - I will wait for *definitive* proof of foul play or lack thereof).

On point c) - #1 by what margin? And what's this margin worth if he loses a match to a player 60+ points below him?!

As to being "the most exciting player on the chessboard" - this is strictly a matter of opinion and personal preference and not an argument at all. Neither is Topalov's active participation in amateur chess - it's fine and good that he does it but this has nothing to do with holding a WC title.

Finally, Fischer was one of the best WC *challengers* (if not *the best* one) but he was certainly the *worst* WC title holder in history.

You deliberately missed the point, Giannis. Funny you!

May I correct you on some small details? Topalov was considered only the number 1 on the elo list a year after Kasparov retired, april 2006. If Gary Kimovich would start to play again, Topalov would fall down to second place immediately. And you conviently forgot to mention that several of those first places were shared ones.

Furthermore, Topalov plays interesting chess, but so do Morozevich and Shirov. A matter of taste of course. I think it would be more correct to mention that.

There is one thing I do not understand. This Topalov guy is the best, the greatest, and that Kramnik dude is bad. Why is Kramnik the world champion?

You can say he cheated, no problem. Just tell us how. He destroyed the ceiling in his bathroom, and the KGB (FSB, sorry) repaired it immediately after each game? And how he managed to cheat during the rapid games, when he could not leave the board. Giving proof, links, facts, is not necessary. Just give some details, the way you think it went. Feel free to explain everything to us!


With Danailov saying so many things, his word means pretty little (in my eyes anyway). The journalist stated that he has Topalov's words on tape - that is *irrefutable* proof. And if Danailov is so certain that the journalist is lying - why not take him to the court. But he will never do that - for obvious reasons!

I find some of the arguments in defense of Topalov a bit absurd.
Like; it's ok for Topalov to cheat because Kramnik plays too many draws.
Or; don't mind the allegations, it's all Chessbase's fault.
Or; the KGB, FSB (whatever) is behind it. (Because Topailov said so? Riiight.)

I never said and do not believe that Kramnik cheated. Read above. And Kramnik is indeed the World Champion. That doesn't mean that he is the best player. Greece won the Euro-Football in 2004. Does that make it the best football team in Europe? Of course not.

Topalov is still No. 1 in the World Rankings and he also won the latest top tournament (Corus) where Kramnik was trailing behind Topa all the way til the end.

So please keep me away from cheating allegations and gossip. You can go to Chessbase, Nigel Short and Martin Breutigam for such nonsense.

I was a Topalov fan, but no it seems that his briliant play was not all his own. For the rest of his fans, once the players can no longer see the spectators and anti-electronic counter measures are finally in place for the top tournaments, Topolov will fall from the top or refuse to play.

You heard it hear first and when it happens i will copy and repaste.
Giannis, Oscar, and the others, I hope you still post then. It will be nice to see all the crow eaten...

"Some of the letters criticize Topalov, so? This is bias?"

I don't even know if Mig directed this in part at my comment (far above). But for the record my (slightly more complex) point was that it is possible to criticize Chessbase for something other than the ridiculous charge of "anti-Topalov bias," and that people did in fact do just that in their letters. You can find Chessbase's coverage to tend just a little bit toward the sensationalist and inflammatory (contrast, say, the calm reasonableness of TWIC) without even liking Topalov (I don't). But Mig unhelpfully conflates any objection to Chessbase with the belief in a vast anti-Topalov conspiracy.

I believe that all these issues regarding who said what on which magazine or website are distracting everybody from the real issue here: How to prevent dishonest acts such as signaling moves from occurring during tournament games at the highest levels of chess?

I agree with Mig that finding conclusive proof against somebody suspected of signaling moves is quite difficult. On the other hand, an approach similar to the one followed by many casinos can be taken which is inviting the individual suspected of signaling to leave the property.

For those who believe that hand or body signaling are farfetched techniques, you may read "Bringing Down the House" by Ben Mezrich which recounts - with ceratain level of dramatization to protect some identities, etc. - the famous case of the team of MIT students that defeated some of the largest casinos in Las Vegas to the tune of millions of dollars using a combination of sophisticated mathematical techniques and signaling through gestures.

I get it. Kramnik is not the best player, Topalov is. Yet he lost to Kramnik. Now I don't get it.

Why did Kramnik win? You say yourself it was not by cheating.

If I get a free point against a weaker player, and 6 games with white versus 5 with black, I'll win. Chess is no football, you know.

Topalov is still nr. 1 in the elo list, but that is largely based on his previous results (i.e. without Elista and Hoogeveen).

No Oscar,

Elista and Hoogeven have already been included in the list and Topalov is still No. 1.

The Corus tournament has not been included yet, and when it is the distance between Topa and the No. 2 will be even greater.

I'd like to ask people who have read /Toaletnata Voina/ please for some more information about the nature of the allegations from Elista:

(1) According to allegations based on the videos, with what frequency did Kramnik /close the door/ on entering the bathroom?

(2) From floor plans, how big was the remainder of the rest area in comparison to the size of the bathroom?

(3) What testing procedure was used to compile the "coincidence statistics" in Silvio Danailov's Oct. 4 letter?

(4) Are there allegations of cheating *on specific moves*? Veselin Topalov mentioned one move in Game 4. Was it the freeing pawn sac 21...c5!---?

Thanks in advance for informative answers---information helps everyone. ---Ken Regan (IM, Assoc. Prof. of CS)

Giannis, the elo list is based on previous results as well. The great successes of Topalov, such as in Argentina 2005, are the base of his current nr 1 position.

If one looks at the results of 2006 only, forgetting everything about the past, Kramnik would be the number 1 (by a wide margin). But I have to confess: I used a ChessBase product to calculate those results. It might be biased!

Kramnik would be No. 1 by wide margin..? LOL!

Oscar, make better calculations because with only 2006-2007 results, Topalov is still No. 1 even that way.

"Oscar, make better calculations because with only 2006-2007 results, Topalov is still No. 1 even that way."

Kramnik had a clearly higher performance rating in 2006: http://members.aon.at/sfischl/cl2006.txt

Sorry, but Topalov's extra half point in Corus is not enough to catch up.

Doesn't mean Kramnik is better, of course. I'd say they are so close in strength it's impossible to tell.


I don't have answers to the first three of your questions, but the fourth concerns Game 4 of the rapid phase and in particular Kramnik's 21.Rab1, which apparently blew Topalov's mind away... (and mine too!)

It tells you something about the paranoid state of the man (even months after the event!) to attribute the fact that his opponent's found a beautiful idea over the board to computer assistance. Pathetic

For Topalov I took into account:
- Corus
- Linares
- match with Nisipeanu
- Elista
- Hoogeveen

61 games, prestation rating 2784

For Kramnik:
- Torino
- Dortmund
- Elista

29 games, 2833

A difference of 59 points, a wide margin (according to Topalov even another class). But maybe did I miss something?

Of course the difference would be smaller when counting Corus 2007, but still Kramnik would be on top: 2790 for Topalov, for Kramnik 2823.

People, what else will you come up with to defend KFC Drawnik?

Kramnik has a smaller rating than Topalov so using "performance" for their match in Elista is completely paranoid! If they make a draw in a game between them, it means that Kramnik is better because he has less rating??

Even if you want to take out results of 2005, because obviously it doesn't fit you to calculate it, Topa has won more tournaments. Including Corus 2007 where Kramnik was left behind in the whole tournament.

Unless of course you believe that the only way for Kramnik to be No. 1 is to sit home and pray that Topa loses rating. In that case he indeed has some (small) chances if God listens to his prayers! :-)


#1: The name of the World Champion is Kramnik. Trying to mock the name of the great player does you no honor.

#2: Kramnik needs no defence: he IS the World Champion, a holder of the title that Topalov is clearly desperate to get, yet for all his good tournament performance and superior (for now, anyway) rating placement was unable to get and will not be able to get at least for another year. Furthermore, should his and his team's unsportsman-like behavior continues, I do not believe he deserves to be the WC, whatever his chess performance is. An unexciting World Champion is by far better that an obnoxious one!

@ acirce, what is the fun to post here with all this nerds around who resist to learn disputing? The percentage of nerds in DD is way higher than at the message boards, which you already left. No puns intended, just curious.


Does anyone have a link to the Dutch TV video of the last moments of the Elista match? The Russian report on YouTube is good, but it does not include all the footage from the last three moves and, more importantly, Topalov's blunder, Kramnik's response and Topalov raising his head and shaking Kramnik's hand. This is a piece of chess history... Please let me know if you have any video link.

Giannis, first you laugh because you think Topalov played better in 2006-2007. When you are proven wrong, you say we should also count other years or different ratings. Or that winning tournaments is more important than elo. What shall it be?

If you think Topalov is the better player, why wouldn't a draw in a game Kramnik-Topalov not be a little better result for the first than for the second?

But ok, I made new calculations. I put both players on 2780 for Elista and Corus 2007. Then the performance of Kramnik is still better: 2813 versus 2797.

So while it is true that Topalov is nr 1 on the elo list, the performance of Kramnik in 2006-2007 was better. I would not draw the conclusion that Topalov is the best player currently from these figures. Nor Kramnik by the way; the difference is not that big.

Forgetting about evidence of cheating for a second, bizarre behavior shouldn't be allowed either. In this category I would include Kramnik's bathroom trips, Danailov's apparent phone calls, gesturing, etc., Kasparov going to his hotel room (from some of the footage I've seen, I'm surprised more players haven't complained about all Garry's histrionics as well, but that's a different issue, I suppose.)
You said as much about Kramnik's bathroom trips at the time if you recall.
You joke about receiving help through the wiring as if this is ludicrous, but its possible at least. Why should any of these players get to play these mind games where they can create the appearance of cheating to throw off their opponents?

One thing to remind:

A big scandal started in Elista when topalov's team saw the window glass .

Now, the reason why topalov's team was so angry was more and more easy to find: they could not have their gesture cheating trick like in all the other tournaments since San luis...

All the rest is only a mess created to disturb people mind in the wrong way!

The very questions are:

1. Why Topalov can defeated everybody when there are no safety zone around the players...?
2.Why topalov did play like a strong GM but no more when there is a safety zone around the players?

It's the central point where every body must focus !
There is nothing relevant to give some credit to all danailies... all of them where :no more no less...

-Zukhov helped kramnik to cheat? A total nonsense! with all zukhov power it's impossible to explain why kramnik lose a free point in the course!With such a help he would have had at least a draw...
-Fritz help:rybka is far beyond fritz. And no program would ever consider to play Fxf8 in the second game of Elista... no more cxd5 in the 3rd game for kramnik...
- no use to take each point one by one: they are bad jokes...

Eyewitness are a better proof than pure fake verbal nonsense.

Topalov is not the so great mighty fighter you think: just see the short draw he made in corus with radjabov: nothing new nor relevant there:they played an analyse published in a german chess magasine.Oh great! they can learn by earth the move and lose time on the clock to fool people and to make them beleive that it was a good fight...


good question. :-(

http://www.chessbase.com/eventarticle.asp?newsid=3426 - scroll down to the bottom of the page to where it says "Here are the last seconds in Dutch", click the link. Still works for me. But I'm not able to download it. But the Russian report is great too - I love Hensel letting off that yell a little more than a minute in.

Wow, this thread really exploded in a very short time - thanks to the couple of Topalov jihadis.

Anyway, it seems like I am too late and Giannis and marca have been refuted numerous times on pretty much all the major points but I will still make just a few points:

On KGB: totally ridiculous arguments by Giannis. It is a known fact that KGB doesn't exist anymore. And there is no need to fire and hire people in order for an organization to be different from its predecessor. Had Bulgarian secret service hired and rehired all its people? Or is exactly the same organization that it was during the Soviet times? What about Bulgarian government? If Russian Federal Security Service is still KGB, then I guess by the same logic, our Bulgarian friends still reside in socialist People's Republic of Bulgaria.

And speaking of People's Republic of Bulgaria, I think our Bulgarian comrades try to project on Russia their own feelings and insecurities. They would want you to think that Russian government or the FSB cares about who holds the chess title and yet I personally doubt that Putin can tell Kramnik from Copernicus. At least Kramnik doesn't fly on Putin's plane, like Topalov flies on Bulgarian president's plane. And I remember seeing reports of Bulgarian secret service getting access to playing facilities during the Elista match after game 5, but I don't remember seeing reports of FSB doing the same. So it seems like Topalov gets more state support from his country than Kramnik gets from his.

And it is funny how Bulgarians bring up the KGB and all those things. But wasn't Bulgaria the staunchest ally of USSR? If I remember correctly, People's Republic of Bulgaria was so eager that it was more Soviet than USSR itself, kinda like some of the smaller Allies of Nazi Germany were better Nazis than Hitler and some of the weaker US allies are tougher on terrorism than Bush.

So, given the facts, it is hard to take the KGB claims seriously, but when they are coming from the (former) People's Republic of Bulgaria, the claims become outright laughable. I said this before - if this was a KGB plot, it has got to be the worst plot ever: YOUR guy who got a free point without playing and an extra game with white. If all the influence of the mighty Soviets (oops - I mean Russians) and KGB (oops - I mean FSB) resulted in Topalov getting an extra point and extra game with white, what would happen if KGB wasn't involved? Would Topalov get 5 extra points and 5 extra games with white?

Anyway, we are arguing in circles. I think it is obvious that Topalov's fans are still upset about Topalov getting beaten by a superior player in the world championship match - not even an extra point and and extra game with white was enough for the Bulgarian.

As for the claims of ChessBase being biased, they were refuted so well so many times that I don't really feel like spending time on them.


acirce: I think Beryllo was trying to say that it would be good if you came back to the message boards . And we have another TONC tournament that is about to start:


Many thanks, acirce!


All good points.

But you know..uhhh....the Russians, you know. KGB, you know. They did it. That is, they did something. I have no idea what I am talking about, and much less able to substantiate whatever it is I am talking about, but the Russians did something - remember, the KGB...uh..something.

Thanks for the invitation back, but I'm afraid it won't be just yet.

Topalov won 2 games Kramnik won 3 classical chess games in a match recently. Kramnik then went on to beat Topalov in a rapid play off. This actually happened and it is why Kramnik is known as the World Chess Champion. The World Chess Champion is not determined by the player with the highest chess rating or bestowed on the person who plays the most interesting chess. Just thought these simple facts needed restating after all the madness of comment. In addition can all these Topalov fans give their opninion do they think Kramnik cheated in the rapid games? I do not think either player ever cheated.

Who is the best player, Kramnik or Topalov? It seems to me that if the relevant criteria is a match, then Kramnik is the best one. If it is by rating, it´s Topalov, and if the criteria is any regular tournament (like Corus), the best is Topa. Anyway, what I want to point out is that none of them is perfectly dominant considering all criteria.

Who is the cheater, Kramnik or Topalov? My guess here is that none is. Remember that being caught cheating means ruining your career, at least for those guys. Its simple too risky, and after all these scandals, it has become riskier: now, many (journalists, foes, etc) will look actively to find out concrete evidence! I am not denying that someone can profit from beeing accused of cheating, it certainly intimidates the opponents.

Am I siding Topalov or Kramnik? While I enjoy much more Topa`s entrepreneurial approach to chess, and started supporting him at Elista, this whole situation showed, at least for me and perhaps for the general public, that Kramnik is a much more centered person. As a father, I try to teach my kid that good values are at least as good as success. How can you attract younsters to the game if it is a shame? Top players also are role models for the kids, that is, they have a broader chessic responsability. When I tell my kid about the greats of the past, I usually say that Fischer was a better player, but Spassky a better person, and that makes a huge difference. One day I will try to explain him Korchnoi, but that is another story.

Goosfraba for everybody.

Yes Russianbear and Acirce, you can continue congratulating each other but numbers are facts:

Topalov lost one and only match inside Russia but he is still No. 1, with an even wider gap in 2007 (after Corus) to Anand and Kramnik than before.

In the meantime, and while Kramnik is looking at Topa's back in both the rating list and Corus, you can continue talking about all these KGB and FSB funny stories if it makes you feel better... :-)

Phew it hardly seems worth commenting but here goes being the World Chess Champion not no 1 in the rating list is the pinnacle of chess success. It also means you earn a lot more money. That is what being a chess professional is all about. I clearly remember Topalov stating before the match that Kramnik's rating was too low for him to be a serious contender I thought at the time that that was an ill judged and immature comment. Many of us including Kasparov knew that Kramnik had a deep understanding of chess and was a serious contender - so it proved. Topalov's play is much more exciting and dynamic I guess Kraminik would be the first to admit that. Kramnik plays as he does to win within the rules if the game what an earth else is he supposed to do????

"So Yuriy, at what point do they publish something, when incontrovertible proof comes along? As with Barry Bonds?"

Please stop bringing up the same analogy over and over again. The allegations of steroid use against Barry Bonds while not incontrovertible should be and were based on something more serious than various individual allegations of "I think he is using steroids." Nor is incontrovertible proof required to publish allegations. But that doesn't mean reporting shouldn't be held to a higher standard than chessbase has so far.

If multiple random observers independently report seeing Danailov do X to chessbase, they should publish it. I would even say that you should not report anonymous sources.

"Or when a major newspaper writes an article? Or when a top GM makes comments? It would have been bizarre not to publish either of them."

Nigel Short and Martin Breutigam have said and published many things through the years. They have gone unmentioned. And many more relevant interviews given by Kramnik, Danailov, etc. in Russian newspapers have gone untranslated and unpublished by Chessbase. Frankly, Breutigam's article is ridiculous. Comments from "one of the spectators". The main observer, who I think is Breutigam himself, is the only one seeing this happening, as there is no statement in the article from anybody else corroborating it. The quote from Van Wely which is designed to be a mountain but in reality is a mounthill of "oh really?"--see the Van Wely video published elsewhere on this site. The arbiter's comment of "sure, sure, whatever you say."

Let's take the test you gave up. A random French newspaper publishes allegations during Kasparov match that somebody (and it never says who) saw Garry pull out a Deep Fritz in the hallway and punch in some calcluations and then go back to the board and make a winning move. What would we say: "Did you inform the arbiter?" "Did anybody else see this?" "Who is the person who saw this?" And while a major newspaper might republish this report, the reality is that it shouldn't, because reports of allegations feed and are in fact the primary source of allegations.

"Should Danailov's press releases during Elista not have been published? I suppose they could have reported the game five forfeit as "for unknown reasons."

Absolutely not. This is allegations brought before arbiter panel that it is going to be taking actions on. A press conference by one of the participants alleging cheating would also be an appropriate report.

"As I said in the main item, the fact that Breutigam's "fluff" corresponded very closely with what others saw and had been seen before made a difference as well."

Wasn't this report public before Breutigam's article? If so, he could have easily seen nothing, taken an earlier report and claimed to have seen the same thing. That, according to your standard, would be an easy way to make a difference. Especially sad considering the possibility that Topalov in fact cheated on earlier occasons but not this time.

"Short spoke now because of that article, it's not as if it's a coincidence."

Has he explained why he did not report this to the arbiter? Or did he?

"And what, exactly, would a photo by Breutigam of Danailov have shown? Him wearing glasses or not wearing glasses? Talking on his phone? Big deal. It would have been even more laughable. Following him around with a video camera wouldn't have been practical. So either you believe Breutigam's description, one, and believe that what he describes is suspicious, two, or you don't."

Or you see that he has no evidence to support his allegations in which case you wait for the evidence (not proof, mind you, evidence) and hold off publishing until then. What kind of evidence? How about a report from another person on the same day as having seen the same thing? How about Breutigam turning around to another guy and saying: "hey, are you seeing what I am seeing? Check out what Danailov is doing." Then Breutigam could quote that other guy in his article. How about a statement from the arbiter that he intends to watch the activity of Silvio Danailov in the next round more thoroughly or some such?

"Anyone making bias comments needs to explain how it should be covered. If, say, one of the San Luis players sends in comments, should they be ignored? Why? I'm not sure why people are saying we should bury this. It's not pretty, but there's a way through to an important debate the community should be having."

One of the San Luis players is a very very different situation. Then it becomes a matter of public war of statements between two well-known members of community, and can and should be covered as such. Hostility between Karpov and his two WC antagonists for example has gotten a lot of coverage in just such a format. Something like "Susan Polgar says she saw Topalov cheat" would also kinda qualify under this and maybe even "Mig saw Danailov use Morse Code" since you are somewhat well known.

I also thought that the relative tone of these two reports: http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=3635

is a lot more in German's favor. It's not the end of credible chess journalism, but it's exactly how people stop being considered "fair and balanced."

"News about news" theory: You can take a look at the editors of the german and the english CB news sites and M. Breutigam holding hands here: http://www.chessbase.de/2006/bonn/P1060801.jpg (in the report http://www.chessbase.de/nachrichten.asp?newsid=6145 where this is taken from CB also devotes a portrait picture to their author M. Breutigam). Now if working with a nameless author, why of all GM's that would have done the better job (and in case of eastern europeans at a lower price), this dude gets the mandate for the "official" Kramnik-Leko (pseudo) match book ? This in combination with the Kramnik-Fritz match (although there exist stronger engines - a fact which was carefully hidden in the press coverage) clearly shows that these three parties (Kramnik/Hensel - CB - M. Breutigam) depend on each other and have common business interests. Everything against Topalov that comes out of that corner is carefully coordinated and timed.

"jihadi": Well it doesn't take a jihadi to see that world #1 Topalov plays exciting interesting fighting chess whereas Kramnik is basically a specialist for short draws which may be a good match strategy but is not attractive to sponsors and makes life reporting of chess events impossible. Kramnik is bad for chess development - if every GM would play like him chess would by dead instantly. Topalov showed up in Essent despite the Elista disaster and took it like a man whereas Kramnik wimps out at the slightest sign of inconvenience. Also Topalov seems to be a decent guy whereas each time Kramnik opens his mouth he either insults the chess audiance (see his "painter" theory) or the organizers (latest in that category: "I did not try especially hard in this competition. There was no big motivation." http://www.chessninja.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=6;t=001449 This is how he honours his Corus 07 tournament invitation).

1) I don't know why Mig answers so feraciously everytime somebody criticize the objectivity of Chessbase (and he does not seem to understand that criticize Chessbase does not mean liking Topalov, I don't, for example).

Well, Mig posted in the past for Chessbase; is he still connected to them? Is Chessbase a channel to see Mig's alter-ego? The analogy of Barry Bonds to justify actions seems to be a desperate way to defend his point. Why Mig? You have been very informative in the past, why this situation seems to change everybody's personality?

2) I like TWIC and I like the way they handle these situations. I like Chessbase too, but only when they talk on something different than sensasionalism and World Championships.

3) As I mention before, the tone of them seems to be against veselintopalov.net's websmaster. I mean, if that site is not serious enough, why they bother answering to it? Is not falling into the same category?

4) This wouldn't go so far if FIDE would make a stand to defend players' rights and being more assertive in their politics. Biased kibitzers and chess journalists or people like Danailov navigate in the waters of uncertainity and ambiguity and take advantage of it. And FIDE and the current organization is plenty of it.

5) Would this avalanche of conspiracy theories in chess (Russian politics, KGB, Signaling, etc) be smaller if the "X-files" or similar series or films wouldn't exist?

The funny thing is that Chessbase (and Mig for that matter) act as if there wasn't a shed of doubt that republishing the Süddeutsche article is of good taste and wisdom. They make it sound as it if was a 100% correct decision.

A have doubts about people who don't doubt themselves :)

"Everything against Topalov that comes out of that corner is carefully coordinated and timed."

Okay. So, suppose you are right. What are all those nasty things Chessbase keeps writing about Topalov? Somewhere else it was written that he is slandered continuously, so there must be many examples.

I myself couldn't find more than the reprint of the Breutigam article and the DNA article, besides the second news item about the DNA article. And didn't consider them to be orchestrated or biased, but ok - maybe I'm biased as well.

I also fail to understand why damaging the name of Topalov would be good for ChessBase. Even if you suppose Kramnik is "their man", and that they want him to look good - what would they win by Topalov looking bad? Would they suddenly sell more Fritz's if Topalov got a suspension, or if he stopped playing chess? I don't think so. On the contrary: the chess games of Topalov make people enthousiastic about our beautiful game, so they buy more. So what would be their motive?

If there exists a ChessBase-Kramnik connection because of his match against Fritz, it exists already a very long time. Kramnik played another match with Fritz, you see. Hence that "connection" also existed when Topalov was winning all those tournaments. And I can't remember that they wrote that negative about Topalov then. When did that change?

Maybe they got an order of Zhukov. People who have lived in Russia know what I mean...

giannis spoke:

"No Steve,

We need a World Champion

a) who doesn't take draws in 10-15 moves,

b) who plays all the games til the end,

c) who plays in all top tournaments and not only the "convenient" ones,

d) who believes that being World Champion means winning games not drawing them,

e) who keeps us from ...sleeping during his games.

I guess it's not much to ask from a top player in any sport. If you have forgotten if such World Champions exist, I remind you of Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov, Topalov. Have a nice day.
Posted by: Giannis at February 4, 2007 09:19 "

spoken out of Susan's heart...

She would add: hey we need a champion

1 who accuses the world champ directly of cheating generating publicity and more price money

2 who wins points outside the board to make chess a fair sport

3 who's behavior leads us and serious GM to think of esoteric signalling technique and boosts thereby new areas of science

4 who effortless matches the computers strength with more then 95% precision

5 who makes inexcplicable jumps of strength due to hard work, like Floyd Landis and Marion Jones before him

My own strong feeling is that Mr Veselin Topalov had cheated, cheats, and will proably still try to continue to cheat. No proof just my personal impression. I'd like to be wrong...

Posted by: Giannis at February 4, 2007 14:52
"Topalov lost one and only match inside Russia but he is still No. 1, with an even wider gap in 2007 (after Corus) to Anand and Kramnik than before.

In the meantime, and while Kramnik is looking at Topa's back in both the rating list and Corus, you can continue talking about all these KGB and FSB funny stories if it makes you feel better... :-)"

Giannis, let's not forget YOU are the one who is " talking about all these KGB and FSB funny stories" :) Well - as long as that makes YOU feel better :)

As for Topalov versus Kramnik, yes - Topalov was half a point ahead of Kramnik in Wijk and he may have a little higher rating. But I don't think it will trouble Kramnik that much, after all, he is the 3 time the world champion and he has beaten Topalov in a head-to-head match. The only thing Topalov has on him is the ability to beat weaker people, which explains both Topalov's higher rating and Topalov's better results in a tournament like Wijk. But as far as playing against the tougher competition, Kramnik is superior. He is better than Topalov head-to-head. And he is better when other strong players are concerned, see Performance against opponents rated 2700 or higher (Classical games 2000-2006), for example:

So I think Kramnik will have to settle for having a better career than Topalov, and for staying the world champion. I wonder if it will be hard to do :)

Oh yeah Russianbear.

If you exclude the games you prefer and include only the games which favor KFC, then KFC might look better than Topa.

We are talking about RECENT results, not 7-8 years ago. I'm sure that you can go to the time when they were both 12 years old, in order to find the numbers which might suit you...

RECENT results continuously prove that Topa is a worthy No. 1, whether you like it or not!

***By the way, as long as you people don't object in using the name Topnailov I see no bad in using the names Drawnik or KFC...
Note for new customers: K stands for Kramnik :-)

From chessgames.com:

Overall record: Vladimir Kramnik beat Veselin Topalov 24 to 13, with 42 draws

Viswanathan Anand beat Veselin Topalov 20 to 13, with 37 draws

Garry Kasparov beat Veselin Topalov 14 to 6, with 16 draws

Perhaps Topalov's current slightly higher rating and a better tournament perf is a result of his aggressive pursuit of weaker players during tournaments (just like Moro does with the weak opposition).

Giannis, if you think the fact that Topalov is more likely to beat people in the lower end of the table is more relevant than the fact that Kramnik can not only beat Topalov head-to-head but also does better higher rated people - more power to you. I just don't think many would agree. I sure don't.

You want recent results? Kramnik beating Topalov in a match is a recent result. So is Kramnik having a better performance rating in 2006. Basically, Topalov had one great year, which was 2005, the rest of his career he has been inferior to Kramnik's - it doesn't matter if you take 2006 or 2004 or 1995 or 1994. So there is no need to pretend that Topalov dominates relevant statistics - it is simply not true. Topalov had one great year which was 2005 and which corresponded with the peak of Kramnik's illness. But even the still-yet-to-recover Kramnik outperformed Topalov in 2006, which was probably the second best year in Topalov's career.

And like confused points out, Kramnik dominated Topalov even prior to Elista. Sorry, but Topalov is simply an inferior player, compared to Kramnik. He may have raised his level of play in the recent years, but as Elista showed, he is still inferior.

And as for Chessbase coverage, as people on the message boards point out - they posted every allegation by Topalov its only fair they post every allegation against him.

I wouldn't be so quick to praise Kramnik in Elista. His first 2 game wins came from inferior/lost positions. Doesn't strike me as proof of a "superior" player. At most, better match psychology...

Murali, Kramnik's play in Elista may not be praiseworthy, but he ended up winning. Some of Topalov's (or pretty much every other player's) wins came from inferior/lost positions, too. I remember Topalov coming back to win several games in 2005 where he was lost/inferior. You win some, you lose some, as they say, and Kramnik won when it counted the most and Topalov didn't. That's the difference between a simply great player and the reigning world champion.

Kramnik missed wins in game 3 too. That's chess.

I've read the whole thread, and now I'm regretting wasting my time. However, I knew I would when I started reading, and I did it anyway.

I need help!

confused, Anand's big plus score is due to his superiority in rapid chess. In classical games, I think Topalov is +1 after Corus. He's at the very least equal. It's actually the same if you check Anand-Kramnik, Anand has a big lead if you count all kinds of games but in classical Kramnik is +2.

Witnessing the spastic death of professional chess. Screens, no audience, electronic jamming equipment, blood tests, programs, nanotechnology and toilet breaks, what sponser in there right mind would be associated with this garbage. I really hope Carlsen has a college picked out, because chess isn't going to be a living much longer. The champion isnt going to be the best player, he or she will just be the best that bothered through lack of other financial opportunities to stay competitive. When a teen wins the championship everyone will know the end has come.

Comps killed proffessional chess already. Some strong GM's were caught cheating over internet. Many more were clever enaugh not to be caught. Why wouldn't they cheat OTB, where money is bigger?. The cheaters are already among us and all the paranoia is justified.

Chessbase lacks of objectivity. Shame on you chessbase. I´ve been reading that page for two years and recently, since FIDE election it has changed to benefit a little group of people. Be serious, please. I don´t think we can call "reporters" to people who writes with guts and not with brain.

Obviously the cheating allegations are deeply damaging to chess, a point that I don't think has quite sunk in with the players.

Much of that which has been published is little more than tittle-tattle and personal opinion however. If film exists it needs to be out there.

No-one has satisfactorily explained to me why, if its so obvious that Danailov is signalling to Topalov over at least two and a half years why no action has been taken.

On the one hand people say "he's definitely cheating you know", on the other hand they go a bit quiet when I ask "what did you do?" Did you send your second out there to follow him and complain when he did something or even just stand next to him and make it obvious you were monitoring? or maybe your girlfriend with a digital camera? or maybe you saw the signalling and immediately brought it to the attention of the arbiter.

None of these things happened as far as I'm aware and this is the most troubling part of the allegations.

I've always been doubtful about the cheating by passing on moves, Danailov may in fact be waging mind games against the opponents rather than signalling to Topalov which in itself should be stopped.

I've always thought it would be utterly obvious if it was going on. What seems to be being said is that it was utterly obvious but we didn't do anything which I find absolutely impossible to believe, in fact I would have thought someone would have decked him by now if that was the case.

First, kudos to Mig for an excellent colum! Style and judgement: I'm your fan again...

Second, I'm surprised that there hasn't been much comment on the fact that Topalov's fansite "edited" the mail sent by Short to Danailov, in order to leave only the part where he reiterated he had not personally seen anything amiss during San Luis. In fact, they cut the hurtful part about Short's support of an official investigation of the matter. Here it is, as given by http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=3649 :
"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."
Cristal-clear and well-written too!

Mark, thank you--it's nice to know that some people still understand that investigative journalism is more than reprinting dubious German articles and anonymous allegations.

BTW, if you go to the Leko link above, it appears that he in fact is not accusing Topalov of cheating, all he is doing is complaining to the organizers that Topa got the same seat every day.

Yuriy Kleyner said: "BTW, if you go to the Leko link above, it appears that he in fact is not accusing Topalov of cheating, all he is doing is complaining to the organizers that Topa got the same seat every day."

...which is interesting. Have the organizers and/or Topa ever explained why he got this privilege? According to the link they didn't do anything after the complaint.

The Leko link after one click takes you to the report for round 6, filed by GM Nigel Short for Chessbase.

Go to the report for round 7 and you will find:

"I should begin with a correction: I mentioned yesterday that there had been an official protest about the fact that Topalov has thus far always played on the same table. As he is number eight in the draw, there is nothing the least bit unusual about this, by the way. Apparently an official protest requires the deposit of $500, refundable in the event of winning the case. This has not been forthcoming as of yet. Therefore it would be more accurate to term the continuing protests “unofficial”. Apologies for inadvertently misleading anyone."


At first one might ask "why would #8 get the same chair?" but I guess if you assign chairs based on initial seed you could end up with a set up where a GM ends up in a slot and the others moved around.

My question is, though, if such a set up is common and "there is nothing the least bit unusual about this" why would two experienced tournament playing GMs like Leko and Short find it odd? They must have seen it before.

it is retarded to say that the accusations that danailov had signaled to topalov using facial expressions and grimaces have more credibility and substance than the accusations of kramnik's cheating after his totally odd behavior in elista and visting the loo 50 times a game. both accusations are totally ungrounded at this point, and fully ridiculous, and deserve the same amount of attention (or ignoring). mig you have a nice blog but your opinion is idiotic, even though of course you are entitled to one. cheers,

Something else, but related.

Before Corus 07, I reckon Topalov did serious preparation, as he wants to win every tournament he participates in.
During Corus 07 he fought every game until the bitter end, playing on and on and on to win. And as a detail, Topalov had 7 whites and 6 blacks.

Meanwhile, Kramnik was still not fully recovered from his disease. He couldn't prepare well for Corus 07 because he had obligations, chess wise he played against Deep Fritz and outside chess, he got married! Cheers!
During Corus 07 Kramnik cowardly took ample short draws with black. Finally, Kramnik had 6 whites and 7 blacks.

The result of this disparity in sheer playing strength, depth of preparation, play to win attitude, and number of whites v blacks, would most obviously result in Topalov placing several points ahead of Kramnik?

Well did it really?

(is Topalov really that much stronger than Kramnik... shhhhh don't upset Topalov's fans!)

"acirce: I think Beryllo was trying to say that it would be good if you came back to the message boards . And we have another TONC tournament that is about to start:"

Dear Russianbear, as you are obviously able to read my mind, you should not be paired against me! ;o)

Dear friends (Dimi, Giannis & Co),
You blame ChessBase as memebr of anti-Topalov conspiracy because they reproduce anti-Topalov articles from other sources. ChessBase web site is a chess news site. If they ignore these materials, they can't be trusted as news source anymore.
What is strange, you do not blame Topalov and Dananilov for direct lies (for example, when Danailov said Topalov won all tournaments he played in 2005) or dirty accusations they voice on their opponent.
You blame ChessBase for publishing an article before the Topalov-Kramnik game, but are silent about Topalov promoting the dirty toilet pot book a day before the same game (picture of Topalov promoting this book can be found in many places).
You say Kramnik is bad as Champion because he does not play every game for win which is bad for chess promotion.
But you believe Topalov is a worthy Champion who makes so much for chess promotion by organizing watercloset scandals, publishing lies and insults in his interviews and other public statements.
By the way, it is a long lasting tradition when a World Champion makes a book about his title match. While ignoring his San Luis triumph (nothing to say?), Topalov is the first (and I hope, the last) world champion who published a book about his WC match without chess content at all (I am positive, the main driving force behind the journalist named as the book author, is Topalov). Does this mean, the picture of broken ceiling with wiring inside is much more important to chess lovers and to chess history than his chess thoughts on moves he made? This says a lot about his dedication to promoting chess worldwide, no? Or, may be, he has nothing to say about chess moves and decisions he made because we all own Rybka and Fritz and know why he played these movesx, not the other ones (this is just a joke, no offense)?

P.S. Because some of you are nuts of the nickname "Topanailov", I kindly ask you to read every occurence of the name 'Topalov' above as "GM Veselin Topalov and his manager IM Silvio Danailov".

It HAS been proven that Barry Bonds used steroids; he tested positive for steroid use! Indeed, Bonds has as much as admitted it. Bonds' "defense" is that he wasn't *aware* that he was using Steroid s. He simply was given mysterious substances by BALCO, and he unquestioningly applied them. Sort of "Don't ask, Don't tell.

" Hell, it has never been proven that Barry Bonds ever took steroids but it's been the biggest story in baseball for years."

Well, my take on Mark Crowther's comments is that there's a group of fellows who should have-been / still-be consulted on the question of whether Topalov might have been cheating.

Their names are Fritz, Junior, Hiarcs, Shredder, and friends. With their ages in 2005.

Maybe this has been done behind the scenes, though in public one can critique the data-gathering methods. Or maybe if allegations oover only a few "key moves"---and the allegers didn't take down which moves---this is less relevant. But as the saying from the movie goes, "Life is like a box of numbers---you never know what you're going to get." Certainly not if no one opens the box---and this insanely busy prof. could use some more volunteer help!

BTW (to answer implicit questions in the ChessBase story Mig's item is about), the word "take" here is metaphorically based on its motion-picture-filming meaning, and means a viewpoint or understanding or version of a situation. For a news organization, a "short take" means a brief news item---often several in a column---that does not bear the full objective responsibility of a news story. It can be a comment on a running story, or give a new angle on it, or can be a brief item to itself. DNA India's headline "Short take" was a pun on both meanings as well as on Nigel's name. Aside from (DNA's and) ChessBase's overreaching on "sinister"---IMHO Derrida would say one cannot make that inference staying within the text of Short's quotations there---ChessBase News and this and Susan's blogs have acted completely properly in their choice of what to report, and in their reporting. This opinion comes from a newsman's son!

The allegation is that there are only key moments that Topalov is cheating. So computer analysis is almost useless to prove or disprove this. The allegations would have to be really specific.

Also as a side issue its clear that people do use Rybka in preparation as a number of novelties at Wijk came from its opening book.

I can say that rather uncomfortably for me Danailov spent a lot of time in the press room and checked my computer which had Fritz 5 running when Anand resigned his game against Topalov to see if the result was right (it had Anand as almost level when he was positionally busted)

How do you know how ill is Kramnik and if he recovered or not? Are you his doctor? If not, do not write your thoughts as facts pls.

>>>"No-one has satisfactorily explained to me why, if its so obvious that Danailov is signalling to Topalov over at least two and a half years why no action has been taken."

Have you read the comments so far? That should give you an indication. Without HARD (as in, undeniable) proof, voicing allegations sets you up as the bad guy.

>>>"I've always been doubtful about the cheating by passing on moves, Danailov may in fact be waging mind games against the opponents rather than signalling to Topalov which in itself should be stopped."

They would not dare? Sorry, but that's just not good enough.
Waging mind games? Do you honestly believe that? Not that I don't think Danailov is off his rocker, but seriously.

PS: As long as there is no hard evidence, I'm on the fence about the cheating. But you have to take the possibility seriously and team Topailov has been behaving suspiciously...

>>>Yuriy Kleyner said: "BTW, if you go to the Leko link above, it appears that he in fact is not accusing Topalov of cheating, all he is doing is complaining to the organizers that Topa got the same seat every day."

>>>"My question is, though, if such a set up is common and "there is nothing the least bit unusual about this" why would two experienced tournament playing GMs like Leko and Short find it odd? They must have seen it before."

Didn't you just answer your own question? It is indeed interesting to ask: why did they complain if the seating arrangement was within the rules?

Btw, by the same token one could say "all Breutigam said was Danailov made funny gestures". That kind of argumentation leads nowhere imo.

I find it kind of funny that Mark Crowther is selling all the latest software and personally is using old obsolete software on his own personal computer. What does that say about spending all this money on the new software.

Mark please load fritz 10 on your computer. You really need to run the newest software if you are going to be pushing other people to purchase it.

If I have a problem and go make a complaint to the police. They do not change me $500 for the complaint and they go do the investigation and prove the allegations. It is rediculous to expect the spectators to gather total legal proof of cheating. The proper one to gather the full legal proof is FIDE in this case. Fide should have immediately jumped on the accusations and did a full investigation without demanding that the spectators put up $500. It is obvious that the $500 is simply used to sweep all problems under the table.

Even if someone put up the $500, no one believes that FIDE will make a real attempt to find out the truth. If it turns out that there is cheating then the fault will lie with fide. So fide is not about to find fault with itself.

We need an investigative newspaper like the Washington Post did over watergate. Someone independent to dig for the facts.

If Kok had won the Fide election, I personally do not believe that Kok would sit back and do nothing about his scandal. Kirsan seems to think all this free publicity is good for chess. So he seems to want this to continue.

This is a terrible situation but it is the most important story in chess today. This issue is the biggest issue that could arise and it seems to be spiraling out of control. Kirsan probably views it as exponentially increasing the free publicity.

Mark, *if* move numbers were known with the allegations, and *if* the moves had a wide enough choice, then even just 10 such moves over a stretch of games could be statistically significant. At least they could help narrow down a favoured engine. (Then) I could also volunteer for an experiment in which one gives a game and a number k, and I try to guess which k moves the allegations are about.

Emanuel, meant to thank you for correcting me to say game 4 *of the playoff*---I had missed that context in the original Topalov interview. Yes, that is pathetic...

Fritz 5.32 is supplied standard with ChessBase 9/Fritz 9 even now, and gets an extremely high raw nodes-per-second rate. So it is still relevant, no flies on Mark for running it!

My site http://www.cse.buffalo.edu/~regan/chess/fidelity/Corus2007.html has new Round 2 Topalov-van Wely data files with Junior 10 featured and other engines run by my testing partner Jason Buczyna. Fritz 10 matches that game most closely, and he will do a similar "acid test" with Fritz 10 when time next allows. (I had thought a DF10 was en-route to me, against time and expenses, but I guess not.)

In any event, "affinity" to engines, an inherent definition of having a "forcing" style, and various other (training-helpful) chess metrics are on their way, defined and computed more robustly than in the Guid-Bratko study. They may become as common as the "Quarterback Rating" stat now is in American football, and hopefully have a less-arbitrary basis ("158.3" = "perfection"?).

How the RB's post about Bulgaria, with clearly negative thoughts about the whole Bulgarian nation, could have been preserved here? Guys, should any limits exist after all?! I would be wise to ban users who writes something like this, IMHO.

Couple of points. I actually have Fritz 10 now on all my computers. I had my laptop with me in Wijk and its just not the kind of thing I thought about before travelling. I only use Fritz for what you might call spell checking, big spikes in assessment, stronger computers also had the wrong assessment of the Anand game. Also when I'm working in the press room I've got many programs running on my laptop so its hardly ideal for computer analysis anyhow.

Yes you need proof before accusing someone of cheating. But what you can do is point out to the arbiter you're being distracted by strange behaviour at the moment it takes place.

If you're absolutely convinced he's cheating then you can get your second to follow Danailov round and monitor his behaviour and film it, all of which might actually stop it anyhow. If, as is being said, Danailov is coming into the hall, pulling faces and making signals, then leaving to take phone calls and then coming back and signalling then again how hard can it be to get two or three seconds to make it very difficult to do this by standing next to him and staring at him for a start or following him around? Everyone would be watching.

The reason I say mind games is partially because of the photos of Danailov posing with his mobile phone pulling faces that were linked to in one of these threads.

At the top level only small hints are required. It would be sufficient to appear in the hall only when a big combination is on to be of significant help to your player. The player could work out the details. But this isn't the accusation.

Danailov was in the press room a lot and hardly looked like a man who was looking for the opportunity to help his man out. I spoke to a journalist who was in San Luis and he said his behaviour was exactly the same there for much of the time. I also happened to catch him take a phone call outside the tournament hall and come back in, I'm pretty sure there was no signalling then and he was at the back of a crowd and I don't think could have been seen by Topalov. These are just personal observations.

I agree that FIDE, to put it mildly, don't seem geered up for dealing with this.

Mikhail, I agree. All the critism of Bulgaria should be censored strictly.

Uh-huh. And the criticism of Russia just left in, naturally?

No, rdh. Let´s just praise Russia as well.

sss: Kramnik has stated so himself in the interview that was translated here by russianbear:


The relevant passage reads
"-What are your immediate plans?
-I am optimistic and looking forward to the upcoming few months when it comes to my full recovery. Unfortunately, I haven't managed to achieve that so far because of a lot of obligations. But the several upcoming months will not be that stressful for me. So far I don't have enough energy to withstand as long tournament as Wijk-an-Zee. "

I have no reason to doubt he is telling the truth, although technically he may be lying.

Mr Golubev,
try reading that post of RB's in its context and think again.

Hello everyone,

As a journalist, I believe that with so-called 'freedom of the press' comes responsibility to use it properly. Does one want to report news like a broadsheet, or be a run-of-the-mill tabloid, liable to let the lust for scandal and gossip, and scalp-hunting bias get in the way of our service to our readers? I think that is the choice that all media outlets and journalists make.

I do not believe that ChessBase did anything wrong in reporting the news that Martin Breutigam has raised questions about the behaviour of Topalov and Danailov. However, I believe that they were a little 'unwise' with their follow-up article quoting (indeed MIS-quoting) Nigel Short. Clearly that was a little bit like pouring parrafin on smouldering coals, and was serious enough for Nigel to contact Frederic Friedel about rectifying it. Furthermore, as has been commented already, if GM Short saw things at San Luis that he felt concerned about, it was his responsibility (and I use that word deliberately) to approach match officials. Instead, he apparently said nothing, and only now mentions it following the infamous German newspaper article. Also, GM Short in his World Championship Diary for ChessBase, spoke of how he had dinner with Topalov during the tournament. Whichever way you look at this, it leaves high doubts about credibility ... in a court, it would be inadmissable.

And on the subject of courts, I am a firm believer in someone being innocent until they are proved guilty. When there are charges made against someone, it is up to the people bringing those charges to prove and substantiate them, not on the accused to prove innocence (unless an appeal against a conviction of course). As Susan Polgar wisely said, proof is not speculation, not what managers say, not what players say, and certainly not what journalists say, proof is something entirely different. So, while we all have our opinions, the question at the end of the day is can anyone prove what is being said about Danailov and Topalov? I suspect not, or the evidence would more than likely have already been produced. Thus, this latest debacle boils down to speculation by a journalist/IM during a round or two of the Corus tournament.

Here is where the responsibility of journalism comes in to question, does one report the fact that Silvio Danailov 'could' have been signalling Veselin Topalov? If the answer to that is yes, if this is acceptable, then a huge can of worms is being opened the repercussions of which could be astronomical, and not only for chess. For this reason, I believe that this is a classic example of why one should hang fire on some things, especially when a person's reputation is concerned. I was incensed when it happened to Kramnik in Elista, and I am equally as incensed with the allegations against Topalov and Danailov. Two wrongs do not make a right and at the end of the day it only hurts chess.

Furthermore, having attended the Corus tournament for all but 3 rounds, and having spent time in the pressroom, and in the playing hall, I very much echo Mark Crowther's take on this matter in that Danailov and Cheparinov were often in the pressroom. I did also observe them in the playing hall and I saw nothing that could remotely be described as signalling. Mostly they were stood at the back of the crowd whispering amongst themselves and then leaving again. Silvio Danailov is very often on his mobile phone, wherever he is, be it walking up and down in the corridors, sat amongst journalists, or out and about in the crowds or in the cafe/bar. He is a manager, and ultimately a businessman. This, in addition to ear scratching and teeth picking is 'proof' of cheating or reasonable ground for suspicion? That damns more people than just Danailov.

Like many, I think that the time has come for FIDE to deal with these allegations once and for all, and to introduce measures to prevent future similarities. It is not their choice to do this, it is their duty, both to the players concerned and for chess and its fans, who I am sure are getting a bit tired of all the mud-slinging going on with chess being caught in the crossfire. How is our beautiful game to grow and/or attract sponsors if events blow up over toilets and its top players are involved in scandal? Every chess fan, whether in the Kramnik corner, Topalov corner, or otherwise, needs to wake up here -- let's stop bickering and remember what this is all about eh? If we stop fighting amongst ourselves, and instead focus our efforts on demanding that FIDE do something about this matter, (chess is it's President's life, apparently), then maybe we can bring something good from something bad. Failure will be to start ('continue' is probably more the word) a downward spiral with regard to the image of chess on the worldwide stage, just when it seemed to be getting back on its feet again following the events of 1993. Recently, Garry Kasparov wrote (in New in Chess) that he hoped his mistakes, which hurt chess, would not be repeated by others. Currently, they are being, but it is not too late to recover this situation -- please let it not be something else that drags on for 13 years! Perhaps Mig, Mark, or Susan, or other high profile sites such as ChessBase, can start a petition to be sent to FIDE demanding action. Something constructive, rather than just opinion and speculation, which only prolongs and increases the damage.

Can't we at least try?
What good are we doing so far?

As for the people making the allegations, (whether against Kramnik, Topalov, Danailov, or others), i say that they have had their time, and that they should now put up or shut up. Enough is enough, and chess deserves more.

I don't know what you mean by 'in a court it would be inadmissible', John, but I very much doubt it's true.

rdh, I am no expert on law, but what I was more trying to say is that its credibility is severeley questioned and it would probably be quite undermined (in the very least) by any competant cross examination. I apologise that I did not phrase it better.

Well perhaps what we can both agree on is that Short's a complete arse and no sensible judge would take any notice of a word he said.

fritzed said:

>>>"BTW, if you go to the Leko link above, it appears that he in fact is not accusing Topalov of cheating, all he is doing is complaining to the organizers that Topa got the same seat every day."

>>>"My question is, though, if such a set up is common and "there is nothing the least bit unusual about this" why would two experienced tournament playing GMs like Leko and Short find it odd? They must have seen it before."

>Didn't you just answer your own question?


>It is indeed interesting to ask: why did they complain if the seating arrangement was within the rules?

It's not so much about the rules as it is about an odd arrangement which might be well within the rules. I am kind of wondering if it really is an odd arrangement (which is supported by the fact that Leko and Short were surprised by it) or a common procedure (supported by Short's round 7 piece and his easy acceptance of the explanation).

>Btw, by the same token one could say "all Breutigam said was Danailov made funny gestures". That kind of argumentation leads nowhere imo.

I don't see any similarity besides the fact that an innocous explanation is offered...Breutigam claims Danailov moving into view of Topalov and making specific unusual gestures at crucial points in games, which were followed by a Topalov move, which also matches computer choice (as far as Breutigam claims). Plus the cell phone calls in between. That, if in fact true, is far from just making funny gestures. The other scenario is just Topalov having a specific seat, and some even claim such an arrangement is common.




oops .. sorry that I typed that whole thing in upper case.

Mr. Crowther and Mr. Shaw,

Which rounds did you observe in Wijk aan Zee this year?

What's the source for the report that San Luis video footage of any kind exists?


Could not any reasonnable person consider this libel and slander? If the player have proof show it. It is beyond the pale for ChessBase to publish such drivel.

If FIDE wanted to stop the could in a blink of an eye

Yuriy, speaking for myself, I was present for all rounds apart from 6, 8, and 10.

In answer to your second question, there may be numerous sources, but the following is taken from http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=3644 where Nigel Short is quoted, thus:

“I believe there is a clear case for setting up an independent committee of decent honorable people to examine the dozens of hours of TV footage from San Luis (the whole event was recorded). Furthermore any evidence available from Mexico and Linares, Wijk aan Zee, etc. should also be examined.”

I was there rounds 4-9. I was told by someone there was footage, never got to see it though.

I think the rounds Martin Breutigam was there are basically irrelevant because unless I misunderstood something he was there to see if the stories were true so it could have been any round. And if Danailov is being so brazen over such a long period of time why stop at any point? (I didn't notice any big difference in Danailov's attitude from this year to last either) What disappointed me about the article was that he didn't seem to film, or at least supply film of what he described so that we could be sure he wasn't just seeing what he expected to see.

Now I'm not calling anyone who says this is happening a liar. The stories are coming in general from people I trust.

I just wonder if it isn't all the talking about it that isn't pursuading people its true, in other words the tails are becoming taller in the telling. And because I know if I was a top player, and I was totally sure, then I'd be concentrating on stopping it more than playing at the moment because there's little point in playing if this is happening and would make a scene, at the moment I saw it, or observers from my team saw it, not afterwards. If there were occasions extended series of moves where this happened I just can't imagine it not being challenged, not maybe in the first event you played in, but surely you'd have a strategy in the second or third to stop it. Wouldn't you?

I agree, Mark.

I know there was filming taking place in the playing hall, but it tended to be mostly towards the players rather than the audience from what I saw -- and whether it was constant enough to be able to draw conclusions from is doubtful.

Like yourself, I think rather than people lying, it is a situation that is getting out of control, with idle gossip and some questionable motives. If it continues, as well as damage done to reputations, (needlessly in my opinion, as I do not believe either Topalov or Kramnik has cheated), chess is going to be in a dire mess in no time.

If that is wanted then we (as a chess community) just carry on the way we're going, if not then we have to change how we are responding to it. My point is that it is better to get to the bottom of it rather than just fanning the flames.

Have you heard the latest from Danailov?
He admitted to using computers. In fact, they used "The Turk" with Varshavsky hiding inside.

Isn't it irrelevant from practical point of view whether the signaling really took place or not? It's clear that the possibility was there, it's also clear that no video footage can implicate or exonerate Topalov and Danailov. One can always find some innocent explanation to funny faces and gestures, as well as sinister one.

The only thing that matters in this discussion is that players should not have any contact with the audience. Otherwise the allegations will never stop.

Are there videos of *player post-mortems* from San Luis? They themselves, and a contractual requirement of doing them (at least when you don't lose:-?) may be a valuable /stabilizing/ feature.

Here, the ChessVibes video of Topalov's Round 2 post-mortem (www.chessvibes.com/?p=490, by Peter Doggers me^me? To him thanks!) has just been incredibly helpful to me, piecing together a story of the game to explain some things in the data files I posted last night. Various engines get really excited about 23.Qd3 for quite some time, but further look shows that Topalov in his post-mortem was right to say "not-so-fast", Black having a triple-sac 23...b3! 24.eitherxb3 axb3 25.Nxb3 e4!. Or even 24...e4!, and now my Fritz 9 likes 23...e4! transposing, and at 17/17 has gotten to a stage where I know the eval will drop. Maybe White can thread an advantage, but it's a *mess*, and I as an IM can see Black holding various pawn-down endings quite easily, if forced into them. Yes, 23.b3"?" seems to hand an edge to Black per engines early-on, but that effect also seems to go away when one plays some more moves---as White more easily builds an attack. And Topalov says right at the start of the video that he felt the need for a b3 defense even while thinking of his 19.h5 and 20.g6 moves played.

At the very least, the need to do a public performance when your head might be full of other things besides chess may be a sobering factor---the perception of which will lead to more trust. Also the principle that *defining the black* (here, defining clearly improper behaviour by onlookers) helps people *not sweat the grey*.

To answer another point by Mark, it *is* possible for engine runs to greatly reduce the number of moves when *information could have been gained*, even when considering "key-move" cheating. The results from my data partner's Junior 10 file will almost certainly be measured as a *negative gain from Junior 10* when we polish up the metrics. Not only that, according to Junior 10 the only moves that stood to gain were the 19.h5-20.g6 tandem, plus maybe the (IMHO obvious!) 26.Bxc5! I'm awaiting Fritz 10 data that is a closer match, but my point is: once again I'm showing *relevance* of hard data, and seeking not publicity per-se but HELP gathering it!

osbender, you have a point for sure, the possibility for players to cheat is there, yes, but if we take preventative measures against them all, (which in 99.9% of cases (at the very least) would be totally un-needed), my concern is where do you draw the line? Like I said in my first message, the repurcussions are very great indeed, and for life in general not just chess. The possibility for human beings to do many horrible things is there day-to-day, but we are not all placed under guard when entering banks or shops, or under constant supervision when near children.

Of course, this is an extreme way of illustrating my point, which is that if it is acceptable to make accusations based on a possibility, then we are getting on to very dangerous ground. I don't think it is acceptable, especially when not 1 hard piece of evidence has been presented to substantiate these claims made against Topalov and Danailov. If it is out there, then let it be shown, if not let the insinuations and accusations be rectified by the irresponsible parties who made them and created this issue. Then we can get on with chess. By the way, I include Topalov and Danailov there with regard to their behaviour towards Kramnik in Elista -- but like I said already, two wrongs don't make a right in my opinion.

Ken Reagan made an excellent point, in that the press conferences that Topalov gave at Wijk aan Zee, which I was very privalleged to watch in person, were full of information, and analysis. Most (if not all) were given immediately upon request. Now, I am not Topalov's greatest admirer after what happened in Elista, but fair is fair, the guy was always available to be questioned and give analysis of his games either in a press conference or otherwise.

My plea to the chess community is let's step back from the brink, here. We have a beautiful game, which I am sure is played honestly by the vast majority of players. Let's deal with the ones who cheat and break the rules, indeed. However, where this matter is concerned, I think there is a danger of chess being hijacked by the fans of two players, who have become embroiled in a personal war since Elista. Why allow it? It will drag on and on, and the great chess events we all like so much will start to suffer ... and then we will all complain.

Allegations against a person should be substantiated, they should be official, or they are not worth zip in my opinion. Whispers, speculation, could be's, and the like are only whispers, speculation, and could be's.

John Lee Shaw. What you are saying about the beauty of chess and stupidity of dragging the game into the toilet is right, but it's all poetry when all you need is a practical solution.

If the playing conditions are as they were in Wijk and San Luis, no amount of pleas will stop insinuations and allegations because
1) the stakes are high
2) cheating is relatively easy
3) veryfying the allegations is practically impossible. You don't say "let's stop doping allegations" to cycling community. You introduce tougher anti-doping measures.

Btw, thinking that post-mortem analysis alleviates the issue one way or the other is IMO naive. Knowing the right move, any 2200 player will find variations to corroborate it. Certainly not a problem for 2700 level guy. I love post-mortems on chessvibes, but they do exactly nothing for cheating debate.

Mr. Bender

I am not sure I consider your solution practical. At many events blocking any interaction between the audience may be cost prohibitive--certainly at the lower levels where the cheating is probably more widespread. Anything preventing people from viewing the game would hurt sponsorship more and turn chess into an unattractive spectacle of caged animals.

I can think of at least two measures that would help reduce instances like this.

1. In addition to regular arbiters, have one or two people facing the audience, looking out for signaling. At their discretion, any person may be removed from playing hall. This will totally eliminate obvious signaling of the kind Breutigam describes and make less obvious signaling more difficult.

2. Another official or volunteer at the door to the audience area from outside. If you want to go outside, you have to walk past him (ask permission). At his discretion, anybody repeatedly walking in and out may be removed. In addition, knowing that you HAVE to pass him every time you go out (even if you don't have to ask permission) will make a person think twice.

Mark, a lot of people don't carry a camera. What disappointed me about the article is if the behavior he describes is as obvious as he makes it sound, he was unable to get another person to go on the record. As I put it above: "How about a report from another person on the same day as having seen the same thing? How about Breutigam turning around to another guy and saying: "hey, are you seeing what I am seeing? Check out what Danailov is doing." Then Breutigam could quote that other guy in his article. How about a statement from the arbiter that he intends to watch the activity of Silvio Danailov in the next round more thoroughly or some such?"

I agree that Wijk with its large crowds is probably one of the hardest to police. I could be wrong, but my impression was that Martin Breutigam went to Wijk to look into the allegations, in which case you'd expect him to have a movie capable camera.

I don't want to give the impression I'm defending Danailov because there are a lot of things that he's done I see as indefensible but the allegations as stated to me just don't quite add up, or are at least imcomplete in some way.

Yuriy Kleyner. Certainly I'm not talking about separating the players from the audience at ALL events, that indeed would be impractical. For the events of Wijk caliber it certainly can and should be done. There are several feasible solutions, such as separate playing room or a one-way screen as in Elista. The real question is where to draw the line. What to do at a large open with the big cash prize?

I don't think you can separate the audience from the players. Seeing the players live makes a huge difference to the enjoyment of the event.

I remember the 4NCL climax in Britain two years ago where they had two huge teams - Polgar J, Bologan, Shirov, Adams, et al (averaging 2630 or so a side over eight boards) playing. They were taken away to a separate room for fear of having to mix with the proles, and there was an awful lot of disappointment expressed. People go to the event to see the players live.

I think Yurij's got it about right for Wijk and the like. Large opens are a different matter, although I suppose the top boards can be put in a different room and known associates of the players simply barred from entering it.

Some more thoughts on what is obviously emerging as an important issue:

I believe an important thing to consider is who would cheat how and how often.

I find it improbable that a person with rating above 2650 would risk that rating with something as obvious and risky as physical signalling. If somebody were to cheat in a situation like that, it has to be done in a manner that would make it less likely you would be noticed and caught. If it does happen it would occur very rarely. A high-level would be more likely to employ and more likely to afford employing high-tech gadgetry. Luckily, the tournaments at the level he plays would also be more likely to afford measures to prevent high-tech cheating: signal interference, walls, etc.

Most of the high-tech gadgetry that has been proven or nearly proven has been at a level roughly two (yes, of course it's arbitrary) below Super GMs. What strikes me foremost while reading the reports is that the cheating is very obvious and all it really should take is somebody paying attention. People who conduct large tournaments will have to keep their eyes, like their tournaments, open.

Preventory penalty. It would be a shame if a high-level player was disqualified for suspicion or tossed out of a world championship cycle because somebody doesn't like his coach's behavior. But in a large tournament for IMs and below, it really shouldn't be a big deal to have a player removed from tournament and his fee refunded. Kind of a "no fault" provision that wouldn't place a stain on GM while at the same time allowing the organizers an easy out.

Organizers should be allowed to conduct a peremptory search (within reason: take off hat, pat down, look in ears, pockets) upon exit of playing hall. It would be better to do it on exit since that would allow the search to only take place against the guys who the arbiter had reports on during the session.

I am afraid barring known associates will not work since conducting a signal is just easily done by unknown associates. Silvio Danailov is barred? Well, here comes Dilvio Sanailov, with the same cell phone and glasses.

I am contemplating a lawsuit against Yurij Vasilyev for convincing that all the Yuris prefer to transliterate their name with a j at the end. JK, i don't care.

Actually I agree with Mig (somewhere in the blogs) and disagree with Yuriy Kleyner (above) that the cheating among elite will likely be low-tech, that is signalling via accomplice and the like. Cheating with gadgets, if detected, immediately implicates the guy beyond a shadow of a doubt and throws him out of the circuit. Physicall signalling might be detected, but can't be proven, as simple as that. There might be rumours doing rounds, but that will be just rumours without the hard proof. Kind of what we have now.

I also doubt that physicall signalling is so easy to spot if done right. You can signal in a very dicrete way, with natural gestures like standing with the hands crossed or with legs crossed or your head tilted to the side or what not. Taking into account that you really need the hint 2-3 times during the game and you can change the code before every game, good luck detecting it and proving anything.

Besides the risk of being discovered, having the exact move transmitted at top level chess is not even necessary. Even at my level, most of the time it's not that players don't see the candidate moves in a position, it's rather that we can't make up our minds which one to choose.
If I had a coach signalling to me something like "defend first and then attack" that would be pretty much like giving the exact moves, plus it would save me a lot of time on the clock.
And this must be more so at an elite level.

osbender, I think that you make some good points, however I do not think it is totally accurate to blame playing conditions for such accusations.

There is a paranoia and sensitivity around chess at the moment following the highly public cheating scandals that occurred prior to Elista, (which although strong tournaments were not 'top level' events I should add, cheating in a Super-GM event is as yet unheard of unless my memory decieves me). Paranoia is nothing new, it was a pot of yogurt that was the subject of objections in Karpov-Korchnoi in that it 'could' contain messages; KGB; hypnosis. In Elista it was frequent bathroom visits. Now it is a pair of spectacles and scratching a corner of the mouth.

Furthermore, were these accusations made against other players at Wijk aan Zee or San Luis, then I could give it being because of the conditions some thought, but nothing is being aimed at other top players. Nor are the complaints coming from any top players, (a few are reported to think Topalov cheats, but none as yet say that publicly or officially,) certainly at Wijk aan Zee no player protested, and as far as I am aware that goes for Loek van Wely also.

Now, I am not calling anyone a liar, but I am asking that the maker of these accusations puts up and substantiates them. Apparently he goes to Wijk aan Zee to investigate the possibility that Topalov and Danailov cheat, (like Mark Crowther, this is what I have heard, I am open to correction if I am wrong), yet does not take a camera or video camera, an assistant, or get anyone on the record in support of his claims? Nor does he mention it to the tournament organisers or committee as they seemed totally in shock by it. Like Mark says, it just does not add up.

As has been pointed out, there is nothing in support of this what-so-ever, so what is to blame? The playing conditions? No, I do not accept that, nothing directly linked to the Corus tournament or its competitors is to blame for this latest debacle. I hope that this can soon be accepted, and that we can then turn our attention to the real problem, which in my opinion are individuals who do not think before they speak or act, who cast doubts upon another's reputation (for whatever reason) as though it is worthless, and who so far are not being held to account for it. All the time chess gets dragged through the mud yet again.

Can I just say, that it amazes me that this is being treated like a concretely proven case by some quarters, I am sorry but it is not, by no stretch of the imagination. Quite frankly, I do not know if Topalov cheats or not, but I have no reason to suspect him based on a rating rise and blitzing everyone at San Luis, and I do not change in that stance because Danailov did this and an IM decides that he 'could have been' up to something else. It is almost laughable.

During my all but 3 rounds at Wijk aan Zee, I did not see or hear anything to suggest Loek van Wely had suspicions, I was told 'no' when I asked if there had been an official compliant, I saw Danailov in the pressroom and in the playing hall and saw nothing suspicious or out of the ordinary. We are told in the article that Loek van Wely said he was told Danailov was acting suspiciously, ok fine. We are told in the article that the arbiter was going to watch Danailov, ok fine. We are told in the article that in a following round the arbiter obscured Danailov's view, ok fine. We are told that Danailov would rush out of the hall to use his mobile phone, ok fine. I do not question these points, but they say nothing. Yes, Danailov was rushing out of the hall and taking out his mobile phone, he could have been phoning someone who was following the game on the internet ..... or, he could have been answering a call, assuming that one would have their mobile phone on silent...?

It is unthinkable to me that such serious things can be printed in any outlet without any form of back-up or documentary evidence at all. If I were to put this in a British newspaper, and Topalov and Danailov were so inclined, I would be in court in 5 minutes and the penalty would be thousands if not tens of thousands. It would not even have to be proven that my claims were false, it would be up to me to prove them true. If what is in the article is all that the author has, then he would not stand a chance.

The problem in this instance is not the playing conditions, as the event itself ran without any incident at all -- remove this article surfacing and that is fact. This cloud over Wijk aan Zee springs from someone's words and could be's. Sure, let's introduce measures to combat cheating, (I personally like the suggestion of additional officials watching out for signalling, delaying the internet broadcast is another good idea), but to have the players in another room is an un-needed and damaging extreme. I am a firm believer in not punishing the innocent along with the guilty, but punishing everyone based on unsubstantiated could-be's...? It will never stop.

The whole discussion looks very weird and non-sensical.

If Topalov wanted really to cheat, the very last person in the galaxy he would use for that would be Dalainov. I mean, I'm sure about half of his neighbors, if not of the whole crowd, would stare at him thinking "wow! isn't he the idiot who ruined the WC with the toilet story?". I can imagine only Kasparov, the Queen of England, or Nicole Kidman being a spectator drawing more attention. This is not the kind of person you want to make you obviously strange faces to signal what you should play. I mean come on, it's not like Topalov can only find one (paid) friend in the whole Europe.

It's even more non-sensical to do so when you are not exactly starving because you lost still pocketed $500,000 of the prize fund of said WC. What would be you cheating for? A place in next WC? No. Pocket money?

If you said anyone else, say, Svidler, Aronian, or Radjabov cheated, *then* you would start to make sense.

What I keep hearing are logical thoughtful ideas about cheating or not cheating. However, the cheating mind never works on logical good thinking.

Cheating is an addiction. Not too dissimilar to alcoholism. Once one starts it is very hard to quit. There have been many very rich people who had the addiction of shop lifting. And this might be more similar to shop lifting. Why pay for items when you can have them for free. LOL. The addict is caught in a terrible delemma.

Lets say I cheated with a computer and raised my rating by a few hundred points. Now how can I possibly play without the help. My real strength is too low to maintain. So the cheater gets caught in his own cheating. Once he allows his rating to go up he can not stop.

Take Topalov for example. He has been accused of having his rating go up very fast. If he can not truely play at the higher rating then of course his rating will fall back to his ability. But he can not afford to fall back now that he is number 1 on the rating list.

I am not saying that Topalov cheated. I am simply applying my ideas so as to explain them.

I do not think someone could phone a friend and invite him over to ask him to send you chess moves. That is high risk. But your manager is very tied to you and your performance. They are like one person as Danailov has said. so getting him from Danailov seems most logical. He would be the trusted friend to count on.

Danailov is ambitious and Topalov might have gotten tired of sitting just a little low on the charts and wanted that extra nudge to move up. I am not saying he did, but I can see it as a possibility to be tempted.

My view is that what John Lee Shaw talks logically about is not really what is happening for the illogical cheater. So what he says sounds good to the honest player but not to the cheater. The cheater lives in a different world. Remember the cheater is not getting caught. He is the smart one. He is so smart because he wins the games and the money. for him the honest people are simply missing out on a good thing that he has proven works great. It works so good he wonders how come he did not do this years ago. This is just great. Some people are so stupid. but he is so smart.

Frank H: “the cheating mind never works on logical good thinking”

Heh, this reminds me, when I was in grad school (an ivy league university), many Russian students were cheating (I myself caught some when grading their assignments - always Russian). They were all smart guys, actually quite good with “logical thinking”.

So, Frank, does what John Lee Shaw says sound good to you or not? Because as you say: “what he says sounds good to the honest player but not to the cheater.”

Jason Buczyna's Fritz 10 "acid test" results are now on my site, http://www.cse.buffalo.edu/~regan/chess/fidelity/Corus2007.html

The big difference from Junior 10 is striking---15/17 matches and quite a few that will be judged significant by the metrics under development.

He has a full Fritz 10 test of Round 3 now underway---the gathering process is /slow/. Are there major style differences between Fritz 10 and Deep Fritz 10, or is it mainly that single-core people wait longer? Meanwhile I am doing a full Fritz 9 test of Round 2 for comparison.

It is time for a rematch between Kramnik and Topalov.

Nobody other than the arbiter will be allowed in line of sight of the players.

No toilet visits will be allowed at all. "Astronaut diapers" will be supplied to the players.

I'm not so sure this article would have been libellous in England, John. It's such trash I can't be bothered to read it again, but from what I remember it consisted of physical observations, which could not easily be challenged, and of questions, which could not easily found a libel action at all.

It's all very well saying the guy went there to observe and should have taken a camera or told the arbiters or whatever, but after all he's just a journalist wanting a story. Like osbender said, you're never going to prove something like this. You've just got to take what steps are reasonable to remove the opportunity and perception of it.

It's easy to see how Danailov behaves like this: he's a high-energy, emotional kind of guy and I expect he finds it hard to accept he has no role in the game other than standing by and waiting for the result. I still think he's being rather foolish, though. He'd do well to issue a statement apologising for his behaviour, saying he can see how it could have been misinterpreted, he understands that the top players have to be like Caesar's wife and he'll be more careful in future. He won't, of course: it'll be more whining about wicked Chessbase and heroic Bulgars.

John Lee Shaw. I don't blame playing conditions. In fact, I'm saying that blaming anybody or anything for this issue is counter-productive. Instead of searching for somebody to blame, the focus should be on finding the solution. It's clear that the danger of cheating is real, whether it already occured at the highest level or not is irrelevant.

You and Mark Crowther dismiss Breutigam's article on the grounds that other players didn't complain and that there is no hard proof. Perhaps they didn't complain exactly because they don't have a proof? For what it's worth, Morozevich (or his second) started these allegations in Sen Luis. Then you point out to the lack of pictures in his article. Well, what exactly the picture of Danailov scratching his nose would prove?

I'm not arguing that allegations are true, far from it. I don't know. But I don't think that Breutigam's article is irresponsible. He observed the weird behaviour, he draws the attention to it.

Commenters are right to note frustrating lacks of hard information to support assertions in Breutigam's article. Here's the example that concretely impacts me:

"On move 26, for instance, he held his thumb between his teeth...On move 31 he once again had his thumb in his mouth...After 35 moves van Wely resigned in a hopeless position. Later it turned out that all the moves that Topalov had played in this decisive phase are also the first choices of the popular chess programs."

Which are "the" popular programs? Per our full testing, Junior 10 and Rybka (both 2.0 and 2.2n2) are *far* from matching this game. But Fritz 10 (and 9) match quite closely!---except that 32.Be6 in our run matched only at 11 ply, the least we consider (anything less is weaker than Super-GM strength).

Is it reasonable to ask for the methodology behind this assertion, let alone the data, to be made public---as Buczyna and I are doing acting as independent verification of it? I wrote Breutigam on this via the "sportonline" alias at SZ, but have not noted any reply.

An entirely reasonable request, Ken, but in my judgment most unlikely to produce any co-operation.

Since Breutigam is a Chessbase shill, (as Topa fans have so conclusively established) he's bound to have meant Fritz, no? I realise that's not the only parameter you need to try and replicate his result, of course.

The "Go for it" signal is not as obvious as anybody thinks. You must be sure that "it" you are thinking about is the same your GM is thinking about. Anything else, and you got a disaster on your hands. You would also need the GM to signal that he is asking for your help and then make good contact with you to see that you are signalling. Then, once you go for it, what do you do? Assume that GM has got every step of the combination figured out the rest of the way? Signal each step? A lot of "go for it" decisions are not as simple as accepting a sacrifice or present more than two options. What are you gonna do, hope you have a moment like that in the game? Then there is the possibility that the comp doesn't see one option as being much better than the other. Imagine the nerve wrack of expecting and waiting for help at the board. And then it turns out the helper's phone is dead or that the comp considers both scenarios are equal.
Are we really to suppose Danailov's skill in chess is so high he would be able to recognize a "should I go for it" situation?

It would be interesting to have this scenario set-up:

Two teams of two players, one of which has access to DF10 and may signal to the other. See how well they can communicate the computer analysis to the other and how much help in an average game a signal might be. My impression is that as diverse as chess game can be, it would be very difficult to set up a system. One idea is to have a very limited number of signals, and a pre-set system for what a given signal will mean in each scenario (move pawn is left hand, etc.) have a signal for option "A" a signal for option "B". But then you must be sure that the options you are considering are the same ones the other player is considering (the It in Go For It). The other possibility would be more elaborate signals, (hand wave=sacrifice, left ear=develop king's flank, etc.), but here it seems to me like playing out a chess game would result in so many possibilities developing that the signals would nearly always be worthless. AND you would have to be making strange different gestures every other move, in front of many people.

I should have thought the best system was a signal for each piece.

But I rather share your scepticism. it would indeed be an interesting experiment. Something similar was proposed in bridge in the 1940's (signalling has been an issue in bridge since competitive bridge began). I believe the match never happened.

Gets worse then...

16 different pieces (or 6 and you have to come up with the system of how to distinguish between knights, bishops, rooks and pawns). Then there is the fact that the decision is as often not what to move but where to move it.

Not familiar with bridge...but what I do know suggests to me that in that game the information to transfer is much easier to categorize (strong in spades) and even small amount (I have no more tricks left) would be very helpful without knowing more. Plus having as great a help as a large number of square objects in your hand, to rearrange and tap as a form of signalling, and being able to always look at your partner is a huge help.

I guess you could not bother with the pawns. But in truth I don't think it would be terribly hard. The question is how useful the information conveyed would be.

Actually bridge events are now played with screens both over and under the table, which makes signalling a bit tricky. Still happens though - top Italian pair got done for it only about three years ago. You're right about it being possible to categorise information which is still quite useful to transmit more simply, though.

Thanks RDH, but I also can't let a "shill" assertion stand as if proven. All the associations between Martin Breutigam and ChessBase that I've seen are no more than what I'd expect to see as a matter-of-course for a German chess IM who is also a journalist and writer. Google tells me ChessBase seems to have equal associations with other major German media, and the SZ item on "Ludwig" is the only one at the Wuellenweber Genealogy http://www.wuellenweber-genealogie.homepage.t-online.de/, evidently written by two /other/ "shills"!

ChessBase has had more blowback from this---much of it *not* self-inflicted---than anyone. The article even countermands what Mark Crowther said "the [San Luis] allegation is" replying to me above: http://www.chessninja.com/dailydirt/2007/02/recrimination_du_jour.htm#53875 Some shill!

In the world of Math/Science, we simultaneously have a community and Peer Review. Shilling goes on, but it is controlled by a common value of regard for facts, evidence, and critical thinking. What I'm saying is that the superposition of different relationships has to be allowed for, e.g. co-author one year/whatever with Hensel; then grant reviewer later after the horizon is over/independent reporter! Chess is an even smaller world than Math/Science. Associations do not confer guilt.

Let's see: Frederic asked for Elista Fritz testing on the public Playchess server, and I gave what I term a "statistical exoneration of Kramnik". This includes explanations for some actually-high match rates that doubtless /would/ cause an illusion in the Topalov camp, if they were subject to the same lack of science/statistical awareness I'm sensing on the whole of chess. (The emergence of this illusion needs to be understood by everyone!) And ChessBase does have an association with Kramnik. Does that make me a "ChessBase shill"? Please---the people I've mentioned might cough up their lunch :-), and I'm not happy about the lack of any appraising feedback whatever. And I just sent info@chessbase.com a rather thematically-titled contradiction of their "Take heart" blurb for the Playchess lecture on Jobava-Bareev this evening, from: http://www.danieldrezner.com/mt/KeYaHaMlAs.cgi?entry_id=2837 Because: I'm in the habit of checking things, efficiently!

The axis I'm grinding here is seeking support for the same controlling values enjoyed in my professional world. The chess world needs a "critical mass" of people who promote those values. It's hard to make a right move without them. Talking about the article concretely, the way some commenters in this thread are, /is/ helping.

Sixteen pieces...63 or 64 squares...no way to predict what options available at the start of the game. Actually fairly hard, I think.

It could be rather simple.

Six pieces: hair is king, eyes are queen, nose is rook, etc.

Eight files: hair is "a", eyes are "b", nose is "c", chin is "d", ears are "e" etc.

Eight files: hair is "1", eyes are "2", nose is "3" etc.

Player looks up, you scratch your hair. A few minutes later the player looks up again and you rub your eye. After another minute he looks up and you pick your nose.


Yes, and if Topalov loses, it only means that Danailov has a rash and had to scratch himself all over.

A Russian website reports that the ACP is about to begin an investigation of suspicions that Topalov received advice from the auditorium during his matches, and that FIDE may respond.


They also have a video of Danailov's alleged signals from the last year at Wijk aan Zee. In my view this is not convincing proof, but it does back up Breutigam to some extent in the face of charges that Breutigam made it all up because he works for the 'evil' ChessBase.

Some alarming accusations are attributed to Bareev in this article, but I am not sure whether he is joking:

"At some point, it became obvious that there was help from the side. What is most annoying is the primitive method. We assumed that he was more accomplished – with a chip implanted in his ear, for example"

''They also have a video of Danailov's alleged signals from the last year at Wijk aan Zee''.

The video shows nothing of the kind. It shows Danailov and several other people walking around during the games. I couldn't see any unusual gestures by Danailov or anyone else.
This whole scandal is really getting on my nerves. It's all dirty tricks on both sides. Topalov's team make some silly allegations, then Kramnik acolytes retaliate with equally risible insinuations. And the charade goes on. I don't believe that any of the top GMs do cheat but this mud wrestling does our noble game incalculable harm.
FIDE (not ACP which is hardly neutral) should step in and put a stop to this nonsense. NOW.

Some random factual stuff about the video in the Kommersant article:

(1) The game is Ivanchuk-Topalov from Round 11 of Corus 2006, 1/27/06.

(2) The monitor behind the game, however, is showing Lahno-Vescovi from Group B, either WTM at Move 61 or more likely the final position after 62.Qe8+ Kg5 1/2-1/2.

(3) The Chessbase report of that round says, "Topalov kept his half-point lead after an adventurous game with Ivanchuk. He was better, then worse, then played very well to draw a rook endgame. The world's top-rated spectator, Garry Kasparov, said he was impressed with how quickly Topalov played the key drawing line."

(4) I cannot tell for sure, but my best guess from the shot of the game at the beginning is that it's White to play at Move 47 or 48, since it looks like WK on f3 and pawns abreast on g4 and f4, but I can barely make out what looks like the h-pawn still on h2.

As for interpretation, let me ask two Qs: (1) Why would moves be phoned in rather than sent by text-message?, and (2) Why would a supposedly-furtive Danailov pull his phone from his vest while still in the open in the playing hall?

A text- message must be deleted if not it is always possible to read what was writen...if he get caught red handed, there is an evidence.

A phone call is clean: there is nothing to do after the call to erase some evidence...

Don't take danailov for a monkey... he is not a Bush!

I have no scientific opinion on the Kommersant article itself. But on the allegation of "immoral ties" in English, Topalov is certainly guilty!---the only reason the tie he's wearing in the gallery photo is pardonable is that it's from a blindfold event :-). More topical, the Russian word translated "ties", "svyazyakh", is a double-entendre: it also has to do with /signalling/ in the military or railway communications sense.

I would like to find out the methodology for Barsky's analysis mentioned in the article. According to Danailov's 29 July 2006 rebuttal of the San Luis charges at www.chesspro.ru/opinion/danailov.shtml, the main articles are the same one by Barsky posted in Mig's Elista game 9 thread, prosports.ru/index.ipj?clsid=3795239278-6953-16397-191&method=getArticle&id=73936&rubric_id=39361,
and one by Andrei Devyatkin titled "Topalov: Facts and Conjectures", www.chesspro.ru/opinion/topalov.shtml

If that is all there is, then as a scientist and also seemingly the only one to put data-gathering methodology out for public critique, I have a unique right to say: the methodology to the Fritz/Rybka-matching part of these allegations is NONEXISTENT. Not even a search depth is stated for matches! let alone a likelihood of reproducing results! Fritz 9 varies between runs, while Crafty and Fruit 2.1 are "100% reproducible". Without this, "the computer's first line" is simply not defined! What I'm saying is being missed here is "Science 101" stuff---basic science vocabulary---and you can't avoid it because the matching allegations in these articles simply ARE scientific hypotheses!

Look---these words were written there by Danailov himself: Прошу всех читателей сделать необходимую проверку: "I petition all readers to do the necessary testing." That's precisely what I've been begging for in half my posts here! If Danailov and I agree, let it be done! (BTW, I have my thumb in the corner of my mouth in some chess photos from the 1970s, and you'll have to persuade me that other tics I know well are signals.)

I guess what leaps to my eye is Danailov's comment that he's sued Breutigam. I imagine this is like so much of what he says a lie, but it will be interesting to see what happens if by any chance it isn't. of course like most legal proceedings 'nothing much' will probably be the answer.

And since you can't control when the player looks up, you are forced to repeat signals. Which

1) looks odd and easily observeable (especially if it's a sequence of three signals after coming back from your call with DF handler)
2) can lead to easy miscommunication if the player misses your eye rub and sees your second hair scratch. Now it's Kc1.

That system is a recipe for either miscommunication or easy spotting by third party.

Direct link to the video by Kommersant:


There is nothing illegal about going outside the playing hall to get reknown players or computer engine's analysis on how well your player is doing.

And then you come back. And you are nervous since your man is playing in an important game and in a high-tension position. In such a situation, especially if you are naturally twitchy and fidgety, it is very likely you hands will get restless and travel all over your body, rubbing, scratching, stretching.

can't seem to connect to the video for some reason...

You guys may be over-thinking the signaling possibilities. To help a legitimate 2700-level player perform at a 2800 level you wouldn't need to transmit moves. A 2700 can see all the moves (most of the time, at least).

Where you could help him is in transmitting an evaluation of the current position. For example, you could rub your white teeth may imply that white has an advantage. Conversely, you could put on your black framed glasses may imply that black has the advantage. Add in a signal indicating that there is a combination on the board that can tip things in your player's favor and you've helped him enormously.

You don't have to tell him what the combination is. At 2700, I'm sure that he's quite capable of finding it on his own -- at least most of the time -- as long as he knows it exists.

HardyBerger - how is FIDE supposed to put a stop to this nonsense?

One of the problems is that FIDE is itself compromised by the actions of some of its senior people.

Regan, nice work! I think you're on the right track here. Interesting how few actually went for that kind of exhaustive research.

With the 'chips in the head theory' and other wild conjectures, the conspiracy theorists are unstoppable. But they're not new to chess either -- yogurt, chair X-Rays, we've seen crazier things. You cannot defeat darkness and ignorance by a good argument alone (they need witches to burn), but it helps those of us who 'really want to know'.

My suggestion, articulate this into a paper or a even a template for others to follow. Explain more clearly 'The Methods' part. Also tabulate the results in a more readable format. I think you're doing the right thing.


I just saw the video and - what a scandal GASP - it clearly reveals that there is MORE THAN ONE PERSON signalling Topalov !!! In the corner Danailov is standing, there is evidently some SIGNIFICANT head/nose/and whatnot- scratching going on !!! Look carefully and you can count at least 7 !!! Someone is even signalling with his right foot !!! The only question that remains: are they all running the same engine ???

Ok, the point is of course that this assault backfires as Mr. Danailov behaves no differently than the rest of the audience (very obliged to the "Dutch fan" to have this fact documented). That anyone would use this as "proof" of the serious allegations against world #1 Topalov and that it's being quoted by the media is really mind-boggling. I just hope that the string of russian Grandmasters demeaning themselves by having their name associated with this nonsense doesn't get too long (let's see - before games 8 & 9 the screen was removed to give Topalov a chance - poor Bareev...)

Regan, I think you're on the right track here. Interesting how few actually went for that kind of exhaustive research.

With the 'chips in the head theory' and other wild conjectures, the conspiracy theorists are unstoppable. But they're not new to chess either -- yougurt, chair X-Rays, we've seen crazier things... No security measures can satisfy that thirst. You cannot defeat darkness and ignorance by a good argument alone (they need witches to burn), but it helps those of us who 'really want to know'.

My suggestion, articulate this into a paper or a even a template for others to follow. Explain more clearly 'The Methods' part. Also tabulate the results in a more readable format. I think you're doing the right thing.


FIDE is the body with overall regulatory responsibility for chess worldwide and however inefficient it might be, it would have the legitimacy that groups like ACP lack. FIDE could establish/enforce a code of conduct for players and managers like FIFA/EUFA. If those who made unsubstantiated allegations against Topalov after San Luis, or Danailov during Elista had been appropriately reprimanded, then the whole tit-for-tat trading of innuendoe and brickbats could have been nipped in the bud before we arrived at this sorry pass. The hiatus created by FIDE's inaction has resulted in this open season of silly allegations and equally risible, if well meaning attempts at verification by all kinds of unqualified parties.

Knowing that I or my opponent have an advantage confers little to no benefit. If anything, it can make you nervous--why am I not realizing it? what does he have that I am not seeing?

Knowing that there is a combination on board (and I am not even sure Fritz's analysis would be able to produce that kind of decisive theoretical conclusion) would lead me to spend my time searching for a master strategic blow. I may not even see it and I am quite likely to pick the wrong one. GMs may be able to see every immediate move on the board, but as games prove time and time again, they are far from perfect in evaluating their strengths and all the possible responses. Trying to guess as to what an engine's analysis is at the board is suicide.

I am suing Kommersant for wasting Internet bandwidth.

Trying to make statistics out of Topalov's game in order to show an unsual correlation between his moves and those of a computer won't *never* be sufficient to prove anything. If Topalov is intelligent, and I'm sure he is, and cheats, what I have serious doubts about, then he has probably ensured that he won't be catched, and uses techniques like: varying engines, varying machines (number of processors, clock speeds), using 2nd choice moves when there are 2 winning moves, etc...

Details can be accumulated to the infinite, like the recent video on Kommersant web site, a doubt will remain, so small it could be.

IMHO, here are 2 ways to proceed:

1. To have Danailov's agreement for having data from his telephonic operator during Topalov's matches. To verify the source of his phonecalls.
2. To hire a detective and engage secret investigations about Danailov. This is a somewhat extreme procedure, that *must* remain confidential as long as the procedure is not closed or evidences are not shown.

Even when I stated statistics won't ever be sufficient to prove anything, whenever a cheater is sufficiently *cautious* (as I state above by varying engines and so on), I believe they can be done. BUT, and it's the whole point, they must be SCIENTIFIC:

-To define a testing protocol
-To apply it on a large set of players

Doing this is a huge, huge, work. It requires thousands of hours of CPU. And the most annoying part is that the protocol can still fail to produce significative results when applied on a clever cheater...

Dimi, thanks! Before I saw your quote, I did revisions to my page this morning, and now I've done more. These include a template with steps (a)--(d) for others to follow, a little more detailed than what I'd posted in blogs. Please let me know if they're (not) clear enough...


A paper on the statistical methods is also underway, with one maybe two prominent co-authors. Poor I am suffering from a great deal of "parallel drag": 2 maybe 3 other papers on my mainline work to submit to a conference on Monday, a grant proposal due next week, a trip, a course and seminar not in my main area, reference letters, and more...but still feeling a need "to channel with structure" the "wildness" you refer to here first. My university in Amherst NY is after all the "Vatican" of scientific, skeptical inquiry... www.centerforinquiry.net

The video is now up here:


Looks like a whole lot of nothing to me. It's the "going in and out and making cell calls" part that would be highly suspicious. Otherwise tics are just tics. It's not as if anyone suspects Danailov is a 2800 player.

Quick corrections: Jason Buczyna now has Rybka 2.2, not 2.0 (as he had in October), while I have 2.2n2. The Center For Inquiry seems not to have an official affiliation with the University at Buffalo, though they have joint initiatives and several faculty---including director Paul Kurtz and president David Triggle (a former UB provost)---are on its board.

As John Cobol says, indeed statistics can't "prove", but it is legally recognized that they *can* shift "the burden of proof", and the agreed rules for doing this are quantitative. On his other points, I've already given relevant statements above.


The point is that such behaviour is done repeatedly, which is not reflected in the video. The guy that makes the film asserts that he even didn't know who was *that* guy with a strange behaviour.

"" Where you could help him is in transmitting an evaluation of the current position. For example, you could rub your white teeth may imply that white has an advantage. Conversely, you could put on your black framed glasses may imply that black has the advantage. Add in a signal indicating that there is a combination on the board that can tip things in your player's favor and you've helped him enormously. ""

Isn't part of the case built on the move-for-move likeness with certain engines? Could it then not be said that some of these cheating theories mutually exclude each other? I'm not saying what is or what isn't happening, but some seem to like piling all these theories together to build "an overwhelming case".

On the one hand, no-one could draw many conclusions adverse to Topalov/Danailov from that. On the other, I would have thought everyone would agree Danailov would be well advised not to behave in that fashion.

Academically speaking, I agree with Yuriy it wouldn't help much to know who the computer thinks is better, and the idea of a signal for 'there being a combination here' seems naive to me. I suppose it shades towards Kasparov's 'go for it' idea. Of course Kasparov is much better placed than me to comment, but I even have doubts about that. For sure it would take a strong GM operating the machine, and probably one who knew the player well, to make sure that the position was one where there was a choice between going for it or not.

The truth is (I hope anyway) that no-one really knows how useful signalling, and what kind of signalling, would be to an elite GM because no-one's actually tried it.

Eric Schiller on the video: "When I am arbiter, anyone making such gestures would be tossed out of the playing hall without delay. Makes no difference who it is."

Personally, not sure exactly what I think. A couple of those movements were remarkable and I can see why people would be thinking. It does NOT seem like something everybody else is doing. But it's impossible now to be sure what I would think if I didn't know there's supposed to be something suspicious going on.

Some have rightly pointed out that this little two-minute clip wouldn't even come close to proving anything even if the alleged signals had been more "obvious". That stands to reason, but of course this is supposed to have been going on systematically (with the video clip just giving a small part of the picture), and if you're actually there for a prolonged period of time to see it it's possible you would really be reacting. Why else would people have been reporting suspicious behaviour for so long and from various different events?

Watching the video on youtube, I am 100% sure there is some sort of communication. There is no other reason for Danailov standing there. A ordinary observer would approach the board from a different angle. The quality of the communication starts with: Relax Veselin I am with you, goes over playing mind games with the other players and ends with signaling moves. (It would be interesting to have a body language expert like Samy Molcho to review the material)
Even in Tennis to much eye contact with your coach is penalized....
As an arbiter I would not tolerate Danailovs behavior.

Very funny! If this montage material can be proof for anything than what to say about cable in WC?


I'm looking for any means possible to improve my pitiful chess rating. Maybe you can help me. How does one make use of a cable (without a connection outlet) in a bathroom ceiling?

curious...what movements in the video do you guys find intolerable or remarkable?

I'm fairly sure the old lady with the glasses, the guy with the scarf, and the guy in the striped shirt we're all signaling too. Looks like a team of signalers to me.

Greg, i can put outlet on cable for less than 30sec with very simple tools. But i talked about that funny videomaterial

Outlet to what? Your head? Either you have a computer or the cable is worthless. Period. Show me a computer. I don't care if there are 50 outlets and ten miles of cable. Heck, you can even toss in a few dozen hard drives and a stack of DVDs. But if you can't access them to DO anything (you know, generate chess moves, receive communications) they are as useful as toilet paper. Less useful, actually.

At an absolute minimum, and being generous here, you would need a socket with a light that could be used to flicker a code. (Disregarding for the moment the need to climb a ladder and break open the ceiling...) That would hardly be more useful than tapping on the plumbing. Aha, tapping! Forget the pictures, where are the audio recordings of Kramnik's trips to the bathroom!?!? How could they have overlooked this?

They didn't overlook it, Mig, on the contrary they had a tape recording in there after game five. Kramnik amused himself in NiC speculating about who had the job of listening to it for seven hours.

Sadly though the tapes are not available on the internet, so we'll never be able to make up our own minds whether what sounds like innocent peeing was in fact code.

Mig, I am surprized that you dismissed possibility that the cable not nesessary to link with PC. Cable not nesessary to be Internet, it can be Ethernet. The cable is with warm link with big administrative bilding near. For Kramnik is enough to get information with some small device. This is a network cable. Internet or Ethernet. You can only have sam small device with display like this:
- 38.Ke3 (+2,05)
- 38.f6 (+1,84)
- 38.Qd5 (-0,06)

Oh, you have a DEVICE now? Great, when photos of Kramnik having that show up, let me know. (By the way, if it is processing a signal from the cable can can call it a computer. Unless it's a magic device, which it would have to be to avoid metal detectors and all the inspections.) Until then, the fact that Kramnik's bathroom, like every room in every modern building in the world, had cables inside the ceiling is completely and totally irrelevant.

Mig, Elista is not every modern town in the world and there are not cables everywhere. Especialy in WC. And WC is not every room. And I am sure that in your WC there isnt network cable... even You live in modern town.

And Mig,... i forget, detector is for mines, not for metal least in first games...

That's strange, I know some people who have a metal detector and find little pieces of metal, like coins. How do they do that, Lyubo? Do they have some super natural powers, if their detectors can only detect mines as you say?

When cables go from A to B, they might be above room C as well. In Elista that just happened to be the toilet.

So, if one assumes Kramnik used those cables to recieve information, we're still stuck with two questions:

- Where was the jack to plug in a device? A cable is not enough.

- Which device did he use, and how did he smuggle it in within without being detected?

Bet you can't answer those questions, can you, Lyubo?

Does anyone know where these cables went to? I mean, that's the first thing you'd do if these allegations were serious, isn't it? You'd find out where they led to and from?

rdh, sorry for saying so, but it is obvious that you didn't pay attention to the remarks of Lyubo and the like at all. Shame on you! Obviously the cables went directly from the KGB/FSB (in Moscow, I presume) to Elista.

It is even possible that the evil KGB agent who sent the moves and thus took the title away from the beloved nr. 1 in the world was no other than the former boss of the KGB! Yes, I am speaking about the most powerful man in Russia, mr. Putin. Wouldn't he personally interfere, to make sure that the world title in chess, THE most important thing in the world for the country, remains in Russian hands?

You might laugh, but it is clear that you haven't lived in Eastern Europa, like me.

rdh im sorry that cant explain you where these cables went to, cause my english is very poor and for me this is very dificult. These cables went to big administrative bilding in Elista, which is associate with security of Russia. This my answer must be enough for you. And this is fact.

Ok, lets suppose that tommorow somebody, somewhere will upload video with Kramnik cheating.
Then you will ask me where is computer or device or God knows what...
If someone dont wont believing something nobody and no any proves can help him.

Oscar your cense of humor is not reach to me. Im sorry but my English is not enough for helping me understanding ridiculeя

No problem Lyubo, thank you for answering the question of rdh. I always thought the cables went to the headquarters of the KGB/FSB in Moscow, but thanks to you we now know they only go to the local office of this secret service.

It all fits into the picture: they let a local agent send the moves to Kramnik, not a specialized one. Our hero Vesko was right all along, when he said it was an amateur sending the moves, causing them to be only second-best. Once more the Nr 1 of the world is proven right!!!

Who cares about to and from? There were cables in Kramnik's bathroom, cables! And he went there 50 times per game, 50! And he is Russian at that. Russian!

And how do you know this, Lyubo?

Acirce, you are biased as always, leaving out important information. How can you forget to mention that 80% !!! of Kramnik's moves matches those of Fritz! Fritz, a ChessBase product! ChessBase!

Luckily we have the brave reporters from veselintopalov.net, who do not hide information from us (okay, except for the second part of Short's letter). They are not biased like you, me, Mig, ChessBase and the rest of the world!

Personally I don’t think the possibility of trained pythons has been looked into nearly enough, There was a case in England awhile ago where one of these got loose and disappeared into the sewage system of a block of flats, and kept appearing out of the toilet bowl into the bathrooms of various horrified residents until some spoilsport council officials caught it. You wouldn’t even need training – you get one of these creatures to swallow a pocket Fritz (wrapped in a piece of meat or whatever). Then Kramnik smuggles a dead rat through the metal detectors and leaves it by the toilet. The KGB handlers slip the snake into the system backstage, it smells the rat, makes its way up through the pipe and into the bathroom, Kramnik intercepts it there, strangles it with his bare hands, rips it open and takes out the computer, then tears the snake apart and flushes the bits down the loo, and Bob’s your uncle. No wonder he needed to close the door, mind.

No no no, sorry rdh, but you forget one important thing. The computer cables! It is common knowledge, at least among those who have lived in Eastern Europe, especially in Bulgaria, that these have been used by Kramnik to receive the moves. Generated by Fritz, from ChessBase.

If not Vesko had said so himself, I might support your theory. After all, it sounds more likely than the ones we've heard before.

I'd earlier support another theory if Vesko had kept silent, namely that Kramnik received signals in his toilet by morse. It can't be that hard to make a switch for the light somewhere far outside the toilet itself, don't you think? And then by switching on and off the light you can send some form of code.

A python makes a good fantasy story, by lawyer standards.

But a more prosaic device to use in the toilet is a pocket chess set. Just a fold-up plastic one with flat magnetic pieces, not a pocket fritz.

But the cables, ggg, the cables! Did the KGB go trough all that trouble, installing cables, sending moves, and Kramnik did not even use that information? You think he might have relied on a pocket chess set?!?!

rdh, it is determined, i have "The toilet War" and for me is easy reading on Bulgarian, not like with English, the words there are "His(cable`s) other end accesses the building of goverment that has warm conection by the auditorium for game.

Ah. Well, if Danailov says it, Ljubo, it must be true.

How on earth is a pocket chess set supposed to help? If you'd analysed even with lesser GMs you'd know they don't need one of those.

Actually, to judge from that Chessbase extract, I wasn’t the only one who’d thought of the python idea. It’s hard to think of why else the Bulgarians might want to block up the plughole in Kramnik’s shower.

Although mind you it’s equally hard to think of why it was thought useful to have a shower at all. Maybe Kramnik insisted on having one available in case he had to shake hands with Danailov?

I like the light switch idea. Easy enough to rig up an external switch to his bathroom lightbulb, flick it on and off using some sort of code. Why bother with pythons that bite, and cables that you can't access, when a flickering light bulb would do. Do you think it's too late for them to check for electrical wires in the ceiling? Think some of the wires lead outside the bathroom? Wonder if those photos are being suppressed?

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on February 3, 2007 4:55 PM.

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