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What Game Five? Print E-mail
By Jennifer Shahade   
September 29, 2006

Topalov's team accuses Kramnik of going to the bathroom too often! Kramnik is insulted by this and the appeals committee decision to insist on shared restrooms for the rest of the match. He shows up to the next game as White and refuses to make a move until his previous, private restroom is opened, thus forfeiting on time. Everyone wants to know: "Will there still be a Kramnik-Topalov match?" And if not, whose side will FIDE take?

It's hard to imagine Kramnik playing unless his forfeit is revoked but it seems equally doubtful that Topalov will give Kramnik back the point, and allow separate toilets as before. Mig Greengard of chessninja writes: "This sort of mind-game BS has a long history in big matches, of course. Protests, counter-protests, the besmirched honor of suddenly virginal martyrs. What a joke. Topalov should be ashamed. I predict it will continue tomorrow with no forfeit. Wishful thinking?"

Watch for more updates on Chess Life Online.

Here is the letter from Topalov's manager, Silvio Danailov, which started it all.

To all mass media

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The careful study of the video recordings from the rest rooms done by the technical experts of the Bulgarian team revealed the following facts which we would herewith like to bring to your attention:

1. After each move Mr. Kramnik immediately heads to the rest room and from it directly to the bathroom. During every game he visited the relaxation room 25 times at the average and the bathroom more than 50 times – the bathroom is the only place without video surveillance.

2. Unlike Mr. Kramnik, the World Champion Veselin Topalov spends his time mainly at the playing table. The average number of times he visited the rest room and the bathroom is 8 and 4 respectively.

A short statistical sample derived from the camera recordings in the rest room during the third game shows:

15.54: Kramnik plays move 15
15.55: Goes into the bathroom
15.56: Goes out of the bathroom
15.57: Goes into the bathroom
15.59: Goes out of the bathroom
16.03: Goes into the bathroom
16.04: Goes out the bathroom
16.07: Comes out for move 16

The behavior of Mr. Kramnik is very similar to the above during all games played so far.

The logical question arises: How many times during a game does a player need to go to the bathroom and with what regularity? The logical answer is: between 5 -10 times at the most, but not 50 as the statistics from the games played so far shows.

We would like to once again remind you that the bathroom is the only place without video or audio surveillance.

In our opinion these facts are quite strange, if not suspicious.

In relation to the above, and to ensure the best conditions for fair play and rule out all suspicions we demand:


To stop the use of the rest rooms and the adjacent bathrooms for both players.

If a player needs to go to the bathroom, he can use the public bathroom, but only with permission from the Arbiter and accompanied by an assistant arbiter.

The Organizing Committee should present the video tapes from the rest rooms to all journalists accredited in the press-center so that they can verify for themselves the facts described by us.

Should this extremely serious problem remain unsolved by 10.00 clock tomorrow (September 29th, 2006), we would seriously reconsider the participation of the World Champion Veselin Topalov in this match.


Silvio Danailov
Manager of the Bulgarian team

Read the York Times article here.

Read an Round 5 play by play from chessbase here.