Review of Kramnik – Topalov World Chess Championship Match

Vladimir Kramnik, Chess Champion of the World, accepted a challenge from Veselin Topalov, FIDE Champion, for a “12 game match”, beginning September 23. Kramnik is an honorable man but naive and gullible. He let the match be held under the auspices of FIDE, a corrupt organization ruled by a virtual dictator: Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

Compounding his errors Kramnik agreed to an appeals committee of Jorge Vega, Zurab Azmaiparashvili and Georgios Makropoulos, known to be close friends of Topalov.

Kramnik did not suspect they would resort to blatant cheating and ignore the rules of the match.

Win or lose each player would receive $500,000, which is very bad – the winner should always get more money than the loser, even if it doesn’t matter in this case as both players are millionaires and maybe multi-millionaires.

Geurt Gijssen is one of the worst arbiters in history. In a FIDE Tournament a player wrote a move on his score sheet but made a different move on the board. Gijssen ruled that the player must make on the board the move he wrote on his score sheet. That’s INSANE! There is no such rule in the FIDE laws of chess or any other laws of chess. Nevertheless Kramnik and Topalov agreed for Gijssen to be their arbiter.

The players have separate rest rooms which have a camera connected to the outside where an assistant arbiter watches. The only place the camera cannot see is the toilet.

Kramnik has been very ill for two years and drinks a lot of water, on doctor’s orders.

Kramnik had white in game one and won only because Topalov refused to force a draw in an ending where he was a pawn behind.

In game two Topalov missed 26 RxPch! forcing mate, and later missed 36 QR5! forcing mate, and eventually lost.

Games three and four were draws and then Topalov revealed his vile character and officially accused Kramnik of cheating, by his “frequent visits to the rest room,” but didn’t offer any proof.

The appeals committee ruled that the players must not use their private rest rooms, but must use a common rest room. Kramnik refused to accept this illegal ruling because the match agreement had a clause forbidding the change in any of the rules without the approval of both players, and he didn’t approve.

The appeals committee refused to rescind their rule and ordered game five to be played. Ilyumzhinov, President of FIDE, should have used his authority to rescind the illegal ruling of the appeals committee, but did nothing.

Game five began with Topalov sitting alone at the board and after one hour he was declared winner by forfeit.

On October 2 Ilyumzhinov replaced two persons on the appeals committee, which now consists of Jorge Vega, Boris Kutin and Faik Gasanov. Gorgios Makropoulos was appointed “FIDE Observer of the Match”.

They rescinded the rule regarding the use of the rest rooms but did NOT cancel the forfeit.

Permitted to use his rest room again, Kramnik, inflicted by hubris, agreed to temporarily accept the forfeit and continue playing, under protest.

At the beginning of the match most chess players wanted Topalov to win, because of his aggressive style, but now most players wanted Kramnik to win.

Game six was a draw in 32 moves.

By a peculiar rule, for this match only, Topalov had white in game seven, which was a draw in 60 moves.

In game eight Kramnik made the mistake of changing his strategy, played like an idiot and lost in 52 moves. 1 PQ4 PQ4; 2 PQB4 PQB3; 3 NKB3 NB3; 4 NB3 PK3; 5 PK3 QNQ2; 6 BQ3 PxP; 7 BxBP PQN4; 8 BK2?? The fundamental principles of chess say this is a very stupid move. Bishops are made to attack and white must play 7 BN3 or 7 BQ3. Kramnik followed his blunder with a foolish “attack” on the Q-side and an idiotic sacrifice of a piece on move 18. After trading queens two moves later he could have safely resigned but tortured himself until move 52.

Why do masters do that? How can you look at 8 BK2?? and not realize how bad it is? Because imbeciles like Kramnik don’t play chess, they play variations.

They see another master game where 8 BK2?? was played so they decide to shuffle the pieces around and look for some “trick”, but Kramnik does not know how to attack, he can only play strong moves and wait for a blunder. He is too conceited to admit this. Over-confidence is the main cause of mistakes in master chess.

Kramnik’s play in game nine was pathetic and he was crushed in 39 moves.

I expected Kramnik’s collapse to continue but instead he easily won game ten.

In game eleven he played the same defense as in game nine but with great improvement in his play, and was easily able to draw.

Game twelve was superficially exciting as Kramnik tried to win material and Topalov tried to attack the king. Each was successful and Topalov “sacrificed” a rook for perpetual check.

Officially the match was tied so they had a “four game tie-breaking match”.

Each player starts with 25 minutes and adds ten seconds after each move.

Topalov had white in game one, a 47 move draw.

Kramnik won game two in 45 moves.

Topalov won game three in 50 moves.

Topalov’s play in game four was insane. 1 PQ4 PQ4; 2 PQB4 PQB3; 3 NKB3 NB3; 4 NB3 PK3; 5 PK3 QNQ2; 6 BQ3 PxP; 7 BxBP PQN4; 8 BK2 BN2; 9 0-0 BK2; 10 PK4 PN5; 11 PK5 PxN; 12 PxN BxP; 13 PxP PB4; 14 PxP NxP; 15 BQN5ch KB1; 16 QxQch RxQ. Permitting trade of queens against the world’s best endgame player is incomprehensible. Kramnik won very easily in 45 moves.

Topalov made a big mistake by playing 1 PQ4 in every game. His forte is the open game, where he can calculate all over the 64 squares better than anyone in the world.

Topalov “choked” in the first two games. He should have forced a draw in game one and in game two he missed at least two chances to force mate.

– from Confidential Chess Lessons © 2006 James Schroeder

James Schroeder’s earlier article reviewing the match is [here].

The games of the match are [here].

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