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Kramnik vs Topalov, 2006
Toiletgate in Elista

In 2006, the schism which began with the Kasparov-Short World Championship was to finally end, unifying the World Championship title after 13 long years. Bulgarian grandmaster Veselin Topalov, the winner of the 2005 FIDE World Championship in San Luis was due to play Vladimir Kramnik, the Classical World Champion, and the winner was to emerge as the single, unified, World Chess Champion.

 Kramnik-Topalov 2006
 Kramnik and Topalov, Elista 2006
The contest began with Kramnik winning both of the first two games, and due to the extreme brevity of the match (a mere 12 games) this established an early commanding lead. After two more drawn games, on a rest day, Topalov's manager Silvio Danailov, issued a press release which threatened to abort the match. The press release read, in part:

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.
In our opinion these facts are quite strange, if not suspicious. ... Should this extremely serious problem remain unsolved by 10.00 o'clock tomorrow (September 29th, 2006), we would seriously reconsider the participation of the World Champion Veselin Topalov in this match. [1]

The FIDE Appeals Committee, after viewing the video tapes, found that the frequency of Kramnik's visits to the toilet had been exaggerated, but nevertheless took these allegations seriously, and decreed that the private toilets would be closed and a common toilet opened for both players.

Kramnik Forfeits Kramnik's team rejected this decision, declaring: "The protests of the Topalov team and the suspicions in the press release of Mr. Topalov are utterly disgraceful and are touching Mr. Kramnik's privacy."[2] Kramnik refused to play under the altered conditions, and as a result, Kramnik forfeited game 5.

In a state of chaos, the match was placed on hold while FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov flew to Elista in the hope for bringing a solution to this crisis, which by this time had been given the pejorative name, "Toiletgate." After several days of strife and intense negotiations, Ilyumzhinov declared that the match would continue. The members of the Appeals Committee had been replaced, the access to the toilets was restored, and the forfeited game 5 would remain a loss for Kramnik.

As the match continued, Topalov won both game 8 and game 9, giving him a one point lead with only three games left to play. His lead was not to last long, as Kramnik scored a brilliant victory in game 10, thereby tying the score, and after two more draws the match was sent into overtime.

The first phase of the tiebreaks was a four game mini-match played with 25 minutes per side, and a 10 second increment. Kramnik's victory in game 16 allowed him to win the mini-match. Vladimir Kramnik, after 13 years of chaos in the chess world, had thus become the the solitary undisputed World Chess Champion.

click on a game number to replay game 12345678910111213141516
Topalov00½½1½½110½½½010
Kramnik11½½0½½001½½½101

FINAL SCORE:  Kramnik 8½;  Topalov 7½
Reference: game collection WCC Kramnik-Topalov Elista 2006

NOTABLE GAMES   [what is this?]
    · Game #2     Topalov vs Kramnik, 2006     0-1
    · Game #8     Kramnik vs Topalov, 2006     0-1
    · Game #10     Kramnik vs Topalov, 2006     1-0

FOOTNOTES

  1. Topalov threatens to abandon the World Championship Match, Chessbase, Sep. 9 2006.
    2 Kramnik may stop playing the match, Chessbase, Sep. 9, 2006.

 page 1 of 1; 16 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Kramnik vs Topalov 1-0752006Kramnik - Topalov World Championship MatchE04 Catalan, Open, 5.Nf3
2. Topalov vs Kramnik 0-1632006Kramnik - Topalov World Championship MatchD18 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch
3. Kramnik vs Topalov ½-½382006Kramnik - Topalov World Championship MatchE04 Catalan, Open, 5.Nf3
4. Topalov vs Kramnik ½-½542006Kramnik - Topalov World Championship MatchD47 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
5. Kramnik vs Topalov 0-102006Kramnik - Topalov World Championship MatchA00 Uncommon Opening
6. Topalov vs Kramnik ½-½312006Kramnik - Topalov World Championship MatchD17 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
7. Topalov vs Kramnik ½-½602006Kramnik - Topalov World Championship MatchD27 Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical
8. Kramnik vs Topalov 0-1522006Kramnik - Topalov World Championship MatchD47 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
9. Topalov vs Kramnik 1-0392006Kramnik - Topalov World Championship MatchD12 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
10. Kramnik vs Topalov 1-0432006Kramnik - Topalov World Championship MatchE10 Queen's Pawn Game
11. Topalov vs Kramnik ½-½662006Kramnik - Topalov World Championship MatchD12 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
12. Kramnik vs Topalov ½-½472006Kramnik - Topalov World Championship MatchD12 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
13. Topalov vs Kramnik ½-½472006Kramnik - Topalov World Championship MatchD18 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch
14. Kramnik vs Topalov 1-0452006Kramnik - Topalov World Championship MatchD45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
15. Topalov vs Kramnik 1-0502006Kramnik - Topalov World Championship MatchD12 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
16. Kramnik vs Topalov 1-0452006Kramnik - Topalov World Championship MatchD47 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
 page 1 of 1; 16 games  PGN Download 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 9 OF 9 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-10-21  Muttley101: Do not feed the troll.
Mar-10-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: By 2006, Kramnik had already made it known he suffered from ankylosing spondylitis, but I can't recall if he ever tried to connect this with the amount of time he spent away from the board during the match.
Mar-10-21  Allanur: @MissScarlett, the point is not if he revealed it or not. What I am curious about is did he used to spend such time in bathrooms or did he used to visit toilets in his earlier than yet close to 2006 match competitions? If he quit (or no longer did) doing so after the 2006 match, I understand: Topalov's accusations must have made him decide to quit such habit (assuming he had had).

The point is did he have such habit in his match against Leko for example? Or his tournament plays in 2005 and 2006 for example.

That is all I am curious about. Also, Kramnik does not necessarily need to have had such habit. This habit might have emerged in this match due to some external causes we might not be familiar. All is possible.

The point is: did he have such habit before?

@beatgiant, well. It was not "An interested party accused his rival of something, so it must have some truth." either :) I replied in the way you did.

As for Petrosianic, I saw he wrote something - I did not read his comment. If he wrote smth to me, here is my reply: I no longer entertain such 'discussions', like "kramnik did not have computer ladder so he could not have cheated" etc.

Mar-10-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Allanur>
Danailov's specific allegation (50 times per game) was false. 18 times per 4-hour game means average 4.5 times per hour which doesn't seem excessive to me, considering all circumstances.

But to answer your question, there are a few public quotes that claim Kramnik has always liked to walk around a lot during games.

In an interview about the Tal Memorial:

M. Komich: "You just won the Tal Memorial with 6 points out of 9, while not playing in the Kramnik style at all – but boldly, confidently, with a flourish – like your walking around the hall. Where did that change come from?"

Kramnik: "No, no, I’ve always walked around a lot, there’s nothing new." (followed by discussion of his style)

I seem to recall a quote about Kramnik walking around a lot during the Kasparov-Kramnik match too, but was not quickly able to find it.

I really doubt we will be able to find specific info about use of a toilet break room as you expect, however. Not every event gives players their own break rooms, or have someone like Danailov "investigating" the use.

Mar-10-21  Petrosianic: <Allanur: <As for Petrosianic, I saw he wrote something - I did not read his comment.>

Rimmer, you've forgotten the colour code. This is a Black Card situation, end of conversation. You've conceded my actual points without dispute in favor of rebutting strawmen, and we've mutually agreed to end the discussion. I'll be glad to remind you of that but am not going to waste time re-posting points you've conceded. Dismissed.

Mar-10-21  Petrosianic: <beatgiant>: <Danailov's specific allegation (50 times per game) was false.>

Right, but oddly enough the two funniest moments from that match both came from Topalov (Kramnik is not a particularly funny guy).

One of them was when Topalov made some comment about how can you get out of Russia with the airports shut down. "You can't walk out!" For some reason, that struck me as absolutely hilarious. It immediately conjured up images for me of Hitler and Napoleon's misadventures in Russia, which probably wasn't Topalov's intention, but it came out that way.

The other was on the blurb of the potboiler he commissioned to reassure the Bulgarian people that he'd been right. The blurb on the back was wonderful:

<Chess has the reputation of being a quiet game, in which there are no ankle injuries or bruised elbows. But in the godforsaken town of Elista we hear the artillery volleys of a toilet war.">

Topalov probably didn't write that himself, but no matter. It's great stuff. For the next two years, I never mentioned Elista without inserting the adjective "godforsaken" before it. Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to work "artillery volleys of a toilet war" into conversation, but if I could have, I would have.

Mar-10-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: Something admin might want to consider for cg.com is a "like button". I bring it up here because I was actually reaching for it when I finished reading Petrosianic's post. Maybe we should extemporise?
Mar-10-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: :-) for Petrosianic
Mar-10-21  nok: <18 times per 4-hour game>

The 2000s were when mobile devices overtook humans and lots of accusations were flying around. Given the context, it's very possible Kramnik went more than necessary to psych Topy out.

Mar-10-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: The players had separate rest areas, so separate bathrooms. No way Topalov could know how many times Kramnik entered the bathroom.
Mar-10-21  nok: That would make me worry more, not less. Could you see your opponent's move from the rest area?
Mar-12-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  fabelhaft: The whole Toiletgate is often reduced to Danailov and Topalov behaving like idiots, which maybe isn’t exactly wrong, but looking at the whole picture, this is how I see it:

Topalov won the FIDE title impressively and was #1. This was not taken well by everyone in Russia, where he was widely accused of being a cheater. One of the top players who was in Team Kramnik (Bareev) claimed that “we know” that Topalov had been cheating for years. Moro stated that Rybka and Danailov were the players of the year, not Topalov, etc.

Bareev said that Kramnik ‘s best move ever was to insist on a glass wall in Elista, with the intention of stopping Topalov’s cheating. The mood was one where everyone thought the other side was cheating. At least according to Bareev Kramnik thought Topalov was cheating, and that they had managed to stop Danailov’s move transmissions. Topalov second Onischuk said Topalov had been certain that Kramnik was cheating when leaving the board.

Also in 2000 Kasparov had complained to the arbiter about Kramnik’s frequent bathroom visits. For some reason this behavior annoyed also Kasparov. With some distance and looking at the bare facts many of these things just seem paranoid. Topalov of course comes out of it much worse than Kramnik, given that the latter never made any unfounded public accusations. The nicest thing one can say is that maybe Topalov was affected by all the cheating accusations he had received before the match.

Mar-12-21  Petrosianic: <Topalov won the FIDE title impressively and was #1. This was not taken well by everyone in Russia, where he was widely accused of being a cheater>

FWIW, I never thought Topalov was cheating, either. At least, no clear evidence was ever shown. Granted, Danailov is shady enough to do it, but that doesn't help if Topalov isn't willing to receive it. I just never saw any evidence that he was that bad.

Granted, Topalov and Danailov had a bizarre relationship. There's a quote that I'm going to have to turn up again, describing how Danailov took over at a very young age, saying something like "I'll be your mother, I'll be your father. I'll do your laundry, I'll pay your bills. I don't want you thinking about anything but chess."

It sounded like Danailov really did all Topalov's thinking for him. Whether that would stretch so far as for Topalov to take computer assistance from him, I saw no clear evidence, so I'm going to say no.

But, although I'm sure Danailov never believed Kramnik was cheating, it's quite possible that he convinced Topalov that he was. That doesn't let Topalov off the hook, though. He still knew he was violating the Ethics Rules by going over the Tournament Committee's heads, so he deserved the reprimand he got. But I think Topalov was more fool than villain, and Danailov the opposite.

Mar-16-21  Allanur: @beatgiant, <Danailov's specific allegation (50 times per game) was false. 18 times per 4-hour game means average 4.5 times per hour which doesn't seem excessive to me, considering all circumstances.>

68 times in 4 games, in 3 of those 4 games only around 1 hour footage was inspected, that equals 17 times per game. only 1 game (3rd game) was re-watched fully. Who told you 18 times in 4 games? The committee, not Danailov, stated Kramnik visited 25 times in the first game, 13-12-18 times respectively in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th game. And only 1 game was fully inspected, the rest of the 3 games' 1 hour footage was analysed. It all comes from the committee's report. 13 times in 1 hour only, 12 times in an hour, 18 times in an hour. That is why Danailov claimed 50 times per game and the committee replied "it is an exageration." Moreover, the committee refused to share the footages with the journalists for public investigation.

<But to answer your question, there are a few public quotes that claim Kramnik has always liked to walk around a lot during games.

In an interview about the Tal Memorial:

M. Komich: "You just won the Tal Memorial with 6 points out of 9, while not playing in the Kramnik style at all – but boldly, confidently, with a flourish – like your walking around the hall. Where did that change come from?"

Kramnik: "No, no, I’ve always walked around a lot, there’s nothing new." (followed by discussion of his style)> Strange. So, walking in a hall was sufficient.

In 1995 match between Anand and Kasparov, in 1 game Kasparov was also taking regular visits to bathroom. It was a game in which Kasparov triumphed both spectacularly and quickly.

Mar-16-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Allanur>
Just to clarify this one point:
<Who told you 18 times in 4 games?>

I did not say "18 times in 4 GAMES" but rather "18 times in 4 HOURS" which is the length of time for one game to be played, assuming both players use most of their time and reach the first time control.

Mar-16-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: I go to the rest room a lot during tournament games - it is just a nervous habit - no one ever complained - ridiculous to make so much out of it.
Mar-17-21  Allanur: @beatgiant, <I did not say "18 times in 4 GAMES" but rather "18 times in 4 HOURS" which is the length of time for one game to be played, assuming both players use most of their time and reach the first time control.> That is even worse for your part, me assuming (or misunderstanding) "you said 18 in 4 games" was much optimistic it turns out.

As the committee reported, 18 times Kramnik visited the restroom/toilet/bathroom was in one hour of the 4th game of the match.

Mar-17-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Allanur>
From the statement you quoted above:

<In the third game the number is 18...It should be noted that, the 3rd game is the only game which was recorded fully.>

The statement says, "the number is 18." It does not say "the number is 18 in an hour." The game lasted 38 moves and Kramnik ended in time pressure, meaning he alone spent almost 2 hours.

Nor did the statement say anything about the 4th game.

Am I wrong? Please clarify.

Mar-17-21  Petrosianic: <Allanur> You've already discredited yourself on this, there's no point throwing good money after bad to try to rewrite history.

History's verdict remains that Topalov was issued a "severe reprimand" by the Ethics Committee for open violations of the Code, while nothing was ever found against Kramnik, even to this day.

Mar-18-21  Allanur: <The statement says, "the number is 18." It does not say "the number is 18 in an hour." The game lasted 38 moves and Kramnik ended in time pressure, meaning he alone spent almost 2 hours.

Nor did the statement say anything about the 4th game.

Am I wrong? Please clarify.>

Only 1 hours from those games were inspected/re-watched, that is why "... times in 1 hour." not to mention the committee refused to share the footages for public investigation (+ later on they all [were forced to] resign).) Here is what I wrote in my previous comment:

68 times in 4 games, in 3 of those 4 games only around 1 hour footage was inspected, that equals 17 times per game. only 1 game (3rd game) was re-watched fully. Who told you 18 times in 4 games? The committee, not Danailov, stated Kramnik visited 25 times in the first game, 13-12-18 times respectively in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th game. And only 1 game was fully inspected, the rest of the 3 games' 1 hour footage was analysed. Whatever number comes in those 3 games comes from that analysed 1 hour. Kramnik - Topalov World Championship Match (2006) (kibitz #30113)

I saw Petrosian also stated something, I did not read his comment after his b...t points in his previous comments, I no longer entertain such b...t points. Nor do I waste time or energy

Mar-18-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Allanur>
In your earlier posts in the current thread, you did state <in the only game that was recorded fully, it is seen that Kramnik visited the toilet 18 times>, referring to the third game.

Now you are stating it is 12 times in one hour of the third game. Yes, that's more frequent than 18 times over the whole game. Thanks for clarifying that. For purposes of discussion, I can stipulate your later statement is accurate.

Your question above was answered, Kramnik did behave this way in other events before and since. (By the way, Danailov also behaved with off-board antics in other events before and since.)

But I don't see how it proves anything. You probably aren't going to be convinced now like "Ah, Kramnik was always using the bathroom a lot, so there's nothing unusual in this match," are you?

Mar-28-21  Allanur: @Beatgiant, I must have confused the games in my previous post. Later, I clarified it.

As for your last question, I of course am not gonna give verdict based on this issue only, but if it turns out the Kramnik's behaviour in this match was his usual habit, not something unique to this match then of course I will find it less strange.

But likewise, if this was the case unique to this match, then I will find it more strange.

By the way, I did research on this and found that the room from which cables were found was being used by both players - rooms were not specific to the players, it was specific to the colours: In game 1 the player with white used this room, then in the next game the player with white would have used the same room. It was tied to the colors, not players. All in all, Danailov's assertion in regard to the cables can not be something unique to Kramnik, whatever comes from it. In two games Kramnik used that room from which cables were found and in another 2 games Topalov used that room.

Mar-29-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: As I see it, the pros and cons around the complaint are:

Pro Topalov's complaint: Kramnik's frequency of bathroom visits was indeed higher than what would be normal for most people. After seeing your information, I have to agree on that part.

Con Topalov's complaint: His team should not normally have even known how often Kramnik was using the bathroom. His team should have raised any complaints through regular channels and not a media circus. Kramnik had a medical excuse for drinking lots of water. There's no evidence that Kramnik played with any inhuman accuracy in any parts of the games in question, and in fact the games were full of mistakes. The rest of Kramnik's career gives no reason to suspect him on this occasion. Some of the other points raised by Topalov's team were clearly ridiculous. Danailov had a poor reputation based on other events in his career.

But my final conclusion is, Topalov had nothing but speculative and circumstantial evidence, and that is not enough for a case like this.

Mar-29-21  nok: <Con Topalov's complaint: His team should not normally have even known how often Kramnik was using the bathroom.>

But his spending time away from the board naturally raised the question.

Mar-29-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Kramnik's side is told - albeit indirectly - in the book <From London to Elista> by Bareev & Levitov, but has anyone seen <Topalov - Kramnik 2006 World Chess Championships> by Topalov & Ginchev? I was thinking that Topalov's contribution might be minimal or restricted to a foreword, but apparently not:

<This is Veselin Topalov's very personal account of his 2006 world championship match against the reigning world champion Vladimir Kramnik. With the help of co-author Zhivko Ginchev, and complemented nicely by almost 50 photographs, Topalov shares his thoughts, hopes and fears as he fought for the most prestigious title in the chess world.>

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