In praise of… Vladimir Kramnik Leader
October 13, 2006
The Guardian

For the past three weeks, chess aficionados have been gripped by the most dramatic world championship match for 20 years. After yesterday’s 12th game, the contenders for the title, the Russian Vladimir Kramnik and the Bulgarian Veselin Topalov, remain locked at 6-6. The battle to reunify chess’s world title after 13 years of infighting goes on. The title will be settled today by “rapid-play” and then “blitz” chess – shorter games relying on instinct as much as calculation.

But there is already no doubt who the moral victor in this struggle is: Kramnik, the tall, understated Russian who forfeited game five when the now discredited appeals committee ruled against him in the great toilet dispute. His opponent, with no evidence, implied that Kramnik was making visits to the loo to consult a computer; Kramnik refused to play, and it was awarded to Topalov. Everyone thought that would be the end of the match, an outcome that would have been devastating for chess.

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