The playoff will take place tomorrow, Friday the 13th! Who will face the curse of the 13th?

Which one will be the favorite going into the rapid, blitz and sudden-death playoff tomorrow?

They are both efficient in rapid but not considered as strong as someone like Anand. Some think that Topalov is a better rapid player. However, Kramnik did beat Topalov 2-0 in a rapid playoff during a world championship knockout event before.

So will it be Topalov?

Or will it be Kramnik?

If Kramnik wins the playoff, we will have a unified World Champion. However, if Kramnik loses the playoff, will he have a case in court about game 5?

Karpov and Korchnoi stated that they think Kramnik should have walked out after game 5. Garry Kasparov criticized Kramnik for not playing game 5. He also said in one of his lectures in NY that “Out of the first five games, the fifth was the most exciting.” None of them talked about continuing the match and sue in court in case if he lost.

Mig Greengard from ChessNinja wrote this on his site:

“Blather update: The comments are full of people calling Kramnik “the winner at 6-5.” (I prefer Petrosianic’s idea in the message boards: “Kramnik 6, Topalov 5, FIDE 1”) But game 5 was played, and legally so. Kramnik was a few meters away watching his flag fall. The forfeit stemmed from provocations by Topalov’s camp and a poor decision by the appeals committee, but they both had the authority to do what they did. Kramnik should have played. Under protest, absolutely, but you have to play. Later, Topalov should have had an attack of conscience and agreed to play at 3:1. But he was under no obligation to do so. That includes no moral obligation since he obviously feels his protest was valid – and that he wasn’t responsible for the decision of the appeals committee.

A forfeit is part of a process. It doesn’t really matter HOW right or wrong the decision was the player was protesting when he decided not to show up. Too many cameras in the hall, for example. Had Fischer walked away at 0-2 since they wouldn’t give the forfeited point back, would he have been a big martyr hero like Kramnik is now? No, because most people felt his complaints were trivial (and typical).

Many here apparently feel Kramnik being locked out his bathroom was a far more serious affront than noise in the hall and the other playing conditions Fischer complained about and they say Kramnik was justified in not playing chess that day. I disagree. Not about the seriousness of the original complaint or the correctness of the decision, but about a player’s responsibility to accept these things and to show up at the board. The Topalov complaint was lame, the appeals committee’s decision incorrect (and overturned), but neither was an outrage to human dignity. Not playing cannot become an acceptable option.

Kramnik is a principled guy and it worked to his disadvantage here. He didn’t want to give Topalov a psychological advantage by playing under terms dictated by his complaint and it cost him a full point. And/or he was convinced Ilyumzhinov and Zhukov would come to his rescue and give the point back. Either way, game five is history. 0-1. Topalov could prove himself a chivalrous idiot and play it, assuming that’s even legal, but let’s be realistic. Topalov/Danailov provoked, FIDE twits abetted, Kramnik took the bait and got robbed. As in any con game you need the victim to participate willingly at some point, and Kramnik did. Play the blame game all you like, but it won’t bring game five back.

Blather update 2: Some are making arguments of the legality of the appeals committee’s decision. But this has little to do with the correctness of the forfeit or the permanence of that result. It is a de facto situation because under the conditions that were then in effect as applied by the match officials, the clock was started. That’s the point. The players have an obligation to play, not say, “There may or may not be legal issues we may eventually discover, so I’m going to sit out until a bunch of lawyers decide.” This is why we have match officials and appeals committees.

You have to play at some point, it’s a sports event. You can’t break for a few days to figure out technicalities any more than a football game would be halted for a few hours while the teams’ lawyers consulted with a judge about whether or not an on-the-field decision was legally correct. We do the best we can in action to find the best balance of expediency and accuracy and we live with those decisions. Some sports using instant replay are sacrificing expediency for more accuracy, for example.

So, you play. You protest and you play, and then the lawyers can get to work on it. But you always play because that point ain’t comin’ back. I’m not trying to convince anyone Topalov won game 5 in a fair and honest way. I don’t think he was evil for taking the point either, but obviously I feel he should have agreed to start at 3:1 or I wouldn’t have started a petition saying so. I’m just taking issue with this concept that Kramnik was correct not to show up that day, or that he is the winner now at 6:5. We all know he won more games over the board. We know the complaint and decision were to some degree malicious and erroneous. But that’s not the same as saying Kramnik should have sat out or that the forfeit (not the complaint, not the decision) was not correct. 6:6.

You can read more from Mig here.
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