This embarrassing fiasco has made it to Sports Illustrated:

Protest over potty breaks mars chess championship
By Justin Doom

Tuesday October 3, 2006 1:25PM; Updated: Tuesday October 3, 2006 4:11PM

The next time you watch Peyton Manning engineer a pristine two-minute scoring drive, imagine that after every play he called a timeout to take a lengthy bathroom break and go over his playbook.

Essentially, that’s what a written protest filed by the team of Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria is alleging of Vladimir Kramnik of Russia. Both men currently are battling for the World Chess Championship. Play resumed on Monday and ended with Kramnik leading 3.5-2.5. (Players receive a full point for winning a match and one-half of a point for draws; the first to 6.5 points is declared the champion.)

TheNew York Times reported on Friday how Kramnik, who led the match 3-1 at the time he was accused of cheating, refused to play and was forced to forfeit Game 5 after arriving on Friday to discover that his private bathroom had been locked. Each player had been granted a personal rest area and a private bathroom, which was the only behind-the-stage area not monitored by surveillance cameras, in case you were wondering how seriously the World Chess Federation takes itself.

When the match was scheduled to begin on Friday, Topalov sat down to play, while Kramnik instead sat down outside his private bathroom and demanded that it be unlocked. After an hour of refusing to play Game 5, the WCF forced Kramnik to forfeit, a decision he now is appealing, claiming that locking the bathrooms shows a severe bias toward Topalov.

The article later continues with …

Kramnik, much like that annoyingly intense, mulleted, baseball-pants wearing ‘roid freak in your weekly softball league who appeals to the umpire whether your team’s runner on third did actually tag up on a sac fly, has announced that he is playing the rest of the match under protest. Topalov did relent and shook hands with Kramnik before Game 6 began, quite remarkable considering that throughout the bathroom negotiations, neither player agreed to be in the same building.

Yes, you read that correctly: Until two grown men could agree on exactly when it was OK to go to the bathroom, neither could stand to be under the same roof as the other. It’s a little hard to believe that these two guys are engaged in playing a game that is so rich and dignified and respected throughout the world.

Look: Chess is a brilliant game. But if world-class Scrabble players, playing by official National Scrabble Association rules, can complete all of their moves in 25 minutes or less, do chess matches really need to last so long that guys’ bladders have an impact on the game? I don’t know. I don’t play nearly as much chess as I did when I was younger, but it does make me wonder if I have more in common with Kramnik than I originally thought, seeing as how we both apparently do our best thinking in the bathroom.

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