The Kramnik – Topalov dispute

In many disputes between top chess players, there is no clear right and wrong – forming a clear opinion from the letters of protest, contradictions and mutual accusations is virtually impossible. However, the Kramnik-Topalov case is an exception.

We have to start with the background. Topalov and his team have worked closely with FIDE for some time. Topalov is the FIDE champion and he supported Ilyumzhinov’s re-election campaign. Kramnik, by contrast, is much more an outsider. His world championship title derived from Brain Games and then the PCA, so he has had much less contact with FIDE.

The current match is FIDE organised and sponsored, and is being played in FIDE’s home territory of Kalmykia. To avoid any suspicion of favouritism, it would have made sense for all the match officials to be clearly independent and unbiased. Instead, what do we have? The Appeals committee consists of Georgios Makropoulos (Deputy President of FIDE), Zurab Azmaiparashvili (Vice-President of FIDE) and Jorge Vega (FIDE Continental President for the Americas) – a selection which can hardly inspire confidence in the impartiality of the Appeals Committee. Nor are the members of the Appeals Committee especially qualified for such a potentially sensitive post, since only one of the three (Vega) is an International Arbiter and only one (Azmaiparashvili) has any experience of high-level chess.

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Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar