You would think that world class chess players would have world class manners. I mean after all these are guys, and they are almost without exception guys, at the top levels of the world chess federation that are thinking strategy in the tough world of pro chess moves ahead.
But the latest match between the current titans of the chess world is ending up in a kindergarten type squabble. It seems that in game five between Veselin Topalov and Vladimir Kramnik the match was forfeited because Vlad was going to the bathroom too often. Veselin complained about it and the implication was that Vlad was using his private pee pee time to cheat, maybe using a secreted computer or phone or something it’s not quite clear what.
The problem came about when Vlad arrived to play game five and found the door to his private bathroom locked and threw what they call in the chess world, a tantrum. He sat down in front of the locked door and refused to move or play and for all we know wet his pants. After an hour passed he was declared the loser by forfeit. Then he refused to play anymore games and took his board and pieces and went home to Bulgaria. I made the last part up.
It wasn’t his board.
And he didn’t go home but now he wants to have what they call in the chess world a do-over. He will continue to play for the title of World Chess Federation champion only if he gets to play the game he sat out and lost over again. Since he was losing 3 to 2 this seems like a pretty big deal. And so the match has been suspended and no one knows what if anything will happen next.
This is how the ball bounces in the high stakes world of professional chess. It’s not a game for just anyone and certainly not for someone with a weak bladder.
ED NOTE: This was originally published in 2006. Vlad won.