Storm in a U-bend at chess finals

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The Independent Online

A chess championship unification match between the Classical World Champion, Vladimir Kramnik, and the World Chess Champion, Veselin Topalov, is in question after Kramnik was accused of cheating.

Kramnik, leading 3-1 after four games, did not appear for game five in Elista, southern Russia, yesterday, in a protest against a decision by the match officials to close lavatories in the players' relaxation rooms.

Topalov's manager, Silvio Danailov, submitted a protest on Thursday after viewing videotapes of the players' rooms. He said Kramnik visited the lavatory too many times while in the relaxation room - an apparent suggestion that Kramnik was secretly using a technical device or a computer program.

"The World Champion Veselin Topalov is outraged by the suspicious behaviour of his opponent Vladimir Kramnik, who actually takes his most significant decisions in a toilet," Danailov said. "During every game, he visited the relaxation room 25 times at the average and the bathroom more than 50 times."

The Topalov team called on officials to halt the use of the relaxation rooms and the adjacent bathrooms for both players, to have the players accompanied to lavatories by an assistant arbiter, and to present the videotapes to journalists. The organisers decided that both players would use the same lavatory.