A few moments ago, grandmaster Susan Polgar, while observing the (non) events in Elista said, "Unbelievable! This is really sad!" Some 20 minutes after the scheduled start of play, there are still no moves.
Proving once again what I have long believed that the chess world should really abandon the concept of a "World Champion", our two combatants Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov are behaving like a couple of whinging tootsies.
Mig in the Daily Dirt calls this ridiculous fiasco "Bladdergate" and surely there is no more apt a label (I prefer it to Chessbase's "toiletgate"). What is there to be expected but for the two highest exponents of our game embarassing their sport right in front of the entire world?
First, the Bulgarian side (Topalov) accused the opposition, the Russian Kramnik, of excusing himself to the toilet far too frequently. Not, say, 2 or 3 times, as might be reasonably normal - but 50 times in every game! I suppose, after losing the first two games, it was only natural for the Bulgarians to imagine all sorts of fairytales. To remedy the situation, the Bulgarians demanded, among other things, that "When the two players need to go to the bathroom, they should be accompanied by an assistant arbiter."
That was later followed by a meeting of the FIDE Appeals Committee which eventually decided, among other things, that "In the [Bulgarian] appeal there is an exaggeration of the number of times that Mr. Kramnik visited the toilet. Despite there being an unusual number of visits, this is insufficient on its own to come to a conclusion."
Further, FIDE suggested closing "both the toilets in the players' rest rooms and to open another toilet that will be available only to the two players." It was to this that the Russians expressed some unhappiness. This was a portion of their official reply: "With such a decision the WCC Committee is clearly violating both the rules and regulations of the WCC match and the rights of Mr. Kramnik."
And so, here we are. At 3:15PM local time in Elista, various online sources are reporting that Topalov is actually sitting at the board apparently ready to play. While Kramnik is, well, waiting for some damn toilet door to open. Just hilarious! This is the World Championship and these guys are squabbling over toilets!
Ladies and gentlemen - this is chess. And that is how it is at the highest levels of our game.