There is this to be said for being a fan of Vladimir Kramnik – you do a get a better class of insult for your money. Reading Toilet War one is reminded, quite apart from the unmistakable whiff of madness arising from the pages, of nothing so much as monkeys pelting one another with droppings. But here is Kramnik from his recent DVD on his preparations for the Elista match.

‘I found from looking at his games that it was the same old Topalov . . . [describes style] . . . Of course such play can be effective against, let’s say, 2700 players, but still I felt that if I could prepare well and get into good physical shape I should win this match.’

Ouch. And perfectly timed too. It’s no use blustering about why should you play a match against the world number five, and then losing ineptly.

An instructive moment, actually. Steinitz said it first – you should only attack when you have the advantage. Topalov has never been a master of this kind of strategic thinking.

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