Entries in Borislav Ivanov (5)
Determining whether a player is cheating (or conversely, taking a dive) can be very difficult. Can be, but not always. Between the IPR and the circumstantial evidence around Borislav Ivanov, it beggars belief that his successes over the chess board the past year or two have come without inappropriate technological intervention. Here's the latest story, in which Maxim Dlugy doesn't quite manage to put a permanent end to Ivanov's tournament career, but does get a point in the tournament and casts further doubt on Ivanov's reputation.
(HT: Allen Becker)
Some of you might recall the earlier adventures of Buglarian FM Borislav Ivanov, who shook up the world in the Zadar Open late last year. His rating was 2227, but his performance rating there was a spectacular 2697. Unsurprisingly, there was plenty of finger-pointing, accusing him of computer cheating; physical evidence was lacking though, so his career has continued unimpeded by any official sanctions.
He has played (at least) three times since then, with dramatically different results. First, he played in the Georgi Tringov Memorial, and he played badly. His rating going into it was 2342, and his TPR a comparatively miserable 1942, a full 400 points lower than his rating and a whopping 755 points lower than his TPR in the Zadar Open. No worries though: in his next event, the Semi-Final of the Bulgarian Championship, he took a strong second place, and the a week or so ago he won a rapid event ahead of many GMs, with a 2696 TPR.
You can read more info here. There's no question that it looks incredibly suspicious, but suspicion is not proof. Bulgarian FM Valeri Lilov has undertaken an analysis of his games from the Bulgarian Championship Semi-Finals (see the last link), and concludes that Ivanov played in three "styles" there: a computer-aided winning style, a computer-aided drawing style, and (just against the one GM he played there) in a natural style (i.e. without a computer's help). Lilov's analysis has a bit of the sharpshooter fallacy to it, but I suspect a Bayesian analysis would still come out suspiciously for Ivanov.
[Paging Mr. IPR to the blog; please call in, Mr. IPR!]
About a week and a half ago, I mentioned on these cyberpages the remarkable play of one Borislav Ivanov in the Zadar Open. Despite a rating of 2227, Ivanov's managed a spectacular tournament performance rating (TPR) of 2697, and this occasioned a partial search of his person and his pen (both were negative) and a long list of accusers on the web ready to proclaim his guilt.
My preference was to wait for the work of a sane, qualified researcher before drawing any potentially libelous conclusions - the work of Ken Regan, to be specific. He has weighed in, and has offered some thoughtful remarks (and invited more from others) on the more general topic of cheating in chess. (Be sure to check out his letter to the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP) Board for more on the matter, and - for those with the relevant technical background - the appendix attached thereto.)
According to this story in ChessVibes, untitled Bulgarian Borislav Ivanov (2227) was "strip searched" at the end of a tournament that saw him score 6/9, defeat 4 GMs and draw two more, and finish tied for third at the Zadar Open with a spectacular 2697 performance rating. The arbiter had him remove his shirt and empty his pockets, and finding nothing after examining Ivanov's pen, apologized and let his performance stand. (Calling it a "strip search" makes it sound rather salacious, even if it's (barely) true, lexically.)
Ivanov's result is of course pretty improbable, but as he's a fairly young player on an upward trajectory (even if it isn't the trajectory of a prodigy), it's not as unlikely as it might otherwise be. This looks like a good job for Ken Regan and his IPR tests. (Are you out there, Ken?)