But the scandal isn't the cheating, it's the witch hunt. A relatively low-rated player had a great score early in the European Women's Championship, so "obviously" she was cheating. The games themselves don't seem to bear this out, however, so all the protests seem to have done is dragged an apparently innocent player's name through the mud and helped ruin the second half of her tournament. More here.
Entries in cheating (20)
FIDE is introducing online rated play, which is a fantastic idea because no one would ever cheat in an online game, right? Great. I wonder how long it will be before some unknown player reaches 3000.
(HT: Ross Hytnen)
Many people maintained their faith in Lance Armstrong for a long time, and faithful Linus van Pelt is still waiting for the Great Pumpkin to return. I'm sure Borislav Ivanov has his defenders too - though I bet they haven't had to play him in a tournament with money or norms on the line. Anyway, it seems he has unretired for the moment, and readers can catch up on his most recent adventures here and here.
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)
Still another post by one of our favorite and most valued commenters, on the issue of cheating in chess and how to fairly and properly nab the bad guys.
We've covered a disappointingly large number of cheating scandals over the years, and there is little reason to think the availability of such stories will diminish in the foreseeable future. Here's a story with something new - at least new to me: IM Jens Kotainy was thrown out in the eighth round of the open event in Dortmund that ran concurrently with the super-tournament won by Michael Adams. Kotainy's score at the time was 7/7, and his IPR was a staggering 3200. If he did it*, he isn't the sharpest tool in the shed. The method seems to have been "morselike vibrations" from his cell phone. Apparently he had been under suspicion even from earlier tournaments; shockingly, playing 3200-level chess and having his cell phone regularly buzzing drew further attention.
Fortunately - if he did it - he was so blatant he might as well have been wearing a scarlet "C" on his chest with an arrow terminating at his pocket, pointing to a drawing of a cell phone with motion lines. Unfortunately, others will surely follow, and won't be as blatant. I don't know if tournament directors and arbiters will ever have the willingness to simply forbid all electronic devices at open tournaments, but until they do it's a mortal lock that the cheating problem will continue to grow.
HT: Ken Regan
* Like everyone else, he's entitled to a legal presumption of innocence, and he has so far maintained his innocence.
Some players might sneak a peak at some opening notes in a tournament game, or ask advice of a stronger friend. Neither is kosher. Others may run off to the bathroom or their hotel room to analyze on a pocket set. Not good. Still worse, some will consult a computer - either a program on their smartphone, or will receive moves through an intermediary or by some other technique. This is terrible.
But all the same, one has to give such players at least a modicum of credit. They show up, they execute their moves, and at least some of them make some moves of their own choosing. But the Don Cup 2010 International in Azov, Russia? Now that is something else altogether. Have a look at Ken Regan's report on that rather remarkable event.
(HT: Ken Regan, Ross Hytnen)
From reader Scott McMullen:
The user in the article is talking about using these with GPS or listening to music... but the first thing I thought of was cheating at chess.
Because the implant is/has a magnet it should be detectable by scanning devices, but apart from a few special FIDE events those simply aren't used. (Also, there's no word yet on whether these are NSA-approved.)
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!]