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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Embedded-Chip Chess Cheating or Genius?

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

The chess world is abuzz with another episode of alleged cheating at a chess tournament in Croatia. There is an article in the Croatian Times and another in Focus, about a chess player being strip searched on allegations of using embedded chips to cheat in a chess tournament. Though nothing could be proved, the doubts linger among the chess players at the tournament.

An international chess tournament in the Croatian city of Zadar witnessed the organisers searching a Bulgarian chess player Borislav Ivanov for implanted chips, writes Croatian Jutarnji List daily. There were 36 competitors at the tournament, including 16 gross-masters, 5 international masters, and 10 FIDE masters. 

According to the rating, the Bulgaria was supposed to be an easy rival but surprisingly he started winning game after a game. In the first rounds he managed to defeat Croatian masters Bojan Kurajica, Robert Zelcic and Zdenko Kozul.

“After the eighth round we received a signal about Ivanov’s game and after his game with Borko Predoevic, who later on won the tournament, we decided to check on both of them. There were suspicions that Ivanov has some electronic tools to help him and in my capacity of a judge I decided to make a move in line with the FIDE rules,” said Stanislav Maroja, chairperson of the chess union in Zadar District.

Ivanov is 26 years old and he is a programmer. Everyone was looking at him but he did not reveal any evidence of using illegal help; he did not even have headphones, but all his moves were astonishing. “It is not true that we made him strip naked. He himself took off his t-shirt, while we emptied his pockets,” Maroja said.
Knowledgeable sources though the Bulgarian was cheating. 

However, they were wondering why he would take part in a tournament, which costs a couple of thousands of euro, while the cheating equipment, which can be integrated into contact lenses, for instance, costs thousands of euros more.

The suspicions about Ivanov’s cheating were based on the fact that when the organisers stopped the broadcasting of the round before the last one, when Ivanov played vs Predoevic, the Bulgarian lost the game.

The chess players, however, commented that Ivanov did not make any unique moves, neither was it unusual for an ordinary player to beat a gross-master. Croatian gross-master Zlatko Klaric, on the other hand, said that Ivanov was cheating, because he was already accused of this at chess competitions in Bulgaria and Serbia.

“Ivanov is chess programmer, who since mid-2011 until now had won only one rating point, while at the Zadar tournament – 60. He made moves like a computer, which was obvious in the game vs Jovanovic,” Klaric remarked.

“Technologies are so developed now that theoretically, since the games were aired live, Ivanov’s friends in the neighbouring room, from Sofia, or even from the Antarctic, could have sent him hints for his moves through chips, which could have been placed under the skin, in the ear, or in the teeth,” Klaric added.

The problem of cheating has become a serious issue in chess. Here are all the previous posts at Chess Blog on episodes of cheating in chess in the recent past. 

In November, this year, the Fide Trainer Committee accepted GM Konstantin Landa's complete proposal for anti-cheating measures. GM Konstantin Landa, Elo 2640, is a senior FIDE trainer, and long-time coach of Alexandra Kosteniuk and Arkadi Naiditsch. You can read details of GM Landa's proposal at this Chess Blog link.

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  • At January 3, 2013 at 3:56 PM , Anonymous ChessGeek said...

    Seing his hair, they should look him there...

  • At January 16, 2013 at 3:24 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    This reminds me of that thriller "Checkmate at the Beauty Pageant" - where the Israeli spy has to play against the villain's chess computer and he uses special glasses that pick up the electromagnetic resonance (i.e. "noise") from the computer and translate it into a "voice" advising him on the moves the computer is considering for both players.

  • At February 27, 2013 at 4:11 PM , Anonymous Chess-DB said...

    Another (new) video from Valeri Lilov on Zadar's cheating case:


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