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Grandmaster Bindrich, Accused of Cheating, Sues German Chess Federation For € 68,000

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 5/5/14, 4:08 AM.

Falko Bindrich, a 23-year-old grandmaster from Germany, has sued the German Chess Federation for an amount of € 68,000 ($94,336). This was mentioned in a monthly PDF magazine of the federation and picked up by the chess website Schach Welt. Bindrich was suspected of cheating in October 2012, but later his two-year ban from play was cancelled.

Falko Bindrich | Photo courtesy of the Schachbundesliga

In October 2012 Falko Bindrich, who had just turned 22 at the time, was suspected of cheating during the first Bundesliga weekend of the season. When he visited the toilet during his game on Sunday, the arbiter asked him whether he had his smartphone with him. Mr Bindrich answered positively, but refused to show his phone whereupon the arbiter decided to declare the game lost for him, based on a new regulation:

“(...) During their game the players may not have or gain access to mobile phones, computers and other electronic devices without the arbiter's permission. In case of clear suspected use of tools mentioned above, upon request of the arbiter the players are obliged to hand over these devices for inspection. In case of clear suspected use of tools mentioned above, upon request of the arbiter the players are obliged to have their clothes, bags or other pieces of luggage inspected. When a player breaches these obligations, the arbiter may take measures in accordance with Clause. 8.1 of the tournament rules.”

A few days later, in a five-page document, Mr Bindrich rejected the suspicion of fraud. He claimed not to be using the toilet more often than is normal, and he explained his decision to not show his phone by saying:

“First and foremost, I see it as a direct invasion of my privacy. I cannot just allow anyone access to my phone. It contains my private data (very private images and messages) and sensitive business data. I should protect this.”

Mr Bindrich also wondered why he “needed to prove that he's innocent”, and also rejected the arbiter's request because he “did not know who accused him of cheating.”

In January 2013 the German Chess Federation banned Mr Bindrich from play for two years. Like in other sports, where an athlete is considered guilty when not participating in a doping test, the chess player was punished for not cooperating.

However, in May 2013 the arbitration court of the Federation cancelled the ban, stating it was issued without legal basis.

Now, almost a year later, the story continues. Mr Bindrich has decided to sue the German Chess Federation for an amount of € 68,000 ($94,336). This was mentioned in a monthly PDF magazine of the federation (in PDF here) and picked up by the chess website Schach Welt.

Olaf Steffens, the author of the Schach Welt article, rightly notes that the amount € 68,000 seems rather high, taking into account the average income of an average grandmaster over a period of four months. No doubt Mr Bindrich is also claiming a damage of reputation.

The chess world has seen several incidents of (suspected) cheating in recent years. In July 2012 Sebastien Feller, Arnaud Hauchard and Cyril Marzolo were suspended by the French Chess Fededation for cheating at the Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk in September 2010. The decision was later confirmed by the FIDE Ethics Commission.

In December 2013 Borislav Ivanov was suspended for the second time by the Bulgarian Chess Federation. Although there was no clear proof of cheating, the indirect evidence seemed overwhelming: many of his games showed a very high of play, he refused to take off his shoes when asked, and at a recent tournament in Spain the organizers found a device with wires on his back, but Ivanov refused to show it and instead left the tournament even though he was topping the standings at that point.

11558 reads 99 comments
7 votes

Comments


  • 6 months ago

    Stephenson2

    The Rules stated things and he aggreed to the rules. He was ruled in violation of the rules he was punished in accordence with the rules he aggreed to. he is an idiout.

    If it looks like a cheating liar, talks like a cheating liar and plays like a cheating liar. He is a cheating liar

  • 6 months ago

    mdinnerspace

    The "invasion of privacy defence" or IPD is similar to the axiom "the guilty are the first at denial". No electronic devices for players is a no brainer.

  • 6 months ago

    MindWalk

    mcris, I can imagine knowing the father's phone number a lot more easily than I can imagine knowing the phone number where he's playing--and I can easily imagine not even knowing where the father is. At any rate, the point is this: if we use lockers and then a player's phone rings while it's in the locker, do we have an arrangement for it to be answered?

  • 6 months ago

    mcris

    @MindWalk: Anybody who knew how to reach the father's child, can also reach (by phone or otherwise) the tournament site where he knows he is. The father cannot do more emergency work than the medics.

  • 6 months ago

    MindWalk

    mcris: A school might. A hospital might. A spouse might. Anybody who knew how to reach the father's child might notify him that his child was in the hospital.

  • 6 months ago

    hicetnunc

    Preventing players from taking a smartphone with them within a playing hall is a good first step towards curing the cheating disease.

    No need to harm any player (nor any smartphone) in the process...

    OTB players who don't mind their opponents cheating during a game ? Please, raise your hand.

  • 6 months ago

    Marignon

    Why nobody remembers this post?

    http://polarbearspalaver.blogspot.ru/2011/06/blacklist-of-active-known-chess.html

    It would be great to check how the plaintif plays on chess.com now.

  • 6 months ago

    mcris

     @MindWalk: So who would? The mobile phone company? You make no sense.

  • 6 months ago

    TomHaegin

    Bindrich is an idiot, firstly for bringing his mobile phone into the playing hall, and secondly for not showing it to the arbiter for "privacy concerns". As if the ref was interested in his "very private pictures" and "business information"... If he had a chess app on the phone whether running or not, it should be definitely considered cheating and he should face the consequences for his unprofessional behavior.

  • 6 months ago

    MindWalk

    Calling 911 won't inform a parent that his child is in the emergency room.

  • 6 months ago

    fabelhaft

    Wikipedia covers the whole thing in rather great detail:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falko_Bindrich#2012_Bundesliga_cheating_accusations

  • 6 months ago

    mcris

    MindWalk, the normal think do do in a real emergency is to call 911 (112 in Europe).

  • 6 months ago

    fabelhaft

    "He obviously wasn’t cheating at the game"

    What is it that makes it so obvious? He did have a chess app with analysis of games from the tournament on his phone, and refused to go to the rest room without it, claiming that the Arbiter might cost him his job by spreading sensitive data from it and because "the rule of law has a higher value to him" etc. Not that any of this means that he did cheat, but I don't see anything obvious in all of it either.

  • 6 months ago

    MindWalk

    Having lockers to keep such devices in is the best idea I've heard. But I don't know enough about these things (I don't have any such devices). Would it be accessible if somebody called in an emergency? (Naturally, nobody would know it was an emergency without consulting the smartphone!)

  • 6 months ago

    Ranx0r0x

    If accusations of cheating are made they should be made publicly and the person being accused should have right to know who it is.  In GM level games there is going to be a high incentive to accuse someone of cheating.  If nothing else it might be the sort of mind game that causes someone to get angry, humiliated or confused enough to lose their concentration on the game.  Either the accuser steps forward or the accusation should be considered invalid. 

    If I were made to take off my shoes, strip to my underwear or give up personal possessions to play a game of chess that'd be it.  I can’t imagine handing my cellphone or laptop over to anyone either.

    People just can't seem to get the distinction: (1) his game was rightfully defaulted by his refusal to give up his phone, (2) he was illegally banned from chess.  Two different and distinct issues.  He is suing about (2).

    He obviously wasn’t cheating at the game.  He just didn’t follow the rules of the tournament.  That’s a huge difference. 

     

    .

     

     

  • 6 months ago

    JesusIsTops

    Mr Bindrich knew the rules and chose to violate them. May he lose his court case.

  • 6 months ago

    fabelhaft

    "the "authorities" chose to be idiotic authoritarians as they always do (petty minds with outsized power). The arbiter in this case should have warned him he would be forfeited if he persisted in not getting rid of the smart phone (arranging for someone to come and take it for safe keeping) and only if he refused to forfeit him then"

    I don't think the Arbiter did anything wrong in this case.

  • 6 months ago

    mcris

    Obviously if not the scandals, not so comments, but I would more likely participate in such a competition where participants would not have access to external help. Again, why not place the mobile devices in a locked box until the play is finished?

  • 6 months ago

    fabelhaft

    "Is forcing someone to agree to show what's on his electronic device just in order to go to the bathroom a reasonable regulation?"

    It would obviously be pointless to arrange chess events at all if the players demanded the right to consult their chess engines whenever they wanted to. I fail to see how anyone can support the idea that players should have free access to their software during the games.

  • 6 months ago

    SummerStorm

    This case is entirely different than the Borislav Ivanov case where the player was (essentially) accused of having a device on his body and using it during games to gain an advantage illegally (according to FIDE rules). In this case it appears the player made the (in my opinion stupid) choice to carry his smartphone with him to a game and the "authorities" chose to be idiotic authoritarians as they always do (petty minds with outsized power).

     

    The arbiter in this case should have warned him he would be forfeited if he persisted in not getting rid of the smart phone (arranging for someone to come and take it for safe keeping) and only if he refused to forfeit him then.

     

    The league should have never banned someone for one incident alone. Even they eventually realized that was simply bad policy.

     

    Suing the league? Eh, it will probably get thrown out of court, but get everyone's attention. Maybe that in itself will help focus minds and come to a resolution for the future.

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