The organizers of the Navalmoral de la Mata tournament have issued a statement on what exactly happened with Borislav Ivanov, a story Chess.com reported on earlier this week. Because it answers several of the questions that were raised, we deem it prudent to give the statement below in full:
CLUB MORALO DE AJEDREZ
C/ Calvo Sotelo, 53
10300 Navalmoral de la Mata (Cáceres)
In view of the impact that the presence of the player Borislav Ivanov in recent XIX
OPEN INTERNACIONAL DE AJEDREZ DE NAVALMORAL DE LA MATA - XI PREMIO
CENTRAL NUCLEAR DE ALMARAZ, and due to the information published, which has sometimes been inaccurate, we issue this press release to try to cast light on this episode. This is no judgement of value. We'll just stick to a faithful narration of what happened and the insight of some people involved. Let everyone draw their own conclusions.”
1. The full participant list, including Mr. Borislav Ivanov, was published before the start of the tournament. The organizers did not receive any official statement against his taking part in the event.
2. The first day of the tournament some players, especially Grand Masters, verbally stated their disagreement with Borislav Ivanov's presence. They were advised to file a written complaint, but none of them did.
3. Once the tournament started, in view that other players were becoming more and more suspicious and in order to clear any existing doubts, the organizers proceeded to examine Borislav Ivanov's shoes at the end of round 4 and before he could leave the playing hall. It was widely remarked that a hidden device could be placed inside his footwear.
4. Player Borislav Ivanov willingly consented, so he was escorted to a private area in the hotel and, in front of two members of the organizing team, he was requested to take off his shoes, which he did. His footwear was thoroughly examined and nothing out of the ordinary was detected. He was examined as well, using a mobile app for metal detecting. We don't know exactly how reliable and accurate that app is, but nothing was found that could imply the existence of a hidden device inside his footwear.
5. Once this inspection finished, Borislav Ivanov motioned to take off his pants as well, as he asked the organizers if he should go on stripping. Since all complaints had focused only on his shoes, organizers decided not to go further.
6. During round 5, one of the participants in the tournament, Mr. Andrés
Holgado Maestre, noticed a suspicious bump on Mr. Ivanov's back (the Bulgarian played with his coat and scarf on, though the heating was working in the playing hall). This suspicious bump was noticed by other participants as well, and was reported to the chief arbiter. He deemed it untimely to interrupt the game in that moment. After the game, in a very tense atmosphere, Mr
Andrés Holgado Maestre suddenly took a hold of the bump on Mr Ivanov's back through his clothes, and pulling, asked him (in Spanish) what was hidden on his back. Mr. Ivanov gave some answer in Bulgarian. Then Mr. Holgado accused Mr Ivanov of cheating (in English) and requested help from other participants watching the scene, to find out what Mr. Ivanov was hiding. No-one helped him though, so he let Mr. Ivanov go and the Bulgarian player promptly left the playing hall.
7. Mr Holgado states he could touch an oblong object, similar to an mp3 player, attached to Mr. Ivanov's body.
8. The following day, moments before the start of round 6, it was Mr. Ivanov's opponent Mr. Namig Guliyev who verbally requested to the arbiter and the tournament director a new examination to Mr.
9. Mr. Ivanov was asked if he was willing to undergo a new search, and he agreed, while he remarked it was odd to do it before the round and not after it. In contrast with the previous search, this time Mr. Ivanov was visibly nervous, according to one of the organizers.
10. The search was carried out in the same place as before. Mr. Ivanov stated he wouldn't strip and his opponent Mr. Guliyev, who was there as well, stated there was no need for a full striptease, just to show he had nothing to hide. Then, Mr. Guliyev emptied his own pockets and felt his own body showing there was nothing odd, and he even lifted the tight sweater he was wearing, allowing his shirt to be seen. Mr. Ivanov consented to take off only his coat and his scarf. Then Mr. Guliyev was requested to leave the room and just two members of the organizing team stayed with Mr. Ivanov.
11. Mr. Ivanov took off his coat and scarf and then a more thorough examination (frisking) was suggested. He willingly consented. In order to safeguard Mr. Ivanov's privacy, the tournament director Mr. Juan Antonio Sánchez
Bermejo (a retired policemen with a long experience) stayed alone with Mr.
Ivanov and frisked him.
12. He started with the hair, neck and shoulders. When he felt his chest, though, Mr. Ivanov dodged back. However, before Mr. Ivanov avoided contact, Mr. Bermejo could feel something odd near his left armpit, but couldn't say exactly what. Perhaps because of Mr. Ivanov's rushed movement unfastened one of his shirt's buttons, and a kind of strap could be seen crossing his chest from side to side. When asked what was under his shirt, Mr. Ivanov insisted he had nothing. Then Mr. Ivanov refused to go on and he was warned that in that case he could be expelled from the tournament. However, that was unnecessary because Mr. Ivanov stated he would willingly leave, but he requested the entry fee was refunded, as he didn't have enough money to leave.
13. In view that Mr. Ivanov was in dire straits, Mr. Bermejo decided, on a personal basis, to give Mr. Ivanov 50 € from his own pocket, as an act of kindness, not as a compensation of any kind.
14. The tournament organizers believe to have respected at all times current Spanish laws, since all searches were carried out with the prior permission of Mr. Ivanov.
Navalmoral de la Mata, 11 December 2013
Translation into English thanks to Patricia Llaneza.