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Suspected Cheater 'Strip-Searched'

  • SonofPearl
  • on 12/30/12, 3:31 PM.

News has emerged that a Bulgarian chess player was "strip searched" after being suspected of cheating during a tournament in Zadar, Croatia held from 16-22 December.

There were 36 players in the tournament, including 16 Grandmasters, yet the 26-year old computer programmer Borislav Ivanov with a rating of only 2227 Elo finished with a 6/9 score, beating four GMs along the way to claim 4th place.

The top placings at Zadar

# Name Elo Pts
1 GM Predojević Borki  2600 6.5
2 GM Stević Hrvoje  2622 6.5
3 GM Sumets Andrey  2638 6.0
4 Ivanov Borislav  2227 6.0
5 GM Jovanić Ognjen  2538 5.5
6 GM Kožul Zdenko  2638 5.5
7 GM Šarić Ante  2533 5.5
8 GM Martinović Saša  2530 5.5
9 GM Cebalo Mišo  2402 5.5

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Despite the "strip search" no evidence of cheating was found. 

Stanislav Maroja, chairperson of the chess union in Zadar District said, “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. It is not true that we made him strip naked. He himself took off his t-shirt, while we emptied his pockets.”

The FOCUS Information Agency quoted GM Zlatko Klaric, “Ivanov is chess programmer...he made moves like a computer, which was obvious in the game vs Jovanovic. Technologies are so developed now that theoretically, since the games were aired live, Ivanov’s friends...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.”

Either Ivanov had the tournament of his life, or he found a way to cheat without being detected. All of his games from the tournament are below.

This disturbing story also raises many other questions, two being: a) what are the limits of an arbiter's powers to search an individual suspected of cheating? and b) do we now have to scan suspected players for implanted computer chips?

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Games and results table via Chessgames.com.

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Comments


  • 22 months ago

    dokter_nee

    Yeah, the preview issue is really annoying, but luckily if you than just hit the "go back to previous page" arrow of your browser, you get back to the page where you were typing your post, with all the words still there!

  • 22 months ago

    Liart

    @hicetnunc :

    thank you, for helping our cause. I thought about adopting similar aproach (not as radical as yours I must admit), but when I typed my post "of that kind" I foolishly clicked preview butonn (instead of "post" button) and guess what happened? The entire post evaporated! So, don't click preview ever on this site, unless you don't want to publish your words,:)

  • 22 months ago

    Doggy_Style

    Funny stuff, hicetnunc.

  • 22 months ago

    hicetnunc

    And to people suspicious of sittingpawns' strange T3 results, I decided to run a very thorough test on my overclocked kitchen fridge, running Houdini 3 (version °F) on game 6, and found that only 20 moves matched.

    Having run the test 100 times over this same game with stable parameters (pressure and temperature), I therefore conclude that the % match-up rate is only of 20%, which should satisfy all scientifically-minded people out there of the robustness and reproductibility of sittingpawns' analysis...

    And to nail the defence's case even further, I'd like to point you to the case of another unheard of brilliant player, whose story you can read here.

  • 22 months ago

    hicetnunc

    @all, I think sittingpawn makes pretty good points : sometimes, unexpected things happen on the chessboard, so we can't know for sure what the truth is. Take this game for example I played against my elder son (5 y.o.) yesterday. On the face of it, it looks a bit suspicious, but everything is easy to explain.

    His brothers (resp. 3,5 y.o. and 18 months) had their role in the strange things happening on the chessboard too :

    So you see, everything has a logical explanation in this world... You don't need Houdini to play like a bunch of kids do on a lucky day Undecided

  • 22 months ago

    Liart

    About my rating:

    Yes, my fide rating is 2105, but i am a little stonger than that. last 6 months i study chess on regular basis, but previous 20 years was just sporadic study and very few tournaments. i think I played in 5 or 6 fide rated events during these 20 years plus some low league competions long time ago. For example, my last tournament was last November and before that was in 2009. In That November tournament against 3 masters and one International master I drew one game, was really outplayed in one and lost two other games in completely won positions (one on time a queen up, and other against an IM via a cheap trick). So, I am not a master, but i have friends who are masters and I know how hard is for them to build opening repertoire, combined with their jobs and other real life duties. I have witnessed many times how experimenting in the opening by those friends of mine has backfired against much weaker oposition.

  • 22 months ago

    Liart

    @sitting pawn:

    Your assumptions about my assertations are completley wrong. I didn't just copy/paste what others have said. I have heard of Borislav Ivanov last summer, when it was suspected that he was cheating in the last round of Balkan Amateur Championship in Belgradchik, Bulgaria. There was an article about that on leading serbian chesssite www.perpetualcheck.com written by the former coach of the guy who lost that game in the final round against Ivanov. The article is written in serbian and I don't have any intention translating it, but in one part the coach says that in that final game from move 10. untill the end of the game (move 54.) Ivanov has played EVERY SINGLE MOVE , but one ,as suggested by Houdini 2.0 (the strongest suggestion). How can that be? Nobody in world can do that, not even the strongest, but a guy who at his 20 something has 2200+rating over a course of 400 games can do it on multiple ocasions? Yes, 400 games, that is the number of games he had played acording to chessbase article! (http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=8751)

    So somebody can play 400 games and end up with 2277 and never reach higher rating and all of the sudden in his games 401-409 he is playing on 2600 level? Not in this world. This ability of his would be shown somewhere along that rode

    As for motiffs, there are many, but i will name just one. On that amateur Championship the first prize was 1000 euros. Average MONTHLY income in Bulgaria is less then 400 euros, so for 1000e some people work two months and many people work even three or four (In Serbia, the neighbouring country many people work for 250 euros per MONTH!, and there are some who work for 90 e).

    I was writing my previous post, because I noticed that there are some people who adhere so strongly to the : "Nobody is innocent untill proven othervise".

    Yes, we don't have proofs that can stand the hipothetical trial, but we all know that he is a cheater. So many bad people got away in real life for serious crimes, frauds so maybe this person  will too, even though we know what is the truth.

  • 22 months ago

    dokter_nee

    So Sittingpawn, you must have a really bad engine, because everyone else who checked this saw that the moves correspond with the engine.

    There was even a Belgian FM who didn't check it on his pc, but said that the moves/play felt very engine-like to him (this was before anyone said that they checked it and that they correspond to a ridiculous high amount).

    By the way it was the game of round 5 were all the moves matched up for me personally. And when you run the engine, it''s better to let it run with 3 lines. And also you don't need to include the opening (like first 10 moves), as I see you did.

    And it does matter what he achieved before the age of 25, as you don't become 2900+ playing strength just like that. You need to realize that the Top GM's (who play weaker than he did), eat and breath chess for several years to become full time chess professionals.

    Also you seem to be mistaken about the live-feed. It was only interrupted in round 8, when he lost, and it was on in round 9.

    And the guy who made the point about the opening systems is actually a 2100 player..

  • 22 months ago

    paladino2012

    It seems a lot of people miss to understand what Sittingpawn is saying.

    He is quite clear, if you don't have a video of Ivanov, where he explains how he cheated, explaining the software code line by line, and all the hardware used, plus a video while he was cheating in the games, and of course the technical difficulties and so on. Short of this, you can all suspect someone like OJ of killing his wife, but it is clear that OJ was framed (probably by the government who had motives for killing his wife right?), and the same for Ivanov, after all it happens in every tournament that someone 2200 beats 4 GMs in a row, and loses the game ONLY when they don't live-feed the game through the internet.

    Further here is missing the motive: what motive could Ivanov have for cheating? NONE. Money, rating, fame, and so on have never been motives in human activities! 

    Come on prisons are 99.99% full of innocents who didn't do it, and who were framed.

  • 22 months ago

    TwoMove

    For comparison below is Anand's statistics in a recent world championship match. In World championships there is quite intensive opening preparation, so would expect quite a few moves in opening past known moves of time, would match software.  

    V. Anand’s 12 games  WCC 2010 

    Settings 10ply

    Engine Houdini

    Top 1 Match: 266/515 ( 51.7% )  
    Top 2 Match: 385/515 ( 74.8% )
    Top 3 Match: 453/515 ( 88.0% )

  • 22 months ago

    sittingpawn

    @champeknight~ Don't you ever question my values! I'm sorry I guess your great mind has brought us all to our knees with probability! One day may you be innocent of something you're accused of and receive no mercy. Entering into the conversation now and trolling... shame on you.

    @Liart~I'm not sure if anyone here is saying he's not a cheater, we're saying there isn't sufficient proof to convict him of that. So while you're wonderfully adept at repeating what others tell you in your detailed list you forgot to tell us how he did it.

    1. Matching the strongest computer moves extremely high percent of time (so High that not even the best players in the world can do it)~Are you just believing what others have told you? He didn't do this on my computer on any of the games I've run so far. 

    2. Untill the age of 20+ He has not shown any great talent judging by his rating, and  all of the sudden he achieves the greatest upset ever in the history of chess~The WHAT? There have been and will be greater and what does it matter what he achieved before the age of 20?

    3. He has a 9-5 job which he has to attend 5 days a week, and since he is a programmer, I know that that job requires constant learning, so basicly leaves almost no free time to study chess.~This is the funniest thing because if you looked at this correctly you'd realize that maybe up until now he hasn't had time to fully devote to chess and for this tournament was either able to or took time off to be able to put in the study and effort it took to pull this off. See this is where you're limited understanding of this man's life forces you to fill in blanks and is purely speculative and not gauged in any way in reality, but yet you use this speculation to back up your argument like it is a hard fact.

    4. Playing different opening system as black against 4 different GMs in one tournament with succes. Any master will understand this.~And you are such a master? Often lower rated opponents will prepare certain openings hoping to throw the stronger player off and make a mistake. Why would he continue to play the same variation game after game since it would be expected? This could attest to his possibly having more prep time before the tournament. In fact some have used his strange moves in games to show he had a limited understanding of these openings and made poor moves only to make great moves later on. Let's also not forget this guy is no slouch, he is rated 2200 and has accomplished that so far, it's not like some unrated patzer doing this... See the thing is I don't know if he cheated but neither do you, you're speculating on ideas you've formulated that are just as sketchy and hole ridden as this entire situation. You're basing your evidence off of the info in this article and the games presented without any real background and you've already convicted the man to banishment! You only repeat ideas that support your argument but you never try and refute the ones that fly in the face of your argument. Try explaining how he was searched and nothing was found, how they turned off the live feed and still he won one and played a hard fought game in his loss. Tell us all how he did it if you're so sure of yourself.

    There are more things which can be listed here, but as I see there are some people who will not understand even this things mentioned so why bother.~ Again you're making assumptions about the people who you don't know anything about just because they are in disagreement with you for. I understand what people are saying, I get your points, I just don't believe these are sufficient evidence to convict someone. Suspect? Yes. There is sufficient evidence to suspect this man of cheating, there is cause to check him out and look into the situation but not to convict, not yet. The most damning evidence that flies in the face of all this "proof" that he is guilty is nobody can find out how he did it. It's like finding someone covered in blood over a dead body and shooting them on the spot. No murder weapon, no known relationship to the situation or victim, just someone with blood on their hands and someone dead next to them. So, no this is not the end of the story as you so expeditiously wish to make it. I will not pull the trigger on the man, give him his chance to come forward and explain, to refute and defend to those whom are in the know. It is this reason alone he wasn't kicked from the tournament and was allowed to proceede. Be civil and patient and not jump to early conclusions.

  • 22 months ago

    Champeknight

    Thanks for your comments Liart. Very educational for the naive. Shame on you, cheaters.

  • 22 months ago

    Liart

    I just can't beleive that there are some people who beleive that this guy is not a cheater. How much more proof you need?

    1. Matching the strongest computer moves extremely high percent of time (so High that not even the best players in the world can do it)

    2. Untill the age of 20+ He has not shown any great talent judging by his rating, and  all of the sudden he achieves the greatest upset ever in the history of chess

    3. He has a 9-5 job which he has to attend 5 days a week, and since he is a programmer, I know that that job requires constant learning, so basicly leaves almost no free time to study chess.

    4. Playing different opening system as black against 4 different GMs in one tournament with succes. Any master will understand this.

    There are more things which can be listed here, but as I see there are some people who will not understand even this things mentioned so why bother.

    End of story

  • 22 months ago

    ardiyono

    poor ivanov. why when someone has low rating beat high rating,judged that he was cheating. its normal. sometimes i lose with lower rating. and i dont say they was cheat. cos sometimes you did mistakes.

  • 22 months ago

    Champeknight

    I will never defend a cheat. It is a waste of time and indicates how bad your values are. Although it is hard to catch a cheater in the act of cheating, the probability of cheating in this incident is too much to be circumstantial.

    Shame on you, cheaters!

  • 22 months ago

    sittingpawn

    Just to show disparity with computers and analysis I ran a simple game 6 which dokter said matched 100% with his houdini, I ran the game with houdini and Rybka and the results were with houdini his opponent matched 17/34 moves and Ivanov matched 22/34. A closer look will show that most of the matched moves for both players were forced situations where either a capture was expected or truly the best move. Also considering that Ivanov's opponent lost, most of his misses came in the final 5 moves where he blundered the game... and he did blunder. With Rybka his opponent matched 19/34 moves and Ivanov matched 20/34 again with the majority of his opponents misses coming in those last 5 moves.  Each move was given 2 minutes for the computer to analyze.

    While I appreciate what you did dokter, when you compare this guys 9 games and then make the whimsical comment about players like annand and carlsen over their career you're misrepresenting. If you Carlsen's most recent showing, or a tournament where he performed exceptional i'm sure your stats would go up. In fact I'm sure you can take a stretch of most decent players on here where they had a good run of some matches and find similar results. There is no doubt the guy had a great tournament so you expect for his percentages to be higher. Also when you state, "And keep in mind these numbers include game 2, where he obviously was playing computer moves, but at the end for some reason had to play moves by himself and lossed fairly simply. If he would have taken only his wins, the numbers would be even far worse/ridiculous." Now keep in mind that this game went over 100 moves! if you honestly think he played computer moves throughout this game then your assessment would be false because if he played computer moves till move 110 and then looses it, if you were to remove this game his percentages in agreement with your houdini would drop then. I still haven't heard anyone explain why in that game at move 68 he drops the game and it's only by sure luck that Jovanic misses the win there! Was move 68 a computer move? What about 69? 70? the thing is that if you look at those moves 68, 69, 70 in accordance with the rest of his moves, he was killing time thinking that he was safe... little did either know.

    Look, I'm not sure if the guy cheated or not but you guys based off of some people telling you he cheated and a few of you looking at the games with a computer have already tried and convicted this guy. I really want to know how game two dokter was obviously computer moves? I really want someone to explain to me how they can automatically tell when a computer makes a move and when a human does.

  • 22 months ago

    MMSANCHEZ

    @rustyknife

    Maybe Ivanov doesn't want to make a huge fuss about everything and realizes that since he's the weakest player in the tournament (by rating) and it would seem a little suspicious for him to win 4th place. The strip search was absoulutly going to far and yes, most people would make a legal issue of it, but maybe Ivanov just wants to play chess and doesn't want to spend the time and energy to sue a couple td's that did something stupid.

  • 22 months ago

    MMSANCHEZ

    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • 22 months ago

    MMSANCHEZ

    @dokter

     

    I'm 1800 and I can play 10-15 moves exactly like houdini. If the positions are easy to play then yes a 2200 (possibly a 2600) can play flawlessly. With the technology we have today everyone is paranoid about cheating. Chess computers have a downside for chess. People always run to them for answers. Nobody thinks about chess the way they used to anymore. When Kasparov plays a positional sacrifice thousands of fans gasp in horror that Kasparov is down half a point. Then when Anand blunders a piece and Kasparov wins, Kasparov apparently got lucky. Anand should have seen the fifteen forced moves that led to a slightly better endgame. Capablanca won a tournament when he was fourteen that nobody thought he was good enough to play in. He wasn't accused of cheating because nobody could stick his moves into houdini and see that he played flawlessly from move 7. I'm sure Capablanca and Lasker and Alekhine have matched Ivanov's feat at some point of their lives. Nobody accused them of cheating because by the time computers came around they were dead legacies. Ivanov may have cheated, but let’s not let a machine that spits out numbers determine Ivanov's character and honesty.

  • 22 months ago

    dokter_nee

    Everything combined, his games he played, his age, previously shown talent, his evolution/chess history, the game(s? I only checked one) he played in a previous tournament, Bulgarian student championship, against a 2400+ (Enchev).

    I believe this is all enough, there is no reasonable doubt, really there is none. I don't think that anyone has ever played a game of more than 30 moves perfectly in houdini 'style'(humans play very different and much worse!), this guy played at least 6 (and we can even say 9) in his last 10 matches.

    Anyone who still doubts is just being silly or uninformed.

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