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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


  • 19 months ago

    Triskele

    Assuming Ivanov wasn't very pleased with how the matter was dealt with, a second search should surely find a chip on his person, more specifically his shoulder.  

  • 19 months ago

    sisu

    @ NimzoRoy: I think what a tournament director could do, is use a jamming device, but keep a landline available in case of emergencies.

  • 19 months ago

    Chess_Lover11

    Surprised

  • 19 months ago

    naturalproduct

    I just looked at his rating amongst those listed. Sore thumb....its comical. How in god's name do you cheat in a live tournament though! I heard the stroy of the one guy (name??) who kept going to the bathroom and then they found computer cords in there...lol. How does this happen?

  • 19 months ago

    NimzoRoy

    @NimzoRoy: can they track a jamming device if you use it?  sisu

    An interesting point. I suppose the NSA, CIA and other organizations with the knowhow can, but I'm only guessing. The type of jammer I was thinking about getting would only be to jam cell phones in a very short range say 20' or less from me. I abandoned the idea after realizing I could be responsible for jamming 911 and other emergency calls.

  • 19 months ago

    TwoMove

    In the very first game see the software favorite 7dxe5, much loved in chess com vote chess games. GM's think this move harmless. 

    Agree with those that say the checking was done too late.

  • 19 months ago

    Sahasrara

    There are rooms where the walls are so thick there is absolutely no cell phone reception...But seriously speaking the reaction was too much, even if the guy cheated, he is at loss. 

  • 19 months ago

    sisu

    @sittingpawn: What Petrosianic means is that if you play Najdorf variations, you understand them, especially at 2200+ level. At this level it is well known that this move is dubious against english attack.

    @NimzoRoy: can they track a jamming device if you use it? Laughing

  • 19 months ago

    JosBoy

    Nothing was found on him. So take it.. He won fair!

  • 19 months ago

    BadChessPlayerHere

    Yeah well.  What ever.

    Paranoia has allways existed amongst proffesional chess players, since proffesional chess even exists.

  • 19 months ago

    sittingpawn

    Petrosianic, " The only move that was not Houdini's #1 in the first three games was 115...Bd6 in game 2, which incidentally lost the game immediately."

    What did the great houdini think of  move 68... Ke7? and some of the moves that followed?

  • 19 months ago

    ClavierCavalier

    I fail to see how the implant could accurately transmit information to the brain without it being Bond type technology/resources.  Then again, perhaps Ivanov had to win a torunament to gain access to the ChessMaster's secret layer.  The ChessMaster's a dangerous villian since he always sees several moves ahead.  His weaknesses include seeing everything in black and white, and insisting on book moves.  Like most nerds, he can also be distracted with questions like "Kirk or Picard?"

    Seriously, he'd have to spend quite a bit of money to do an implant.  It's probably more realistic to assume they had some sort of a microphone and speaker.

  • 19 months ago

    sittingpawn

    @petrosianic, while your annotation is rather interesting it is far from conclusive and when you make a statement like, " playing 9...Nc6?!  shows a complete lack of chess culture" I feel like I'm reading a convoluted art critique. How is playing a relatively benign and average move like Nc6 showing a lack of chess culture and for that matter what is this "chess culture" you speak of. It's not like this is a new move or the first time it was presented and it's not a bad move either. To somehow compare this opening choice to later tactical moves and try and make the point that someone who makes such an opening shouldn't be able to make such deft tactical strikes later shows more a poor understanding chess maturation than anything considering that there is a popular belief that middle game and end game study is more important than opening prep and there have been many great players who have gotten on with weaker opening skills while having superior middle game and end games. There's a reason it's called opening theory and not opening law.

    and I single out you and that comment above all else because this is the problem with analyzing someone for suspected cheating. We're after the facting trying to pursue nuances that make someone look guilty rather than innocent. Though you point out that he did make inaccuracies (according to your computer) you seem to brush it aside. You also state, "Black then converted quickly after White made several subsequent inaccuracies while black found several deep and powerful moves" This whole sentence is laced with verbiage in order to make black sound like he's acting superhuman. Terms like "quickly" as if he was blitzing and "deep and powerful" making the moves seem and mystical and amazing. For all we know this guy could be a player who can play at a 2600 level strength but usually doesn't get the chance to prep or put in the time to do so for most tournaments but since he was going against higher rated players (GMs nonetheless) he put in extra time for this one. Maybe his opponents underestimated him being the weakest player there. Maybe he was on a chess high of sorts just rolling and, as they say in basketball, was "on fire".

    I just find it difficult to pour over a game or two with a computer and say, "see? He made a lot of moves the computer agrees with therefore he's likely cheating". When I often here this I take a look at a position and give it the old 10 min rule. I stare at it like I'm in a tournament and I'm taking my time, trying to pick the best move and I see what I would do. Usually I find that really the only move to be played is the one that is played.

    The guy was searched and unless he had an anal probe with an antenna or some sci-fi implant that communicates to his head, he was absolved of cheating. I'm surprised that someone didn't go all the way to say he was implanted with a computer in his brain and an advanced chess program that he can mentally interact with. What's next we start bringing in dogs to sniff participants to see if they're chess terminators?

  • 19 months ago

    NimzoRoy

    Petrosianic now I recall awhile back  i wanted a jamming device to use vs assholes who shout out their phone conversations in public places but after researching the subject discovered they're illegal in the US because they could also jam 911 calls - and medical emergency calls as well.

    As far as this alleged cheater goes a strip search and clothing search revealed nothing is it really possible he had something implanted in his teeth or body? I find that far-fetched but nowadaze who knows?

  • 19 months ago

    ChiefMonk

    So lesson 1: GMs dont like to lose!

  • 19 months ago

    sisu

    I agree with Kacparov - tournament directors need to be smart. Strip-searching after his game with Predojevic means that they did not notice anything earlier on.

    Game one is magnificent, while game two is epic, and well done to the GM for showing patience.

    @Marcas_an_Croga: computers were rubbish in 1979.

    @geniusasis: compare the moves to the engine

    @scott715: EXACTLY! Like in the London Chess Classic.

    It is possible for a 2200 player to beat a few GMs in a tournament. My friend Jari Järvenpää did this in one of the Heart of Finland opens (and no, he was not cheating). In this case it is hard to say. But all tournament directors will now be watching this guy like a hawk.

  • 19 months ago

    NM Petrosianic

    The evidence is there for everybody to see.  Above is a game of this 'player' with Houdini evals.  Chess content notwithstanding, just run Houdini through his games and draw your own conclusions.

    I ran Houdini through his first three games and his ninth game and he either hit the lottery or was somehow Houdini-inspired on every move.  The only move that was not Houdini's #1 in the first three games was 115...Bd6 in game 2, which incidentally lost the game immediately.

    Re: suggestion - many jamming devices or at the least, practices [e.g. jamming for wireless signals] are illegal under US law - i recall that the reasoning for the law/ decision had something to do with medical reasons (perhaps among other reasons, but that was the one i recall cited).

  • 19 months ago

    NimzoRoy

    From now on I guess all tnmts will  have to be played in halls or rooms that are shielded from wireless connections of any sort, or that have jamming devices to make wireless connections unusable.

  • 19 months ago

    wrothgar

    The kozul game says it all... after a knight advantage there's also a threat of mate and the only solution is to sac a queen kind'a weird i guess?

  • 19 months ago

    bigbikefan

    The very first game was all computer aided.  There is no reason to watch the rest...  This is silly at its best...

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