Chess Mysteries - The Cheating Scandal in Zadar

Chess Mysteries - The Cheating Scandal in Zadar

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Today’s blog post I have devoted to a sensitive topic in contemporary chess, one that may determine the future of the ancient game and ultimately destroy the beauty and sportsmanship that chess has been known for generation after generation. The matter to be discussed today is namely chess cheating.

After a spike of tournament cheating cases in recent years throughout Europe and around the world, we have become increasingly sensitive to the sudden displays of extreme genius over the board by otherwise consistently average players. A case of similar kind has been repeatedly reported in the media from the recently finished Zadar Open in Croatia. In the A Group of this mid-December tournament, 32 strong grandmasters and other titled players convened to measure their playing strengths and compete for the top prize of EUR 2200. Among those 16 GMs and nearly as many IMs and FMs was a single untitled player previously registered in the B group of the tournament. The Bulgarian player, Borislav Ivanov, who was rated 2227 at the time, had just decided to transfer to the A group of the tournament and try his best against the GMs. Surprisingly, however, once the tournament began, Ivanov started to win game after game beating world-class players, like the renowned GM Kurajica, GM Kožul, and GM Šaric. The tournament organizers became increasingly suspicious but despite the precautions that were undertaken, Ivanov’s innocence persisted long after the end of this event. 

Now, in my video below, I want to cast some light on the reality surrounding this case. Certainly, guilt cannot be unilaterally proven without the relevant FIDE anti-cheating measures being put in place for this type of events, but I can at least demonstrate you how easily one can be caught cheating, given the modern technologies that can both help and deter cheating attempts at our dear chess tournaments! 

The video I am presenting you with below is very instructive from a theoretical, as well as practical point of view, and can also give you some food for thought, as well as the ultimate knowledge to decide for yourself on whether this case was a case of cheating or pure genius.