Borislav Ivanov- "My Socks Stink"
Borislav Ivanov

Borislav Ivanov- "My Socks Stink"

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Hi, and welcome to my next blog post. Today, we will consider a question, of a chess player who was suspected of cheating. His Name is Borislav Ivanov.

He mostly played chess in 2012 and 2013. He was beating a lot of strong Grandmasters, and winning big chess events. The Bulgarian Federation however, thought that he was cheating, so they took away his FM title, and they banned him in December 2013.

Zadar Open

He took 4th place in the 2012 Zadar Open which was held in Croatia. He defeated some strong players, with big ratings, much bigger than his. He was a young 25 year old man at that time. He finished with 6.0/9 with a rating performance of 2697! There were two groups- 2300+ and U2200. Pretty strong tournament. Time control was 90 minutes and 30 sec inc. They were competing for a pretty big prize in 2300+. 2,200 Euros.

These were the final standings in the Open Section.

Rg. Title Name FED Rtng Pts
 TB1 
 TB2 
 TB3 
Perf
+/–
1 GM Predojevic Borki BIH 2600 6.5
36.0
45.5
32.0
2645
+6
2 GM Stevic Hrvoje CRO 2622 6.5
34.0
42.5
29.5
2644
+4
3 GM Sumets Andrey UKR 2638 6.0
38.0
48.0
33.5
2628
+1
4 Ivanov Borislav BUL 2227 6.0
36.5
47.5
30.5
2697
+49
5 GM Jovanic Ognjen CRO 2538 5.5
38.5
47.5
31.0
2575
+1
6 GM Kožul Zdenko CRO 2638 5.5
37.0
47.5
31.5
2562
–7
7 GM Šaric Ante CRO 2533 5.5
36.5
45.0
30.0
2581
+7
8 GM Martinovic Saša CRO 2530 5.5
35.0
44.5
28.5
2586
+8
9 GM Cebalo Mišo CRO 2402 5.5
33.5
43.5
25.0
2544
+16
10 GM Kuljaševic Davorin CRO 2561 5.5
32.5
41.5
26.0
2514
–5
11 GM Jovanovic Zoran CRO 2503 5.5
32.5
41.5
25.5
2542
+1
12 GM Brkic Ante CRO 2583 5.0
37.5
48.5
30.0
2562
–3
13 IM Kadric Denis BIH 2458 5.0
37.0
47.0
29.5
2579
+15
14 GM Lalic Bogdan CRO 2484 5.0
36.0
47.0
26.5
2554
+8
15 GM Šaric Ivan CRO 2626 5.0
34.5
44.0
28.5
2517
–12
16 IM Jakovljevic Vlado BIH 2404 5.0
31.5
40.0
22.5
2506
+12

As you see, this was such a strong field. Impossible for a 2200 to finish 4th in such a competition. Suspicions by people were raised after this incredible/too good to believe performance by Borislav Ivanov. Here were the players he played against, and the results he scored against them:

Rd.
Bo.
SNo
Title
Name
Rtng
FED
Pts.
Res.
1
18
18
FM
Schachinger Mario
2426
AUT
4.5
w 1
2
7
10
GM
Jovanic Ognjen
2538
CRO
5.5
s 0
3
12
7
GM
Kurajica Bojan
2565
BIH
4.5
w 1
4
7
8
GM
Kuljaševic Davorin
2561
CRO
5.5
s ½
5
7
9
GM
Zelcic Robert
2560
CRO
4.5
w 1
6
2
2
GM
Kožul Zdenko
2638
CRO
5.5
s 1
7
1
1
GM
Sumets Andrey
2638
UKR
6.0
s ½
8
1
5
GM
Predojevic Borki
2600
BIH
6.5
w 0
9
3
3
GM
Šaric Ivan
2626
CRO
5.0
s 1

Beating Ivan Saric !! He also beat a few other strong Grandmasters, and drew against them. He could have tried to lower the suspicions by losing to Predojevic Borki who was rated 2600 at that time and is the strongest player in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This doesn't look like a game that a 2200 is capable of playing, especially with the sacs. Most people of Zadar were amazed. Borislav was asked to take off his shirt, give his pen to the arbiters, and empty his pockets, but still nothing as found!!

Here is another thing you should note: He is a programmer that works a lot with computers. That would make it so much easier for him to think of something that he could use, something advanced that would be hard for the arbiters to find.

  Here is a interview with Borislav Ivanov.

Interview by Maria Grigoryan

Exclusive interview with Borislav Ivanov, 25, a low-ranked master from Bulgaria, who won five games, drew two others and lost two at a tournament in Zadar, Croatia. The five victories were against four grandmasters and a strong master, and Ivanov soundly defeated them all. Afterwards, Borislav Ivanov was accused of cheating in the Croatian tournament.

What happened in the Zadar Open 2012?

The Zadar Open is a tournament that I've played every year for some time now. Well this was the first time that I tried the A tournament and i think my performance was fantastic although there was so much speculation afterwards

How did you react to the accusation that you were cheating?

At first I wasn't surprised about the speculations but suddenly they turned very ridiculous. Some people accused me of using technical equipment that only NASA has, I even heard that I had had my own satelite that transmitted moves during the games... this is horrible! I never thought that human imagination can turn so fantastic just because a 2200 Elo player has played some nice games in a tournament

Did the arbiter take your clothes off, or did they just check your pockets?

Well, I know my body is handsome and beautiful, but I didn't find it enough to show them the real sexual affection I have for other people around me, so I just said no, although they checked my pockets very slowly and my jacket and after they found nothing.... well, may be they were a bit disappointed, cause they were 100% sure I was cheating and of course that's a total lie

How did you manage to beat the Croatian grandmasters?

I dont think there was anything special in my games at all. The Croatian GMs made some horrible mistakes during our games. Of course I practiced a lot with the computer, and after beating Rybka and Houdini by 10-0 each, i was absolutelly sure that no-one was gonna stop me winning. After all the arbiters were kind of polite and intelligent, you know, the other players weren't though....

Did the arbiters make some mistakes during the chess tournament?

I don't think they made any mistakes at all – in the last two rounds they stopped my live streaming because of the speculations, but of course that didn't affect my games much. The most disturbing thing happened on my birthday, the 21st of December! I was kind of celebrating and preparing for a night out to reduce the stress and get rid a bit of the long chess tournament, but the arbiters and the GMs made me a special birthday present – a petition that asks the referee to check if I had any technical equipment on me, one of the best presents I have ever had in my life!

Which is your main profession?

I am actually a student in my home town Blagoevgrad, its a nice town in South West Bulgaria.

Do you have some other hobby but chess?

Hanging out with friends of mine, visiting night clubs, meeting beautiful girls and so on. Actually, before the Zadar Scandal I wasn't so popular at all, but now I see that the more time is turning the more my popularity rises, I just want to play my own chess-style and to have fun playing chess it's still a pity that I am famous for these ridiculous accusations.

Since when do you play chess? Who was your first teacher of chess?

Well I have been playing chess for about ten years, but 2012 was the first time I started learning seriously the chess theory and practising with a computer. My first chess teacher is my coach Marin Atanasov. He has helped me a lot in my chess-progress ever since I have been playing chess. My club is on my side in this scandal, of course and I would like to thank all the people who support me and even make me feel better despite the endless rudeness that I am receiving.

Some people say that you are genius, other that you are cheat, what would you say to them?

Genius or a cheat, that sounds interesting...Well, I'm not a genius, nor a cheat, but just a normal boy that wants to have fun playing chess.

Source: WhyChess

Alright, that was the interview. As you see, he was very sure that there was nothing special when he crushed those Croatian GMs. 

After 2012, he continued on to beat those strong players. He played in the Bogomil Andonov Memorial Tournament, where he beat Kiril Georgiev. As you see, he didn't take the repetition draw, at 22. Qd1. If he wanted it, he would have played 22. Qe2. 

How we got discovered

Borislav was paired up against GM Max Dlugy at the 2012 Blagoevgrad Open. Max asked the arbiter to check Ivanov's shoes. Borislav refused. He said that his socks stinked!! To cheat, he used his toes to operate a chess program!! Afterwards, he got arrested for 8 years for doing some other bad stuff, that you can read here: https://en.chessbase.com/post/famous-chess-player-arrested-in-bulgaria

Max Dlugy



In all, I think that it was a very interesting way to cheat. However, I am surprised that they didn't decide to check his socks earlier. It took them quite a long time.

Sites that I used:

https://en.chessbase.com/post/famous-chess-player-arrested-in-bulgaria

https://en.chessbase.com/post/cheating-scandal-borislav-ivanov-speaks-out

https://en.chessbase.com/post/cheating-suspicion-at-the-zadar-open-in-croatia

This is it for today! I hope you enjoyed my blog post! What would you guys like next? Also, I will be taking a little break from blogging.