Ivanov Again Suspended by Bulgarian Chess Federation

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 12/22/13, 11:52 PM.

It's the time of lists, Top 10s, Top 2000s, that kind of thing. For chess it's not difficult to determine who has been competing strongly with Magnus Carlsen for the title of person of the year: Borislav Ivanov. (We'll let our readers decide who won this contest.) And he's making our news section one more time in 2013, because it has become clear that the Bulgarian Chess Federation has again banned Ivanov, this time for a period of four months.

Borislav Ivanov | Photo © Blitz.bg

Soon after Borislav Ivanov was banned from the Navalmoral de la Mata tournament in Spain, Yuri Garrett, Board Director of the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP), wrote the following letter:

Qualification Commission, Mr. Ignatius Leong
Ethics Commission, Mr. Roberto Rivello
Anti-Cheating Commission, Mr. Israel Gelfer


Dear Mr. President,

on behalf of the ACP, I wish to bring to your attention some recent facts whereby a Bulgarian player, FM Boris Ivanov, was twice expelled from a tournament for not complying with arbiter requests. The ACP thinks it is only fair that all his games in these tournaments should be either canceled rating-wise or, better, considered as forfeited and therefore presents you with an official request to this effect.

Also, we are wondering whether immediate and urgent actions can be taken against similar cases while waiting for the new anti-cheating regulations to be developed and put into force after Tromso 2014, such as a suspension, in order to avoid further disorders in FIDE rated tournaments.

I trust you will consider this matter very attentively as it is very sensitive for all chess professionals and amateurs alike.

Kind regards,

Yuri Garrett
ACP Board Director
Member of the ACP/FIDE Anti-Cheating Committee

Last Wednesday FIDE published a reaction on its website:

FIDE is closely following the developments of the story with regards to the Bulgarian chess player Borislav Ivanov.

We are in receipt of several inquiries and proposals in respect of this issue, with ACP proposing some serious steps. (Y. Garrett letter)

ACP representatives joined FIDE in a Committee which is now preparing a whole system of measures against all kinds of cheating. The Committee will present a proposal to FIDE's Anti-Cheating Commission for the approval of the 2014 FIDE General Assembly to take immediate effect. 

FIDE is aware of the damage caused by this unfortunate incident and is seriously considering various proposals. 

However, FIDE has not received any official communication from the Bulgarian Federation in this respect and this is the second incident involving the same player from this Federation. 

Having in mind all legal aspects of any action against Mr. Ivanov, FIDE is going to bring this case before the FIDE Ethics Commission, for their follow up and decision.

However, by then it was already known that the Bulgarian Chess Federation had banned Ivanov. Two days later FIDE added to the same article:

FIDE has since received the following letter from Bulgarian chess federation:

Bulgarian chess federation would like to inform you that Borislav Ivanov has
been excluded from Bulgarian Chess Federation with decision of the Board of
Bulgarian Chess Federation on 08.12.2013.

Ivanov has been suspended for four months this time; earlier this year the Bulgarian Chess Federation banned Ivanov for three months after he failed to appear at a meeting where he would be questioned and a lie detector would be used.

The Federation gives several arguments for their decision but still, for the second time, Ivanov has been banned without clear proof of cheating existing. However, indirect evidence seems overwhelming: many of his games show a higher level than those of Magnus Carlsen, and his behaviour at events is strange too. He has refused to take off his shoes when asked, and at the recent Navalmoral de la Mata tournament the organizers found a device with wires on his back, but Ivanov refused to show it and instead left the tournament even though he was topping the standings at that point.

Meanwhile, the Ivanov-cheating story has reached mainstream media. For example, last Thursday Bloomberg posted a lengthy article Cheating at Chess and Other Pastimes (quoting ChessVibes several times). Today The Independent published a story too.

17672 reads 65 comments
9 votes


  • 3 years ago


    At PeterDoggers staff chess.com

    I agree with umbertoc.
    In addition, those who spoke of wires may even have theoretically invented (because of "pressure").

  • 3 years ago


    At PeterDoggers staff chess.com

    I read the article linked, and it doesn't say they "found" a device.

    Ivanov refused to take off his clothes, which generally is common also for women, at least if they don't get paid. So I'd suggest to change the part of the article which says that a "device" was found, because in the article mentioned, and linked, there is no photo of any device found, and it is not even clear what they found.

    Ivanov can have strapped to his chest a gun, or a medical device, like an insulin pump. But it is quite libelous and defamatory to write that a device was found, when there is no shred of evidence of what Mr. Ivanov had on his body. From the photo in the article, yes, Mr. Ivanov could be diabetic, since it is evidently underweight and pale, or have another medical condition.

    Further, Mr. Ivanov, not being in an airport, and not being a terrorist, has no reason to remove his shoes, based on someone else will of persecution toward him.

  • 3 years ago


    some would say it's just a chess game.  so what?!  cheaters get found out no matter what.  I don't think there's a law that says you can't cheat at chess.  I know you can't cheat at gambling.  are they gambling on chess?  is there actual money at stake?  well, if he was being stubborn and felt his personal rights were being violated then he did the right thing.  if he was cheating, then we'll find out soon enough...

  • 3 years ago


    Maybe also women chess player should start to be checked, and asked to remove bras, clothes, and other stuff right?

    Oh no, wait, if someone would do that to a woman they would be charged with sexual harassement or worse, but Ivanov must comply, because we all know that not all human beings have the same rights.

    Ivanov unfortunately is born in a country without human rights, if he was born in US, then FIDE and various arbiters would be scared of the lawsuit. But if one is born in a poor country, then he can be harassed and libeled, like in the case of the comments written here by people who doesn't bring any physical proof, but just conjectures.

  • 3 years ago


    I agree with OctoberOwl (sporting a Japanese flag does explain his inclinaton to Technology Smile), there are a lot of so called "signal jammer" devices availabe today. Currently being used in National Libraries, Churches, Museums, Theaters, and other places where conventions are usually held. Most of these devices have adjustable frequency/infrared or even EMP that can be pre-programmed to a specific range that the user wishes, e.g. the radius or diameter of the table that the players would be using, thus avoiding any accidental interruptions with the lights, cameras, and other electronic equipment needed for broadcasting the matches.  But then again, implementing these things would entail expenses, and we all know that Chess Tournaments (both local and international) don't really belong to the list of well-funded endeavors. So we might as well stick to the Neanderthal ways of frisking and "shoe-removal" procedures, and just wait for the day wherein having "stinky feet" will be considered as an advantage or a legal tactic to distract your opponents. I just might get a shot at that World Title, having "Feet Forfeit" as my signature move...Yell  

  • 3 years ago


    With this ruling, everyone who participates in  tournaments should play barefoot.

  • 3 years ago


    Just by not removing his shoes, he gets banned? That's something.

  • 3 years ago


     its like a drunk who refuses a  breath test, they are found guilty. simple.

  • 3 years ago


    I haven't seen another player asked to take off his shoes - this is embarrassing! By the way, any one knows how to beat a GM just with yr shoes on ?

  • 3 years ago


    a cheap publicity for fideSealed

  • 3 years ago


    Why people trying to prove Ivanov is innocent, when he himself have no interest to prove it.

  • 3 years ago


    For those defending this cheat please do some research and be aware that he has refused to allow his shoes to be examined at least twice when his opponent was willing to let his be examined. The fact that he won't submit to the same examination as his opponent is grounds enough to disquaify him.

    Also, look at his games and the analysis that many have done. His play exceeds that of Carlsen in terms of computer accuracy and he does it playing almost instantly. Yet at times when he knows that he will be searched he suddenly loses like a club player. You can definitely "convict" someone on such powerful circumstansial evidence.

  • 3 years ago


    I'm player no Fide Rating status, my rating just around 1600++ in my country (local rating), and I'm not a regular player, play in trnmt when I have a free time, but I have beat IM, FM, NM and regular player rating above 2000, but at the same time, I also loss to player under rating than me. So, who cheat who? FIDE and any chess federation please make investigation before take any action to ban any player.

  • 3 years ago


    He has to comply with all the anti-cheating measures EVERYBODY ELSE has to comply to, otherwise he can be thrown out without "evidence." You don't get to avoid anti-cheating measures, and say that they didn't find anything, therefore, you didn't cheat. If you don't see why that doesn't logically check out alright, then you're a complete idiot.

  • 3 years ago


    Don't forget Fischer accused the "Russkies" of cheating and over time several of them have generally admitted that's just the way they always did things. Bronstein, Taimanov, Kasparov and others have said this. I would guess some of that attitude remains today.


    Nobody accused Fischer of cheating when he left tournaments while in the lead.


    It makes sense for them to ban him for a short time when he didn't comply with the arbiters, but for more permanent solutions they really do need proof of something more.

  • 3 years ago


    FIDE must be slapping its tighs to keep from laughing at your post. The guy is the greatest publicity stunt they could hope for.

  • 3 years ago


    The FIDE probably goes nuts thinking of Borislav Ivanov. How can they persecute this guy without clearly proving that he is cheating? Everything they produced is circumtancial. What the heck! Let's get this hyped all over with! Carlsen vs Ivanov in underwear only! hahahaha

  • 3 years ago


    "it has become clear that the Bulgarian Chess Federation has again banned Ivanov" but it hasn't clear yet that he is guilty or not.

    "However, FIDE has not received any official communication from the Bulgarian Federation in this respect"

  • 3 years ago


    If an athlete refuses to participate in the anti-dope test, they get banned.

  • 3 years ago


    U need to be a real loser to cheat like that...do something useful with your life...!

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