Nigalidze Verdict: 3-Year Ban, GM Title Stripped

Nigalidze Verdict: 3-Year Ban, GM Title Stripped

| 71 | Chess Players

The FIDE Ethics Commission has banned Gaioz Nigalidze from playing chess for a period of three years. The Georgian player, who was caught cheating at the 2015 Dubai Open, also lost his grandmaster title. This was reported by FIDE.

Nigalidze was caught cheating in April 2015 at the Dubai Open. Arbiters found an iPod and a headset in a toilet cubicle. The iPod was logged into a social networking site under Nigalidze’s account, and his game was being analyzed by a chess app.

The Georgian player, who was an IM at the time but became a GM in the course of 2015, was expelled from the tournament.

The incident was reported to FIDE, and now the verdict is there.

An arbiter holds the score sheet and an iPod with the actual game position active. | Photo Dubai Open.

The FIDE Ethics Commission deemed Nigalidze guilty (here in PDF) of violating clause 2.2.5 of the FIDE Code of Ethics and sanctioned him with a 3-year ban and revocation of his grandmaster title.

Preceded by “The Code of Ethics shall be breached by a person or organization who directly or indirectly,” clause 2.2.5 states:

Cheating or attempts at cheating during games and tournaments. Violent, threatening or other unseemly behavior during or in connection with a chess event.

According to FIDE Nigalidze admitted his guilt and voluntarily withdrew from participation in all tournaments since April 2015. However, FIDE decided to start the ban per 6 September 2015. It would have been in line with similar cases in other sports to backdate the suspension to April, so that Nigalidze can play chess again in April 2018.

On top of the ban Nigalidze was stripped of his grandmaster (GM) title — “on the basis of unworthiness,” writes FIDE. The federation decided that the player can keep his IM title “in recognition of his remorseful and cooperative conduct in the investigation.” 

Rated 2563, Nigalidze can earn back is GM title by scoring three GM norms in the future.

The Nigalidze case is the first case where a verdict was reached since the installment of FIDE's Anti-Cheating Committee. As a result of several incidents of cheating in chess, this committee was established in 2014. It has an advisory role towards the World Chess Federation.

In 2014 FIDE adopted many of the committee's recommendations in its Laws of ChessSpecifically, Law 11.3b was altered and now reads:

During play, a player is forbidden to have a mobile phone and/or other electronic means of communication in the playing venue. If it is evident that a player brought such a device into the playing venue, he shall lose the game. The opponent shall win.
The rules of a competition may specify a different, less severe, penalty.
The arbiter may require the player to allow his clothes, bags or other items to be inspected, in private. The arbiter or a person authorised by the arbiter shall inspect the player and shall be of the same gender as the player. If a player refuses to cooperate with these obligations, the arbiter shall take measures in accordance with Article 12.9.

The anti-cheating guidelines adopted by FIDE recommend up to a 3-year ban for a first offence and up to a 15-year ban for a second or later offense, subject to further review in the future.

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