Rausis Loses GM Title, Gets 6-Year Ban For Phone Cheating
Igors Rausis received a heavy penalty.

Rausis Loses GM Title, Gets 6-Year Ban For Phone Cheating

| 220 | Chess Event Coverage

Igors Rausis, the 58-year-old Latvian-Czech player who was caught with his phone during a game at the Strasbourg Open earlier this year, was stripped of his GM title and received a six-year ban from the FIDE ethics commission.

The news was published on the FIDE website last night before a full resolution by the FIDE ethics commission has been published. [Update: the full decision is now available in PDF.]

It was the Latvian-Spanish grandmaster Alexei Shirov who leaked the story earlier on Thursday in a Facebook post.

During a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, held Nov. 23-24, the FIDE ethics commission discussed the Rausis case among other matters. The members of the meeting are Yolander Persaud, Ravindra Dongre, Rajesh Hari Joshi, and the chairman Francois Strydom.

Also present were Yuri Garrett of the FIDE fair play commission and Kenneth Regan, an associate professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo, who has advised FIDE for several years. Regan uses a model to make statistical tests for cheating with computers at chess.

The commission's unanimous decision is as follows, taken from FIDE's press release:

Taking into account Mr Rausis’ acknowledgment of guilt, his co-operation at the hearing and remorse displayed, as well as his personal circumstances, but keeping in mind the precedent established by the ETH’s decision in case no. 7/2015 [the Nigalidze case – PD], the ETH unanimously decided to sanction Mr. Igor Rausis with a worldwide ban of 6 (six) years to take effect from 31 July 2019 and to end on 30 July 2025. During this period Mr. Rausis is prohibited from participating as a player in any FIDE rated over-the-board chess competition (whether classical, rapid, blitz or Fischer-random chess), and from any chess-related activity as an arbiter, organizer or representative of a chess federation. In addition, Mr. Rausis’ grandmaster title is revoked effective from the date of publishing this decision.

The commission added that Rausis (still holding the GM title on the FIDE website at the time of this writing) is still allowed to play correspondence or online chess and can still work as a private coach as long as he's not involved in official FIDE events. His rating has also not been affected, and he keeps his international master, FIDE trainer, and national arbiter titles.

Rausis had been under investigation for cheating for a long time. He had raised suspicions after he increased his rating in recent years to almost 2700. As the world number-50 with an Elo of 2685, he is the oldest player in the top 100 of FIDE ratings.

This summer he was caught with his phone during a game at the 2019 Strasbourg Open. Soon after, a photo of the scene was circulating on social media, and Rausis signed a declaration that the phone was his. According to the ethics commission, he has acknowledged his guilt.

A very similar case, which the ethics commission refers to in its statement, involved the Georgian player Gaioz Nigalidze, who was banned from playing chess for three years and also lost his grandmaster title after he was caught cheating in April 2015 at the Dubai Open. In a restroom, Nigalidze used an iPod that was logged into a social networking site under his account, and his game was being analyzed by a chess app.

In its verdict, the ethics commission does not directly explain why Rausis received a ban twice as long as Nigalidze, but its decision is related to the fact that Rausis has confessed to cheating on four different occasions, in three instances by using his mobile phone and in the other by pre-arranging the result of a game. This pattern definitely lasted for years.

Whether it will make much of a difference for him is not clear. Shortly after he was caught at the Strasbourg Open, Rausis told  "At least what I committed yesterday is a good lesson, not for me—I played my last game of chess already."

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

Company Contact and News Accreditation: 

Phone: 1 (800) 318-2827
Address: 877 E 1200 S #970397, Orem, UT 84097

More from PeterDoggers
Yakubboev Wins UzChess Cup On Tiebreaks Ahead Of Abdusattorov

Yakubboev Wins UzChess Cup On Tiebreaks Ahead Of Abdusattorov

Niemann Secures Funds For $1 Million Buy-In Tournament

Niemann Secures Funds For $1 Million Buy-In Tournament