SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
The great site Chess in translation
) today re-produced a Russian news report from the leading Channel One
station that focused on the cheating scandal by members of the French Team in last year’s Khanty Mansiysk Olympiad.
I am quite impressed with the report, and even though I do not speak Russian it is quite informative because it graphically displays and explains the elaborate techniques used –by the cheaters in question–to transmit the moves to the player (Feller).
Ilya Levitov, the Chairman of the Russian Chess Federation Board, had to say when interviewed at the start of the broadcast: (translation courtesy of chessintranslation)
”The French team played a crucial match against our second team. Three of the four games ended in draws, while on the fourth board the wretched Feller was playing against our grandmaster Artyom Timofeev. Artyom played a brilliant game, but lost because he was playing a computer. That was a terrible tragedy for Artyom, because his loss, and consequently the team’s loss, deprived the second team of any chance of winning a medal.”
The article continues:
Perhaps the most interesting part of the video, however, is when the Ukrainian GM Zahar Efimenko is interviewed by telephone and reveals there were already suspicions among the other players during the Olympiad:
Feller (left) playing Efimenko at the Olympiad
”At the Olympiad there were already rumours about some sort of unusual play from him. Not everyone paid too much attention to that, but the thing is that when I played a game against him he made precisely the moves that the computer would have made. They’re quite strange, because they don’t look like human moves. That fact made me suspect he might be playing dishonestly.”
I for one think that all of the news coverage in recent weeks about the French cheating scandal is good for the chess world. Cheating is nothing new to any of us chess players (we have all witnessed it in some variation in our experiences). Many of us are frustrated by the lack of action in dealing with it, and worse: in preventing it from happening again.
Our principal road block has been in how to prove cheating. When dealing with cheating involving advanced technologies –most of which were originally designed with stealth and ease of transmission in mind–we are simply helpless. Stronger rules are counter productive because they tend to lead to unpleasant abuses of other types.
The only solution is in prevention, and in having hefty penalites for those caught in the future. And prevention is easy enough : use technology to fight the techno-cheaters! But this requires the political will of FIDE and of the national federations themselves.
I feel optimistic that the French cheating scandal will move the chess world closer to achieving these things.
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS