Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pestaño: The sad story of Borislav Ivanov

Thursday, July 25, 2013

BORISLOV IVANOV is a 25-year-old computer programmer who many people suspect of cheating in tournaments. Though the accusations have never been proven, he has been suspended from playing for four months by the Bulgarian Chess Federation. I think it is unfair.
He was punished because he did not show up for a test of his newly found skills at the board. The federation also wanted him to take a lie-detector or polygraph test.
Despite a rating of 2227, Ivanov’s managed a spectacular tournament performance rating (TPR) of 2697 in the Zadar International Open last December in Croatia and he was accused of cheating by using a computer program.
He won five games, drew two others and lost two. The five victories were against four grandmasters and a strong international master, and Ivanov soundly defeated them all.
A great percentage of his moves also coincided with the first choice of the computer upon analysis.
Two months later in a tournament in the Georgi Tringov Memorial Open he scored a mediocre performance of just 1942 and finished 88th without even meeting a titled opponent.
Despite this low performance, he next participated in the XXIII Memorial Paz di Ziganda in Villava Spain and performed at an exceptional level of 2696.
The variations of his performances are just too wide to attribute to chance, according to experts.
Once again, at the 2nd Bogomil Andononov Memorial he had a convincing result of 7.5 out of 9 and took the first prize. He defeated a plethora of Bulgarian GMs and IMs including super-GM Kiril Georgiev, who has just won the 2013 Bulgarian Championship.
A couple of weeks later, he had another phenomenal performance of 8/9 at the 1st Cup Old Capital international Open in a crushing style of play. Despite his clear win he was controversially thrown out of the standings and denied first place. He won by default over three players who refused to play him.
Now, organizers are banning him from participating in tournaments as most players are avoiding him like the plague.
Here are his answers to some questions asked by reporters.
Did the arbiter take your clothes off, or did they just check your pockets? They checked my pockets very slowly and my jacket and after they found nothing.... well, maybe they were a bit disappointed, because they were 100 percent sure I was cheating and of course that’s a total lie.
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 my own satellite 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.
He has also some defenders, like me.
Peter Jamesonsays that alleging Ivanov is a cheat provides no real evidence.
How does he cheat even in rapid games watched by a horde of observers?
Roger de Coverly says if he is cheating, then he has to have a method of communicating the board position or the latest move played to either an engine on his person or in the hands of third party accomplice(s). He also has to receive back the move recommended. Using the evidence of the rapid play tournament, all this has to be done at ten seconds a move.
I am not interested in what measures should be put in place the next time Ivanov plays or whether he should be banned from tournaments or that there is a chess engine correlation with his moves, but whether you can cheat in this way at rapid chess.
I think he may be a genuine genius!

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