Friday, January 8, 2016

Pestaño: GM loses title for cheating

THERE is a guideline in Fide that once you have attained the title of grandmaster it is forever. However, for the first time in the history of chess (or since the title was first officially given by Fide in 1950),a GM was stripped of his title for cheating in a tournament and was also banned for three years by the Fide ethics commission.
Last April, GM Gaoiz Nigalidze, champion of Georgia in 2013 and 2014 and winner of the Al Ain Open in 2014, was caught cheating in the 2015 Dubai Open, where his smart phone was found hidden in the toilet. The case was sent to the FIDE ethics commission, which investigated and ruled on it, and has issued its first judgment on cheating since the Anti-Cheating Commission was created.  
The FIDE ethics commission deemed Nigalidze guilty of violating clause 2.2.5 of the FIDE Code of Ethics and sanctioned him with a three-year ban and revocation of his grandmaster title. The clause punishes “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. However, FIDE decided to start the ban on Sept. 6 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.
The federation decided that Nigalidze 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 anti-cheating guidelines adopted by FIDE recommend up to a three-year ban for a first offense and up to a 15-year ban for a second or later offense.
It was not the first time a player was caught cheating at the Dubai Open. In 2008, an Iranian player was also banned from the tournament after he was found to have been receiving help from someone who was watching the game’s live broadcast on the internet and was sending the moves through text messages.
Over the years, there have been many accusations of collusion, either of players deliberately losing (often to help a friend or teammate get a title norm), or of players agreeing to draws to help both players in a tournament.
In 2011, IM Greg Shahade wrote that “prearrangement of results is extremely commonplace, even at the highest levels of chess. This especially holds true for draws... There is a bit of a code of silence at the top levels of chess.”
The subject had been partially broached by Alex Yermolinsky a few years earlier, saying “ It’s no secret how people act when facing a last round situation when a draw gives no prize...People will just dump games, period.” It is also true here in Cebu and organizers cannot do anyhing about it.
Frederic Friedel reported that the PCA had considered running a series of open tournaments in 1990s, but for similar reasons declined, saying that deliberately losing games was “very real in the many open tournaments that are staged all over the world.”
One of the earliest known cases of using technology to cheat occurred in the 1993 World Open. An unrated newcomer wearing headphones scored 4.5/9 in the Open Section, including a draw with a grandmaster and a win over a 2350-rated player. This player seemed to have a suspicious bulge in one of his pockets, which appeared to make a soft humming or buzzing sound at important points in the game. When he was quizzed by the tournament director, he had no knowledge of simple chess concepts, and he was disqualified.

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