Cheating and Chess

By Bill Wall


Perhaps the first known case of cheating is when King Canute (990-1035) tried to put a captured chess piece back on the board.  The dispute over this cheating move led King Canute to murder his brother-in-law, the Earl of Ulf.

In January 1880, at the 5th American Chess Congress in New York, Preston Ware (1821-1890), a wealthy banker of Boston, testified to the tournament committee that his last-round opponent, James Grundy (1855-1919) of England, offered him $20 if he agreed to play for a draw in their game that had been adjourned.  A draw would give Grundy, who needed the money, at least 2nd place prize money.  Ware agreed, but complained that Grundy then reneged on the deal and went on to win the game in 64 moves, and tied for 1st place (with George Mackenzie).  1st place was $500 and 2nd place was $300.  Grundy lost the playoff match with Mackenzie to take 2nd.  When Grundy admitted his guilt, he was forbidden from ever again taking part in an American tournament.  Grundy played in other tournaments, but under false names.  Ware was suspended by the American Chess Association for one year from playing chess.  Preston Ware didn’t need the money, but agreed to the shady deal because he wanted his friend, Captain George Mackenzie, to take first place.

In 1913, at a tournament in Havana, Charles Jaffe (1879-1941) drew his game with Frank Marshall (1877-1944) in the first round, and later, lost his next game to Marshall, blundering away his queen for a rook and then promptly resigned.  Jose Capablanca (1888-1942), who lost to Marshall and Jaffe, charged that Jaffe intentionally lost his game to Marshall so that Marshall would win the tournament ahead of Capablanca.  It was alleged that Capablanca influenced tournament organizers in the USA and Cuba so that Jaffe would be unable to be invited or play in major tournaments after this, especially tournaments in which Capablanca was playing.  Jaffe never played again in a tournament where Capablanca also participated.

In 1932, Sir John Simon (1873-1954), in a speech in Cambridge, said, “…Nobody can cheat in chess.  So far as I know, it is the only game in the world in which it is impossible to cheat.”  History proved him wrong.

In 1935, Ilya Rabinovich (1891-1942) was ordered to lose against Mikhail Botvinnik (1911-1995), to ensure that Botvinnik took 1st place at a Moscow tournament.  Botvinnik refused to go along with the plan, saying, “…then I will myself put a piece en prise and resign.”  The plan was aborted, the game was drawn, and Botvinnik shared 1st place with Salo Flohr (1908-1983) of Czechoslovakia.  Rabinovich tied for 11th-14th.  Earlier, Flohr had proposed to Botvinnik that they both draw their final game and share 1st place.  It was Botvinnik’s first success in international chess.

In the 1936, Stalin met Capablanca and asked the chess master how he liked the tournament he was playing in the USSR.  Capablanca replied, “It’s terrible.  Your players are cheating.” Stalin then said, “What do you mean?”  Capablanca replied, “When they play against each other, the Soviets make quick draws and they get to rest.  When they play against me, they fight on and on just to make me tired.”  After the conversation, the cheating stopped immediately.

In 1937, Botvinnik was playing a match with Grigory Levenfish (1889-1961).  In his adjourned 13th game, Botvinnik called the arbiter, Nikolai Grigoriev (1895-1938), saying that Botvinnik was going to resign his adjourned game.  Grigoriev, one of the strongest endgame composers in the world, told Botvinnik not to resign and that he, Grigoriev, found some defensive moves that could lead to a draw or even a win.  Grigoriev then started telling Botvinnik his analysis of the adjourned position.  Botvinnik tried to cut Grigoriev off, saying an arbitrator, of all people, should not be giving analysis to a player during adjournment.  Grigoriev replied that is was OK, since Levenfish was getting help from several other masters.

From 1940 to 1964, the Soviet chess masters may have colluded in world championship tournaments.  Soviet players agreed to draws between themselves to improve their standings.  This was especially true in the 1962 Candidates’ Tournament.

After World War II, there may have been an effort by the Russians to execute Paul Keres for playing in German tournaments during the war, but Mikhail Botvinnik may have intervened to prevent this.  Keres may have owed Botvinnik his life.  In 1948, in the world championship match-tournament, Paul Keres (1916-1975) may have been ordered by the Soviets to throw his games to Mikhail Botvinnik for the world championship.  Keres played well against his three other rivals, but lost his first four games to Botvinnik.  Years later, Botvinnik gave an interview stating that Stalin had given orders for Keres and Smyslov to lose to Botvinnik so that Botvinnik would become world champion.

In the 1950s, Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957) played a chess game against a friend at a restaurant and lost.  He then went home, phoned his friend and bet some money on a new game played over the phone.  Bogart won the game, but then admitted he cheated.  At the time, U.S. Champion Herman Steiner (1905-1955) was visiting Bogart at his house, who helped Bogart with the moves.  Bogart himself said that he liked chess better than poker because you couldn’t cheat at chess.

In 1954, John Steinbeck had a character in his book Sweet Thursday, say “…Chess is possibly the only game in the world in which it is impossible to cheat.”  Boy, he was wrong.

John Wayne had a chessboard permanently set up on his 136 ft boat, The Wild Goose.  In 1956, Wayne repeatedly cheated when playing chess against Robert Mitchum (Wayne had huge hands and would carefully slide a piece into a different position as he made a separate move) and Mitchum eventually had the courage to tell him he was cheating. Wayne replied "I was wondering when you were going to say something. Set 'em up, we'll play again." (source: John Wayne: The Life and Legend, 2014, p. 454, by Scott Eyman)

In 1962, Bobby Fischer (1943-2008) complained that the Russian prearranged draws against each other in order to conserve energy for play against him.  Fischer’s article “The Russian Have Fixed World Chess,” appeared in Sports Illustrated.  This led to the tournament system being scrapped in favor of a series of elimination matches.  Years later, Viktor Korchnoi, after he defected, accused Soviet players of cheating, of ganging up on Westerners in tournaments and throwing key games when necessary.

In the early 1960s, the first recorded computer chess cheating occurred at MIT.  Some MIT students went to Professor John McCarthy and another professor (both chess players), stating that they had a breakthrough in chess algorithms and that they should come to the lab immediately to see their discovery.  McCarthy was led into one lab room and the other professor was led into another lab room.  One of the professors was placed in from in a TX-0 computer, and the other in front of a PDP-1 computer.  They were then asked to enter chess moves.  Unknown to them, their computers were connected to each other by a single wire and the two professors were playing each other.

In 1967, Grandmaster Milan Matulovic (1935-2013) of Yugoslavia was playing against Istvan Bilek (1932-2010) in the 9th round at the Interzonal in Sousse, Tunisia.  Matulovic made a losing move with his bishop (38.Bf3??), pressed his chess clock, and soon realized he had made a mistake.  So he took back his bishop move, moved his king (38.Kg1), and only then said “J’Adoube” (“I adjust” – which is said before adjusting pieces on a square).  Matulovic then wrote his move on his score sheet as if nothing happened.  Bilek went to the tournament director to protest, but Matulovic replied, “But I said j’adoube!”  There was an argument, but the tournament director, having only Bilek’s word against Matulovic, refused to require Matulovic to make his original move with his bishop, as the rules of chess state.  Bilek protested three times to the tournament director, but was ignored.  The game ended in a draw.  After this incident, even the Yugoslav players shunned Matulovic.  Ever since this incident, Matulovic has been referred as “J’adoubovic.”  A few days after the game with Bilek, Matulovic choked on a bone and had to be taken to a doctor.  From then on, the joke in the tournament was that the doctor couldn’t find a bone, but the world “j’adoube” was found stuck in Matulovic’s throat.

In 1968, at a tournament in Athens, two Greek players were trying to qualify for International Master at the event.  During the opening ceremony, invited players to the tournament were asked to draw or lose their games to the Greek players.  In return, they would be paid a sum of money or points would be thrown in their direction by other accommodating players.  Some players cooperated, others refused.  The two Greek players did get their International Master title.

In 1970, at the Palma de Mallorca Interzonal, Mark Taimanov was paired with Milan (J’adoubovic) Matulovic in the final round.  It was alleged that Taimanov or his Soviet Federation paid Matulovic $300 to lose the game so that Taimanov would qualify for the 1971 Candidates matches.  Taimanov needed a win to qualify.  Matulovic showed up 20 minutes late, lingered at the board, looked at the previous day’s tournament bulletin, then finally made a move.  Matulovic, normally a slow player, played at a fast pace and lost after about an hour of play.  Taimanov qualified for the Candidates match and then lost to Bobby Fischer in Vancouver, with a 0-6 score.  In 1971, Matulovic was sentenced to 9 months for killing a woman by dangerous driving.  No evidence that he said “J’adoube” before hitting her.

In 1970, Bobby Fischer was playing White against Vlatko Kovacevic at a tournament in Zagreb.  On his 18th move, Fischer had a chance to win if Black made the obvious move.  Petrosian and Korchnoi, who were watching the game, spotted Fischer’s deadly intention and were analyzing the position in a different room.  Petrosian’s wife had followed the analysis of the Petrosian and Korchnoi, then walked across to the board and whispered the lines to Kovacevic.  Kovacevic then played another, less obvious, but stronger move, and actually won the game.  It was Fischer’s only loss in the 17-round tournament.

In 1972, the Soviets claimed that Bobby Fischer was using an electronic “brain disruption” device in his chair that affected Boris Spassky.  The device was supposedly activated when Fischer got up to walk around during Spassky’s turn to move.  The Soviets ordered that Fischer’s chair be dismantled and examined, but the Soviet technician did not find any device.

At the 1976 World Open in New York, a stronger player used the identity of a weaker friend  in one of the lower sections.  The stronger player was winning all his games until his identity was found out.  Director Bill Goichberg had a talk with the person who disappeared before the end of the tournament.

In 1976, William Hartston wrote a book called How to Cheat at Chess.

In 1978, Anatoly Karpov had a parapsychologist in the audience against his world championship match with Korchnoi in Baguio, Philippines.  Korchnoi claimed the parapsychologist was distorting his brain waves.  Korchnoi then hired his own psychics to counteract the negative vibrations.  During the match, Korchnoi also accused Karpov of cheating by receiving different flavors of yogurt during the game.  The different flavors were part of coded instructions that Karpov followed.  The arbiter treated the accusation seriously and imposed a fixed time of sending yogurt to Karpov.    The flavors had to be in writing from Karpov to the arbiter.

In 1980, a chess computer was used for the first time to clandestinely help a human player during a game.  It occurred in Hamburg, Germany.  German grandmaster Helmut Pfleger was giving a simultaneous exhibition at the Hamburg chess festival.  One of the players who was playing in the simul hid a radio receiver on himself while he received moves from BELLE.  As soon as Pfleger made a move, the move was immediately relayed by phone to Ken Thompson, who entered it into the computer BELLE.  When Pfleger approached the board again, a move was dictated by radio transmission to the player’s earphone.  The computer won in 68 moves.   It was Pfleger’s only loss.  The game was not strictly an example of cheating.  It was an experiment in which the deception was immediately revealed.  Immediately after the game, Pfleger was asked if he noticed anything unusual in the games.  He had not.  He was then told that one of the games was played by a machine, surprising Pfleger.  He was amazed to hear that it was the game he lost.

In 1981, at the Lone Pine tournament in California, Sammy Reshevsky offered a draw to John Fedorowicz.  After letting his time tick down, Fedorowicz accepted.  Reshevsky then denied he made the offer.  There were several witnesses to Reshevsky’s offers, but the tournament director, Isaac Kashdan, eliminated all the witnesses, saying they were all Fedorowicz’s friends, and upheld Reshevsky’s fabrication.  However, the game was resumed with Fedorowicz almost out of time and Reshevsky lost!

In 1983, Anna Akhsharumova was playing the final round of the Soviet Women’s Chess championship against her main competitor, Nana Ioseliani.  Anna won the game on time forfeit and should have won the title.  But the next day, Ioseliani filed a protest alleging a malfunction in the chess clock.  Ioseliani demanded a new game be played.  Anna refused to play, so the result of her game with Ioseliani was reversed by the All-Union Board of Referees in Moscow (the tournament itself was being played in Tallinn), thereby forfeiting her title.  Anna went from 1st place to 3rd place over this decision.

In 1985, Nick Down, a former British Junior Correspondence champion, entered the British Ladies Correspondence Championship as Miss Leigh Strange and won the event (and 15 British pounds along with the Lady Herbert trophy).  He then signed up to represent Britain in the Ladies Postal Olympiad.  He was later caught when one of his friends mouthed off about it and Nick confessed.  The whole thing had been cooked up by Nick Down and a group of undergraduates at Cambridge, where Nick was a student.  Nick returned the Lady Herbert trophy and was banned from the British Correspondence Chess Association for two years.

In 1992, Grandmaster and former world junior champion Pablo Zarnicki of Argentina was disqualified from a Dos Hermanas Internet Chess Club tournament, accused of cheating by using a computer, which he denied.

In 1993, an unrated African-American player named “John von Neumann” was playing at the World Open in Philadelphia and scored 4.5 out of 9 in the Open section, including a draw with a grandmaster (Helgi Olafsson)  and a win against a 2350-rated player.  He wore a large pair of headphones and seemed to have something in his pocket that buzzed at critical points of the game.  When quizzed by Bill Goichberg, the tournament director, von Neumann was unable to demonstrate very much knowledge about simple chess concepts, and was disqualified and received no prize money.  It appeared he was using a strong chess computer to cheat and play his games.  It was alleged that he was entering moves on a communication device whose signal was being sent up to a hotel room where an accomplice was operating a chess computer. Von Neumann has never been seen or heard from since.  John von Neumann is the same name as the noted mathematician and pioneer in artificial intelligence.

In 1994, at Linares, Spain, world champion Garry Kasparov made a move against Judit Polgar, momentarily letting go of the piece (in violation of the “touch move” rule), then made a move to another square once he realized his original move was a blunder.  Kasparov went on to win the game.  Judit Polgar waited a day before issuing her complaint instead of during the game.  A videotape of the incident proved that Kasparov did let go of the piece, but the tournament officials refused to release the video evidence.

In 1996, Claude Bloodgood, at the age of 71, became the 9th highest ranked chess player in the United States, by playing 1,700 rated games against other inmates.  He was an inmate in a Virginia prison and just strong enough to beat other inmates, but was not a strong master.  He built up a high numerical rating by organizing chess tournaments and matches in prison, and consistently beat the other weaker players.  His rating highlighted flaws in the U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) grading system.  From 1993 to 1999, he played 3,174 rated games in prison, almost always winning.

In 1997, Kasparov lost to Deep Blue.  Kasparov later claimed that the team of chess players assembled by IBM had intervened in move selections that they were not computer selections because the moves were too human.

In 2001, Romanian Grandmaster Alexandru Crisan was accused of faking his Elo rating of 2635 (number 33 in the world) by fixing chess matches for his own benefit and falsifying chess tournament results.  FIDE later stripped him of his GM title and his top 50 world ranking.

In 2002, at the World Open in Philadelphia, a Russian player was caught going outside and getting advice from another player.  His opponent followed the Russian player outside and caught him speaking in Russian to the same man intently watching the game.  They had been discussing the last move of the game, which was heard by 30-40 onlookers.  The Russian then said he would forfeit the game.

In 2002, at the Lampertheim Open, a player was caught with a handheld PC which displayed a running chess program.  The player often left the tournament room for protracted periods of time to go to the bathroom.  The tournament director caught him when he entered a neighboring stall, stood on the toilet bowl and looked over the dividing wall, where he observed the player using a stylus to operate the program.  When confronted, he claimed that he was only checking his emails, but refused to show his handheld PC to the tournament director.

In 2003, former world champion Ruslan Ponomariov lost a game when his cell phone rang during the European team championship.  He lost his game to Evgeny Agrest (who lost a game in 2004 when his cell phone rang) in his Ukrainian team match versus Sweden.  Ponomariov was the first player penalized under this rule at a major event.

In 2003, a player was caught in the bathroom using a handheld PC with a chess program on it.  He was disqualified and the tournament director  asked his chess federation to ban the player in other tournaments.

In 2004, Grandmaster Arkadi Naiditsch admitted cheating by using a computer in an Internet tournament, claiming that everyone else was doing it.

In 2005, at the HB Global Chess Challenge in Minneapolis, a player in the Under-2000 section was caught receiving chess moves over his cell phone during his game.  The rules were published that cell phones were prohibited.  His results were expunged from the tournament and an ethics complaint was lodged.  Six weeks later, this same player tied for 1st place in the Under-2200 section and won $5,833.  An attempt was made to eject him from the tournament, but he was re-admitted after the player threatened legal action.  The organizers were unable to prove that he was cheating.

In 2005, one of the competitors in the San Luis World Championship tournament accused Topalov of cheating with a computer.  It was alleged that Topalov’s delegation was using a laptop computer in the playing hall to analyze the moves and sometimes signaling the moves to him.

In July 2006, at the World Open in Philadelphia, two players were accused of cheating in chess by using computer assistance.  One player, Steve Rosenberg, was found to be using a wireless transmitter and receiver called “Phonito.”  He had a wireless device in his ear, claiming it was a hearing aid.  He was disqualified from the event.  Rosenberg was leading in his section going into the final round.  A victory would have been worth $18,000.  The other player, wearing a hat, was suspected of cheating.  The tournament director wanted to search this person.  The suspect agreed, but first ducked into a bathroom.  Although no device was found, there were suspicions that he used the bathroom visit to dispose of a miniature wireless receiver that might have been hidden in the hat he wore.  The second player, Eugene Varshavsky, was allowed to finish the tournament but was searched before each round, then watch closely during games.

In 2006, at the world championship match, Veselin Topalov questioned Vladimir Kramnik’s numerous bathroom trips, suggesting that Kramnik was receiving computer assistance.  Kramnik visited the bathroom more than 50 times during one of the games.  The bathroom was the only room that did not have surveillance cameras.  This incident was called “Toiletgate.”  When Kramnik arrive to play Game 5, he discovered that his bathroom was locked.  Kramnik refused to play until his bathroom was unlocked.  After an hour, Kramnik’s game was forfeited, and he lost Game 5.

In 2006, research from two Ph.D. economists at Washington University in St. Louis offered strong evidence that the Soviets cheated during the world chess championships from 1940 through 1964.  Titled “Did the Soviets Collude?  A Statistical Analysis of Championship, 1940-64,” the study was presented at several academic meetings.  It concluded by saying, “We have shown that such collusion clearly benefited the Soviet players and let to performances against the competition in critical tournaments that were noticeably better than would have been predicted on the basis of past performances and on their relative ratings.”

In December 2006, at the Subroto Mukerjee tournament in Delhi, an Indian master, Umakanth Sharma, age 25, was caught using a chess computer via a Bluetooth-enabled device which as sewn in his cap.  He had a Bluetooth headset sewn into the cap which he typically pulled down over his ears.  An accomplice had been communicating with him outside the playing location.  He was relaying moves from a computer chess program.  The player was banned from competitive chess in India for 10 years.  Sharma’s rating jumped from a steady 1900 level to 2484 in 2006.

In 2007, during a Dutch League match between Bergen op Zoom and AAS, the team captain of AAS was caught using PocketFritz on his PDA.   The tournament director caught him when the player went outside to get some fresh air.  The player was banned from playing in Dutch League matches for two years.

In 2007, Djelloul Bendelal of Algeria, was found to have been complicit in the submission of fraudulent applications for several Moroccans to become international arbiters.  He was not allowed to supervise federation tournaments or submit applications for people to become arbiters for one year.  Also, the president of the Moroccan Chess Federation, Mustapha Amazzal, was banned from representing Morocco in FIDE events for three years.

In December, 2007, Anna Rudolf, a Hungarian Woman Grandmaster and International Master, was accused of cheating by some of the male players in the Vandoeuvre Open chess tournament in France.  She was allegedly receiving transmissions of chess moves through her container of lip gloss.  One of the male players even refused to shake hands with her in the final game and demanded that the arbiter take further actions against her.  At the time, Rudolf was leading the tournament by ½ point.  She was so shocked by the accusations that she lost the final round and ended up in 9rd place.

In 2008, at the Dubai Open, an Iranian player, M. Sadatnajafi,  was caught receiving suggested moves by text message on his mobile phone.  The game was being relayed live over the Internet and a friend was following it and guiding the player using a computer.  The player was caught when he was looking into his mobile handset.  When confronted, he immediately dropped his cell phone.  On examining the handset, it was found that he had received SMS instructions in Farsi.

In 2009, the 2nd Gedeon Barcza Memorial was supposed to take place in Budapest.  Although the first round was actually played with 5 International Masters and 7 Grandmasters, it soon became clear that the main organizer did not have the money to play with the hotel or the players.  The Ramanda Resort Hotel, where the players were staying and where the tournament was held, never received any money from the organizer.  On the second day, the hotel decided to close the playing hall.  The hotel manager said,  “no money, no business.”  All 12 chess players were financially harmed and the top GMs were still waiting for their appearance fees.  The organizer blamed the situation on lost potential sponsors.

In 2009, at the Aeroflot Open, GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan, the top seed, lost quickly to Igor Kurnosov of Russia.  After the game, Mamedyarov accused his opponent of cheating, saying that his opponent went to the bathroom after every move, taking his coat with him.  Mamedyarov said he examined the game against the computer program Rybka, and that every move in the game matched the computer’s recommendations every time.  Kurnosov’s pockets were searched, and the organizers only found cigarettes, a lighter and a pen in his pockets.  After the protest, Mamedyarov withdrew from the tournament and Kurnosov was allowed to finish the tournament.

In 2009, a 14-year old chess player from Australia was caught cheating with a Playstation Portable with a chess program (Chessmaster).   He was caught using the hand held computer in the toilet cubicle by a deputy arbiter who followed him in the bathroom.  Suspicions were first aroused when the player visited the bathroom 6 times in 20 moves.  The player was in the under-1600 section of the Norths Chess Club Centenary Year Tournament.  He was expelled from the tournament.

In 2010, three French players (2 GMs and 1 IM), including then national team captain, were caught cheating after it was alleged they used mobile text messages, a remote chess computer, and coded signals to beat the opposition at the 2010 Chess Olumpiad in Khanty-Mansiysk.  The players were GM Sebastien Feller, GM Arnaud Hauchard, and IM Cyril Marzolo.  The cheating was intended to benefit GM Feller.  The players were accused of cheating at the 2010 Paris Open, 2010 Bienne Open, and the Chess Olympiad.  Marzolo watched Feller’s games, which were broadcast online, and used a computer to suggest moves.  He then transmitted the suggested move to Hauchard, who then used a code to relay the move to Feller.  Feller won the Paris Open and an individual gold medal at the 2010 Chess Olympiad.  FIDE barred Hauchard from participation in FIDE events for 3 years.  Feller was barred for 2 years and 9 months.  Marzoo, who confessed and cooperated with the investigation, was barred for 18 months.

In 2011, a FIDE master, Christoph Natsidis, was caught using a chess program on his smartphone during the 2011 German Chess Championship.  He admitted that he had cheated, and was disqualified from the championship.

In August 2011, at the Botvinnik Memorial in St. Petersburg, Russia, a player, Sergey Klimentiev (1969- ), rated 1698, was crushing FIDE masters,  defeated one International Master (IM) and drew another IM..  The tournament organizers then took away his briefcase and pen and restricted spectator access, after which he collapsed in the rest of his games.   He was questioned by a tournament director and was unable to recall or show any moves, and did not know the names of any of the openings he played.  He was accused of cheating.

At the 2012 Virginia Scholastic and Collegiate Championships, a player, Clark Smiley, age 16, was caught using a chess engine running on a personal digital assistant (PDA). The player was disqualified from the tournament, had his membership to the Virginia Chess Federation suspended, and had an ethics complaint filed to the USCF. The player was using a chess engine disguised as using eNotate, which is one of two electronic chess notation programs permitted to be used at USCF tournaments (the other one is MonRoi).  The tournament director asked to see the PDA.  Smiley turned it off and handed it to the TD.  When the PDA was turned on, a screen popped up for a program from the Fritz line.  Smiley then admitted to the TD and others that he cheated.

In 2012, during a team match in the German Bundesliga, Galko Bindrich, a German grandmaster, was suspected of consulting a program on his smartphone every time he went to the bathroom.  When confronted, Bindrich refused to let the referee inspect his phone, and league rules forced him to forfeit.  Bindrich acknowledged that he had a chess program on his cellphone, but he denied having consulted it during the match. He said he refused to hand over his phone because he thought it was an invasion of privacy and because it contained confidential information he did want not anyone to see.

In 2013, Bulgarian chess master Borislav Ivanov (1987- ) was suspended from playing for four months by his national federation when it was found that most of his moves matched those of the leading computer chess analysis programs.  In October 2013, Ivanov announced his retirement from competitive chess.

At the 2013 Cork Congress Chess Open in England, a 16-year-old player was found to be using a chess program on a smartphone when his opponent,  Gabriel Mirza, confronted him in the toilets, kicking down the cubicle door and physically hauling him out. Mirza received a ten-month ban for bringing chess into disrepute for his violent conduct, while his opponent was only banned for four months.

In 2013, a former mayor of an Italian town near Milan, Loris Cereda, was banned from chess for allegedly using dark glasses that had a hidden micro camera and earpiece to receive electronic assistance in tournament games.

In August 2013, Jens Kotainy, a German international master, was disqualified at the Sparkassen Chess Meeting’s open section before the last round after tournament officials questioned how he was using his cellphone.  Although the cellphone looked like it was turned off, the phone gave off vibrations that resembled Morse code.  Kotainy said that the vibrations were part of an antitheft application, but the tournament director did not believe him since Kotainy had reached into his pocket after every move.

In November 2014, FIDE and the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP) wrote an anti-cheating guidelines, prepared by the FIDE Anti-Cheating Committee.  See

In April 2015, Georgian chess champion (2013 and 2014) Gaioz Nigalidze (1989- ) was caught cheating and expelled from the Dubai Open.  The tournament organizers found that he had stored a mobile phone in a cubicle and covered in toilet paper.  The device was found to be logged into Nigalidze’s social networking account and had one of his game being analyzed by a smartphone chess app.

Some players at and other Internet chess sites log on with a different IP address and user name to play and lose against themselves to boost their chess rating.