A Grandmaster was expelled from the Dubai Open Chess tournament after he was caught cheating in a game during a toilet break. According to the tournament website, officials caught Georgian GM Gaioz Nigalidze using his mobile phone which he had hidden in the toilet of the Dubai Chess and Culture Club during his sixth round match against Armenia’s Tigran Petrosian.
Mahdi Abdul Rahim, the tournament’s chief arbiter, said Petrosian had earlier informed tournament officials of his suspicion that Nigalidze was getting help from a chess computer. Petrosian had grown suspicious because of the frequency with which Nigalidze was rushing to the toilet during a critical phase of the match on Saturday.
“Nigalidze would promptly reply to my moves and then literally run to the toilet. I noticed that he would always visit the same toilet partition, which was strange, since two other partitions weren’t occupied. I informed the chief arbiter about my growing suspicions and asked him to keep an eye on Gaioz. After my opponent left the very toilet partition yet another time, the arbiters entered it,” Petrosian was quoted as saying.
While no device was found on Nigalidze himself, Rahim suspected the player must have hidden it inside a toilet cubicle. When they checked the cubicle frequented by the Georgian, they found a smart phone and a headset hidden behind the pan and wrapped in toilet paper. While Nigalidze denied owning the device, it was found to be logged onto a social networking site under the Georgian’s name. Officials also found that his game was being analysed by a chess application on the phone.
Nigalidze was back-to-back winner of the Georgian Chess Championship in 2013 and 2014, and was also crowned champion of the Al Ain Classic in Al Ain last December. He faces a three-year ban from all sanctioned tournaments and could get a 15-year-ban for a repeat offence.
This is not the first time that a chess player has been caught cheating using a mobile phone. In 2011, the French chess federation suspended three players, including the national team captain, when it was alleged they used text messages, a remote chess computer and coded signals at the 2010 Chess Olympiad. Two years earlier, at the 2008 Dubai Open, an Iranian player was banned when he was found to be receiving help from someone watching the game’s live broadcast on the internet and was sending the moves through text messages.
Das closes in on GM norm
International Master Sayantan Das closed in on his Grandmaster norm, defeating Serbian Mihajlo Stojanovic in the seventh round of Dubai Open chess tournament. Das has now taken his tally to a very respectable five points out of a possible seven, and given the strong opposition he has faced here, either one or 1.5 points in the last two rounds should fetch him the Grandmaster norm. K Rathnakaran also continued with his fine run in the tournament and played out a draw with GM Alexander Rakhmanov of Russia with ease. Rathnakaran also moved to five points but his chances of earning a GM norm does not look good as he did not face higher-ranked opposition in the first few rounds.
Meanwhile, the highest rated Indian, Abhijeet Gupta finally found his form and played an excellent game with white pieces to beat compatriot Nr Visakh. It was a reverse Benoni wherein Visakh gave a good fight, but Gupta gained a small advantage and nurtured it well to win a piece by force. Gupta moved to 4.5 points and will need to win the last two games to figure among the prizes. Among other Indians in the fray, Rakesh Kulkarni lived up to his reputation of a giantkiller and put it across Grandmaster Sahaj Grover. It was a bad day in office for young Grover when nothing went right for him.