Wednesday, April 16, 2008

How to cheat at chess reports:

A chess player from Iran, who cheated using his mobile phone to try and win a game, was chucked out of the Dubai Open Chess tournament.

M. Sadatnajafi, with an Elo rating of 2301, while playing against Chinese Grandmaster Li Chao, made his moves based on the text messages he received on his mobile phone ...

Sadatnajafi is alleged to have followed instructions from some top player in Iran while playing against Chao. This match was relayed live on the internet and his friend, closely following his moves on the web, guided Sadatnajafi accordingly.

These things used to be handled so much more subtly. Denis M's Chess Site repeats the story of Fischer vs Kovacevic, Zagreb 1970:

The story, according to Mike Fox and Richard James, in their The Even More Complete Chess Addict, is that Fischer has made his move, setting a trap in what is an objectively bad position, and has gone for a little walk while awaiting his opponent's move.

Viktor Korchnoi and Tigran Petrosian are watching the game see the trap and discuss the solution. Petrosian's wife is there too, and as her hubby is trailing Fischer in the standings, she actually walks over to Kovacevic and whispers the solution to him!

Kovacevic plays the right move and crushes Fischer, though the latter went on to win the tournament by a two point margin even so.

Dennis M does point out that the source of this anecdote is Viktor Korchnoi, who had a long-running feud with Petrosian, so it is possible that the story is bunk. But when the legend becomes fact...

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