French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

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Sean Hewitt

French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Sean Hewitt » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:18 pm

www.echecs.asso.fr translation by Google wrote:French Chess Federation takes its Disciplinary Committee against members of the France team for cheating

French Chess Federation (EFF) announced that it has initiated, December 22, 2010, disciplinary action against the International Grandmasters Sébastien Feller and Arnaud Hauchardand, and against International Master Cyril Marzolo, following suspicions of "organized cheating, serious breach of ethics in sport, undermining the image of the Olympic national team, under the World Chess Championship Team that took place in Khanty-Mansyik (Russia) September 21 to October 3, 2010.

Information on this procedure has also been sent to the International Chess Federation (FIDE), and Ministry of Sports, as the administrative supervision of the FFE.

Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, 21 January 2011
Last edited by Sean Hewitt on Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Richard Bates
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Richard Bates » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:33 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:
www.echecs.asso.fr translation by Google wrote:French Chess Federation takes its Disciplinary Committee against members of the France team for cheating

French Chess Federation (EFF) announced that it has initiated, December 22, 2010, disciplinary action against the International Grandmaster and Arnaud Sebastien Feller Hauchard and against International Master Cyril Marzolo, following suspicions of "organized cheating, serious breach of ethics in sport, undermining the image of the Olympic national team, under the World Chess Championship Team that took place in Khanty-Mansyik (Russia) September 21 to October 3, 2010.

Information on this procedure has also been sent to the International Chess Federation (FIDE), and Ministry of Sports, as the administrative supervision of the FFE.

Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, 21 January 2011
Intriguing. Sebastien Feller won a board prize...

LozCooper

Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by LozCooper » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:49 pm

Richard Bates wrote:
Sean Hewitt wrote:
www.echecs.asso.fr translation by Google wrote:French Chess Federation takes its Disciplinary Committee against members of the France team for cheating

French Chess Federation (EFF) announced that it has initiated, December 22, 2010, disciplinary action against the International Grandmaster and Arnaud Sebastien Feller Hauchard and against International Master Cyril Marzolo, following suspicions of "organized cheating, serious breach of ethics in sport, undermining the image of the Olympic national team, under the World Chess Championship Team that took place in Khanty-Mansyik (Russia) September 21 to October 3, 2010.

Information on this procedure has also been sent to the International Chess Federation (FIDE), and Ministry of Sports, as the administrative supervision of the FFE.

Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, 21 January 2011
Intriguing. Sebastien Feller won a board prize...
He also won against England on board 4 to equalise the match after Nigel Short had beaten Fressinet :cry: It was probably our best played match (given the relative strength of the opposing teams) with Nigel's win and two comfortable holds with black. Unfortunately Feller won a very complicated game where he had to calculate very accurately in the middle game.

matt_ward
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by matt_ward » Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:25 pm

Just before this thread gets bombarded with allegations on the French team cheating. Let's wait further inquiries before we all prejudge otherwise it could all go out of proportion and people could be accused of cheating when in actual fact they are innocent.

Matt.

Matthew Turner
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Matthew Turner » Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:12 pm

If the French Chess Federation are making this public and probably sacrificing a board prize in the process then I imagine the allegation is all but proven. Very sad for chess (but probably inevitable).

Richard Bates
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Richard Bates » Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:39 pm

Matthew Turner wrote:If the French Chess Federation are making this public and probably sacrificing a board prize in the process then I imagine the allegation is all but proven. Very sad for chess (but probably inevitable).
Instinctively one feels that, if proven (or even potentially if not disproven) this could be far worse for French chess than chess as a whole. I think i am right in that part of the factor in France's rise in recent years (with genuine Frenchmen, not imported ex-Soviets) is that they have had significant Govt money poured into the game. Hauchard is the French coach (and coach of their leading player - Vachier Lagrave). The fact that this has been referred to the Ministry of Sport, (and therefore possibly gone even to Presidential level?) is an indication of the potential seriousness. This would not happen in this country.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sat Jan 22, 2011 8:48 pm

Richard Bates wrote:
Matthew Turner wrote:If the French Chess Federation are making this public and probably sacrificing a board prize in the process then I imagine the allegation is all but proven. Very sad for chess (but probably inevitable).
Instinctively one feels that, if proven (or even potentially if not disproven) this could be far worse for French chess than chess as a whole. I think i am right in that part of the factor in France's rise in recent years (with genuine Frenchmen, not imported ex-Soviets) is that they have had significant Govt money poured into the game. Hauchard is the French coach (and coach of their leading player - Vachier Lagrave). The fact that this has been referred to the Ministry of Sport, (and therefore possibly gone even to Presidential level?) is an indication of the potential seriousness. This would not happen in this country.
The matter going to government level? Is that because it just wouldn't go to that level, or just that UK chess isn't funded by the government?

Another factor to include in this is that Feller is young.

http://ratings.fide.com/card.phtml?event=634654

His FIDE rating card gives his birth year as 1991.

It reminds me of the young Pakistani cricketers.

Should youth be a mitigating factor if any allegations are proven?

And talking of funding, might that be a factor if people are competing for funding?

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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:12 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:Should youth be a mitigating factor if any allegations are proven?
He's 19 or 20 - not 6. He knows right from wrong.

One wonders how the French Federation found out about this. It hasn't been accused from any other Federation that I'm aware of, so perhaps those involved turned themselves in.

LozCooper

Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by LozCooper » Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:29 pm

Much as I'm shocked by this I do think the French Federation should be applauded for taking action publicly. I'm not sure if this has been done out of necessity because some other organising body was otherwise going to do it or that they feared sanctions against the team as a whole but I'm pleased that they appear to be taking the matter seriously.

Obviously if the accused are innocent then it's a terrible thing to be accused of and could do a lot of damage to their chess careers, but if they are guilty then I hope the punishment matches the severity of the offence.

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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:29 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote: One wonders how the French Federation found out about this. It hasn't been accused from any other Federation that I'm aware of, so perhaps those involved turned themselves in.
We don't really know what they're accused of. Presumably it's computer cheating. Loz would know how it was in Siberia, but the usual setup at Olympiads is that whilst the match arbiter and the match captains are in close contact with the players, spectators are usually segregated. Presumably the match captain wouldn't be allowed an active mobile phone or laptop computer.

You might suspect that the match captain had greater leeway to leave the playing area than the players and could therefore consult a third party with computer analysis to hand. Match captains are allowed to talk to the players whilst the games are continuing. They are supposed to restrict discussion to the state of the match and whether draw offers should be accepted.

LozCooper

Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by LozCooper » Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:43 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote: One wonders how the French Federation found out about this. It hasn't been accused from any other Federation that I'm aware of, so perhaps those involved turned themselves in.
We don't really know what they're accused of. Presumably it's computer cheating. Loz would know how it was in Siberia, but the usual setup at Olympiads is that whilst the match arbiter and the match captains are in close contact with the players, spectators are usually segregated. Presumably the match captain wouldn't be allowed an active mobile phone or laptop computer.

You might suspect that the match captain had greater leeway to leave the playing area than the players and could therefore consult a third party with computer analysis to hand. Match captains are allowed to talk to the players whilst the games are continuing. They are supposed to restrict discussion to the state of the match and whether draw offers should be accepted.
From memory the players and captains had to go through a metal detecting device on entry to the building but phones were allowed and spectators or players not playing that day could take a laptop in. Players were only able to leave the playing hall to go to the toilets and refreshment area which could also be used by officials who had the appropriate accredition to be in the tournament hall. In the smaller of the two halls where the top matches were played there was seating all around the playing area but the first two rows were roped off and it would have been noticeable had a spectator tried to access the playing area or a player leave to speak to a spectator.

I did my best to avoid any verbal contact with the players while they games were in progress apart from when draw offers were involved or if any dispute had occured. I also made sure they had drinks at their board throughout the game. Players often mingled, albeit generally it was saying hi to familiar faces from other countries.

It cannot be ruled out that a captain could leave the playing area and have access to the internet either through the terminals in the lobby or via a laptop and make contact with the player either in the refreshment area or the toilets. The whole idea horrifies me but it could be done.

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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by John Upham » Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:51 pm

Steve Giddins has been analysing this story : http://stevegiddins.blogspot.com/2011/0 ... l?spref=fb
British Chess News : britishchessnews.com
Twitter: @BritishChess
Facebook: facebook.com/groups/britishchess :D

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:28 pm

Matthew Turner wrote:If the French Chess Federation are making this public and probably sacrificing a board prize in the process then I imagine the allegation is all but proven.
I'm not so sure that you're right there Matthew. It seems to me that there are various other readings of the situation just now. I guess in part it depends on what
"French Chess Federation (EFF) announced that it has initiated, December 22, 2010, disciplinary action against...."
means.

It kind of sounds like they already know the players are guilty so they just need to decide on punishment. I'd not want to assume that based on a google translation of the original French though. It could just as easily be that the meaning of the statement is that the EFF are starting an inquiry to find out what - if anything - went on.


Does "making this public" mean the allegation is "all but proven"? Hardly. It seems to me that if the Federation have discovered there are suspicions (I emphasise, not proven allegations) that something underhand went on amongst their players at the Olympiad, then publicly stating that they are going to inquire into the matter is absolutely the appropriate thing to do - to avoid any future suggestion of a cover up.

Furthermore, it's also right for the players involved. Making the matter public means that they get a chance to defend themselves. It's very hard for anybody to prove their innocence of anything when the accusations are just a whispering campaign and not clearly stated.

Like Loz Cooper above, I think it is thoroughly praiseworthy of the French authorities to make the matter public at this stage. It may (again, emphasis on the may) yet turn out to be the case that the French players are guilty, but I do not think that the conclusions you have drawn flow logically from the facts available just now.


Matthew Turner wrote:Very sad for chess (but probably inevitable).
This, however, I entirely agree with. It's very sad for chess, but I'm surprised at the shock that some people seem to be expressing about this. I mean - yes - I'm surprised and shocked that these allegations have come up about these particular chess players at this particular event, but something like this - whatever the truth turns out to be - has been coming for a while.

Even if the guys concerned turn out to be innocent, the "organised cheating" of which they're accused will happen at a major chess event (Olympiad or World championship/candidates match) will happen sooner or later. It's just a question of when.

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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Eoin Devane » Sun Jan 23, 2011 2:27 am

John Upham wrote:Steve Giddins has been analysing this story : http://stevegiddins.blogspot.com/2011/0 ... l?spref=fb
Does everything he writes have to end up criticising this forum? :x

Richard Bates
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Richard Bates » Sun Jan 23, 2011 7:46 am

Eoin Devane wrote:
John Upham wrote:Steve Giddins has been analysing this story : http://stevegiddins.blogspot.com/2011/0 ... l?spref=fb
Does everything he writes have to end up criticising this forum? :x
Well the post is quite opaque. Apparently "according to sources", Feller, "among others" received help. Which rather begs the question - who are the "others", and why haven't they been named as well? And given the status of Hauchard, is the implication that this is not only calling into the question the results of one French player but a substantial section of France's leading players?

I also find it slightly contradictory to criticise Matthew's post, whilst simultaneously suggesting that the French authorities are holding something back. Why would they hold some names back, if they weren't more certain of the ones they released.

Anyway, easy to speculate about the reasoning of the motives of the French federation - but personally i'm not sure i agree that it was necessary (if they have unproven suspicions) to release the names of the players in order for them to defend themselves. There do exist private methods of communication which would suffice.

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