French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

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Eoin Devane
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Eoin Devane » Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:57 pm

Matthew Turner wrote:Eoin and others, I think it is worth noting that the announcement was made on 21st January, but the Federation initiated disciplinary action on 22 December. This implies that any investigation was well under way, if not completed, before the announcement was made.
That is certainly worth noting - thanks for pointing it out. I am still concerned about the difficultly of proving an allegation like this. At the end of the day, it could come down to one man's word against another's. A long, drawn-out case like that would definitely not be good for French Chess. It is very hard to speculate, though, when we know so few of the facts.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:47 pm

It looks to be a coincidence, but I enjoyed Edward's Winter's Chess Notes column here, which is tangentially related as it is on the subject of "gamesmanship, skulduggery, bluff, trickery, foxiness, dishonesty and cheating":

http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=6962

The one involving the simul is a bit of a cheap trick, though. And Winter does indirectly mention the topical news at the end.

Eoin Devane
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Eoin Devane » Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:12 pm

My previous point is not entirely irrelevant. It is conceivable that the FFE were in the process of conducting a secret, internal investigation into the matter when someone else got wind of it, forcing them to go public with the story themselves to try to ensure that no-one viewed them as being complicit. This could explain why they have not given any indication of the reasons for the allegations; they might still be collecting evidence.

Michael Jones
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Michael Jones » Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:26 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:It looks to be a coincidence, but I enjoyed Edward's Winter's Chess Notes column here, which is tangentially related as it is on the subject of "gamesmanship, skulduggery, bluff, trickery, foxiness, dishonesty and cheating":

http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=6962

The one involving the simul is a bit of a cheap trick, though. And Winter does indirectly mention the topical news at the end.
None of the examples Winter cites constitutes outright cheating, just psychological ploys/gamesmanship (depending on your point of view). They're only notable because they concern top level players; similar things go on all the time at club level. It's still not clear precisely what Feller and the other players mentioned are actually being accused of, but presumably it's something much more serious than that.

Presuming the FFE was closed over Christmas, the 'action' has probably been in progress for 2-3 weeks now. I don't know how long such an investigation would usually be expected to take, but I'd imagine the fact that it's taken that long means, at the very least, that the evidence against Feller is far from concrete.

Eoin Devane
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Eoin Devane » Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:37 am

Europe Echecs has published an interview with a lawyer who is acting as spokesperson for the FFE (http://www.europe-echecs.com/actualites ... -2525.html). Chessbase has a translation of it here:/

http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=6966

There isn't a whole lot more than what we already knew. He does say "considering the testimony and facts brought to the attention of the office members, we are unfortunately justified in initiating such proceedings", suggesting that they do have some evidence against the accused. There is also an interesting suggestion about "a delay of at least 15 minutes on the live internet broadcast of the games, banning mobile devices, etc. ..." at the next European Championships. The analogy with professional cycling crops up, as well.

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:30 am

Michael Jones wrote:Presuming the FFE was closed over Christmas, the 'action' has probably been in progress for 2-3 weeks now. I don't know how long such an investigation would usually be expected to take, but I'd imagine the fact that it's taken that long means, at the very least, that the evidence against Feller is far from concrete.
Perhaps, but I'm not sure that it necessarily follows. Neither do I think that the fact that the announcement was made a month after the initiation of proceedings necessarily
Matthew Turner wrote:... implies that any investigation was well under way, if not completed, before the announcement was made.
If I had any proceedings taken against me, I would like to be informed of the fact, given an outline of the 'charges' and given an opportunity to prepare my defence. That takes time. It seems entirely possible to me that a formal hearing has even taken place yet.


As before, it seems to me that while you might well turn out to be right in what you say, it seems to me that there is insufficient evidence in the public domain to draw the conclusions that you do.


What Matthew's point about the date of the announcement in relation to the start of the action does raise, however, is why now? Why make the announcement in the third of week of January and not at the time or not later or not at all? Why wait nearly a month?

Many questions unanswered and - while I hope the situation will be made clear eventually - it seems quite reasonable to me that they remain so for now.

Is the situation not analogous to Vincent Tabak being charged with the murder of Joanna Yeates? It's right that the public knows of the charge, it's clear that there must be some evidence against him and yet it's right that we don't know what it is yet. The proceedings will take some time, he might yet be guilty be might not. Just because somebody thinks he did it doesn't mean he actually did.

[btw: yes I know murder and throwing a chess match is not remotely the same thing. I do mean 'analogous to' and not 'the same as']

Matthew Turner
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Matthew Turner » Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:16 am

Jonathan,
An interesting analogy. The French Chess Federation has sent a report to the French Government and FIDE. Could we continue the analogy and say this is analogous to the Police sending their findings to the CPP?

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:30 am

Matthew Turner wrote:Jonathan,
An interesting analogy. The French Chess Federation has sent a report to the French Government and FIDE. Could we continue the analogy and say this is analogous to the Police sending their findings to the CPP?
Possibly. I suppose it depends on what the phrase
"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"
means.

Was it a file on all the evidence (or 'evidence' perhaps) with a request for a decision on whether to actually go ahead and start a formal investigation to decide whether anything actually happened or not? Was it a memo saying something like, "Just so you know, we've got these suspicions that x, y and z might have happened at the Olympiad and we're having a look into it"? Was it the French Federation saying "We've discovered that Monsieurs A, B and C have done this thing. This is the evidence and this is what we're going to do as a result"?

It's all a bit unclear isn't it?

I do feel stuff like this is best done out in the open - with information held back from the public until the appropriate time - but, that said, and with the caveat about translation issues possibly putting creating some mud, it might have been better if the French Federation's statement wasn't quite so open to interpretation and a bit more precise in its explanation of what actually is going on.

Matthew Turner
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Matthew Turner » Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:46 am

I think developments at the French Chess Federation do have to take place behind closed doors and we might not hear anything official for some time. It will be interesting to see if the co-accused also issue statements and whether we see other eminent players coming out in their support.

LozCooper

Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by LozCooper » Tue Jan 25, 2011 12:08 pm

Jonathan Bryant wrote:
Matthew Turner wrote:Jonathan,
An interesting analogy. The French Chess Federation has sent a report to the French Government and FIDE. Could we continue the analogy and say this is analogous to the Police sending their findings to the CPP?
Possibly. I suppose it depends on what the phrase
"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"
means.

Was it a file on all the evidence (or 'evidence' perhaps) with a request for a decision on whether to actually go ahead and start a formal investigation to decide whether anything actually happened or not? Was it a memo saying something like, "Just so you know, we've got these suspicions that x, y and z might have happened at the Olympiad and we're having a look into it"? Was it the French Federation saying "We've discovered that Monsieurs A, B and C have done this thing. This is the evidence and this is what we're going to do as a result"?

It's all a bit unclear isn't it?

I do feel stuff like this is best done out in the open - with information held back from the public until the appropriate time - but, that said, and with the caveat about translation issues possibly putting creating some mud, it might have been better if the French Federation's statement wasn't quite so open to interpretation and a bit more precise in its explanation of what actually is going on.
I can't speak for the French but if I was going to make a statement about any player and any alleged cheating I'd want to be 100% sure before going public. I would be doing a lot of research beforehand because once you name that player their reputation is tarnished and it could affect tournament invites, teams they play for, their whole career and reputation etc Being called a cheat or alleging that someone has cheated is to my mind the worst accusation you can make of a player.

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:39 pm

LozCooper wrote:Being called a cheat or alleging that someone has cheated is to my mind the worst accusation you can make of a player.
Of a player yes but not of a person. Being accused of murder - carrying on my previous comparison - is obviously far worse, but the legal system names names in those circumstances.

There are good reasons why justice should be done in public and many of them are for the protection of the accused. It seems to me that the principles of justice should apply when we're talking about the formal legal system and things like we're discussing here too.

That said, how you make things public is important and certainly shouldn't be done willy-nilly. Clearly, for example, making 'suspicions' public merely because somebody supports the wrong FIDE president would not be remotely acceptable.

Michael Jones
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Michael Jones » Tue Jan 25, 2011 5:11 pm

Leo Battesti wrote:What do you think of Sebastien Feller's denials?

Pathetic! And insulting to our president and his federation. I think this young player is ill-advised because instead of taking responsibility, he seeks to divert attention by sullying the honor of a great man of French Chess.
Well, it seems that Battesti at least is convinced of Feller's guilt; he's treading rather dangerously, though, since if Feller is eventually acquitted, Battesti may end up getting sued.

IngridLauterbach
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by IngridLauterbach » Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:15 pm

At one of the German blogs ( http://www.schach-welt.de/blog/blog/seb ... entsAnchor) a visitor visiting Biel last summer, wrote the following comment (translation obviously by me): he saw last summer Marzolo (who was not playing himself) analyzing the game Hauchard-Pelletier with the engine in another room, Marzolo kept running into the tournament hall, transmitted information to Hauchard, who then won this game. This visitor also writes in his comment, that Marzolo was seen by several witnesses and that he himself immediately confronted Marzolo after this game, with the result that Marzolo packed his laptop and ran away. He writes that he informed the organisers, and according to him this resulted in a ban of the involved persons for Biel. If this is true, it probably would have been better to have the publicity around this case already and not a few months later around the Olympiad.

Jon D'Souza-Eva

Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Jon D'Souza-Eva » Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:00 pm

IngridLauterbach wrote:... analyzing the game Hauchard-Pelletier with the engine in another room
I guess this is the game: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1563394

Lovely move at the end by White!

Matthew Turner
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Matthew Turner » Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:10 pm

I believe that game is from the French League, so not the one in question. Aro has repeated the allegations against Hauchard on various blogs, but I have seen no other support for them as yet. I think we have to treat them with a fair amount of scepticism.

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