Chess Player Strip Searched

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John Foley
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Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by John Foley » Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:03 pm

Bulgarian Chess Player Strip Searched in Croatia

Surely there is a limit on the power of chess organisers to order players to strip. Has this ever been attempted in the UK?

Leonard Barden
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Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by Leonard Barden » Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:19 pm

Ivanov was rated 2227 pre-tournament. He had played the previous year in the B section at Zadar, scoring 6/9 against a 2000 ish field. He had previously played over 50 Fide rated games, so was neither a newcomer nor particularly young. He lost twice at Zadar 2012 but still finished tied third with 6/9, gaining a whopping 73 Fide points and including the wins against the eminent GMs Kurajica and Kozul stated in the article.
Dunno about strip searching, but statistically the organisers were right to be highly suspicious about such an abnormal result.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:38 pm

Leonard Barden wrote: Dunno about strip searching, but statistically the organisers were right to be highly suspicious about such an abnormal result.
Is it so abnormal to have a major improvement in strength in your mid twenties, or for improving 2250 players to beat ageing GMs?

It probably doesn't help that there are two Bulgarians of the same name, the second being unrated.

http://ratings.fide.com/card.phtml?event=2903741
and
http://ratings.fide.com/card.phtml?event=2907267

UK organisers would be more discrete about establishing whether a player was cheating. If they suspected the live games relay was being exploited, you might expect technical difficulties to affect the live coverage, or a policy decision to introduce a delay into the transmission. Equally you might expect a player to be watched to see whether they left the board, particularly during their own move.

Unlike the recent German cases, this appears more likely a false accusation, unless the organisers can demonstrate a plausible method of cheating.

Leonard Barden
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Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by Leonard Barden » Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:57 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Leonard Barden wrote: Dunno about strip searching, but statistically the organisers were right to be highly suspicious about such an abnormal result.
Is it so abnormal to have a major improvement in strength in your mid twenties, or for improving 2250 players to beat ageing GMs?

It probably doesn't help that there are two Bulgarians of the same name, the second being unrated.

http://ratings.fide.com/card.phtml?event=2903741
and
http://ratings.fide.com/card.phtml?event=2907267

UK organisers would be more discrete about establishing whether a player was cheating. If they suspected the live games relay was being exploited, you might expect technical difficulties to affect the live coverage, or a policy decision to introduce a delay into the transmission. Equally you might expect a player to be watched to see whether they left the board, particularly during their own move.

Unlike the recent German cases, this appears more likely a false accusation, unless the organisers can demonstrate a plausible method of cheating.
Of course a single win by a 2200 over a GM is no big deal, but in this case 2227 Ivanov defeated four GMs, the last a 2626. You will see that he also drew with GM Andrey Sumets, who is currently the No2 seed at Hastings. He met eight of the top 10 seeds!

Rd. Bo. SNo Name RtgI FED Club/City Pts. Res. we w-we K rtg+/-
1 18 18 FM Schachinger Mario 2426 AUT 4.5 w 1 0.24 0.76 15 11.40
2 7 10 GM Jovanić Ognjen 2538 CRO ŠK Liburnija, Rijeka 5.5 s 0 0.14 -0.14 15 -2.10
3 12 7 GM Kurajica Bojan 2565 BIH GÅ K Mravince-Cemex, Mravince 4.5 w 1 0.12 0.88 15 13.20
4 7 8 GM Kuljašević Davorin 2561 CRO ŠK Liburnija, Rijeka 5.5 s ½ 0.12 0.38 15 5.70
5 7 9 GM Zelčić Robert 2560 CRO ŠK Zagreb, Zagreb 4.5 w 1 0.12 0.88 15 13.20
6 2 2 GM Kožul Zdenko 2638 CRO HAŠK Mladost, Zagreb 5.5 s 1 0.08 0.92 15 13.80
7 1 1 GM Sumets Andrey 2638 UKR 6.0 s ½ 0.08 0.42 15 6.30
8 1 5 GM Predojević Borki 2600 BIH ŠK Bosna, Sarajevo 6.5 w 0 0.10 -0.10 15 -1.50
9 3 3 GM Šarić Ivan 2626 CRO ŠK Liburnija, Rijeka 5.0 s 1 0.08 0.92 15 13.80

The unrated guy 'played' only once, in 2008, so is probably a Fide misfiling of the 2227 Ivanov. The 2227, as I stated, played without great success in the B group against 2000 opposition at Zadar the previous year in 2011. A look at 2227 Ivanov's Fide rating chart shows no evidence whatever of an improving player, and plenty of a player who has been static at 2100/2200 since 2009. Now he suddenly performs at 2600+....

So-a disturbing mystery. I note that the unsuccessful strip search took place after round eight, when Ivanov lost. It might be informative for somebody to check Ivanov's nine games with Houdini....

Leonard Barden
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Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by Leonard Barden » Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:59 pm

Some further information.....

“After the eighth round we received a signal about Ivanov’s game and after his game with Borko Predoevic, who later on won the tournament, we decided to check on both of them. There were suspicions that Ivanov has some electronic tools to help him and in my capacity of a judge I decided to make a move in line with the FIDE rules,” said Stanislav Maroja, chairperson of the chess union in Zadar District.
Ivanov is 26 years old and he is a programmer. Everyone was looking at him but he did not reveal any evidence of using illegal help; he did not even have headphones, but all his moves were astonishing.
“It is not true that we made him strip naked. He himself took off his t-shirt, while we emptied his pockets,” Maroja said.
Knowledgeable sources though the Bulgarian was cheating. However, they were wondering why he would take part in a tournament, which costs a couple of thousands of euro, while the cheating equipment, which can be integrated into contact lenses, for instance, costs thousands of euros more.
The suspicions about Ivanov’s cheating were based on the fact that when the organisers stopped the broadcasting of the round before the last one, when Ivanov played vs Predoevic, the Bulgarian lost the game.
The chess players, however, commented that Ivanov did not make any unique moves, neither was it unusual for an ordinary player to beat a gross-master. Croatian gross-master Zlatko Klaric, on the other hand, said that Ivanov was cheating, because he was already accused of this at chess competitions in Bulgaria and Serbia.
“Ivanov is chess programmer, who since mid-2011 until now had won only one rating point, while at the Zadar tournament – 60. He made moves like a computer, which was obvious in the game vs Jovanovic,” Klaric remarked.
“Technologies are so developed now that theoretically, since the games were aired live, Ivanov’s friends in the neighbouring room, from Sofia, or even from the Antarctic, could have sent him hints for his moves through chips, which could have been placed under the skin, in the ear, or in the teeth,” Klaric added.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:20 pm

Leonard Barden wrote: Now he suddenly performs at 2600+....
A case from the past with a more traditional explanation.

http://ratings.fide.com/card.phtml?event=1201271
http://zibbit64.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/ ... risan.html

John Foley
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Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by John Foley » Sat Dec 29, 2012 5:30 pm

One can see that there are several methods to secretly obtain information from a chess engine.
The issue for me is what power does the tournament controller have to order a strip search.
The answer is given in the link by Leonard, that in this case the player voluntarily removed his shirt.
It seems the news headline is somewhat misleading.

Leonard Barden
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Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by Leonard Barden » Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:00 pm

Chessgames.com has all Borislav Ivanov's games from the Zadar tournament:

http://www.chessgames.com/perl/ezsearch ... lav+ivanov

I don't have access to any very strong chess engine, so it would be interesting if any Forumite who does could check these games for evidence of a high proportion of computer move choices.

James Coleman
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Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by James Coleman » Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:46 pm

I don't really have any opinion on the matter but it has to be said his 24th move vs Kurajica is pretty visually impressive.

Chris Rice
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Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by Chris Rice » Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:47 am

It seems clear that computer cheating is getting easier and easier. When we start talking about technology incorporated into contact lenses, strip searching and I think Stewart mentioned brain implants recently then its getting to be a bit of a farce. It's easy to stop, just change the rules slightly. One suggestion is expand the board to 9x9 and have a queen either side of the king. That way the chess players wouldn't be affected unduly and the computers would be worthless, at least for a while. There are many ways of course but it begs the question as to why hasn't our game been updated to put a stop to computer cheating? Presumably because of the amount of money that computer programmers, firms etc would lose in revenue by us not having to buy the numerous CDs, DVDs, ChessBase, Fritz, Houdini updates etc at inflated prices.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:50 am

Chris Rice wrote:It seems clear that computer cheating is getting easier and easier.
Contact lenses with a built in chess engine are something out of a Bond film. The problem is communication with third parties or devices during the game. So whilst taking advice from spectators was always possible, the difference today is that the spectators may come armed with GM or better ideas. A general convention that you don't leave the board when on the move is necessary, along with one that you don't speak to anyone whilst away from the board.

Changing the game with extra queens or randomised start positions is no help at all. It's when you don't have a clue what's going on, that you need the help of a computer engine. I would expect that adapting chess engines to play under new rules would take less time than humans to gain the necessary experience as to how to play.

Chris Rice
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Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by Chris Rice » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:41 pm

A convention that you don't leave the board when its your move has to be correct. Although in over 40 tears OTB I'm struggling to remember a single example of some one who does that. If someone did do that I would probably follow them to see what they were up to. However, there are examples in France, Germany and the USA recently where its clear that players are still able to computer cheat without leaving their chair so the issue must at some point be addressed.
My example was based on the theory that the IT geeks are making a lot of money out of chess (certainly compared to the typical prize fund at a weekender), we've now got smartphone apps to download aside from the examples I gave earlier. The technology is becoming smaller and less easy to detect. I would love the game to remain unchanged but is this realistic? It's very much getting like athletics where every time somebody does a personal best the assumption immediately is that they are taking some performance enhancing drug. For chess making it uneconomical seems sensible but exactly how you do it remains the issue I guess.
At the moment the only method that seems effective is rapid, blitz and bullet chess. But what value do these variations really bring to the masses? Yes they are competitive and exciting but they are usually filled with blunders and not filled with any instructional value.
Perhaps we can conclude that the only answer is that next time Stewart Reuben achieves a 2600+ performance as a filler in the London Chess Classic he should be strip searched and forced to play in a cat suit?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:19 pm

Chris Rice wrote: However, there are examples in France, Germany and the USA recently where its clear that players are still able to computer cheat without leaving their chair so the issue must at some point be addressed.
How recent?

If the French example was the Olympiad, that was apparently a low tech signalling system, enhanced it has to be admitted by computer analysis. The recent German examples involved the traditional study area known as the Gents with the assistance of a smart phone. There have been various American examples, but were they people with devices concealed about their persons?
Chris Rice wrote:My example was based on the theory that the IT geeks are making a lot of money out of chess (certainly compared to the typical prize fund at a weekender) [\quote]

There are any number of chess engines, many of which are free. Surely almost all chess software is used for social and training purposes outside of actual competition?

AustinElliott
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Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by AustinElliott » Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:33 pm

I presume the organisers (and people on this thread) are/were worrying about something like this little gizmo (see also your favourite TV spy thriller drama), which might be why the player removed his shirt.

I like the pitch for the gadget:
Need help with an exam or test? Are you in play or a stage performer?

Chris Rice
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Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by Chris Rice » Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:34 am

Yes this is one example. In this case you would need an accomplice either with direct sight of the board or off site following on the internet. In the first case you could wait for some prearranged signal from the player that he/she is not sure what to do and then the accomplice goes outside and runs it on Houdini or whatever and then can come back in the room and signal the move back. Shades of the Sebastian Feller case.
In the second case, this has been combated somewhat by delay of transmission of the moves so wouldn't be so easy. In this case you would need to find a method of transmitting the moves which happened while I was actually playing the Dubai Open in 2008. A young Iranian player was texting his mate in Farsi back and forth in Iran on his mobile. Trouble was he kept fiddling with the mobile and eventually one of the arbiters caught on and insisted on seeing the phone. Another example is the Indian player who got caught using Bluetooth in his baseball cap.
Sooner or later someone's going to find a method which is undetectable...or perhaps someone already has. The only way you are going to know is by tracking their performance looking for spikes. But when you find odd patterns are players to be stripped search? Hearing aids taken off them? I suspect the player who did take off his shirt could have done so to misdirect the investigators from the method he was using.

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