Chess Player Strip Searched

The very latest International round up of English news.
Chris Rice
Posts: 2886
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:17 am

Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by Chris Rice » Wed May 08, 2013 11:18 am

It looks like 1984 all over again as Borislav Ivanov seems to have had his name removed from even the starting lists on most chess web sites for the Veliko Tarnovo tournament in Bulgaria. However, he did play and here is some proof from the DB site with his win against Romabaldoni.

http://chess-db.com/public/game.jsp?id= ... 7.32628736

You should note the bottom of the page which looks like two chess clocks. This is their patented "Quality of Play Index" which is supposed to show how good you are compared to computers. In Ivanov's case it is a telling 98.34.

User avatar
Christopher Kreuzer
Posts: 7472
Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:34 am
Location: London

Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Wed May 08, 2013 12:24 pm

Chris Rice wrote:It looks like 1984 all over again as Borislav Ivanov seems to have had his name removed from even the starting lists on most chess web sites for the Veliko Tarnovo tournament in Bulgaria. However, he did play and here is some proof from the DB site with his win against Romabaldoni.

http://chess-db.com/public/game.jsp?id= ... 7.32628736

You should note the bottom of the page which looks like two chess clocks. This is their patented "Quality of Play Index" which is supposed to show how good you are compared to computers. In Ivanov's case it is a telling 98.34.
Wow. That graphic really drives the point home.

Mick Norris
Posts: 7797
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 10:12 am
Location: Bolton, Greater Manchester

Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by Mick Norris » Thu May 23, 2013 11:19 am

Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

Chris Rice
Posts: 2886
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:17 am

Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by Chris Rice » Thu May 23, 2013 11:52 am

Cheers Mick, here's another link to that story with a picture of Ivanov not looking very amused. Quite appropriate even though the photo seems to have been taken three years ago.

http://www.chess-news.ru/en/node/12151

It will be interesting to see how the Bulgarians intend to investigate this given that no-one knows for a fact that he has cheated and even if he has, how he did it. Comparison of games played with Houdini, giving him a chess exam, interviewing his chess playing colleagues, shining a bright light in his eyes asking him to confess etc are all in the mix.

Suspending him for four months from Bulgarian chess whilst they investigate seems like a prudent step to start with although of course Ivanov has in the past crossed the Bulgarian borders to play in events.

Mick Norris
Posts: 7797
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 10:12 am
Location: Bolton, Greater Manchester

Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by Mick Norris » Thu May 23, 2013 11:56 am

What would we do if he turned up to play in the UK or Gibraltar?

Suspended by the Bulgarians doesn't presumably carry weight elsewhere, legally speaking
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

Chris Rice
Posts: 2886
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:17 am

Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by Chris Rice » Thu May 23, 2013 12:29 pm

It's a great question as you could argue that suspending him without being found guilty of anything is a restraint of trade in the EU to say the least. The way the Bulgarian authorities seem to have handled it is a bit like an employee being suspended (without pay) while the employers investigate allegations of embezzlement or such like.
If he turned up in the UK or Gibraltar presumably the tournament organisers would make the decision whether or not to let him play. They would no doubt be influenced if a number of entrants withdrew in protest. Other than that unless they are able to cite the action being taken by the Bulgarians as a reason for refusal then I guess they would have to let him play.
So, let's see, its an e2e4 congress, he sees the name Borislav Ivanov on an entry form and Sean decides to.........?

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 18353
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu May 23, 2013 12:31 pm

Mick Norris wrote:What would we do if he turned up to play in the UK or Gibraltar?

Suspended by the Bulgarians doesn't presumably carry weight elsewhere, legally speaking
The Atalik problem might be a precedent. He was suspended for being critical of the Turkish Chess Federation and its then president. They got the Greek Federation to exclude him from Greek tournaments and more generally tried to have national bans extended internationally.

I don't think they succeeded with the international ban.

The Indian Federation will ban players and remove them from the international rating list for taking part in unauthorised events. British organisers have in the past ignored such bans.

Tournament organisers usually reserve the rights to decline an entry without stating a reason. Gibraltar may have done so to prevent their morning tournaments being exploited by players suspected of ratings fraud and capable of achieving norms in the Masters.

User avatar
Paolo Casaschi
Posts: 1091
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 6:46 am

Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by Paolo Casaschi » Thu May 23, 2013 12:57 pm

Chris Rice wrote:Suspending him for four months from Bulgarian chess whilst they investigate seems like a prudent step to start with although of course Ivanov has in the past crossed the Bulgarian borders to play in events.
Prudent? It rather seems to me that this goes against too many legal principles.
Either he did cheat or he did not. If there is enough evidence of cheating, the punishment should be much harsher. If there's no such evidence there should be no punishment either. Especially considering how closely he was monitored during his last tournaments. Punishing a player based on superficial suspicions only seems barbaric to me, even if he turns out to be guilty.

Chris Rice
Posts: 2886
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:17 am

Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by Chris Rice » Thu May 23, 2013 1:07 pm

Paolo Casaschi wrote:
Chris Rice wrote:Suspending him for four months from Bulgarian chess whilst they investigate seems like a prudent step to start with although of course Ivanov has in the past crossed the Bulgarian borders to play in events.
Prudent? It rather seems to me that this goes against too many legal principles.
Either he did cheat or he did not. If there is enough evidence of cheating, the punishment should be much harsher. If there's no such evidence there should be no punishment either. Especially considering how closely he was monitored during his last tournaments. Punishing a player based on superficial suspicions only seems barbaric to me, even if he turns out to be guilty.
I would largely agree with you regarding the legal principle. However, you could also argue that suspending him might be for his own good as a lot of threats of physical violence have been made against him. This is similar to accusations of improper behaviour in a work environment where an employee is suspended with or without pay or put on gardening leave.

User avatar
Paolo Casaschi
Posts: 1091
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 6:46 am

Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by Paolo Casaschi » Thu May 23, 2013 1:21 pm

Chris Rice wrote:I would largely agree with you regarding the legal principle. However, you could also argue that suspending him might be for his own good as a lot of threats of physical violence have been made against him.
If such a threat exists, Ivanov should be free to decide for himself whether this is an issue for him or not. Nothing would force him to play in the absence of such suspension. Suspending him at this stage is highly questionable. Pretending to do that in his own interest is ridiculous to me.

Chris Rice
Posts: 2886
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:17 am

Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by Chris Rice » Thu May 23, 2013 1:52 pm

Paolo Casaschi wrote:
Chris Rice wrote:I would largely agree with you regarding the legal principle. However, you could also argue that suspending him might be for his own good as a lot of threats of physical violence have been made against him.
If such a threat exists, Ivanov should be free to decide for himself whether this is an issue for him or not. Nothing would force him to play in the absence of such suspension. Suspending him at this stage is highly questionable. Pretending to do that in his own interest is ridiculous to me.
OK perhaps look at it this way. Where unusual betting patterns are detected its quite typical that there is a suspension of activity till its resolved. Doesn't necessarily mean a presumption of guilt.

User avatar
Paolo Casaschi
Posts: 1091
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 6:46 am

Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by Paolo Casaschi » Thu May 23, 2013 2:16 pm

Chris Rice wrote:OK perhaps look at it this way. Where unusual betting patterns are detected its quite typical that there is a suspension of activity till its resolved. Doesn't necessarily mean a presumption of guilt.
This does not work for me either. A casino is a private venture and they are free to reject customers without any reason. A sport organization representing the country with the IOC and other international organizations cannot act on the same basis as a private organization. They should not be allowed to ban you because they think you might be cheating. If this was the norm, every cycling federation in the world would have reasonable grounds for banning a good portion of their athletes... why is that not happening? Why are cyclist banned only when the suspicion of doping is actually proven?

I took the time to look at the statement of the Bulgarian federation, apparently the reasons for the ban were:
1) every time Ivanov plays there's a lot of media reactions and speculations and this sheds a negative light on the Bulgarian chess federation. So, in order to stop negative press, they ban him from playing? Quite an easy way out.
2) they looked at Ivanov's games and a large proportion of moves are the same as suggested as top lines from some of the major chess engines. So, that is enough to determine cheating?

Sean Hewitt
Posts: 2190
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:18 pm
Contact:

Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by Sean Hewitt » Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm

Paolo Casaschi wrote:Either he did cheat or he did not.
Not so. Think Schrödinger's cat! At the moment Ivanov is in the box - neither innocent nor guilty.

Suspension pending investigation is not unheard of in sport. It is perhaps akin to an unconvicted person being remanded into custody pending trial.

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 18353
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu May 23, 2013 2:36 pm

Paolo Casaschi wrote: 2) they looked at Ivanov's games and a large proportion of moves are the same as suggested as top lines from some of the major chess engines. So, that is enough to determine cheating?
Modern chess engines don't just work by brute forcing searching of all possible variations. Rather they have a sophisticated evaluation function which goes well beyond simply counting material. It occurs to me that if you were able to discover the evaluation function, either directly by reading the program code, or indirectly by empirical testing, that using it in your own games might well improve your standard of play. The downside would be that if you got it right your moves would show a match rate which some might interpret to mean that you were actually using the engine during the game instead of before and after as a training aid. You wouldn't be able to find well hidden tactics either, if they relied on brute force for their discovery.

I gather the player who refused to allow his phone to be examined in the German league has had his ban overturned, apparently because the German Federation and league are not the same body.

In German
http://de.chessbase.com/Home/TabId/176/ ... 50513.aspx

User avatar
Paolo Casaschi
Posts: 1091
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 6:46 am

Re: Chess Player Strip Searched

Post by Paolo Casaschi » Thu May 23, 2013 2:40 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:
Paolo Casaschi wrote:Either he did cheat or he did not.
Not so. Think Schrödinger's cat! At the moment Ivanov is in the box - neither innocent nor guilty.
There is not such a box. What about the legal principle of the assumption of innocence until proven guilty?
In other words, if you had in your hand such a box, what would you do? Would you keep throwing food in the box because the cat might be alive, or would you toss the box in the garbage because of the possibility of the cat to be dead?
Sean Hewitt wrote:Suspension pending investigation is not unheard of in sport.
Any example?
Sean Hewitt wrote:It is perhaps akin to an unconvicted person being remanded into custody pending trial.
For that there should be reasons for the custody. Very serious reasons. Like the risk of fleeing or the risk of corrupting evidence and affecting investigations. Again, very serious reasons, suspects get bail even when awaiting trials for very serious crimes: think of the Pistorious case, he admits shooting his girlfriend, the prosecutor seems intending to charge him with voluntary murder and yet he got bail... do you think there's more evidence against Ivanov and his crime is more serious?

What are the very serious reasons for banning Ivanov according to the Bulgarian chess federation?
- every time he plays there's a lot of negative media attention towards the Bulgarian chess federation = he's an inconvenience
- we checked his games and more than 70% of his moves are the same as the top lines suggested by some chess program
Is this enough for you? For a chess federation or for a tournament organizer banning him can be an easy escape from controversy, but it does not make it right.

Post Reply