French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

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Michael Jones
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Michael Jones » Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:28 pm

Carl Hibbard wrote:I have hopefully stopped this nonsense, or I will do if I have to close it and people off...
Thank you Carl. Now, where were we?

Hauchard's statement quotes references to "a criminal offence" and "according to law", which suggests (although again, due to possible errors/changes of meaning in translation, does not conclusively prove) that he is expecting the matter to go to court rather than being settled by some internal disciplinary committee of the FFE. I'm not sure he necessarily has a case for defamation: it's customary to name the defendant(s) before a criminal trial, despite the fact that the trial may not end with a guilty verdict. The announcement that proceedings have been instigated is not a statement that the players in question are definitely guilty, only that there is enough evidence that they might be to necessitate an investigation into the matter. A verdict of 'not guilty' is not in itself grounds for the defendant to bring a case for libel against the prosecution for daring to suggest that he was guilty in the first place; libel cases are more often brought against other individuals/organisations for assuming guilt before it was proven.

Thanks for the information, Ian - I'm somewhat concerned that Leo Battesti is listed as one of the Bureau's members. Given the comments that he has already made about the case in general and Feller in particular (http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=6966) he is clearly far from neutral in the matter, and having him on the panel which is to rule on it seems roughly tantamount to making the prosecuting counsel a juror.

Sean Hewitt

Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Sean Hewitt » Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:54 pm

The Pakistani cricketers have been banned for 5 years each http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/cricket ... 388422.stm

Michael Jones
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Michael Jones » Sat Feb 05, 2011 7:36 pm

Looks like 'spot fixing' is considered a lesser offence than match fixing, then, since most of the players who were found guilty of the latter were banned for life.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Sat Feb 05, 2011 7:56 pm

Michael Jones wrote:Looks like 'spot fixing' is considered a lesser offence than match fixing, then, since most of the players who were found guilty of the latter were banned for life.
That seems reasonable. You can "spot fix" in a match while still trying to win it on every other ball you bowl, just like you can start a chess game with 1.f3 and 2.Kf2 and from then on try your hardest to win.

Michael Jones
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Michael Jones » Sat Feb 05, 2011 11:13 pm

IM Jack Rudd wrote:
Michael Jones wrote:Looks like 'spot fixing' is considered a lesser offence than match fixing, then, since most of the players who were found guilty of the latter were banned for life.
That seems reasonable. You can "spot fix" in a match while still trying to win it on every other ball you bowl, just like you can start a chess game with 1.f3 and 2.Kf2 and from then on try your hardest to win.
Depends on the level, the opponent etc., but I'd have thought 1. f3 and 2. Kf2 would damage your chances of winning a chess game much more than one or two deliberate no balls would a cricket match.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:13 pm

Reviving this old thread, but there seems to be more news.

http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=7070

The allegation now seems to be that the third party used a borrowed phone to send messages to the match captain who is alleged to have passed them onto the player. A bit inept to use a borrowed phone and return it without wiping the messages.
The real question though is whether it's really possible and allowed for the non-playing match captain at an Olympiad to have an active mobile phone.

It's not a problem to text players with comments during play, provided they don't see them until after the game.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:27 pm

More on this seems to have surfaced.

The IM of the trio was actually employed, in civilian life as it were, by someone who is a vice-president of the FFE. As part of the employment, he had a Company phone. Being a Company phone, the Company can read messages on it because they are backed up on a server. The messages seemed suspicious to the vice-president, presumably because they appeared to be commenting about the young GM's games whilst still in progress and involved texts between the IM and the GM match captain. Nothing has been said about how the match captain is alleged to have passed messages to the player.

I would have thought that using a mobile phone whilst being a non-playing Olympiad match captain during play should be outlawed by FIDE rules, but perhaps not.

The latest legal issue seems to be that whilst the FFE know what the messages say, they aren't allowed to present them as evidence unless the matter becomes part of a criminal process. Marginally odd perhaps that the messages haven't been leaked but maybe the FFE has its reasons for being seen to follow due process.

Richard Bates
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Richard Bates » Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:33 pm

Beginning to sound somewhat circumstantial...

Roger de Coverly
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:42 pm

Richard Bates wrote:Beginning to sound somewhat circumstantial...
Perhaps, but if as a non-playing match captain with access to players, you both have your phone on and are sending and receiving texts during play, that of itself can lead to suspicion. I remember during play, that we looked up Gawain's six piece ending on the tablebases. It would have been wrong if Loz had viewed these forums whilst the game was in progress.

The players haven't stated that they were in text contact during the Olympiad, but it was always before or after play. It would clear the matter up very quickly.

Richard Bates
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Richard Bates » Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:02 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Richard Bates wrote:Beginning to sound somewhat circumstantial...
Perhaps, but if as a non-playing match captain with access to players, you both have your phone on and are sending and receiving texts during play, that of itself can lead to suspicion. I remember during play, that we looked up Gawain's six piece ending on the tablebases. It would have been wrong if Loz had viewed these forums whilst the game was in progress.
That may be but it doesn't follow that to do so would be cheating, unless the information obtained was somehow passed on to the player. There can't be many on this forum who haven't at some point at 4NCL or similar analysed/discussed an important match game still in progress, without ever dreaming of passing that on to the player. And may even subsequently chat to the player to pass on a message about eating arrangements or whatever, thereby providing analogy with the Olympiad match captain who is the only person allowed to communicate with players. It is human instinct "know what's going on" in outstanding games.*

Of course it's potentially "suspicious", and probably stupid, but not in itself "cheating". The problem of course is whether a captain is allowed to advise on draw offers/acceptances based on an assessment of games in progress, and if so what is legal in coming to such assessments (if done in parallel to general play, not in response to a specific query). Not sure on the regulations on that - but the allegations in this case exceed that significantly.

*incidentally didn't England allegedly once miss out on a Gold Medal in an Olympiad because of some 'analysis' done rather loudly and in earshot of players in a crucial last round game?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:46 pm

Richard Bates wrote: The problem of course is whether a captain is allowed to advise on draw offers/acceptances based on an assessment of games in progress, and if so what is legal in coming to such assessments (if done in parallel to general play, not in response to a specific query). Not sure on the regulations on that - but the allegations in this case exceed that significantly.
I suspect there aren't any. I believe it's legal for the non-playing match captain to tell a player, "we need a win", but unclear the extent to which outside sources can be consulted if at all.

Richard Bates
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Richard Bates » Sun Mar 13, 2011 6:00 pm

It would also be extremely concerning if the only 'hard evidence' connecting Feller with these allegations is the fact that a very complicated game of his was discussed in some ill-advised texts between the other two players. Because even if the suspicions are ultimately unfounded, one could at least suggest some culpability for Marzano and Hauchard for the suspicions being aroused. Whereas Feller would be absolutely blameless, and yet as the player who allegedly benefitted personally as the one whose game was involved has arguably had the most damage done to his reputation, and the most to lose from that damage.

Didn't he put out a statement in isolation of the others suggesting he would sue for libel?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Mar 13, 2011 6:05 pm

Richard Bates wrote: one could at least suggest some culpability for Marzano and Hauchard for the suspicions being aroused. Whereas Feller would be absolutely blameless,
Bizarre though that the trio haven't admitted that games were discussed (if that's what happened), but that all such discussions were outside the playing area. The FFE as well, made it very clear that the other 4 potentially in the team were in no way involved.

Richard Bates
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Richard Bates » Sun Mar 13, 2011 6:15 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Richard Bates wrote: one could at least suggest some culpability for Marzano and Hauchard for the suspicions being aroused. Whereas Feller would be absolutely blameless,
Bizarre though that the trio haven't admitted that games were discussed (if that's what happened), but that all such discussions were outside the playing area. The FFE as well, made it very clear that the other 4 potentially in the team were in no way involved.
That seems entirely consistent with the only 'evidence' being texts between Marzano and Hauchard discussing Feller's game. As i said, arguably ill-advised texts but not something they could deny if they happened. Of course if you were convinced that the texts were evidence of cheating then you'd have to assume that Feller was in on it (otherwise where is the cheating?). But you'd be hard pressed to draw the rest of the squad into it!

However if there is no cheating then Feller is entirely blameless. And it's not surprising that he would not be interested in putting out "joint" statements with the other two.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:21 am

More strange detail continuing to emerge , according to Chessvibes anyway.

Not just did the FFE vice president employ the IM but it appears she is a chess parent to one of Feller's rivals who always came out second best. An element of revenge is speculated.

Almost certainly irrelevant is the fact that the blog of the "new" BCM editor has been wiped.

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