Cheating in Chess?

In the last couple of weeks the world of Chess has been rocked by a number of cheating allegations. A complaint was made against Gaioz Nigalidze in the sixth round at the Dubai Open while he was playing Tigran Petrosian.

Petrosian became suspicious after noticing that Nigalidze was visiting the bathroom at regular intervals, headed to the same cubicle and staying for over ten minutes at a time. When the player returned from the toilet, officials discovered a smartphone hid in the bin.

The score sheet and the phone which is analyzing the game.

The score sheet and the phone which is analyzing the game.

“He denied it was his, but it was logged into his Facebook page and there was a chess program running on it, showing his positions,” the tournament director Yahya Mohamed Salehtold told reporters.

Of course even with the amount of evidence we need to wait to see if he is found guilty before confirming he is cheating. Interestingly, The Telegraphy published an article about Smart Phone cheating on 21st March, this can be found here.

During the US Chess Championship Wesley So, the World number 8, was forfeited by the arbiter for writing notes during his game against Varuzhan Akobian. So had been writing motivational messages to himself on his score sheet in earlier rounds and twice been warned not to by the arbiter. It is not believed that what he was writing down was anything which was going to give him an advantage.

It seems like the incident was caused, in part to some family issues he is currently having and he did come back to finish 3rd with 6.5/11.

In my opinion the two events are not similar as one was an intentional while the other was a mistake.

The TurkBut cheating in Chess isn’t a new problem, in the 18th century “The Turk” took the world by storm. It was an automated Chess Player which beat many chess players and celebrities of the time including Napoleon Bonaparte and Benjamin Franklin. It appeared to work using clockwork but in fact had a human chess master hiding inside to operate the machine. It toured for over 50 years before it was exposed as a hoax.

Famously, Bobby Fischer publicly alleged that the Soviets had colluded to prevent any non-Soviet from winning the Candidates Tournament of 1962. He claimed that Petrosian (not the same person), Keres and Geller had pre-arranged to draw all their games. This claim does hold some validity as all 12 games between the 3 of them ended in a draw, often very early in the game. Still even now there is no proof that this collusion happened.

The match took place during the Cold War.

The match took place during the Cold War.

During the 1972 World Championship both sides made accusations about the other side cheating. The Icelandic police had to swept the tournament hall of electronic devices and found two dead flies in the lighting system.

As technology has increased some players have found interesting ways to use it to their advantage. Reports of players receiving texts with the moves to play, tiny ear plugs with someone saying what to play and players using smart phones have all been noted and some players have been given lengthy bans and fines.

I don’t think this is common in most tournaments but players maybe more inclined to cheat where money is involved. The Oxford Leagues doesn’t have any prize money and even though we have had a couple of some unsavory moments, as far as I am aware no one was been found guilty of cheating.

Carlsen Retains Crown

A big thanks to everyone who supported me on this interesting journey. Two down, five to go.

“A big thanks to everyone who supported me on this interesting journey. Two down, five to go.”


World chess champion, Norway’s Magnus Carlsen retained his title, handing out a punishing defeat to Indian challenger Viswanathan Anand in the 11th round of their title match in Russia on Sunday.

The reigning world champion punished Anand for his misadventurous exchange sacrifice on move 24 to wrap up the game in 45 moves.The final score at the end of 11th round stands at 6.5-4.5 in favour of Carlsen.

With this win, Carlsen retains the title that he wrested from Anand in Chennai last year.

If you feel like playing some chess, why don’t you head down to the local club (see here for more details), I promise we are not all as good as Magnus!

Magnus Carlsen reigns supreme

Congratulations to Magnus Carlsen!

Who currently holds all three Fide World Championships (Classical, Rapid and Blitz) after winning the World Blitz Championship with 17 points in the 21-round tournament in the Dubai on Friday.

Some people may not be that impressed with that, after-all Chess is just Chess. But it is similar to a Tennis Player winning grand slams on hard-court, clay and grass or a Golfer winning The Masters, The Open Championship and The Butlins Bognor Regis Crazy Golf Championship.

P.S Cowley are hosting their bi-annual Blitz Tournament tonight (don’t worry I think Carlsen is busy)

P.P.S The Club is open as usual this Thursday after our break for the England v Uruguay Game.

Congratulations to Magnus Carlsen, World Chess Champion!

Viswanathan Anand has been dethroned by World No 1 Magnus Carlsen after Game 10 of 2013 World Chess championship ended in a draw.

Carlsen won the match 6.5-3.5 with 3 wins and 7 draws.

Carlsen, who became a grandmaster at 13, became the game’s youngest No 1 in history at the age of 18. His game against Anand was his first world championship and now is the youngest world champion at the age of only 22. Hopefully, he has many years ahead of him.

Thank you, for all the amazing games you produce from Cumnor Chess Club

Watch Carlsen and Anand fight to be World Chess Champion

The FIDE World Chess Championship kicked off today in Chennai, India.

Reigning champ Visanathan Anand from India faces 22-year-old Norwegian wunderkind Magnus Carlsen.

Yes, that’s right – no Eastern Europeans are up for the champ title this time around. How novel is that? :)

Carlsen drew white for the opening game, which ended fairly quickly in a draw by repetition after 16 moves.

Hardly the thrill that any of us were hoping for.

If you want to follow the games, you don’t have to be India of course. You can watch the games unfold online via a variety of sources.

Here are some choices:

Separately, here’s an interesting article that argues that even though Magnus Carlsen is the world’s best chess player, he shouldn’t be the world champion.

If you have a view, or a preferred way to follow the World Chess Championship, leave a comment below.