Cheating - mostly meaning game fixing - is quite common at in American swisses if you listen to the players. Allegations of fixing to get into the US Championship started here in mid-December in the Dirt comments. Now it appears something may actually be done, which would reflect a major sea-change in general, regardless of this specific case.
First, the game in question, which was posted by Jesse Kraai in the Dirt (link above). It's De Guzman - Kreiman from the American Open last November. This game, a win for black in the final round, was essential for qualifying Kreiman for the 2006 Championship. The Filipino IM's play in this game was, how shall we put it, absurdly pathetic.
1. d4 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. Nbd2 c6 7. c3 Na6 8. e3 Bf5 9. Re1 Qc8 10. Qe2 Re8 11. Nb3 Bg4 12. Bd2 Ne4 13. Rec1 Qf5 14. h3 Bxh3 15. Bxh3 Qxh3 16. Qf1 Qf5 17. Kg2 Bf6 18. Qh1 h5 19. Be1 c5 20. Qh3 Qxh3+ 21. Kxh3 c4 22. Nbd2 Nd6 23. b3 b5 24. Kg2 Nc7 25. bxc4 bxc4 26. Kf1 e6 27. Rab1 Rab8 28. Ng1 g5 29. f3 g4 30. f4 Be7 31. Ne2 Kg7 32. Rxb8 Rxb8 0-1
IA Randall Hough, arbiter at the American Open, sent a letter including this game to America's Foundation for Chess, the group in charge of the US championship. He invited them to examine it, saying the game "was "fixed" to a virtual certainty." Kudos to Mr. Hough, who has more balls than the New York Yankees to take action. His attitude carried over to AF4C, who took his recommendation and sent the game moves to half a dozen GMs with the question, "how strong a player do you think white is?"
The answers came back 1400-1600, which is rather ungenerous to my White Belt readers, few of whom would play so passively and then simply resign. After further internal consideration, AF4C has contacted the USCF with this information along with the proposals that 1) the game should be circulated widely to shame the participants and 2) Kreiman should lose his spot in the US championship. Other punishment, such as a ban on rated play, may be considered by the USCF, or they could ignore it.
What isn't clear is who, if anyone, has the right to prevent Kreiman (or anyone) from playing in the championship or from playing chess in general. Organizers usually have total discretion, but an official event like this one is more delicate, hence the involvement of the USCF. Fixing is impossible to prove without a confession (and even then the other player can deny it), so organizers - and perhaps the USCF - must have the courage to act on overwhelming circumstantial evidence. Punishments must be severe enough to function as a deterrent, to the point where players will be hesitant to approach others for a fix. Organizers can ban players from their events, USCF players can be banned from rated play entirely for a period.
In the thread linked to above, USCF board member IM Greg Shahade blames most of the rampant cheating on the swiss system itself. Not literally true, of course, but it certainly encourages bad behavior by making it lucrative in a majority of cases. One good thing about the new board is that it's stocked with hard-nosed people with a load of practical organizing and playing experience. If anything can be done from an institutional perspective.