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Cheating Heart Attack

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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.


Nothing will ever happen. People get caught all the time. Until such a time as players are banned for years (or more) for blatant cheating, this will continue to happen.

Even when multiple high level organizers and witnesses see it (I remember a situation in Foxwoods many years ago...) and nothing happens, it basically proves that chess in this country is a sham.

I don't know about how much of a difference it makes, but I am happy to see someone make a big deal of a game like this. Even if throwing games to make money will not necessarily diminish, I doubt anyone will be willing to try this stunt for qualification chances again(provided that Kreiman is in fact barred from the Championship). Still, De Guzman played ingeniously badly. Many cases are much more borderline. Going through games in Chessbase, you find many games by good guys about which you can only say WTF was this guy doing? But this can also happen normally. I personally have only witnessed one important game I was suspicious about at the World Open a few years back. The preconditions were right(tournament situation etc) and the game was rather low quality but even so... to point the finger is just so difficult. Unfortunately, a certain hysteria can easily development, where genuine errors are made into thrown games. This is probably more undesirable than the present situation which in my estimation is not as dire as John Fernandez or Mig make it seem. I mean how frequently are games thrown(arrange draws are totally different and tolerable) on the high level in the US?

FWIW it is DeGuzman's style to play this passively in the opening. At least against patzers like me (2280 USCF) he plays random until his position is bad enough--and then he turns on his brain and wins from there. Given a choice, I would prefer to have black vs DeGuzman and save my white pairing against someone else.

Nonetheless, I have never beaten him in nearly 30 games. Maybe the most pathetic game that I lost to him was when he played c3 on move 1 and f3 on move 3. Please don't ask how I lost...

That said, there are two differences between my experiences with DeGuzman and this game against Kreiman. First, GM Kreiman has 300 rating points and a title over me. Second, DeGuzman is a well known fighter who never gives up--much unlike the game presented here. This was NOT the DeGuzman that I know!

Michael Aigner

Yah, it wasn't so much blunderful bad as entirely aimless. Even 1600's have plans, they are just usually bad plans. But he just shuffled around for a bit and resigned. And he may play goofy openings in some games, but this was a fairly important one against a strong player and he was basically lost with routine moves with white after a dozen moves.

Wow. I'm shocked that something is happening. Before posting originally I consulted Fluffy and we both agreed that it was a "shot in the emptiness" - what Mikhalevski says of a bold move that doesn't do anything.

Two things for the record: 1) I would have never posted had not two strong players sitting next to the game noted that the game was over in very short order and that both players were largely absent from the board. (I was on the stage at the time)
2) Whether action is taken or not David Pruess should gain a spot. I qualified for a second time in Vegas - if one were to count me as already qualified prior to that event then Pruess would be next in line.

I see a cultural conflict at play here: Most players playing above 2400 for many years have grown accustomed to Russian chess culture - which is indeed a beautiful thing. Part of this culture however is the prearranged grandmasterly draw and the thrown game. The 30 move rule is changing things on the first count and everything would change if action is taken in this current case.

One could reference the incident surrounding the last round game on board one in Vegas in this regard.

I have been fighting all my life against any kind of a pre-arranged result in chess, using ways available for me. Not to mention, this approach has brought me both positive and negative comments, during the many years.

Among many elements, than can influence a creation of circumstances for a pre-arranged game result, two that need to be accessed are: the way prizes (cash or other) are distributed and, what is more important, regular sessions with growing chess players, discussing topics on why pre-arranging game or tournament results in chess, for short, or long-term personal gains, is not recommendable in the long(est) run. This is a part of my personal teaching for juniors. And - it is not so difficult to get the students to understand, as we have perfect examples to follow, in the history of chess.

Eventually, in a few hundred years, we will have generations of chess players who will be ultimately disgusted by any form of cheating, and not only in chess.

"Cheaters" in chess do have a problem, even if never "caught", that they are "branded" forever in their circles. Not that they care about it, though?!

An official place to get some ideas on ethics in chess is http://www.fide.com/official/handbook.asp?level=A10

IM/FST Jovan Petronic.

Obviously fixing any result is wrong, but it's pretty easy to see where this will lead.

How many people have dropped a piece in an important game?

People make mistakes. Am i going to be banned from playing hungover next? I know a few GMs who wouldn't last long...

I once thought, when searching for the "perfect" game, that tennis was the perfect game to play, where there was no alleged "corruption". Then, to my disbelief, I read about players allegedly throwing games, with some "explanations" why it was "useful" to lose. In tennis, when you lose, you're out, unlike in chess.

Again, in my opinion, only teachings from an early stage may solve the problem.

P.S. Waiting to see the next episode on TV "The Charmed ones". The World has just been changed and now is "Utopia". All are friendly, calm, no stress. Will it stay like this? Or, maybe, the human race was not meant to be a utopia?


All of us, have, at one point or another, played games that could be "verified" as "thrown".

In practice, only a trained eye on the spot can suspect "fraud". An arbiter (there are possibly few "courageous" enough to tackle these situations,as they cannot really prove their suspicions). Players sitting next to the alleged fraudulent game, will even less comment publicly, as it leads to mostly no action, and it is probably not their duty, either.

I also wonder whether amplifying more fair play at an opening of each and every tournament would help.

Maybe even placing some nice, well thought out, ethical advertisement on each scoresheet at every tournament? It should lower the percentage of pre-arranged game thoughts, at least.

Going to see the game above now, haven't seen it yet.

Just saw the game, played by two players I do not know, nor have analyzesd any of their games before. White's play is "ridiculuos", although some novice players may argue and find it not that bad at all. The point of resignation is premature. There is no information on how long the game lasted, not how long White thought before playing 14.h3, for example.

There are at least 2 possible explanations:

1. A normal human swiss open last round stress game(with no help from computers).

2. White, for some reason, decided to lose, additionaly embarassing his opponent, by playing the loss badly, conciously or not provoking allegations against himself and the Black player.

P.S. Just saw another movie, where one confessed to a murder, that he had not committed, only to make himself "famous". At the trial he was acquitted, after he changed his mind and pleaded not guilty.

Last post today, I am risking spamming!?

I had posted (not here) last year a possible solution for swiss open tournaments alleged prearranged games, which may solve the problem of quick draws and situations as this one. I got no replies, I remember.

Basically, my idea was to change the pairing system. The rule would be that players having the same number of points MUST play against each other, even if would mean playing more than one game between themselves. There are many advantages for this, for example, leaders having played out a quick draw, after having both 5/5, would have to play again(!), as they are, for example, the sole leaders. I suspect playing another quick draw, would not be to anyones advantage, we would possibly see only hard fought games all the time.

Good idea Jovan.

I think both players should be suspended for 6 or 12 months. Even if it's "impossible" to prove cheating. Others will thing twice, in the future, before trying anything.

FIDE also has big problem with "ghost" and fixed tourneys in Russia and Ukraine. Many players have bought their titles there.

Check out the book "Freakonomics" for an entertainingly written scholarly treatise on cheating in standardized testing, sumo wrestling, etc.

I don't think a ban is really appropriate, it could completely destroy someone like Kreiman's reputation, and for all we know his opponent was drunk!

I agree that the organizers with the guts to bring this to everyones' attention should be praised. Showing this game to a lot of people will definitely discourage some thrown games. (even if both players turned out to be innocent there's no real harm done, and it does show that organizers are actively trying to catch cheaters)

Not sure if there is any long term solution since it is so difficult to find concrete evidence. Jovan's idea is very interesting but I think there has to be some kind of flaw there.

Bit disappointing that no one commented the last time, hopefully someone with a bit of knowledge will now. :-)

Someone asked in the Dec blog on this topic if there was really any difference between prearranged draws between the 2 players and one using a chess computer. or even if one player agrees to lose.

Yes there is a big difference. in the first the 2 players agree and the loser agrees to the loss. nothing is stolen from the loser.

in the second way, the loser has no choice. he plays he heart out to win and the computer beats him. this player has this game stolen from him.

My impression from reading chess magazines for over 30 years was that the professionals had taken the professional approach and agreed to draws to ensure some prize.

lets say I am in the later stages of a big money tournament like the world open. it is the last game and my opponent and I are playing for money now. lets say a win gets $10000 first prize. but a draw shares 1st and 2nd prize or $7500. the loss gets $500.

Now I imagine this same thing happens to me in 2 different tournaments. and I win my game in one tournament and I lose in the other tournament. so my total income over the 2 times is 10,000 + 500. or $10,500. now say I agree to a draw both times. then each time I get $7,500 or $15,000 total over the 2 tournaments.

so if I fight then i get 10500 but if i am peaceful then i get 15000. of course it is not cheating for the professional to agree to the 15000. it is good business. it is the professional approach.

There is nothing in the rules of chess that say that the players can not agree to a draw. therefore it is NOT cheating. and it is good business sense. it is part of the strategy of the game. it is something we need to embrace or we need to change the rules.

Now using a computer during the games without anyone else knowing is clearly cheating and totally different.

I was playing some non rated games on ICC as a guest. I got a game with another guest. non rated. this guy played terrible moves in the opening. I thought he was a patzer. then he began to play well and beat me. I felt at the time that he liked getting into a slightly inferior position and fighting his way out of it. nothing wrong with that. however, I certainly underestimated my opponent.

When the game ended, I just knew this guy was a good player and the only way he could have played those "bad" moves in the opening was because he wanted to do that. Probably to force himself to learn how to play out of a bad position when it counts.

Fortunately or Unfortunately as the case may be. but it is impossible to know what was going on inside the mind of another human being. what we do judge is ourself. what would have been going on in MY MIND if I were in that situation. but you can never really know what went on in another persons mind. so there is no way to say another person cheated at chess. well unless we catch him using a computer.

of course there is the old joke.

the chessmaster goes away for an important weekend tournament which will have norms to make IM and GM titles. he comes back and his friend asks him. how did you do. did you win a lot of games and win first place prize money. and his reply is that he did even better than that. he lost all his games. haha.

I am sorry if I find that funny. But this guy made more money losing all his games than he would have winning first prize.

Once a Patzer
Always a Patzer


I don't think that anyone has fully explained why not playing for the maximum result is cheating. Am I under some unwritten social contract to play my best chess during every game? Personally, I do my best every time, but it is a personal decision to improve myself and test ideas. The way I see it, if I know that choosing to lose a pivotal game will help my opponent, then isn't that my option with my entry fee? I represent my chess skills and my tournament tactics. It is the combination of these factors that determines the outcome of any tournament. Also, as some player are now alledging, a game is the art and intellectual property of the players. Who is to determine the legitimacy of such a creation? Does esthetics and favorable results always have to be the goal?
To be clear, I do not advocate throwing games or any other form of conflicting interests. I just like to mix the pot...

when I started playing chess back in 1972 the tournaments were great. they were super low cost and the prizes were low. I just wanted to play chess not win money. and I liked that.

Now playing chess is super expensive. going to say the World Open with travel hotel entry fees etc. many people must spend over $1000 for that one tournament. that is expensive.

I remember back then I once won $100. I was surprised. I had no idea I was even in the running. I had no idea there was a prize. but as I took the $100, my feeling was I would rather have a lower cost entry fee and no prizes. I did not want the $100. I wanted a tournament every week at very low cost so I could play all the time.

sure I might have accidently won something that one time. but look at all the costs.

Today I find chess to be super expensive sport. the cost of books. software, internet. tournaments and memberships all add up to some serious money over the course of a year.

Gone are the days of simply having a chess set and sitting down and playing a game.

I have not played in a tournament in many years. I gave up when in the last one the kids won all the money. I paid $100 to enter and the kids paid $18 and walked off with all the money.

$100 for 5 games of chess. come on $20 per game. can they not hold a tournament for lower cost than that.

Now I play on the internet. all the games I want. a thousand in a year all for the low cost of membership on the internet. no prize money. just good pure chess.

I love those all night tournaments. they go 24 hours of non stop tournaments and you are competing for the best score over 24 hours. and if you win, you can get a months extension on your membership. worth $4. a good value for 24 hours of work. haha. crazy wild insane 24 hours of blitz. I love it.

I do not believe that you have to have big money prizes and charge some $350 for the world open to be successful.

Let me see if I understand this correctly.

there is this GM named De Guzman who plays some bad chess moves in one game.

and so as punishment to De Guzman we are going to bann Kreiman from playing chess especially in the US Championship.

I am sure that is big punishment for DeGuzman. it lets him know if he ever plays a bad game you will bann another American player from playing chess.

You should also send DeGuzman an official notice that if he ever plays a bad game against Kasparov or Topalov that you will take away the World Championship title from those players. that will teach him to play better.

He better never play a bad game against me. I dont want to get kicked off playing as a free guest on ICC.

I guess you guys have solved the cheating problem.


Do they know that there is a federal law against fixing the outcome sporting events?
I've only heard of it used once. Some boxers and a promoter got convicted.
It would be hard to prove in a court of law. Unless you could get one to rat on the other.
I figure one felony conviction and a large fine (jail is overkill) would scare a lot of people straight.
Of course we could get some smart-@#@ judge to rule that chess is not a "sport"

There are all sorts of laws about defrauding fellow participants in gaming or sporting competition. Unless someone is caught on tape we are unlikely to see these come into consideration. That doesn't mean having stiff penalties on the books as a deterrent isn't a good idea.

Prearranging decisive results is not "professional" or any other BS. You are defrauding the other participants for finacial gain. Making a decision that earns you money does not make unethical/illegal behavior "professional." That it is very tempting and difficult to detect and to prevent doesn't make it okay either.

GM draws are not the same as throwing games. They should be legislated against as much as possible with move minimums and a reeducation of the sport starting at the bottom. But when a draw is a good result for both players they are unavoidable. Draws are a normal part of the game.

What happened on board 1 in the last round in Las Vegas? I didn't see too much because I was banging my head against a wall after moving a rook into capture in a highly favorable position against an IM. No, I wasn't sandbagging although it could look that that way.

Michael Aigner

Certainly fixing games that are bet on is one thing, but there is no legal betting cycles on chess games (as far as I know). So, there is no legal interest from the public that is being defrauded.
As an extreme example, if there were a person who wanted to see how low their rating could go, would they be considered "cheaters" for intentially losing all their games for the sake of curiousity? The players in the topic of this blog were not (as far as I know!) conducting such an experiment, but if the accusations are true the result of their actions are the same. One person decided before hand that they were going to lose. Although unethical, I still don't see how it can be labeled as cheating.

Not enough proof? Okay, let's start with the final round game where both players repeatedly communicated with the same person, and when the player won, he asked Goichberg for 2 checks of equal value, giving the second check to the loser (who was hanging around the pay line even though he didn't win any money because he lost).

If we can't punish people in THOSE situations, forget it.

Also, maybe we should punish players who are caught looking at books on the opening they are playing during the opening stage of the game. But no, we don't do that either.

Almost all of the time, I agree with your line of thought, but your comment "GM draws are not the same as throwing games" I can't figure out. If my opponent needs a half point to get in the money and agree to a pre arranged draw, whats the difference if my opponent needs a full point and I agree to that?

I could easily be accused of habitually throwing games. In literally 60% of the tournaments I have attended (counting only those with prize funds), I have blundered winning or favorable positions in the final round with prize money to be won by either player for a win.

Unethical? No. I just have hideous nerves and I'm an ICC player. I'm not used to the sustained effort and consistency required for tournament chess. I don't see where playing terribly in a last round game means anything more than someone reacts badly to the stress of the situation (like me).

Btw, I'm not including my last name or people will never resign against me again :)

Because, Brian, your opponent is then, we assume, paying you himself from his prize money. That is, something outside the bounds of the normal distribution from the tournament based on sporting result. Fixing, fraud, bribery. Agreeing to a draw before a game is also terrible of course. But paying for a result is a different matter entirely. Paying for a draw, while probably rare, would be just as bad as paying for a win. Paying someone cash for a draw to make a norm, for example.

Jesse Kraii's observation
"Two things for the record: 1) I would have never posted had not two strong players sitting next to the game noted that the game was over in very short order and that both players were largely absent from the board. (I was on the stage at the time)" is key for deciphering the content behind the meaningless moves. Otherwise there is a small probability that white just went brain dead. When both players are largely absent, that's already a big red flag and then the moves clinch it. It's good that Hough took action.


So, if you're Kreiman, a win with Black clinches a US Championship spot, and you spend all your time away from the board? Guess he didn't want it very much.

While I completely deplore fixing games and cheating in all forms, I think Brian Lucas has a point. Twice in may chess career my opponent tried (unsuccessfully) to convince me to throw a game, but I was never offered any money. Is deliberately playing badly considered 'cheating', even if the loser receives nothing?

Would it make any difference ethically if De Guzman threw the game for his own reasons without Kreiman paying him anything for it?

When it comes to these situations involving accusations of cheating, the legal system clearly favors the cheaters. Arbiters/TD's can be held PERSONALLY liable for public accusations against a player for 'damaging his reputation' and affecting the accused's method of income on an issue that would be just about impossible to prove 'beyond doubt' since chess is full of blunders even at the highest levels of play. Banning players thought to cheat by a Tournament organizer will probably be victim to a libel lawsuit that will be more expensive to fight than just letting things go and allowing a cheat to play. Other players making accusations can be sued too if it becomes a big enough issue.

It will always boil down to that - the weight of a libel suit and the costs of it (even if defended successfully, not to mention the potential of losing the libel suit) VS the difference between clear first and tied for first/second place money in a tournament that is given over to the cheat, which is probably just a few hundred to a thousand bucks difference at most. From a strictly cost-analysis basis, no person or even small organization in their right mind would risk the exposure, particularly in this case of chess where it cannot be proven against a player who takes just the most minimum of precautions. Everyone knows what is happening, but, lacking the most solid evidence, no one dares to risk a libel suit where they would be in a bad/dangerous position of losing or a winning a Pyrrhic victory at best.

A decade ago at a poker tournament, a player was caught ON TAPE adding chips from his pocket to his tournament stack. He was confronted with this evidence and kicked out of the tournament. Fine. But then word got out of this incident, and others called for his banning in future tournaments. The player turned around and sued the casino that had the tape for libel because it was damaging his means of earning a living. They settled out of court, and from what I know the player made good money out of the whole situation. And because of this, he was allowed to play in any and every tournament moving forward, as no one wanted to deal with this guy's lawyer.


Please read the "Blockade Chess Cheaters" petition that was the subject of an earlier thread (the URL is: www.seniorchess.zoomshare.com).

It offers a solution to the problem you cite. The solution is twofold:

1) Regular procedures should be established through which players and organizers can bring and adjudicate cheating accusations, with due process for the accused. Having published rules and a regular, transparent process for enforcing them, would greatly reduce the vulnerability to lawsuits.

2) Organizers should pool their resources -- either under USCF auspices, or by joining forces on their own to advance this particular issue. (I seriously doubt that the Justice Department Antitrust Division would be troubled by any such "anti-competitive" activity on the part of chess organizers).

Having access to some type of collective defense fund, possibly within an enhanced ethics enforcement program run by the USCF, would greatly ease the burden on any individual organizer in case a cheater "counterattacks using the court system," as it says in the petition.

Jon Jacobs:

"2) Organizers should pool their resources -- either under USCF auspices, or by joining forces on their own to advance this particular issue. (I seriously doubt that the Justice Department Antitrust Division would be troubled by any such "anti-competitive" activity on the part of chess organizers).

Having access to some type of collective defense fund, possibly within an enhanced ethics enforcement program run by the USCF, would greatly ease the burden on any individual organizer in case a cheater "counterattacks using the court system," as it says in the petition."

Sounds good in theory, but I think this would cause more problems than solutions. Now the Organizers have to police not only the cheaters, but each other as well. An over-zealous organizer in the 'union' might single-handedly deplete the common funds, causing dessent within their own ranks. The arbiter for a given tournament would probably have to consult the 'board' of this union before taking any action against a cheat, which would seem to do more to LIMIT charges against players than expand them. The layer of admistration required to organize the organizers is an additional cost that these already cash-poor groups probably cannot handle.

Face it, even with pooled resources, chess is so depleted of funds that a lawsuit would be too costly to contend. If arbiters can still be named on the suit (and they can, no matter what agreement players sign), their exposure is still personal. Sponsors will do just about anything to avoid lawsuits, so don't turn to them for funds either (not to mention that they will flee even faster than they already do if chess becomes entagled with cheater accusations and libel claims).

Stern: What if players have to sign an agreement which bars players from basing a libel suit on any ruling by the organizers.

Are you sure about that poker story?. Surely the player wouldn't have stood a chance in court. You'd think the casino would have therefore stood their ground - they could afford it and would expect the other side to cave in, no?

In Canada and Australia, and GreatBritain too I think, the loser pays the winner's legal costs.

Stern: What if players have to sign an agreement which bars them from basing a libel suit on a ruling?

Are you sure about that poker story? You'd think that the player had no chance in court. Wouldn't the casino therefore stand their ground, expecting the suit to be dropped?

In Canada and Australia (and Great Britain too, I think) if you lose a lawsuit you must pay the other side's costs.

"What if players have to sign an agreement which bars them from basing a libel suit on a ruling?"

Within a given tournament, the TD or arbiter has the authority to make rulings and effect the standings. This is not in question and is not what a libel suit would be about. It is the 'aftermath' of that ruling that is in question. If the arbiter and event does nothing further than their actions within their own tournament, they are probably fine. BUT if they 'go public' and encourage other arbiters / events / organizers to ban this player based on the one questionable event within their own tournament, that is where problems occur and is actionable as libel.

It really is similar to U.S. hiring laws - you can fire an employee for unacceptable conduct within your own company. Document it, point out the working agreement, issue a warning if you have to, and then fire him. Fine. But you CANNOT bad-mouth him to other potential employers, no matter how bad his behavior was for you. You cannot initiate a call to another company and let them know what the bad employee did while in your own company. This is the basis for many lawsuits. For those of you who are employed and have a Human Resources department, go talk to them for 5 minutes and they will tell you how cautious they must be after a firing has occured and how handcuffed they are in trying to get this bad employee not hired in a totally different company. It is almost unfair how much they have to bend backwards to 'protect' the bad guy's reputation.

I am POSITIVE about the poker story - I was around when it happened and am well enough established within that world to know of the scene and be well informed. Poker was not big back then at all. It occured in a California cardroom, not a Vegas Casino. The CA rooms at the time were not doing so well, and did not have things like blackjack and roulette and hotel rooms to build up a gigantic warchest (and they are not part of huge conglomorates like MGM or Mandalay Bay).

It was not the fact that they kicked the player out of the tournament that was the basis for the lawsuit. It was the fact that they circulated the tape to other establishments and allowed other outside interests to act against the player without proof that this was more than a one-time incident. Of course I think it was grossly unfair. Believe me, I fully side with all the people here thinking cheaters should be executed and buried, but what I'm saying really is that the law really protects people who are 'probably guilty'. We in the U.S. are set up legally so that we knowingly allow letting many of the guilty go free in order to protect against punishing the one truly innocent person caught up by circumstance. Just the way it is.

I see your point regarding the chess tournament rulings. Still, isn't libel basically things said that are both untrue and harmful? If one tournament director says to another "Look at this game. I think it was rigged and I disqualified both players. What do you think?", that should be all right, provide that the game does look bad in the circumstances. Anyway, I reckon that the arbiter in this case has done the right thing.

I think most organizers don't have time to think how to solve potential "cheating", that may occur in the last rounds. They have so many other things to do.

Once upon a time, an organizer of a big traditional open was critisized by participating top players, for making a weak prize fund distribution, "provoking" fixed results in the last rounds, resulting in leading elo players not getting all their planned cash.

When he confronted the complaining GMs, he asked them to offer a prize distribution scheme they approve, and he will accept it. He got no proposal in the next two years.

Not sure if players today actively promote some prize schemes (and other improvements regarding the issues of breach of fair play) on swiss tournaments, or are quiet about it. I know of hundreds of complaints, but few proposals, mostly in private circles.

The truth is a defense to an accusation of libel. (It's not libel if it's true.)

If all they did was circulate the tape without comment, it's not libel.

HOWEVER--if the guy had an "expectation of privacy," that is, he didn't believe he was being taped, or he didn't believe the tape would be distributed, he may have had a case on that basis. Laws on the use of video from commercial establishments vary from state to state. The police can usually get a look at it, but whether you can distribute it further, even to television news, is a different issue.

I don't have any detals on the poker case cited. However, there have been several famous and well documented cheating scandals in bridge, and in at least one of them the accused DID launch a "defamation of character" lawsuit, and did get a settlement in court. However, and this I think is significant, there was NO money settlement. The association agreed to let the two players play bridge again, and the two players agreed not to partner with each other. See the Houston story on this page:


The primary issue, with or without lawsuits, though, is the quality of proof of the accusation.

Bridge again has a long history of addressing the issue of cheating, in part because the partnership structure does create some opportunities. The American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) does a particularly good job of describing the process they use, including sample charge letters, sample witness letters, etc.


The important thing to note here is that the more standardized a process is, the more protection there is for an individual organizer/TD against a charge of slander/libel. If there is a standard charge letter, a standard witness letter, a standard hearing process, and so forth, and this information is made available to players before they enter an event, then it's just a question of making sure the hearing itself is fair.


An excellent summary, Duif! As usual, you are the one giving the most clear-headed advice.

I had considered mentioning bridge as a model: while preparing the chess cheating petition, I had perused the ACBL's ethics rules and disciplinary procedures (which are quite extensive).

Indeed, contrary to the impression one would get from reading Stern's very confident but factually dubious assertions, just about every sport, game, and profession has its own detailed, written rules of conduct, and has a formalized disciplinary system for enforcing those rules. And -- rather than the authorities being cowed into inaction by the fear of libel (or other) suits -- the problems that do crop up, tend to involve the opposite type of injustice. That is, one much more often hears or reads about people who were falsely accused and ended up getting banned from their sport or profession, and not having any good recourse.

It's true that chess organizers have a history of letting cheaters get away to cheat again. But fear of libel suits isn't the reason.

In short: Stern is seeing ghosts.


Seperate the message from the messenger. I clearly stated that I do not side with cheaters or wish to see them protected. I merely state what I have seen happen within my own sport when it comes to these situations. I want cheaters banned and punished. But what I have seen is that even the *threat* of a suit, dubious as it may be, is enough to keep organizers from taking aggressive action. And frankly, the suit is not as flimsy as others I've seen. Since, as even Mig states in his original post, proving someone cheated intentionally without a full confession by both participants is all but impossible, accusing someone of it is a very slippery slope indeed, particularly if you want to ban someone from an Open event or something they 'rightly' qualified to play in like the US Championships. How are they going to convince a court that the White player in the game above wasn't hung over or suffering from some kind of emotional stress?

Don't make me out to be the one somehow trying to justify cheaters and wanting them to succeed. If anything, I bring up these tough points for those of us with fair-minded intention not to discourage action but to give an assessment of what we are up against. I would LOVE to see justice done in all cases, but ignoring the reality of the US Legal system does not help the cause. Confronting precedent in both the hiring practices of employers and of other similar games like poker is presented as some data points, not as an endorsement by me of the resulting circumstances.


"Indeed, contrary to the impression one would get from reading Stern's very confident but factually dubious assertions, just about every sport, game, and profession has its own detailed, written rules of conduct, and has a formalized disciplinary system for enforcing those rules."

I'd like to know what dubious assertions I made. I stated what I know of US Hiring practices, many of which I came up against personally while hiring for my past company, which again I encourage anyone to discuss for themselves with their HR Departments if they want to see if I'm making things up, and I gave an example where I know the facts to be true (I know the names, the dates, the amount settled for out of court, and why the person brought on the initial suit) I shared these observations. If I am wrong about the hardships of chess organizers when it comes to having money and the odds of them pooling their resources together to fight lawsuits, then tell me what steps are being taken along these lines and I will change my opinion. You make as many assertions as I do, but mine have facts behind them.

Like I said in one of my posts, if the arbiter took action within his own tournament, he is well within his right to do so. But 1) he didn't take immediate action against these two players and 2) if a review board of fairness was part of this tournament and this game was not submitted for review, does the guidelines and agreement the players played under allow them to go back to review at a later date? If not, I hope, but doubt, that the rules and guidelines for the tournament where the game in question was played states that retroactive action can be taken by the US Championships even when they were not there to witness anything. But even so, how does the US Championship show that the white player did not 'dump' on his own and that Black wanted an honest game? Or that he just had a bad game, for no real reason needed? How can we PROVE White participated in any dumping, instead of just being a lucky recipient? We can highly suspect that collusion took place, but proof of it is a much higher standard.

I suspect that the player in question will be allowed to play in the US Championship, but the rules and guidelines for NEXT YEAR'S qualifiers will learn the lessons from this situation and can make moves to rectify it from happening again (all the guidelines and review boards you suggest can be written into the NEW, expanded participation agreement). So progress can be made going forward, but to try to enforce new rules to past events is not going to pass legal obstacles.

JJ: "It's true that chess organizers have a history of letting cheaters get away to cheat again. But fear of libel suits isn't the reason."

What is the reason they allow these cheating to prosper then?


Too many separate points to answer here. But to cut to the chase:

1)Your comments about HR departments (i.e. employers are restrained from communicating any negative information about ex-employees, no matter how well documented) are accurate but irrelevant to the chess tournament context. This -- spurious analogy -- represents a type of error in logic that people often make when arguing these kinds of issues.

Better analogies would be:
a) Landlords of rental apartments in major cities (and possibly on a nationwide basis too) have organized systems for sharing information about problem tenants. In practice, this is a blacklist. Obviously, the consequences to a tenant who finds himself on such a list are every bit as severe as those suffered by a chess player who ended up on a "suspicious players" list.
b) The Insurance industry's MIB Group maintains a well-organized system for tracking each individual's historical record for every possible type of health-related claim (i.e. medical, disability, and life insurance). This information is available to all insurance companies, who routinely use it to decide whether to accept or reject a policy applicant, and whether to offer someone coverage only at an above-normal price (i.e. if that person's record reveals health problems). This system also includes information about claims that insurers believe were fraudulent -- and I presume that any individual whose name is on that particular portion of the list, will be routinely denied coverage wherever he applies for it. I'm pretty sure the property/casualty insurance industry has a similar system (at least as regards locking out dishonest claim filers from obtaining new coverage).
c) Casinos keep blacklists of card-counters, cheaters, and other unacceptable players. Of course this information is shared and everyone knows that, once barred from one casino, you're barred from all of them.
d) See Duif's (and my) earlier comments about ethics enforcement in the world of tournament bridge.

It's obvious on the face of it that the economic relation between chess player (EVEN a "professional", i.e., titled, chess player) and chess organizer, has far more in common with the above situations, especially (c) and (d), than with the normal employee-employer relationship. A chess player is never an employee of the organizer, even if the player hopes to or does earn (part of) his or her living from tournament play. That said, even in the employment context, certain industries do have procedures that allow (indeed, require) past employers to provide public records of ex-employees' "dirty linen." My industry, the securities business, is one of them. (For details, search the phrase, "Form U-5")

2) Even in a lawsuit, "proof" in the sense of absolute certainty is not needed. If you are sued or you sue someone else, all you need to win, is to convince the jury that your view of the situation is even slightly more likely to be true, than your opponent's view.

Of course, the threat of being sued can still be a deterrent. But in nearly all spheres of activity, the practitioners still do whatever they must do to uphold the integrity of their activity. The complaints one constantly hears about lawsuits usually relate to the cost of protecting against them, such as malpractice insurance -- rather than to any fundamental impacts on the activity wrought by the fear of lawsuits. If the fear of getting sued were as all-pervasive as you imply, journalism would not exist. And Mig sure wouldn't be running this blog, which has already publicly named and accused 2 big-time chess cheaters during the 5 or 6 months that I've been reading it.

I make this point about proof, to help clear up any confusion about how the De Guzman - Kreiman issue might fare if it ever reached a court of law. The opinions of GMs and IMs ("expert witnesses," in legal parlance) about whether the game was thrown would constitute "evidence," no less than a tape recording of someone cheating. Of course, it is possible (though I consider it somewhat unlikely) that at least one such expert witness might break with his fellows and stick up for De Guzman, arguing that he could have been drunk, or some such excuse as appeared in an earlier post here. But other types of witness accounts also would be sought; the stuff in the John Fernandez post in this thread is especially revealing. Of course I personally have no way of knowing if it's accurate. But if a court case arose, people who were present on the stage would be asked to give depositions about what they saw. Of course, if the USCF were to try to discipline Kreiman and/or De Guzman, the appropriate USCF committee could seek such witness accounts before it got to court.

Bottom line, Duif provided the right guidance here, when she said, "The primary issue, with or without lawsuits, is the quality of the proof of the accusation." Proof need not be either physical, or 100%, or even 95% (the standard needed to convict in criminal court) -- in a civil case, you win if just 51% of the evidence supports your argument.

3) I agree that, regarding ethics violations and penalties, having a published, detailed process in place at the outset is desirable from every point of view -- and especially from the legal standpoint. As Duif said, and as Stern seems to reluctantly agree in his latest post, such procedures can provide a sturdy firewall against any legal liability (assuming the organizers/accusers act in good faith). So it may well turn out that the perpetrators of the thrown game being discussed here will get away, but the rules will be toughened to prevent this sort of thing in the future. That after all was the outcome I have sought in my own anti-cheating campaign: obviously no one is going to confiscate Mirtchouk's (probably) ill-gotten World Open prize, and I don't know whether the USCF has taken any action against him (if they have, it isn't public). So my goal was never to get Mirtchouk punished, but to bring about better policing and tougher penalties against people who obtain external help in their games in the future.

Even better are the situations where the cheating goes bad. I seem to recall someone in one of the New York Opens (1998 I think) losing a game because he couldn't find an ATM in the final round when he needed a draw for a norm. (The guy didn't have a problem with getting paid for a draw, he just calmly explained that he didn't trust to give a draw until he got the money.)

Recently there was a situation in NYC where a titled player demanded a GM agree to a draw before the game. After the GM declined, the titled player then offered some money to lose the game. The GM further declined, causing the titled player to flip out and forfeit the game.


I feel cheated when you "cut to the chase." I'd rather have your opinions in their full-length version.


If you are speaking about the final round of the Marshall Fall Futurity, your details are partly inaccurate, and very misleading. Because you yourself have a significant role in the chess world -- you were a co-organizer with Shahade of the original NY Masters series, were you not? -- I wish you would show greater concern for your own reputation/credibility, and avoid making accusations (even without naming the parties) without having all relevant facts straight.
If it's a different event you were referring to, then please disregard my criticism and accept my apology.
If it is the same one, then an incident somewhat similar to what is described in John's post did occur, but with at least 2 important differences:
1) so far as I know, there was no demand for (or offer of) money or throwing a game; and
2) the player who asked for a prearranged draw did "flip out," but did NOT "forfeit the game." Rather, said player WITHDREW from the tournament BEFORE being paired for the final round. (It was known in advance that he would be paired against the said GM.) So the withdrawn player received a "0-point bye" for his final round, BUT the GM did NOT get a forfeit win. He was paired against someone else, and duly won his game.
Although the player who demanded a pre-arranged draw did have prize money at stake, it seems that wasn't the motive. Rather, he seemed to feel he deserved a draw without effort, as a token of "respect." This may be why TD Steve Immitt inserted the phrase, "NO RESPECT", as the "tag line" above the published crosstable for that tournament.
I've been told that the spurned player and the GM's students later engaged in a mutual "flame war" on some other blog.
I plan to make an allusion to this incident in a future Chess Life article (assuming their new editor will still want to publish me).

Yes, Jon, we're talking about the same incident.

The player most certainly flipped out, and most certainly offered money. I've gotten it from several sources.

Originally, no, there was no offer of money, but I am quite certain $100 was offered for losing the game, but I believe this is tangential. Although the main point of your post is correct, the player believed he "deserved" the draw. Which was a bit insane.

And yes, my terminology was bad, but I wanted to make it clear he did not even make an effort to actually draw the game or even win it, or play it at all.

What I'm more privy to is the massive meltdown that the player had on ICC afterwards. But since that's amazingly negative and my intention of the post was to show the amount of attempts to prearrange things these days, I won't go into it.

And since when do I care about my reputation? I'm out of chess now, and won't be anything other than a player moving forward. So I don't mind causing problems. :)


OK, I hadn't heard about money, but I'll take your word for it. Your wording still leaves me slightly confused. Logic indicates that the rejected player offered the GM money to lose (rather than asking for money to throw himself); that is your meaning, right? I did hear about a war of words between the player and the GM's students, I forget in what medium, I guess it must have been on ICC. Anyway, thanks for abiding my (perhaps misplaced) criticism gracefully. I didn't know you were "out of chess now" in a business sense; let's chat the next time we happen to occupy the same space at the same time (the next Marshall Masters' event, in late February?)

Focusing on the qualification / cheating dilemma, suppose we are faced with a highly suspicious game (both the moves and eye-witness reported circumstances). Place the loser in the room with bright lights (this can be a cyber room via email or telephone), threaten a lifetime ban but offer immunity if he squeals on the winner. After all, the winner is the one who qualified and we don't want cheaters in the championship. This solution has the humorous merit of turning one of the cheaters against the other. Immunity granted to the loser still tarnishes his reputation suitably, I would think - but the main target is the winner.

In addition, the foundation can codify suspicious conduct, such as being absent from the board much of the game, as well as institute the 'moves review panel' formally to sense-check the suspicious moves.

The good thing about having a foundation to regulate qualification is that they can codify this stuff without having to worry about all cheating everywhere.



The problem with "turning one cheater against the other" is that when it becomes overwhelmingly in the best interest of one person to "squeal" on the other, you've raised suspicions about the veracity of the accusation.

This is why in most US jurisdictions a person cannot be convicted solely on the evidence of an accomplice. And why the defense attorney always gets to ask, "Were you offered anything in exchange for your testimony?"

Of course if the testimony of the person getting immunity leads to further corroborating evidence, then you're in a different situation.

But the most important thing remains the process. Witnesses who will go on the record, subject to cross examination, are a very different level of proof than the usual whisper campaigns that go on.

warm regards,

JJ: “1)Your comments about HR departments (i.e. employers are restrained from communicating any negative information about ex-employees, no matter how well documented) are accurate but irrelevant to the chess tournament context. This -- spurious analogy -- represents a type of error in logic that people often make when arguing these kinds of issues.”

It must be nice to attack someone else’s logic, and then provide no logic of your own to show yours is superior. In order to avoid being a hypocrite and dismissing your logic out of hand, I will provide why I think (in some cases know) your examples are faulty.

JJ: “Better analogies would be:
a) Landlords of rental apartments in major cities (and possibly on a nationwide basis too) have organized systems for sharing information about problem tenants. In practice, this is a blacklist. Obviously, the consequences to a tenant who finds himself on such a list are every bit as severe as those suffered by a chess player who ended up on a "suspicious players" list. “

This is a matter of a buyer proving he has the ability to meet a financial obligation for something he wants to purchase (in this case, the right to lease a living space). This is the same as a Porsche dealer wanting your credit information before letting you drive the $80,000 car off his lot. This does not apply at all to players being denied the right to earn their living in Open tournaments at all.

JJ: “b) The Insurance industry's MIB Group maintains a well-organized system for tracking each individual's historical record for every possible type of health-related claim (i.e. medical, disability, and life insurance). This information is available to all insurance companies, who routinely use it to decide whether to accept or reject a policy applicant, and whether to offer someone coverage only at an above-normal price (i.e. if that person's record reveals health problems). This system also includes information about claims that insurers believe were fraudulent -- and I presume that any individual whose name is on that particular portion of the list, will be routinely denied coverage wherever he applies for it. I'm pretty sure the property/casualty insurance industry has a similar system (at least as regards locking out dishonest claim filers from obtaining new coverage).”

The information given to MIB must be on a voluntary basis, and can be refused by the applicant. The laws regarding right to privacy of personal medical records is clear on this issue, and a provider cannot use the unwillingness to participate in MIB’s database as a reason to deny an application. I’ve denied this very thing to MIB, and I got self-insured (poker players and insurance is a common topic). And since I am not in the MIB database, the next time I apply, the new insurance will have nothing to look up, and I will again not sign the participation waiver with MIB. I suspect all their data is obtained by people who either do not value their privacy, or do not read the paperwork when applying for health insurance and just sign everywhere.

By the way, if you want a hilarious read, go to the MIB site itself:


Every word on it reeks of being a preliminary legal defense, as if they are obsessed with proving they are doing nothing wrong. It’s almost hilariously paranoid, the subtext screaming “Class Action Lawsuit!” Not a great path for chess to follow, and I think chess has it easier to enforce practices and standards than any industry that deals with personal medical information. This is a terrible example to try to emulate. I personally find what MIB is doing as deceptive and unethical. They seem to rely on applicant’s laziness to read the paperwork to get information to use against them. MIB is morally reprehensible, IMHO.

JJ: “c) Casinos keep blacklists of card-counters, cheaters, and other unacceptable players. Of course this information is shared and everyone knows that, once barred from one casino, you're barred from all of them.”

This is something I know a lot about from personal experience (rather than flimsy analogies others seems to like). So I will answer this one more in depth.

Sorry, you are just dead wrong about your dubious assertion about casinos and sharing information and barring. First, about why casinos can keep certain people out of their establishments: Barring from casinos is based on TRESPASSING, not cheating or any moral/ethical behavior of the person in question. As private properties, they have the right to refuse anyone they want from being on their property. They use this avenue to get rid of card-counters, but they don’t bother to accuse you of cheating or stealing even though they may have irrefutable evidence (cameras and all), unless it is for a sizable sum or illegal (more on that below). But they don’t even need to give you ANY reason, they can bar you from their property on whim alone. They can avoid any legal objection by simply giving NO reason and just telling you you are no longer welcome there. They use it to keep bums out too. It’s private property. A private chess tournament in a private venue held, for example, at the Hilton Hotel would need Hilton Enterprises to get involved, and bar the chess player not for dumping his game but for trespassing after he was told he cannot be there. I doubt highly that Hilton Hotels will bother to get involved in this ‘petty’ dispute. And how it applies to Open Events, or events where qualification were met as stated, is none.

You are dead wrong that you are barred from ‘all casinos’ if it happens. You are only barred from the property in question and all the properties from the same corporate parent. They MUST READ you the Trespassing Act, have you sign a sheet acknowledging that you have been read this sheet and know where they stand, and then you are escorted out. I know – I’m barred from all Coast Casino properties after playing blackjack at the Barbary Coast in the mid-90’s. I was not accused of any wrong doing, but just told that my action was not welcome there anymore. No threats, no accusations, no slandering me. But I can go to all the MGM/Mirage properties and Wynn and Mandalay Bay properties with no problems, play poker there all the time, and, since giving up card-counting a decade ago, am welcomed by the managers their with open arms. And they know about my page in Griffin openly.

A few more factual errors in your assertion: The Supreme Court in NJ has already ruled that card counting is NOT cheating and cannot be the basis for any legal action (the infamous Ken Uston case, look it up). Las Vegas has not contested this ruling. Using electronic devices IS breaking state and federal laws, but using your brain and your skills aren’t. Therefore, if you are barred for card-counting and NOT of using an illegal electronic device (which would result in an arrest, not a barring), you in fact have done nothing wrong at all, but the casino uses their trump card of ‘private property’. If they wanted to stop you from playing blackjack elsewhere and call that other casino and tell them what a cheating scumbag you are, you can SUE THE PANTS OFF THEM (discrimination or libel, take your pick). So being banned from a Vegas casino has nothing to do with any immorality, and has nothing in common with the cheating topic at hand, and therefore your analogy falls completely apart. They are just exercising their right to deny serviced to anyone they want, and just ‘happen’ to use it to suspected card-counters.

The Griffin Agency is the 3rd party the casinos use to compile information about players casinos want to ban. They are the gray-area middleman that give the legal distance between casinos, so that no casino can be held responsible for giving away details about you directly to other properties. Despite shows like “Las Vegas” on TV, the security departments of each casino does NOT share information with each other (unless they are in the same parent company, which, unfortunately, is more and more likely since consolidation in the last 3 years), as it is again NOT LEGAL to disparage players to other outside entities and a headache they have no reason they would need to expose themselves to (gee, just like US Hiring practices, no?). Griffin agents have hooks within each security department, and thus have a way to pool information, but the casinos will deny it was ‘from them’ to their grave. And BTW, the number one cost of the Griffin Agency is not surveillance equipment or personnel, but legal fees. They just happen to have a big war-chest built up because their customers (casinos) give them BIG fees. Can chess withstand this pressure too?

Your logic and factual errors show so many holes in them, it looks like you are castling long (0-0-0)

JJ: “d) See Duif's (and my) earlier comments about ethics enforcement in the world of tournament bridge.”

I don’t see Duif as someone countering what I said at all, but just providing more information to the argument. I respect Duif quite a bit on this board, and read her posts more closely than most others. I don’t see it as a refutation to what I have said.

I will give more details about the poker case I mentioned before to show why it and employment laws are the most applicable part of the legal system to examine rather than dubiously related topics like payment for services, medical records, or just plain wrong information. Hopefully, even someone as tunneled in to his own righteousness will consider it.

The poker player proved it was his profession by showing previous tax records that stated his profession as such, his earnings from poker, and the fact that he wrote off travel, hotel, entry fee, and other poker related costs from taxes. A professional chess player would do exactly the same thing. The poker player then went to the casino who was going to bar him for what happened at the OTHER casino and told them that what they were doing was discrimination and stopping him from earning his living based on information they had no legal right to act on. A detailed letter from his lawyer outlining their case, based on EMPLOYMENT LAWS, was sent to the second casino, which relented immediately (the player played in all the tournament events that week).

The player then turned around and sued the first casino for defamation of character and libel for hurting his ability to make his living (again related to employment fairness laws) by spreading that tape around to other establishments. As I said before, it was settled out of court for a five-figure sum. Since the casino had more resources to fight this suit than the player, it seems that he had a pretty strong case for them to settle so quickly and generously.

Why you think your analogies, which have little to do with anything under discussion (credit history) or are legally tenuous (MIB) or just plain wrong (barring in casinos), has more in common with a cheating chess player than my example (and FIRST hand experience) of a poker player who also pays his own entry fees, competes for prizes, and considers it his employment, and the legal cases that have resulted from my example seems to be more of a case of ‘you have to be right’ than wanting an open discussion. If you are at the forefront of preventing cheating in chess and have such a steadfastly closed mind when it comes to discovering facts to fight it, then I am not surprised why chess in the US is the bankrupt mess it is in.

JJ: “and as Stern seems to reluctantly agree in his latest post”

Please. I have not changed my position one bit, as ‘reluctant agreement’ seems to imply. Go back and read my stream of posts more closely. Your ability to shade things so the appear as you want them to is remarkable.

Further, even if the US Championship and its participating satellite upgrade their participation agreements next year, do you really think it will stop the practice of dumping games? All it will do is make the quality of the dumps better. Losses on time, or a risky sacrifice followed by 2-3 inaccuracies later in the game, or even just a misplayed opening into a known trap (even a great such as Kasparov made this ‘amateur’ blunder in his last game vs Deep Blue) followed by vigorous, but hopeless, defense will just replace Guzmonian efforts. The IMs / GMs in the position to dump on the last round are more than expert enough to know how to make it look good if new ‘laws’ require them to.

Now, back to my online poker game.

In the 2004 US Open in Florida, if I had won my last game I would have tied for first. Being rated about 2300, there was 95% chance that I had cheated in the tournament. Luckily, I lost to Nakamura so my reputation remains unblemished.

Lew, if it makes you feel any better, you'll always have a blemished reputation in my book.

In the 2004 US Open in Florida, a hurricane was threatening to destroy the Fort Lauderdale venue. I was sitting in the hotel bar, watching the TV. A newscaster solemnly intoned, as the hurricane advanced and scenes of destruction were flashed in rapid succession, "we are facing nothing less than total devastation." Simone Sobel, sitting next to me, said "Total devastation? That sucks!"

This story seemed urgent to tell as we were getting a little far afield with casino tomfoolery and card signaling in bridge. Enjoy! (as Yasser would say).

Another famous case of US game throwing provable only by circumstantial evidence was the following:

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Ng5 Ngf6 6.Bd3 e6 7.N1f3 h6 8.Nxe6 Qe7 9.0-0 fxe6 10.Bg6+ Kd8 11.Bf4 b5 12.a4 Bb7 13.Re1 Nd5 14.Bg3 Kc8 15.axb5 cxb5 16.Qd3 Bc6 17.Bf5 exf5 18.Rxe7 Bxe7 19.c4 1-0

You have to admit the circumstantial evidence here was completely overwhelming:
(i) Despite $400,000 being on the line, Black blitzed through the game, spending more than a couple of minutes on only one move in the whole game.
(ii) Resigning a position which, while bad, could have been fought out, especially with so much at stake.

(iii) A betting plunge on the underdog, White, was rumoured to have been made in the Black player's home country.

Can't beat circumstantial evidence, can you?


I'd heard that last one before, in fact if my fuzzy memories are accurate it was Bill Lombardy who first told me (just a day or two after the match) that Kaspy must have thrown that final game. However, I'm not sure about your points (ii) and (iii). Garry's position was eminently resignable when he turned over his king. And as for (iii), even though Garry had smashed Deep Blue's earlier incarnations, I'm not sure the computer was the "underdog" this time around. Really the strongest "circumstantial evidence" is Kasparov's level of play itself (i.e. 7...h6), which I don't think he ever has really explained to anyone's satisfaction. On the other hand, I've never heard any reasonable explanation of why he might have had a motive to throw the game (and match). As far as his being paid off, well, in the long run wouldn't beating Deep Blue have been worth more than any bribe he might have been offered?

If you start asking why, you are moving from circumstantial 'evidence' to mere speculation.
But if you really want to know, I have it on good authority (a friend of a friend heard it from a friend) that it was the Russian Mafia who made the betting plunge and threatened that Garry's family would be in danger if he didn't lose to the computer. Anyway, Garry could be sure that he was going to get a rematch for even more money and regain his reputation then.


"You have to admit the circumstantial evidence here was pretty overwhelming."

Outrageous, ridiculous smear.

Kasparov threw a game because so he could get a lucrative rematch with Deep Blue? Huh?

From an early stage of the match, Kasparov was smearing IBM with public charges that they were cheating. The predictable result was that IBM, which funded the match to generate favorable publicity, not a "scandal," disassembled the machine and removed themselves and their sponsorship money as far from chess as possible.

Had Kasparov been "desperate" for a rematch with Deep Blue he would have kept his mouth shut about his suspicions of cheating, would have given sportsmanlike praise to IBM, and would have quietly insisted on some sort of independent monitoring of the IBM team in any future match. Win, lose, or draw, IBM would then have had every reason to stage a rematch in hopes of garnering still more favorable publicity.

Kasparov made an opening blunder and played hurriedly... and that proves what? Chess players make opening blunders. Sometimes they "give up", play hurriedly, and get it over with. Don't you think that if a great player wanted to lose a game against a super-computer he could have found a way to let himself get gradually outplayed, making it "look better"?

A friend of a friend told you of Mafia involvement? You heard rumors of a betting coup on the Deep Blue match? Give me a break.


If there's any justice in the world you'll be falsely charged with murder, convicted, and executed. The prosecution's evidence will consist of double or triple hearsay, which your dim-witted jury will consider "overwhelming evidence."

If you are familiar with Tassie's posts you would realize it was meant ironically. Russian betting plunge, mafia, funny stuff.


Actually, White`s play in that game could also be mistaken for FM Miles Ardaman, who plays in lots of tournaments on the east coast USA. He`s been 2430 FIDE before. I`m trying to dis a Master here, as he`s exceptionally strong, but he plays horrible openings like this. He often doesn`t move anything beyond the 3rd rank, regardless of what colour he is playing.

[Event "Reykjavik op 21st"]
[Site "Reykjavik"]
[Date "2004.03.08"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Ardaman, Miles"]
[Black "Stefansson, Hannes"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A00"]
[WhiteElo "2307"]
[BlackElo "2572"]
[EventDate "2004.03.07"]

1. g3 d5 2. Bg2 c6 3. d3 Nf6 4. Nd2 e5 5. b3 Bd6 6. Bb2 O-O 7. e3 Re8 8. Ne2 Nbd7 9. h3 Nf8 10. a3 b5 11. O-O Rb8 12. c4 bxc4 13. dxc4 Bf5 14. Re1 Ng6 15. b4 Be6 16. Nb3 Qd7 17. Kh2 Ne4 18. Rf1 h5 19. Rc1 h4 20. g4 Ng5 21. f4 Bxg4 22.fxg5 e4+ 23. Kg1 Bxh3 24. Nf4 Bg4 25. Qe1 h3 26. Bh1 dxc4 27. Rxc4 Be6 28. Nc5 Qd8 29. Ncxe6 h2+ 30. Kf2 fxe6 31. Nh3 Be5 32. Bxe4 Qd6 33. Kg2 Rf8 34. Rxf8+ Rxf8 35. Rxc6 Qd7 36. Rc2 Qf7 37. Rf2 1-0

Did anybody compare the game against GM Kreiman with IM De Guzman's games against other grandmasters?

In my case I have learned that the very first symptom of the coming flu is my poor chess play.

(True, that De G. - K game is quite dreadful :-).

Sorry! to say it's all fixed just look at the game. Both are not good actors. hehehe

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 19, 2006 8:24 PM.

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