Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Cheating Did You Say?

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From Hanoi comes this tale, with obvious connections to the recent World Open cheating scandal/s.

More than 20 desperate students in Vietnam paid up to 50 million dong ($3,125) to don elaborately wired wigs and shirts that allowed them to cheat on their college entrance exams, police said Monday. During a weekend raid, Hanoi police confiscated 50 mobile phones, 60 earphones, 150 SIM cards, eight shirts and five wigs.

I hear IM Ben Finegold was seen fleeing the scene.


just too much. if this was for the college entrace how much more would it cost for all the exams up through graduation.

but now I wonder if students are doing the same here. I did read an article about students hiring people to do their work for them. apparently this is becoming fairly common.

I remember reading how some students are taking certain drugs for their exams.

so many people are looking for that edge. and the ones with the money can purchase the edge. I think I remember reading how high school students are purchasing the edge today. forget how it is being done. someone will probably remember.

Everyone is always choosing happiness. So I guess some people think that cheating and stealing will bring them happiness.
Posted by: tommy at July 10, 2006 21:08

That Michigan Class A player who allegedly cheated in Philly is facing perhaps very serious sanctions such as a lifetime ban from playing in USCF tournaments. I guess Finegold is being jokingly mentioned in your Hanoi post simply because he is from the same state, and since he blogs about Michigan players constantly he should give his opinion on this too, but your post is in poor taste wrt the IM because he has nothing to do with any cheating scandal I've heard of and also this is not a joking matter that innocent players with excellent reputations should get dragged into. Btw, an even easier unstoppable way to cheat is to get up from your game and talk about it with a strong spectator occasionally at key moments away from earshot of any witnesses. One good idea at the right time is all it takes to change the result. Perhaps players are allowed to stray too far away from their boards too much. Requiring them to converse in English so witnesses could detect/stop the cheating that they overhear would be good too.
Posted by: Mark Ashland, Esq, CPA at July 10, 2006 23:14

On another topic (sort of)....there are also opportunities to cheat which are often passed up by top players. A typical example is when a 2500+ type cannot win a prize, and is paired with a player UNDER 2400 (or Under 2300, 2200 etc) in the last round. This happens to me occasionally, and only once did I have an opponent "suggest" we do not necessarily have to play. That guy got the smackdown he deserved (on the chess board).

In the 2006 World Open, one can note that Moissenko and his last round opponent (2270 rated Gulamali

I see these things all the time in tournaments with excellent prizefunds, and they put the players in an odd position. Often, if the lower rated player wins, people are suspicious even when nothing untoward has happened.

In particular, I would like to mention that on more than one occasion I have seen top GMs like Yermo, Shabba, and Serper draw in the last round when that was NOT a good result financially for either player, but that's the way the game ends often, and these players, and most 2500+ types are often in a situation in the last round where "cheating" is the financially correct decision, but it does not come into consideration. Yermo especially is against anything even close to resembling suspicious results.

When Gata drew the last round against Yudasin, he assumed boards 2 and 3 would seize their chances and play all out to win, and he would be =3rd. He was pleasantly surprised when Kachieshvili-Milov and Benjamin-Chanda were long hard fought draws, and he was =1st as a result. Instead of winning $6500 or so, any of those players could have done something unethical, and the winner would get $28,000! Nobody would be surprised or suspect anything if anyone won those games, but still, everything was on the up and up.

This was not the case 10-20 years ago, when the World Open, NY Open, and other events had at least 1-2 "suspicious" results in the final round. In my opinion, there is less "activity" on the top boards in the last round, even when financially beneficial for both players.

One of the reasons for this, I believe, is Hikaru, Gata, and Yermo. Those guys play with such will and try so hard each game, the idea of "buying" a result in the last round for $$$$$$$$$ repulses them, and I think that has rubbed off on a lot of people. Just like Ashley and others trying to stop short "GM" draws, and a lot of top players like the idea, and we see a lot more tough games in the last round.

When I was at the Open crosstable DURING the last round, I overheard a kibitzer "explain" to his friends that 'yeah, all the top 10 boards will drawn quickly, that is how it works in these tournaments.' ....I think he would have been about right a few years ago, but, even though there were SOME draws, there were a lot of long tough draws, and a lot of decisive games as well.

The World Open is the most fun event ever, and I hear it will be in Valley Forge next year (I think downtown Philly is better!). I hope we see 50 GMs again!

On my own blog about 2 weeks ago someone asked "Why does Kelly always play in the Open section?" ...Well, she gained about 40 rating points in the World Open, and just yesterday she gained 40+ more in the Columbus Open (Open section) and broke 1800 USCF for the first time! :)

If I keep playing like I have been lately, maybe I will be glad my floor is 2200. :(

Not so anonymous BPF
Posted by: Ben Finegold at July 11, 2006 00:49

(A probably futile attempt to threadjack this back to its original topic...)

As far as I know, tommy, the willingness to spend so much on the college entrance exams is because they're the sole component of determining whether someone gets into a given college.

Unlike most European and American schools, where a standardized test is but a factor for college entrance, many Asian countries use the one-test model for college entrance. You can be the most brilliant student ever (with the secondary school grades to prove it), but if you don't pass a college's entrance exam, tough luck. It comes from the Chinese mandarinate model, I think--where an annual test (on sundry literary and philosophical classics) determined one's fitness for governmental posts.

Btw, each university often has its own entrance exam; imagine having to take a separate SAT-equivalent for each school you're applying to...
Posted by: cynical at July 11, 2006 08:36

Yes in this country we get into college based on important things. it does not matter how good a student you are. it does not matter how high you score on the entrance exam. what matters is that your daddy and mommy graduated from Harvard and have donated to the alumni fund every year.

although if your daddy is the President you will probably be accepted also.

Old Money wins out. The important things in life like having blue blood instead of normal red blood. good thing there is not a caste system in america.

that is one thing I like about chess. and one thing I believe Fischer liked about chess. All the politics drops away over the chess board. now it is the best chess player to win. on average anyway.
Posted by: tommy at July 11, 2006 09:18

Quite the grasp of irony you have there, Mark. It was a joke, based on how the other cheating threads have turned into arguments about Ben's right to speak and exist.
Posted by: Mig at July 11, 2006 09:22

What do you expect from someone who is a lawyer (and also a CPA) and flaunts his law-degree when posting on a chess blog? Do lawyer/CPAs write the jokes for Saturday Night Live?

By the way, although the multiple cheating threads this week produced plenty of invective, not all of it civil, and plenty of arguments, not all of them cogent, on the whole I found the tone of the debate quite gratifying.

I say that because of the TOTAL ABSENCE (as far as I saw) of two noxious strains of thought that showed up -- indeed, came close to dominating at times -- most previous threads about cheating-related issues that I've seen on Dirt during the past year or so.

The two happily absent lines of argument are:

1) That anyone -- especially a pro -- who cheats, or who gives or accepts bribes to throw games (what Ben denounced in his lengthy post above), is "just trying to feed his family," and the rest of us should just live with it and make no attempt to stop the guy from walking home with the stolen prize money.

Believe it or not, numerous Dirt posters voiced that view -- apparently in all seriousness -- on a number of past threads. I hope the fact that I've seen no such expressions this time around, indicates that the a-holes (trolls, perhaps?) who polluted the previous debates have moved on to other activities; or better yet, expired under the wheels of a truck, or were bludgeoned to death by the sons of old ladies they tried to mug.

2) That there's no point in trying to punish any type of cheater, because regardless of the circumstances or evidence, the cheater will file a lawsuit that could ultimately bankrupt whatever individual or institution is the suit's target (TD, organizer, arbiter, USCF, etc.).

This position, too, appeared with distressing frequency on past threads, whenever the topic of cheating, collaboration and thrown games came up.

I noticed that the people making that argument never seemed to be lawyers. One claimed to be a lawyer, but then made some comments about libel that made it crystal-clear he had no clue about the basics of U.S. libel law; and when pressed he admitted he hadn't studied law in the U.S., but in another country whose legal traditions he claimed (wrongly, in this context) were similar to the U.S. (This was the clown who said a player could sue for libel based on the TD giving him a certain pairing.)

Anyway it's nice to see that no one (so far) has taken any such position here.

If someone does, perhaps Mr. Ashland can help set them straight.
Posted by: flyonthewall at July 11, 2006 10:28

Now I know why some choose to post anonymously.

My sense of irony is excellent after all I've read - perhaps you missed my use of the word "jokingly" in my initial post. Just because it's "ironic" that they live in the same state (Mr Finegold and the alleged cheater) doesn't mean that it's not also a cheap shot taken for not much of a reason to the casual observer. I don't know Mr Finegold, but I do know that dragging a Michigan player's name in is not a way to get people to discuss the supposed topic of Hanoi.

And, obviously I was not flaunting any education I've accumulated when I posted the first time - would you rather I said former USCF NM current floor Expert non-FIDE rated player just because this is merely a "chess blog" (which does btw happen to be currently discussing getting into college - a non chess topic)?

Law school is harder than doing things like playing games; should I be embarassed or ashamed that I did that hard work in addition to my chess studies?

Perhaps my substantive points should be countered or at least addressed instead of how it's too bad that a chessplayer actually did something worthwhile with his time beyond 6-hour chess games that go on for so long that cheating is possible.
Posted by: Mark Ashland, Esq., CPA at July 11, 2006 12:53

Take care, Mark Ashland. Your exquisitely pompous tone is sure to attract much more abuse than the rather mild rebuke you got from Mig, and the throwaway line you got from me.
Posted by: flyonthewall at July 11, 2006 12:59

Show a little more respect, people, this is Mark Ashland ESQUIRE to whom you are referring.
Posted by: John Coleman at July 11, 2006 13:43

At the World Open, Robert Feldstein played in the Open section. He was listed twice (re-entered?, two schedules??) ....once as Robert Feldstein, Esq. and once as Robert Feldstein #2 !!

Anonymous RJF (Random Jettison Function)
Posted by: Ben Finegold at July 11, 2006 13:52

Curly Howard's title was "Baron of Brains."
Posted by: greg koster at July 11, 2006 15:47

I would tend to agree with Ashland, re: shouldn't mentioning Finegold in the same breath as cheating. Those that know what really happened understand Ben is not involved, (and it isn't humorous either). Those that just dropped in may think Finegold of Michigan is one of the perps.
Posted by: pundit at July 11, 2006 19:28

Thats right, no joking Mig! Don't you know that humor can lead to fun? People having a good time? That's a slippery slope, and should be taken seriously!

Posted by: Quely at July 12, 2006 02:52

Ben Finegold,

Correction... Gulamali won more being 1st in under-2300 (losing the last game) than he would have scoring joint 1st (winning the last game). It would have been a 10-way tie for 1st which means that $6000 that each player would dwindle. On the other hand Gulamali got $6450 after his loss.
Posted by: Daaim Shabazz at July 12, 2006 08:09

Daaim, Gulamali would have gotten whichever prize was larger. Winning would not have hurt him. Even if he went 7-2, he might have ended up just getting the 1st U2300 prize if that was biggest.
Posted by: John Fernandez at July 12, 2006 10:21


You've affirmed my point. My point was merely to say that Gulamali colluding with Moissenko would not have benefited him. Ben alluded that both could have gained from Moissenko agreeing to lose.
Posted by: Daaim Shabazz at July 12, 2006 14:05

I wonder why you guys (Ben and Daaim) take such a great care to spell Gulamali correctly, but keep misspelling Moiseenko? Something is up...
Posted by: Michael Langer at July 12, 2006 15:23


There are many references to "Moissenko" and that is a spelling that is the spelling I have seen and have used. That being said, incorrect spellings are often repeated and that could be the case here.

On the other note, Kazim Gulamali is a personal friend of mine, so I know how to spell his name. Next time I'll ask Kazim how Moissenko or Moiseenko spelled his name on the scoresheet.
Posted by: Daaim Shabazz at July 12, 2006 17:13

I'm pretty sure it's Moiseenko, having seen the name in Cyrillic.

Presumably Moiseenko collected a little somthing too for winning. So atually maybe the pair of them were better off as it was - hey, I know, maybe.....
Posted by: rdh at July 12, 2006 18:37

Your assumption that you are the only attorney here is rather amusing. Just because there are some of us that went to parties and made friends when not at the chess board does excuse your arrogance. Good job on going to school. A lot of us did. Your denigration of (over)devoted chess players can just as easily be applied to snotty academics. Both see things as important that others don't. Chill out. This is heart-felt advice from a fellow JD (oh yeah, I also have an MBA, LMT, CTM, BA, Eagle Scout, World's #1 Dad, and high school graduate).

All else aside, thanks for being able to take an obvious joke.
Posted by: stendec at July 13, 2006 11:03

well OK

I have to admire World's #1 Dad.

However, I have to ask who awarded you the prize. My kids claim I am #1.

Posted by: Frank H at July 13, 2006 12:03

Frank, well your kids should claim you are #1, if they are rational. They can't change you, and if they said #2 they'd get poorer living conditions.
Posted by: gg at July 13, 2006 12:13

It's strange that Mark Ashland appends "Esq. CPA" to all his Daily Dirt posts. But it's even stranger that he appends his USCF rating to all his business correspondence.
Posted by: graydon at July 14, 2006 10:48

The "graydon" post is mine. I don't know who or what a "graydon" is. I must have hit a wrong button.
Posted by: greg koster at July 14, 2006 10:55

Nope, probably not your fault Greg. I had a post end up under someone else's name at one point. I think it occurs when posts hit the board simultaneously. A small bug. Graydon is probably wondering what happened to his/her post, and why someone else is posting under his/her name.
Posted by: Ken at July 14, 2006 22:20

Thanks, Ken,

But it is my fault. Whenever I type the first letter of my name under "Post a comment" I get a number of choices including my own name, "George Bernard Shaw", "greydon" and several others... I wasn't paying attention and picked the wrong one.
Posted by: greg koster at July 15, 2006 00:55

graydon might be a former USCF President after the vampires have removed his chessticles.
Posted by: Jonathan Berry at July 18, 2006 01:46


I have known Kazim Gulamali for about 10 years. He is a fine college student and to my knowledge is not corrupted by the monetary system. Unless someone has hard concrete evidence, the people on this board are just making things up and engaging in worthless speculation. I suggest you take your speculation to the weekly world news. We can make up just about anything about anybody. You can speculate that Booby Fisher was giving telgraphic hints to some of the players.-just nonsense

More proof (as if more was needed!) that guys with "MBAA (sic), JD, LLM" after their name, can't read.

No post on this thread (or on any Dirt thread that I know of) accused Gulamali of cheating or deal-making.

Or was the preceding post by "Nick Paleveda MBAA etc." just meant as a parody, inspired by the earlier back-and-forth over Mark Ashland's non-sequitur inclusion of his various professional degrees in the handles he signed to his posts?

Mr. Jacobs, if you read the above threads, it suggest that Mr. Gulamali was possibly involved in an incident. There is no evidence produced other than ratings which only chessplayers worship. Professional degrees indicate that a person may be accomplished outside of this enviornment,something you should consider rather then engage in floccinaucinihilipification.

Mr. Paleveda,

People who know nothing of chess probably shouldn't post on chess blogs. And people who can't read, DEFINITELY should not represent themselves has holding professional degrees.

Mr. Jacobs FYI pardon my ignorance of Chess. I was only a former USCF Master and Florida State Champion 3X. I guess only people like you should be allowed to speak who being a sentance with and...In any event, you assume too much as others have on this blog which is the point of this discussion. People assume that a lower rated player may have cheated. You assume I am a patzer and know nothing of chess. You assumptions are incorrect and the 1st amendment is still alive. (I hope you aren't the Jon Jacobs that played for Harvard in the 70s).

Letters are being left out please correct: you should be Your and being is begins.....hmmmm.
I guess this could be disturbing.

No one but you, Mr. Paleveda, is assuming a lower-rated player cheated. You are the only person on this thread to intimate that Gulamali might be suspected. So it is you who are making unfounded assumptions here -- not I.

It was that, rather than any supposition about your playing strength, that prompted me to label you as knowing nothing about chess.

That, together with the fact that you can't read well enough to distinguish a hypothetical discussion (as above re Gulamali vs Moissenko) from an accusation. Don't lawyers deal in hypotheticals? Since you don't know one when you see one, Dirt readers are left to conclude that your law degrees must be of the mail-order variety.

With friends like you, I sure hope Gulamali doesn't have any enemies.

Mr. Jacobs please read the following printed above: On another topic (sort of) there are opportunities to cheat which are often passed up by top players. A typical example is when a 2500+type cannot win a prize is paired with under 2400 in the last round.....In the 2006 World open one can note Mosineko and ....2270 Gulamali.
Mr. Jacobs I agree this is just hypothetical...
I am glad your reading skills are far superior to mine and others. Another statement by Mr. Jacobs..."Dirt readers are left to conclude that your law degrees must be of the mail order variety." I agree, dirt readers would assume Oxford, Harvard, University of Miami, South Florida and Denver are mail order schools. The final statement made, "With friends like you, I sure hop Gulamali doesn't have any enimies" I thought was extremely creative-never heard that line before.

The gist of that post was surely that it was clear there had been NO collusion, since Moiseenko won the game diminishing the total financial take of the two players. The poster was holding the game up as an example of honesty rather than the reverse.

You really an Oxford man?? Poor form boasting about it, don't you know?

Dear RDH. Yes I studied at St. Edmunds at Oxford.
No brag-just fact. Mr. Jacobs implied that I recieved my education from mail order schools and believed I am pecksniffian. If the thread was "holding the game upu as an example of honesty" it certainly does not appear that way. Hope this is helpful.

This is pretty funny.

Nick Paleveda has a lot of google hits. Although he is a really careless speller, seems like he has superior academic qualifications to Jon Jacobs. And is a real lawyer.

On the other hand, Jon Jacobs has a 100 or so points in chess rating on Nick Paleveda.

How can we decide which of them is truly the superior human being?

I like to wear a discrete, tasteful nameplate listing my colleges, graduate schools, and degrees earned so people will be reminded to pay proper respect.

I'd list my degrees on my Daily Dirt postings but there's not enough room.

I also append my chess rating to all business correspondence, just for the heck of it.


In what universe does being a lawyer give you points in the "superior human being" competition?

What is interesting is the argument revolves around the people who are making the argument not the argument itself. There is no jactation about my credentials and the argument should not revolve around this issue.
hope this is helpful.

I would love to go to court someday and say, your honor, my arguments are superior because my chess rating is 100 points higher than counsel for the defendant.
What about AV ratings do they mean anything?
Hope this is helpful.

1. There is no jactation about my credentials and the argument should not revolve around this issue.

2. jactation - (pathology) extremely restless tossing and twitching usually by a person with a severe illness

3. There is no extremely restless tossing and twitching about my credentials and the argument should not revolve around this issue.

At least Nigel Short uses weird words correctly, but then he has a very big Elo.

Jactation has two totally distinct meanings. It is bragging, boasting like braggadocio. Jacatation comes from the latin jactatio (boasting ostentation). But jactate and its latin sources all wear another hat. In pathology, jactation is nervous restless tossing about.
Hope this is helpful for you and Mr. Short.

Is boasting not jactitation rather than jactation, or is this just the term we English lawyers use?


Thanks for asking, to complicate matters there is a confusing simular term jactitation which is a legal term for a false boast or claim.
Hope this is helpful.

Jactate all you want if you are silly enough to brag;but stop short of jactitating or you may land in court. These are good GRE GMAT and LSAT words.

Anyway, Nick, what did you actually do at Oxford and Harvard? Clearly not a university degree. Was it like a one week training course? Or a voluntary one day visit to the library and a nice lunch on or near the campus?

This bears on the topic of jactitation.


Mentions of the gentleman's graduate degrees and academic institutions attended arose naturally in the course of conversation. But consider the discomfort you may be inflicting by practically begging the reticent Mr. Nick MBA J.D. LL.M to jactate about his academic achievements.

With all the attention given to "jactation" and its slightly lengthier cousin, I'm surprised no one has taken note of the gentleman's use of two other terms: "floccinaucinihilipification" at 18:44 and "pecksniffian" at 12:54.

Or am I simply revealing my hypoOxfordation by suggesting there is something obscure about those particular words?

You-can't-start-a-sentence-with-a-conjunction is a silly non-rule with no evident purpose aside from allowing schoolmarms to (ignorantly) chasten their students. Our best writers routinely start sentences with conjunctions.

But "Pecksniffian" is an outstanding word, referencing the phony-baloney, pseudo-pious, hypocritical villain from Martin Chuzzlewit.

LOL "When I chose a word it means just what I chose it to mean-neither more nor less"

Floccinaucinihilipification is a misspelling actually, the real word is floccinaucinihilipiLIfication (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floccinaucinihilipilification)

You are correct I left out LI-my spell checker did not catch it.

It is one of the best sesquipedalians in the english language.

Stop that, it's silly

Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern-schplenden-schlitter- crasscrenbon-fried-digger- dingle-dangle-
dongle-dungle-burstein-von- knacker-thrasher- apple-banger-horowitz-
ticolensic-grander-knotty- spelltinkle-grandlich-grumblemeyer-
spelterwasser-kurstlich- himbleeisen-bahnwagen- gutenabend-bitte-ein-
nurnburger-bratwustle- gernspurten-mitz-weimache- luber-hundsfut-
gumberaber-shonedanker- kalbsfleisch-mittler-aucher von Hautkopft of Ulm.

Silly you say-"the question is you can make whether you can make words mean so many differnt things"-quotes from an Oxford educated chess player in the late 1800s...who is.....

Scrivener error: "the question is whether you can make words mean so many differnt things..."

This is hilarious. Nick, I hope you scribe much more. I have learnt three new words on this thread, whereas usually my blood pressure goes up three notches on reading Daily Dirt.

We often use negative words,quite common ones without stopping to think they are based on positive words that are uncommon and unfamiliar. With that in mind, I enjoy the feckful debates that take place on ceratin message boards. The people on these boards have a lot of feck.


Ceratin - a fibrous scleroprotein that occurs in the outer layer of the skin and in horny tissues such as hair feathers nails and hooves

You are smart, but you need to work on your spelling, Nick.

Thanks, I am seriously cacographic-which is why I need spellcheckers.

Jon Jacobs wrote a great article on cheating at the World Open in Chess Life last month-an emerging problem.

Maybe Jon Jacobs will write an article on the problem of academic cheating, such as claiming to have attended Oxford and/or Harvard, when one merely ate lunch there, once.

On this basis, I have been to prison several times.

Are all people on this board so negative. Do you need to see my transcripts? Do you need to talk to one of my classmates? (who happen to be Terry Bowden who was a law student at the time also attending Oxford-now he is a sports announcer). Oxford FYI is broken down to several colleges, we were at St. Edmunds in 1982 studying comparative law, contracts and torts, property law etc. as our legal system is based upon British common law. Hope this is helpful-and we had lunch also!

There is no reason to do that unless you are in deep trouble.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on July 10, 2006 7:25 AM.

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