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Mamedyarov Leaves Aeroflot with Cheating Accusation

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Strange news came in from Moscow during Linares coverage today. The hot buzz had it, and it turns out to be the case, that top Aeroflot Open seed Shakhriyar Mamedyarov accused his Russian opponent Igor Kurnosov of computer-assisted cheating and dropped out of the event after resigning their round six game in 21 moves today. ChessVibes has the letter Mamedyarov wrote to the tournament organizer. His statement:

During the game my opponent went out of the playing hall after each move, took his coat and withdrew himself on the toilet. After suspicion of unfair play on move 14 I offered a draw, he refused. We quickly played 11 moves, on the 12th move I played a move which confused my opponent. The next moves from him were given as first choice by Rybka, which quickly allowed him to win the game.

Due to this series of suspicions, having to do with the unusual behaviour of my opponent, Igor Kurnosov, I hereby lodge a protest and refuse to continue participation in the tournament.

The game as given at ChessVibes: 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. f3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nb6 6. Nc3 Bg7 7. Be3 O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. O-O-O f5 10. h4 fxe4 11. h5 gxh5 12. d5 Ne5 13. Bh6 Nec4 14. Qg5 Rf7 15. Bxc4 Nxc4 16. Rd4 Qd6 17. Bxg7 Rxg7 18. Qxh5 Qf4+ 19. Kb1 Bf5 20. fxe4 Bg4 21. Nge2 Qd2 0-1

I'm not really clear on what he means. I assume he is not going chronologically and that the 11 moves refer to the opening, after which the coming and going began. Peter Doggers' description above the letter, apparently gleaned from Mamedyarov and not an independent observation, says that was the case. Obviously someone leaving the hall after every move would be horrible, especially in a crazy sharp position. (I once resigned a game in protest when my opponent did this, though he was doing it on his move. On several occasions he thought for a bit, wrote down a move, left the hall for 10 minutes, came back, wrote down a different (much better) move, and played it. That went 21 moves too, coincidentally. But we weren't professionals and I didn't make a public statement about it or him. I just found his behavior obnoxious no matter what he was doing.) It sounds like Kurnosov was leaving after making his moves, which isn't terribly unusual for nervous players even at the top level.

No word if they are going to rip up the bathroom ceiling. Chief arbiter Geurt Gijssen said it wasn't a convincing claim. He also searched Kurnosov's jacket ("a pack of cigarettes, a lighter and a pen"). I dunno. I think you need much more than this to go after a 2600 GM for making five good moves out of theory. Protesting his inappropriate behavior is one thing. But it's very hard to imagine a strong young GM risking his career in round six of a prestigious open with such chicanery. Such accusations are very dangerous for the game, of course, not just the Aeroflot event. It's not for nothing that 75% of respondents here to the recent ACP poll thought that anti-cheating controls should be obligatory and tough. The threat of cheating is stronger than the execution.

This "all my opponent's moves were computer choices" stuff is incredibly annoying. You can find countless top-level games in which this is the case. Computers and GMs are strong. Lines are often forcing. There were even some comments about Kamsky-Topalov game two and how most of Topalov's moves were supposedly "first choice" computer lines. Look at the frigging game! There were only around four positions for Black in that entire game in which my computer evaluated two or more moves similarly; i.e. positions without a clear best move we would expect a strong player to find. (And the remaining few were all found by the computer-unaided Nick de Firmian during the game.) Yes, I know Topalov's manager Danailov started this disgusting trend with his open letter about Kramnik's "Fritz matching moves" in the 2006 Elista WCh match. But that doesn't mean it needs to continue. Unless proven otherwise, the only use for such statistics is "wow, he must have played really precisely." [A bit of analysis in the comments.]

We need both strong anti-cheating measures and penalties for unfounded accusations or this sort of thing could easily get out of hand. It's bad enough to yell at your anonymous online blitz opponent for supposed cheating in the privacy of your own home after an ugly loss. But if GMs make a habit of it -- and to my knowledge Mamedyarov is a pleasant lad without a history of complaints -- it could destroy reputations and create a poisonous atmosphere for years.

+ Tossed that up to avoid the thread hijacks in the Linares comments, but a few other things occur to me a few moments later. One, didn't FIDE and the Ethics Committee make some proclamations about accusations after Topalov accused Kramnik of cheating in the Spanish press after their match? There was only a probation there, but anything actually in the rules for future cases? Two, the publishing of Mamedyarov's letter to the organizer seems increasingly dubious to me. I'm sure it was with his permission, perhaps even at his request, but that wasn't its original purpose and it could land him in hot water beyond the current instant global debate. I know it's hard to resist a hot story, but I doubt he'd had time to cool down and think about the potential consequences of making it public.

++ Lots more in the comments, including someone who says Kurnosov never went to the bathroom at all, but was out on the staircase smoking. I also looked at all the moves with my own copy of Rybka and didn't find anything relevant, especially since both players' moves agreed equally... I really want to get back to Linares before someone says the word "bathroom" again. Really.


The onus is on Mamedyarov to give proof, since his case is flimsy. FIDE should consider sanctions for unjustified accusations too; he is undermining his opponent and sabotaging his reputation. That line he played is high risk and either side can get flattened after any inaccuracy, which looks like the case here. Your take is pretty accurate, Mig.(But the question remains, what BRAND of cigarettes?)
I had a game once where one of my moves matched Fritz's first choice, and I didn't even cheat (very much).

This is becoming more and more complicated , there are many shades of black here.
But at least is easy to find if Kurnosov was cheating or not.
1)A group of GM writes a letter suporting Kurnosov.
2)Chessbase publishes an interview of Kurnosov´s mother saying that her son could not cheat because he is a good son.
3)A GM refuses to shake Mamedyarov´s hand before a game .
THEN : Kurnosov is clearly inocent and Mamedyarov deserves to be suspected of cheating in return and forced to wear ugly ties for the rest of his life.
IF NOT : Shakhriyar was right .

Imagine Kursunov's performance in this tournament from now on: If he continues his hot streak ..., maybe he is actually cheating. If he starts to lose or loses the first place ... umm, he was cheating and now he need to hide his evidence. Regardless the case, his reputation and the attitude of some players towards him would be affected and his play would be affected by the circumstances even if he wasn't doing anything illegal.

This is definitely a bad timing from Mamedyarov's accusation part; if he was right, he should have waited and get some evidence ... but to throw such accusation just like that? Even in the case the russian was cheating, to withdraw from the tournament (and the opportunity to play Dortmund) is childish.

One of the aspects people has criticized with respect to Mamedyarov in the last years is that he underperforms in the elite tournaments and he is not willing to fight and defend bad positions and it is prone to collapse or simply resigning, like his known game against Carlsen in Corus last year (for a example of the contrary, see Dominguez today who fight and pose serious problems to Aronian until the very end, even if that was a position were apparently "he should have resigning much earlier"). What is the message he sends to people by quitting of a tournament just because he lost a game and was upset (for whatever reason)??

So, at the end, this impulsive and inmature act from Shakhriyar is going to harm both players involved. And surely, tournament organizers would not be pleased for that. So, I guess Shak's return to the elite (in rating and invitations to supertournaments) has to wait another year ... or even more. What a shame :(

Did anyone ask Kurnosov why he was going to the bathroom after every move?

The pack of cigarettes makes me think that he was smoking just a few puffs each visit. I gave up smoking 18 years ago, but it was very difficult. Some people can't do it. And, there is no smoking at tournaments. He might have needed a 'fix'. especially if he feeling stressed about this particular game.

But, if he didn't explain his unusual behaviour, then perhaps he was cheating, as you thought your opponent was, Mig. No, you didn't complain publically before, but you surely have repeated this story to others before posting it here. Did you ask your opponent about his strange behavior?

I believe that if Geurt Gijssen didn't ask Kurnosov about his frequent trips to the rest room, then he can't say that Mamedyarov's didn't have a convincing claim.

I know a quite strong player who becomes semi-incontinent during difficult games (and, of course, must remain nameless). 20 visits to the urinal per game are not unusual...
And as far as the smoking (as Mig would say): The more complicated the position, the more you want to smoke. It's that easy.

I understand that Mamedyarov was disconcerted. But I feel he simply got clobbered and is now seeking explanations beyond the board.

Okay Mig, I've got two thoughts here. One about your piece, and one about the game.

First, if it was dubious to publish the letter in the first place like www.chessvibes.com did, why did you reproduce it on your blog??? Seems like that criticism in the second part of the last paragraph might be a little self directed, or at least should be in this instance.

And second, insofar as the accusation itself: Poor form to go public with the accusation. It is one thing to think it and complain privately, it is another thing to whine to the entire world. Poor sportsmanship, and besides the game barely got out of theory (evidently 5 moves out of theory). Not enough of a justification for me. I hope Mamedyarov apologizes for such conduct.

Kurnosov was NOT visiting a restroom/bathroom, not even ONCE. He was leaving the playing hall and standing on the marble stairs of the foyer, where smoking is permitted (unlike the playing hall, where it's prohibited). He was in full view of everyone who might have been interested while standing there. Here is a photo of him standing on the said staircase with GM Rauf Mamedov:
(photo by Sergey Sorokhtin)

Look at #65 in the standings:
65 GM Van Wely, Loek 2.0 NED 2625 2293 -2.13

Strange to see the Zhigalko brothers (of Bulgaria) both at 2750+ performances.

Zhigalko brothers are from Belarus, not Bulgaria.

Why bother with all this ? why not just make the rules such that cheating is minimized (like no bathroom breaks every move / checks for wireless devices etc)

Convincing claim of what? Other than, perhaps, poor behavior, there's no evidence of anything at all. The theoretical possibility of cheating is not evidence of cheating. (See: cables in ceilings, trips to bathroom, etc.) It IS why eliminating that theoretical possibility is essential, however. Until that happens, circumstantial evidence cases are basically slander against a player and against the game.

What explanation would be sufficient here? You can't have presumption of guilt. He was smoking, he was pacing, he was doing whatever the rules allow him to do to the knowledge of anyone on Earth as far as we know. We don't know. The bottom line is that unless we want accusations against every player who 1) likes to walk around or take a few puffs between moves and 2) plays a good game, we have to go with the rules and he didn't break any according to the arbiter.

In my case, I knew well that I had no evidence of anything other than a bad case of manners. He couldn't have acted more like he was cheating had he been doing it on purpose. But I checked with the arbiter about whether or not his actions were acceptable (not having played a US tournament in over a decade, before the computer era) and was told there was nothing they could do, so I went back and after he did it again, resigned. (After playing a spite check queen toss, I admit.) Something like this happening between two amateurs is not comparable at all to the dangers for the sport if professionals go public with these things.

Look at it in any serious sport -- there would be draconian consequences. Some guys playing baseball in the park or in an amateur league don't have much of an impact if one accuses another of using steroids. (For evidence: improved performance.) In the pro game, it's Congressional hearings!

Once it's out there, it's not as if my linking to it from my blog is going to add or subtract anything. It's very much a cat out of the bag situation. Either it's a private complaint and protest to the organizer or it's a public one. I'm not talking about it as if it were a distasteful piece of celebrity gossip, the way CNN will cover something slimy by talking about who's talking about it. It's a worthwhile subject now that it's out, no doubt.

And again, I assume Peter published it at Mamedyarov's request. It was just a bad idea on many levels and could have used a 24-hour cooling period. Now Mamedyarov is in a tough situation, either having to apologize or to continue what will almost inevitably turn into a series of open statements in the chess press that will solve nothing. I wonder if the dreaded FIDE Ethics Committee will get involved.

Many of the "rybka-matching" moves were pretty obvious to find, at least to consider. From move 12 to 21, all moves except 16...Qd6 and 21...Qd2 are the FIRST moves I would consider.

And as a last bit on the "computer moves" silliness before we, or least I, can get back to Linares! I looked at the six moves after theory with Rybka on my machine. For BOTH colors. (Of course these will change a bit machine to machine and over time, but I let it settle for a while.)

16..Qd6 - 16..Nxb2 is 0.22 stronger
17.Bxg7 - 1st choice by 0.25
17..Rxg7 - 1st choice by 1.75
18.Qxh5 - 1st choice by 1.01
18..Qf4 - 1st choice by 0.72
19.Kb1 - 19.Kc2 is 0.32 stronger
19..Bf5 - 1st choice by 0.82
20.fxe4 - 1st choice by 0.19
20..Bg4 - 1st choice by 0.99
21.Nge2 - 21.Qh6 is 0.39 stronger
21..Qd2 - 1st choice by 1.68

To summarize, Black's moves agreed with Rybka's first choice the same number of times as White's, not including the 'extra' final move that is clearly much stronger than any alternative. (It threatens mate in one and wins the exchange.) It's also worth noting that most of Black's moves are significantly stronger than the next best alternative according to Rybka. That is, it's hard to complain too much unless you want the 2600 GM to play badly, or unless you consider any of his moves bizarre and unlikely to be found/played by a human -- not the case according to several GMs, including Larry Christiansen, who scanned it briefly and thought Black just played very clever defense.

The move 16..Qd6 many seem impressed by isn't even the machine's top choice. Rybka thinks White is already down 1.14 after 16.Rd4, which isn't even an original move according to the ChessVibes page. That drops a bit more after 19.Kb1 instead of 19.Kc2.

Anyway, it's clear that it was Black's behavior, not his moves (other than that they were good), that perturbed Mamedyarov. (And how did he know where Kurnosov was going?) If we're to believe Rybka, as Mamedyarov does, White's position was already inferior. He went from -1.14 to -2.29 in the moves after they left previous play. Unless he's accusing the previous player of this line with black of computer play as well, of course!

The letter misses to say what exactly he claims, and what it is that he protests. Does he propose punishing Kurnosov for suspicious and unusual behaviour without proof?

"During the game my opponent went out of the playing hall after each move, took his coat and withdrew himself on the toilet."

It would be interesting if this is just a suspicion on Mamedyarov's part, or if an arbiter actually followed Kurnosov to the toilet after every move, and watched him entering the cabin with his coat. If true, Kurnosov would at least have known his behavior is suspicious. It could nevertheless have been a conscious attempt to throw Mamedyarov off balance.

Based on the rest of the letter, I would suspect Mamedyarov just speaks his mind, without caring too much about objective evidence. But without further information on the cicumstances, that's just a not very well founded suspicion on my part.

So, yes, I can see what upsets him, and one thing leading to another, why he protested. Predictably he was told he would need better evidence.

P.S. Crazy beautiful line they were playing.

So let's get this straight:

If a 2600+ player manages to avoid huge blunders for 5 consecutive moves in a tactical position, then he must be cheating.

And what's that about toilets? Mamedyarov's countryman Rauf Mamedov was there having a smoke with Kournosov.

I think this is a story of Mamedyarov losing his nerves when his career has been going downhill for quite some time now.

He should be banned for a year and fined 50 elo points.

about one or two years ago, mamedyarov (account azerichess) left ICC with a message in his finger notes saying "there's way too much cheaters here" or something like that. some time later, he sudden reappered, with the same account, simply cleaning his finger notes as nothing had happened. so he has some precedent...
about going out, myself, a 2100 fide player, lets put it this way, have some urinal incontinence during games... in a tournament game day, I go at least 3 times more to the bathroom than any other day (including number 1 and number 2...)
I guess I already got way more scatologic than I should...

Oh boy, I sense another 200+ comments coming.

Shak better have some pretty compelling off-the-board evidence, IMHO. It's one thing if a player matches up with Rybka for 100 moves, and another if he matches up for 5 moves.

Interesting. When I first read of Mamedyarov's comments I was inclined to say that perhaps there was something there. However no one has commented on his play as white. A caveman attack that caused force moves...or perhaps better put; moves that did not have much choice. When ones opponent has to make tactical choices as opposed to strategic choices with subtle tactics; it is certainly much easier to make a choice imho.

Like Mig showed, Kournosov's 5 Rybka 1st choices, were 1st choice by a 0.72-1.75 margin. So quite likely all other moves would have been bad blunders. It's only 5 moves. And there is photographic and eye witness evidence that Kournosov went for a smoke, not to sit on a toilet. He had his smokes and his lighter in the pocket of his jacket, so that's why he took his jacket with him. Couple of puffs and back to the table, many players who smoke do this from club level to the top.

There is absolutely nothing here for Mamedyarov to accuse his opponent of cheating.

The speculation should really stop here, because the more it goes on, the more it will affect Kournosov's reputation. And that is wrong.

The only thing left here should be to punish Mamedyarov. And punish him firmly. What he did was disgraceful and pathetic.

The solution to these problems is a monitored smoking area.

Back in the '80s I was a smoker, and non-smoking tournaments were becoming the norm in the US. At every tournament, during the rounds, little groups of smokers could be found everywhere - in the restaurant, at the bar, outside a side door, and on the balcony, and more.

Some even would make a chess move, run out to puff, watching through a window. When the opponent moved, balanced the cig on a ledge, run in and move, and then back outside to continue the same smoke.

The smokers feels compelled to smoke, so the thing to do is accommodate them within the rules, with a monitored players-only smoking area.

And this tourney isn't in Los Angeles, it's in frigging Moscow. If you have to go outside to smoke in February you'd damn well better bring your jacket.

Personally I'm for letting the smokers freeze or suffer withdrawals during their games. Nasty habit, shouldn't incur special conditions. But unsupervised wanderings outside of the supervised playing area should be a thing of the past in this day and age. Sad but true.

Mamedyarov was clearly rattled that a 2602 player could refuse a draw from a 2724 player after 14 moves! He clearly felt uncomfortable after that and probably could sense that more was in store.

On a lighter note, did they check the cigarettes and the lighter for Rybkantine?

In the same way that players are now required to be at the board at start time, tournament organizers can pass a rule that during play, the player must be in the tournament hall, the smoking area, or the toilet area, or else the player is considered cheating.

The players must be monitored for 7+ hours per day, to avoid computer cheating. This seems draconian, but how else to avoid these (false or not) accusations of computer cheating?

Sorry for the extra comment.

As for evidence

-- Kurnosov has an evil look on his face in the Mamedov - Kurnosov smoke pic. He seems to be reading evaluation lines on the stitches of his jacket.
-- Look at his hand hiding beneath the jacket ;)

I know most players would like to believe that we could be protected from computer cheating by our sense of honor. It would be dishonorable to cheat at chess in this way.

Okay when you stop laughing, that honor alone can prevent computer cheating, what remains to be done except impose various levels of personal monitoring. And even at the highest levels of personal monitoring, like watching people urinate in drug tests, there are still some who try to cheat. It seems even extreme levels on personal monitoring are not enough to stop the most determined cheats.

So we are back to honor. As I sit there looking at my opponent across the board, come what may, I must not let myself think he is the type who cheats, the scoundrel, the bad apple. Rather, he is like me, like the 90% or more of us, who as a matter of honor, would never computer cheat in chess.

One of many reasons why the rapid chess is better at the professional level. In the rapids, there is no time for smoking. (Even I do not smoke when playing the rapid chess).

All in all, Mamedyarov is a young guy, battling for first as the top seed in a very tough tournament, facing a lower-rated player with white. The guy is playing very well, White's position is failing, and his opponent is being a little disruptive with going in and out with the picking up and putting down of the jacket, etc. Not exactly what Mamedyarov has been used to in category 17+ events for the past few years as a member of the top 10. Frustration turns to annoyance and paranoia, which makes his play worse, game over in a wild position. Before he can settle down, he has dropped out of the tournament and zipped off this letter to the organizer. A sympathetic journalist friend asking him about the situation puts up his side of the story. Not a happy ending.

Barring the appearance of video footage showing Kurnosov peeking at a laptop on the stairway, I hope Mamedyarov is big enough to swallow his pride and frustration and apologize, even if he thought his opponent was being obnoxious. Maybe Kurnosov could even start the ball rolling. Anyway, hard not to expect a rapid follow-up from a player.

[Event "Aeroflot Open"]
[Site "Moscow RUS"]
[Date "2009.02.18"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Onischuk,Al"]
[Black "Kurnosov,I"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2659"]
[BlackElo "2602"]
[EventDate "2009.02.17"]
[ECO "D85"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. e4 Nxc3 7. bxc3 c5
8. Rb1 O-O 9. Be2 b6 10. O-O Bb7 11. d5 Bxc3 12. Bc4 Bg7 13. Bb2 Ba6 14.
Qe2 Qc8 15. Bxg7 Kxg7 16. e5 e6 17. Rbd1 exd5 18. Rxd5 Bxc4 19. Qxc4 Nc6
20. Rd6 Rd8 21. Rfd1 Qf5 22. Qa4 Nxe5 23. Rxd8 Nxf3+ 24. Kh1 Rxd8 25. Rxd8
Nd4 26. h3 Qb1+ 27. Kh2 b5 0-1

So, given the Russians and their great love of smoking, shouldn't Mamedyarov have been able to recognize just by stench (because he's probably played lots of other opponents addicted to smoking) that Kurnosov was going out for a smoke after every move?

Perhaps the reason Mamedyarov was suspicious was because Kurnosov kept leaving but maybe he didn't return smelling like smoke or having that foul smoker's breath that can easily detected across the board.

(Note to self for my next attempt to become world champ: build chess computer embedded in a cigarette lighter. Also, pick up disgusting habit as a cover.)

I am couple of posts from the other thread...

Undetectable cheating? Technology is improving. You'll never know.

The world chess federation should mandate tournament organizers to take some measures so as to bring in confidence in players who can play without the fear of getting cheated.

Following should be addressed.
1. relay (delay)
2. check frequent trips away from board
3. extended absense from board
4. talking with fellow players
5. scan players??

Once you take concrete steps towards this, then you can act against players who accuse wrongly or accuse without evidence. Without that if you punish the accusers, that is not good. It will be like rewarding cheaters and the cheaters will enjoy this type of creating doubts and escaping!

Are all the actions of the accused is video taped? If organizers had done that, they would have silently verified if anything was wrong and Mamed would have probably continued with the tournament. I don't know.

Player's job is to sit and play. Not thinking about who is cheating or going around with a camera to catch a cheater to come up with the proof. Frequent trips away is good enough to suspect possible foul play I think.

Ken, yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if cheating enters into world championship if an experiment at a high level tournament go undetected.

Not everybody is accusing everybody else just for the sake of accusing.

The need of the hour.. Better cheating preventive measures to stop accusations if not to prevent cheating completely.

To clarify a bit: I'm not a "journalist friend of Mamedyarov" and didn't have the intention to write down "Mamedyarov's side of the story". My sources were Gijssen and a co-editor who plays in A2 and spoke with Mamedyarov after the game.

Shak himself felt too miserable to talk on the phone but preferred to see the protest letter to be published, and sent it by email (in Russian, by the way, translated by Arne Moll - the translation you see at other sites is his) adding "I hope see this protest in All website because I think this not good for chess". Since he sent it to several websites, it would have made no sense to protect him by not posting it (though I did consider doing just that).

Let's hope he simply does not get invitations for a year or two...until he grows up.

I think he'll probably get more invitations as his "name recognition" will have gone up :)
but I think he should have protested and played on/resigned. It is only fair to have given Kurnosov the right of reply. As matters stand there will be a cloud of suspicion over him and as someone pointed out whatever he does now will be held against him.

I seriously doubt this. If it is true, and it seems so, that he has been standing there smoking with Shak's countryman and teammate, then no one is going to suspect Kurnosov. In the meantime, Shak's ungentlemanly behaviour will not be forgotten soon I guess. Accussing a young rising 2600 GM of cheating because he did 5 good moves out of the opening.

very embarrassing.. for Mamedyarov.

It is upto Mamedyarov to play on or to drop out, since no promise or positive actions from organizers about monitoring the players. His concern is legitimate and his expectation is not unreasonable. Why would he risk his ratings any further?

Adding a Dutch perspective: At Corus 2008, smoking was for the first time prohibited anywhere inside the building; the organizers provided a 'smoking tent' just outside of the entrance (the Dutch weather in January may be milder than Moscow, but also can be unpleasant). Bacrot was the only smoker in the three top groups, whenever he went for a cigarette during the game he was accompanied by an arbiter or tournament official. Not that he would otherwise be cheating, but I think that this was in his own best interest (prophylaxis against possible or potential accusations by his opponents).

Apparently there are more smokers among Russian GM's, so "VIP treatment" for every single one of them would not be feasible. But the organizers could put someone who is permanently present in the smoking area (probably that one would have to be a heavy smoker himself). Yet we don't want similar stuff for toilet visits, that would really stink ,:)

And finally on a lighter side: In the present case there was clearly smoke involved, but smoke is no evidence for fire ,:)

I ran 3 other engines besides Rybka 3 and got similar results---identical from 2 of them. I have Rybka 2.2n2 (now free) and higher depths from rybka 3 and Deep Junior 10.1 UCI running now. I've run back to move 12 when the "behaviour" started.

Most important, I can corroborate what Mig writes above about most of Black's moves being clear-cut. The model I am building (with 150 single-spaced pages of C++ code thus far) takes /multi-PV/ data on each turn as input (at least 10 options, preferably 20) and spits out a *prediction* of how many matches, by a player of a certain strength. I will run it first-thing when my multi-PV runs finish, but I've seen enough data to be pretty sure my model will say that any 2700+ would expect to hit 8.5--9.0 matches to any strong engine on those 10 moves. Well, Kurusonov is 2602, and I haven't parsed that difference yet---but the point is, one really should expect a higher-than-the-usual-57% match rate on those moves!

I've posted my results at:


I'll take the liberty of posting the file contents here too, though the # of lines may trigger moderation.

My test file in full:

[Event "Aeroflot"]
[Site "Moscow"]
[Date "2009.02.22"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Mamedyarov"]
[Black "Kurusonov"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D70"]
[WhiteElo "2724"]
[BlackElo "2602"]
[Annotator ",Microsoft"]
[PlyCount "42"]
[EventDate "2009.02.23"]
[SourceDate "2009.02.23"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. f3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nb6 6. Nc3 Bg7 7. Be3 O-O 8. Qd2

9. O-O-O First move out of Deep Junior 10.1 UCI's book.


10. h4


11. h5


Tests with Rybka 3 to depth 13 (compares to other engines' depth 16),
Deep Junior 10.1 UCI to depth 18,
HIARCS 12.1 to depth 15,
Toga II 1.4 beta7 (privately made for KWR) to depth 18.

"Spreads" run by Rybka 3 to depth 13 (20-PV) and Toga II 1.4b7 to depth 18 (10-PV)

12. d5 "Surprised" Black, behaviour noted here, so treat as end of theory.

Engine Move Eval Spread of other options in 10- or 20-line mode

Rybka3d13: 12.Rxh5 +0.32
DJ10.1d18: MATCH +0.42
HI12.1d15: 12.Rxh5 +0.25
TogaIId18: 12.Rxh5 +0.20


Rybka3d13: IK-MATCH +0.06 12...Na5 0.13 worse, next 0.68 worse.
DJ10.1d18: 12...Nca5 +0.72
HI12.1d15: IK-MATCH -0.29
TogaIId18: IK-MATCH -0.27

13. Bh6

Rybka3d13: MATCH +0.06
DJ10.1d18: MATCH +0.49
HI12.1d15: MATCH -0.06
TogaIId18: MATCH -0.32


Rybka3d13: IK-MATCH 0.00 12...Nbc4 0.42 worse, 13...Bxh6 0.57 worse
DJ10.1d18: 13...Bxh6 +0.49
HI12.1d15: IK-MATCH -0.24
TogaIId18: IK-MATCH -0.42

14. Qg5

Rybka3d13: MATCH -0.13
DJ10.1d18: 14.Bxc4 +0.39
HI12.1d15: MATCH -0.25
TogaIId18: MATCH -0.43


Rybka3d13: IK-MATCH -0.13 Only-move
DJ10.1d18: IK-MATCH +0.58
HI12.1d15: IK-MATCH -0.25
TogaIId18: IK-MATCH -0.28

15. Bxc4

Rybka3d13: 15.Bxg7 -0.20
DJ10.1d18: 15.Bxg7 +0.36
HI12.1d15: 15.Bxg7 -0.29
TogaIId18: 15.Bxg7 -0.41


Rybka3d13: IK-MATCH -0.11 15...Qd6 0.42 worse, nothing else.
DJ10.1d18: 15...Qd6 +0.20
HI12.1d15: IK-MATCH -0.35
TogaIId18: IK-MATCH -0.49

16. Rd4 Actual end of theory

Rybka3d13: 16.Bxg7 -0.11
DJ10.1d18: 16.Bxg7 +0.29
HI12.1d15: 16.Bxg7 -0.56
TogaIId18: 16.Bxg7 -0.31


Rybka3d13: 16...Nxb2 -0.99 16...Qd6 0.10 worse, 16...Nd6 0.56 worse, then > 1.00
DJ10.1d18: IK-MATCH -0.21
HI12.1d15: 16...Nxb2 -1.14
TogaIId18: 16...Nxb2 -0.90

17. Bxg7

Rybka3d13: MATCH -0.72
DJ10.1d18: MATCH -0.53
HI12.1d15: MATCH -1.08
TogaIId18: MATCH -1.02


Rybka3d13: IK-MATCH -0.72 Only-move
DJ10.1d18: IK-MATCH -0.53
HI12.1d15: IK-MATCH -1.07
TogaIId18: IK-MATCH -0.89

18. Qxh5

Rybka3d13: MATCH -0.72
DJ10.1d18: MATCH -0.83
HI12.1d15: MATCH -1.03
TogaIId18: MATCH -0.98


Rybka3d13: IK-MATCH -0.97 Only-move
DJ10.1d18: IK-MATCH -0.65
HI12.1d15: IK-MATCH -1.10
TogaIId18: IK-MATCH -0.97

19. Kb1

Rybka3d13: 19.Kc2 -0.97
DJ10.1d18: MATCH -0.95
HI12.1d15: 19.Kc2 -1.10
TogaIId18: 19.Kc2 -0.94


Rybka3d13: IK-MATCH -1.23 19...Nd6 0.94 worse, 19...Ne3 1.36 worse
DJ10.1d18: IK-MATCH -0.76
HI12.1d15: IK-MATCH -1.35
TogaIId18: IK-MATCH -1.14

20. fxe4

Rybka3d13: 20.Ne2 -1.23
DJ10.1d18: MATCH -1.06
HI12.1d15: MATCH -1.50
TogaIId18: 20.Ne2 -1.18


Rybka3d13: IK-MATCH -1.45 20...Qf2 0.98 worse, 20...Qf1+ 1.01, rest =
DJ10.1d18: IK-MATCH -0.79
HI12.1d15: IK-MATCH -1.65
TogaIId18: IK-MATCH -1.40

21. Nge2

Rybka3d13: 21.Qh6 -1.45
DJ10.1d18: 21.Qh6 -1.04
HI12.1d15: 21.Qh6 -1.60
TogaIId18: 21.Qh6 -1.36

21...Qd2 0-1

Rybka3d13: IK-MATCH -1.98 21...Qe3 1.83 worse, so like only-move.
DJ10.1d18: IK-MATCH -1.89
HI12.1d15: IK-MATCH -2.21
TogaIId18: IK-MATCH -1.85

From 10 Black moves, I expect my model to predict about 8.7 matches when I run the full context data thru my big program, for *any* 2700+ human GM or similar-quality engine. Totals for Black:

Rybka3d13: 9
DJ10.1d18: 7
HI12.1d15: 9
TogaIId18: 9

Bottom line, as with Elista 2006 (game 2 especially), the game itself *causes* a higher match rate, which triggers "confirmation bias" of suspicion based on behavior, but proper understanding of what's going on *statistically* is needed to keep things from going up in smoke---or out for a smoke in Kurusonov's case.

And while at least one fellow blogger may accuse me of adding a Topalov-Danailov connection to yet another thread, I see even two in the present case: a provocative and an innocent/chessic one:
1) Several people (here and elsewhere) suggested that Mamedjarov should be banned, should face an ELO penalty, ... yet at most a few isolated ones suggested a similar treatment for Topalov. However, cheating accusations at Aeroflot and Elista are/were based on similar evidence [and here it doesn't matter just how strong or weak the evidence is]. Am I the only one who is just a bit puzzled?
2) Back to chess: Some people suggested that Topalov might avoid the Grunfeld against Kamsky with 1.d4 Pf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3. However, this variation seems to be under a serious cloud (not just the last game, Dennis Monokroussos at Chessmind gives two other recent examples where black scored a crushing win). So if Topalov goes for this line, he would need a really crushing novelty for white ... .

KWReagan, interesting method, but there are so many nuances. For instance, he is young, means he can be well underrated. (Imagine running your program against some of Carlsen's results when he was 2650 but was playing 2750+ chess. Was he cheating?).

Another remark is that you should provide some insight on the significance of deviation. 5 moves of match with computer = no statistical significance whatsoever. You can find 5-move long "perfect move sequences" even in 1400 games.

Another remark is that your comparison does not take into account many things, like time available, type of position etc. It makes a whole lot of difference whether you have 80, 20 or 3 minutes left on your clock. Kurnosov most probably had 80 :)

All in all, think about it: a young gun doing 5 precise moves out of opening and winning a game against over-pressing opponent. Big deal.

Replying to my own post: Maybe I should clarify that I don't want a ban or a draconic ELO punishment for either Topalov or Mamedyarov, at most a certain money fine may be warranted. Or, even better, a formal and sincere excuse to the other player. But that's something Topalov or Mamedyarov have to decide on their own - an imposed pro-forma excuse is not a credible one.

"A formal and sincere excuse".

Like hugging or shaking hands in a written form?

"It sounds like Kurnosov was leaving after making his moves, which isn't terribly unusual for nervous players even at the top level."

Well, the question arises: should someone so nervous (who has to leave the playing hall for smoking every five minutes or so) play competitive chess. Such behaviour is always distracting - because it raises suspicions. At least Kramnik's rest room had been checked as well as Kramnik himself.

Hugging is informal and not required. Kissing is 'formal' in some circumstances or countries (I mean routine left-right kisses, my own experience is from France and the Netherlands), but also not required. Shaking hands - well you should again do so with the other guy if he accepts your excuses.
Seriously, it would be up to Topalov or Mamedyarov to find the right words, maybe with help from others (managers, ghostwriters, ...). It could well include things as "I was affected by my unpleasant tournament situation" and/or "I was mad at myself for my own play and my own mistakes".
And "the sooner the better" [this goes to Mamedyarov, maybe he still follows this blog] but "it's never too late" [this goes to Topalov].

All those who say that Mamedyarov should be banned, etc., are biased and simply do not understand what's going on.

Likewise, looking only at Rybka evidence is a shallow approach. Rybka evidence can in no way "prove" Mamedyarov's accusations - it simply shows that his accusations are not completely improbable, as the opponent indeed played the strongest moves. That is the only relevance of the Rybka evidence in this context.

What is more important here is that, apart from playing best moves, Kurnosov's behaviour was actually suspicious. Taking jacket and leaving after every move, coupled with a fact that, being lower-rated by more than 100 ELO points and playing black, he refused a draw offer on move 14 in a position slightly favouring white.

Now, this doesn't mean that he cheated, but given the circumstances Mamedyarov's suspicions were not unreasonable. Mamed doesn't have a history of complaining or behaving in non-gentlemenlike manner with fellow players. Here, he had some reasonable suspicions and informed the arbiters about it. And the latter did not do anything and now advance some lame excuses for their failure to act.

The situation is bad for both players (and I believe that, while Mamed had reasons to be suspicious, nevertheless Kurnosov is innocent until proven guilty). But the cause of this situation lies in lack of preventive measures by organisers and proper officiating by arbiters.

The fact that Kurnosov has been spotted smoking with Mamedyarov's teammate Mamedov outside means that there is a striking evidence that the accusation is false. This is horrible-Shak didn't even bother making any sort of inquiries before ACCUSING a fellow professional player in CHEATING.

Should this be tolerated? I say no. You say I am biased - now imagine every rating favourite filling a complain and accusing someone after losing a game with white. Chess would surely benefit from this.

"But the cause of this situation lies in lack of preventive measures by organisers and proper officiating by arbiters".

But the arbiters are very limited in what they can do during a game, and ultimately it's more or less impossible to make a chess venue "cheat-proof". You have some chance with a match, but for a tournament you'd really have to have each game in a hermetically sealed cage/room (separated from any spectators and other players) with trusted officials accompanying each player if they want to leave the board.

It's completely impractical, but otherwise what's to stop one player signalling another, and so on. As pointed out before even the most general help (e.g. signalling that there's a winning move in the position) could make a big difference. Computers and modern technology have just made the problem more serious (and accessible to those without GM friends), but ultimately you can't get away from the fact that elite chess isn't going to work without a certain amount of trust being placed in the players.

I don't want to add to the conspiracy theories but it looks like the photo of him is inside? So why does he need his jacket? :P

Every one is innocent until they proven..that doesn't mean that they may not have committed crime...

I believe if Shak is saying this statement...there should be reason......

Was Kurnosov spotted with Mamed's "teammate" Rauf Mamedov every time he went outside? Was this photo taken on that day or maybe it was taken during one of the previous rounds? Maybe it was taken before the round started? Do you have answers to this questions? If not, you cannot say that it is "striking evidence".

Moreover, last time I checked, Aeroflot is not a team event, and Rauf Mamedov is not Shak's "teammate" here. So whether Kurnosov was spotted with Rauf or some other player is completely irrelevant. The mere fact that Shak and Rauf are from the same country does not mean that one acts for the other or is some kind of an agent for the other. It is completely possible that players from the same federation may cheat on each other. So the fact that Rauf smoked a cig with Kurnosov at some point (maybe not even during this round) is irrelevant is not any "striking evidence" of any sort.

All that being said, what do you propose Shak should have done? How could he have possibly known that Kurnosov stands there with his "teammate" of no one checked it for him? Should he have followed Kurnosov and see for himself that the latter was actually standing there with Rauf (or someone else)? Should he have followed him outside every time after each move to see whether he was not cheating at any given time? Instead, isn't Shak's job to actually sit at the board and concetrate on the game? Isn't it actually organisers/arbiters duty to check up on Kurnosov if they are alerted that he behaves suspiciously?

mishanp, yes, it is impossible to make a venue totally "cheat-proof", but something preventive surely could be done at least when there are suspicions of cheating on the top few boards. Yes, Aeroflot is a big event with many players inside the venue, but really the top boards are the most important, so arbiters should be much more diligent when something unusual is happening at those boards. Guijsen can't just say "I ain't gonna deal with some complaints from Board no. 1 because I have a hundred other boards to deal with".


Your comparison to the Topalov reaction is interesting. I would suggest two reasons for the different reactions:

- First of all, in the Topalov case this was all very new, whereas now we have more experience of analysing such accusations.

- Second, I feel there is a certain expectation that in match play, "all is fair in love and war", that such accusations are dirty tricks but a semi-legitimate part of the psychological warfare of a World Championship chess match. There is a long history of such controversies in these matches. In tournament play, this does not come into play.

- Probably the strongest part of the answer though is that with Kramnik and Topalov many people already had a clear favourite and hated the other guy. So any accusation was treated in that context. In this case nobody cares about this Kurnosov guy one way or the other, nor does Shak raise many strong emotions.

Those are my thoughts on the matter.

Vugg, I see your point, but I disagree. I have an impression Mamedyarov did not bother checking anything, he just filled the complain and abandoned. The fact that Kurnosov was just outside smoking means that he could have found that out would he have the slightest desire. And yes, the fact that he was with Mamedov and not with some random guy makes it even simpler.

For any professional sportsman the reputation is very important. Doing something that can falsely damage your colleague's reputation is very bad thing. Instead of trying to figure out what is going on he filled a terrible complain, trying to sell "4 moves out of 5 according to Rybka" as an evidence. That IS low.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of this particular incident it does raise the possibility of strengthening the rules for certain tournaments. These could be based on various priciples:

1) restrictions on leaving the board
2) restrictions on leaving the tournament hall
3) monitoring

I think we should be open minded in thinking about these. These rules could apply for certain key tournaments only which would probably be less then 12 in a year. In this respect perhaps Aeroflot is a bit of an anomoly because its one of a few very big important open tournaments. In this case applying restictions/monitoring to the top 10/12 boards might be more practical and would reduce the residual of cheating risk affecting the results. I offer up some suggestions:

1) No leaving the board while its your turn
2) All departures from the tournament hall monitored with a maximum of 2 sorties per hour 6 per game.

Of course there are lots of objections to these.

@Jean-Michel: Also interesting stuff, and while I do not necessarily agree with everything, I see your point(s). But I want to give my own opinion on one quote:
"with Kramnik and Topalov many people already had a clear favourite and hated the other guy"
I can only speak for myself, of course ... but while I preferred Kramnik I didn't have any hatred towards Topalov. I still don't hate him (as a player), but I hate the behavior he and Danailov put up ["put" is dominantly past tense, referring to what happened in Elista].

Isn't there an incident from several years ago when Kasparov left his board and went back to his hotel room, and everyone was expected to accept that he didn't cheat, because he was Kasparov?


People leave the board and sometimes leave the room during play. Surely some of you have had similar things happen, and do you always suspect the opponent must be cheating?

I had an opponent tell me before the game that in 2 hours he would leave, go up to his room for his insulin shot, and I was welcome to follow if I thought he was cheating.

I knew one player who simply could not relieve himself in a public restroom, who had to go to his private hotel room bathroom.

One of my opponents disappeared during the game and came back with a McDonalds bag of food. Another went out to his car during the game.

What can you do? In a small tournament you could have minders, but in any large tournament, enough people will do enough odd things that you cannot monitor everyone.

Surely our posters who are Tournament Directors could tell whether most tales of suspicious player behavior turn out to be innocent.

Not everyone reacts to stress the same way. For 10 years, I puked before EVERY game I played. During the game, I used to get up after every move, and due to the large quantities of water and nerves, I went to the bathroom after almost every move. This was all long before computers, so I was never accused of cheating.

Just because you don’t need to do this don’t regulate those who are different from you.
Rules on how often you can leave the board are stupid and one-sided for those who have the patience to sit there indefinitely.

"V for vegetation", who the hell are you to determine if someone with nerves should or should not play chess? Pretty arrogant.

If someone is bothered by how often you get up from the board, that is THEIR problem. This leaving-the-board behavior is not that unusual, although in the minority.

If you actually catch someone cheating, ban them for life.

Kurnosov has been in good form lately. He won Hastings around Christmas/New Year and was doing well in Aeroflot even before his game with Mamedyarov. This implies that he wasn't cheating at all and is just playing very well. However, leaving the board consistently after every move is a little disconcerting for most opponents. I would be irritated by that as it is a little disrespectful. It's up the the organisers to monitor what's going on and ensure that players aren't leaving the venue at any time and don't have access to any books or computers within the venue and also aren't in dialogue with anyone who might have access to computers (collaborative cheating).

While Mamedyarov's accusation seems rash and harmful to the game of chess, I think careful consideration should be given before punishing him too harshly. I think he will mostly pay for this from the treatment he will receive in the future from his peer elite grandmasters, and maybe even tournament organizers (I really don't think "name recognition" is going to help him). Any formal punishment might be unnecessary.

But, let's look at this from the other side: If cheating is more possible/likely than ever before, there needs to be a well-understood, formal way to bring concerns of cheating incidents to tournament officials, and assurances that sincere concerns are investigated quietly, but rigorously. If you just punish whistle-blowers, you may inadvertently cause unabated cheating to occur in the future. Make it possible for the suspicious to complain quietly. Make it apparent that real investigation will happen and that those discovered cheating will be punished harshly (10 year ban for Indian cheater seems appropriate). Only punish those complainers who publicly forgo a well-established, well-understood formal system for reporting suspected cheating.

Playjunior, completely agreed: the stats are not significant toward any question of guilt.

However, I do believe they explain why the accusation arose. Humanly and practically (since I do not find any evidence of cheating ever by anyone rated over 2300 before suspicion), this is the issue. I've added 2 more engine runs to my posted file, and both again give 9 of 10 matches---not significant for stats but significant for affected humans, quite evidently!

Naturally I'm going to say that what players who "go to the engines" need to understand is what's in boldface at the top of my site: moves given clear-cut-preferred evaluations (often in tactical, forcing games) are going to be matched more often, by strong players. (Click my name to see it; I've just revised the wording.) Mig puts this well and clearly enough above---which is why I wrote him and others privately that I'm not saying anything new, only more rigorously.

Chess may need stricter regulation and understanding of allowed player behaviour, but what I see needed more prominently is understanding the math facts involved when you test an engine and write a letter mentioning this.

Here we go again.. :)

Say, I have this guy circling my house every day. I have reason to suspect. I call the police. The cops couldn't find anything in him. But the routine wouldn't stop. I would expect the guy to stop or the cops to keep an eye on him. If that wouldn't happen, I would probably shift my place to where I am comfortable.

Now, am I to blame for any of this?
1. For suspecting the guy
2. Reporting the guy without any proof
3. Leaving the place
4. Make known the reason for my leaving public.

This is something that is concerning me. And am I not allowed to do this?? After all, this is for my safety!

Do we not normally put the burden on the suspicious guy to explain his behavior? How is it different here??

>> the publishing of Mamedyarov's letter to the organizer seems increasingly dubious to me

What's the matter Mig, don't like being scooped? Frustrated that you're not the only one in town able to deliver the dirt? ;)

Back to the story: What is a player supposed to do when he suspects his opponent is cheating? According to Mig: nothing!

Wow, this cheating thing is REALLY gonna take off!

PircAlert, are you for real?

Let's look a little closer at your metaphor, even if it's a bad one.
First of all, this guy outside your window is not a total stranger to you. Maybe he's not a particularly good fried of yours, but you know who he is, and you have no special reason to suspect him based on his behavior in the past. Everybody more or less knows everybody in your little town.
All right, you are of the paranoid type. You call the police. But do you also agree with a reporter to publish your accusations of him trying to rob and maybe kill you, in local and nationwide press alike, with the name of the guy to go, so that everybody will know who he is? Without even bother to check with some of your friends who know him a little better than you and hear if they know if he had a reason to be outside your house?
And then you leave town and refuse to play there anymore..

Come on, man.

Hello kl, you like the metaphor, huh? :)

So you think Igor is a genuine guy? Then what is there to worry. If someone falsely accuses me, it is not going to totally distract me. After all, the accused is not wrongly punished or anything. He is already performing at 2900 with half the time away from the board! All he has to do is, sit at the board and play to dispel the doubts and to prove himself. He will go into top 10 pretty soon at this rate. Why you fault Mamedyarov for what he has done? Anyone would have suspected. May be, you would have acted differently. That is, anywhere from totally ignoring it to taking it up. It depends on the individual. I don't see anything wrong with the reaction.

One thing we know. There is no proper mechanism to monitor cheating. That is the important thing. Let us try and address that!

No matter where he was smoking and whom he was talking to (having a GM to talk to is clearly not good during a game) Mame clearly was freaking out from Kurn's frequent absences. A TD should have been summoned and Mame should have stuck to the facts, i.e. Kurn was disturbing by leaving a lot during a sharp opening. Mame didn't stick to the facts which is too bad. Still, Kurn behaved in a matter not befitting a high board at a major GM open.

Give us a break. Kurnosov behaved in a manner all boards behave in all open tournaments. Perhaps the fact that he was spotted there chatting with Mamedov should tell you that Mamedov was doing exactly the same thing: smoking and chatting with a fellow GM.

It's pretty clear what happened here. Mamediarov played a high risk line against a guy he expected to beat easily. However, the guy found a couple of good moves and got a deserved win. Mamediarov got enraged partly with himself, partly with the world and made a scandal in the heat of the moment. All normal people have been through that at some point in their lives. I know I have been, felt ashamed the very next day, apologized to the people on the receiving end of my tantrum and moved on.

What Mamediarov did to Kurnosov is a pretty nasty thing though. The guy is having a chance to break into Dortmund, likely the only chance of his life. It's hard enough to play at Aeroflot as it is, now he has to play knowing that his good name is on the line. Mamediarov is going to have his invites to big round robins no matter what, but his tantrum has a huge potential to ruin not only this tournament for Kurnosov, but his entire career.

Mamediarov asked arbiters to keep an eye on Kurnosov, they fulfilled the request and found nothing wrong. Mamediarov has nothing in support of his claims, just baseless accusations. I can understand his frustration after the painful loss. However, by now he should have cooled off, faced the facts and apologized to Kurnosov. That's the least he can do really to make up for the damage he did to the guy. If no apology is forthcoming, I hope some sanctions will be applied to Mamedyarov, either in form of FIDE fine or in form of boycott from organizers of major private events.

No, at top level opens on a high board I see both chairs occupied during a sharp opening. In Reno players toddle off to play some blackjack or roulette. Also, Gijssen et al. said they didn't have the manpower to fully track Kurn. Mame should have stuck to the "this is disturbing" theme as the opponent grabs for his coat for Nth time to go ... somewhere.

I have this question:
If Kurnosov were the one with the claim (same game , same claim, same everything ):
Do anyone think that chessvibes would have published the letter?
Isnt Mamedyarov using his big name to hurt Kurnosov?
Just asking , but i had the impression that Mamedyarov used his input with the media to punish the other guy.

Well, the chess scene is not limited to Reno or US for that matter. Maybe in US culture is different, here in Europe, players mingle and talk, high boards or low, sharp opening or slow. Perhaps in Russia they talk even more than elsewhere. Might be not an ideal setting from the point of view of cheating prevention, but that's what happens. Btw, what that "fully tracking down Kurn" would mean? Arrest him on the grounds of careless walking? Handcuff to the chair? They've searched his coat, found nothing except a pen, a lighter and cigarettes.

Btw, if you look at the pictures on Chessbase http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=5236
Mamediarov is not in his chair himself during the opening. "This is disturbing" by your logic. Clearly a case of cheating by Mamediarov's own logic.

If Mamedyarov wins that game he never says anything, at least not formally. Anyone disagree with that? So the 'freaking out' part seems a bit overblown to me. I don't doubt he was annoyed. (Though the draw offer could simply have come when he realized he was quite possibly in trouble on the board. I'm not sure why we should be taking some parts of his statements at face value when other parts have been proven false and others are complete speculation.) The real freakout came after the loss when he made his letter public.

We can't base rules or arbiter interventions on the type of position on the board. One man's sharp opening is another's opening theory, as we saw here. (Golubev gives White's Rd4 a question mark and it had been played before.)

And while it would be nice if high-rated players on higher boards had good manners, we still need rules and standards that apply to everyone in an event. Until we have those, you still have to stick to the rules when you suspect your opponent of cheating or anything else. Otherwise what do you hope to achieve? Mamedyarov "wanted the chess world to know" his opponent was acting suspiciously in his eyes. Great. The downside of unfounded accusations is far greater than any imagined upside about this as a public service announcement. As Ginsburg says above, stick to what you know instead of inventing stuff and going public with it. And do it when it happens so the "sore loser" element doesn't complicate things. (Again, how often does the winner lodge a complaint? Not often. Fischer did it a few times in 72, iirc.)

I'll repeat here that the ChessVibes report on what happened during the game is apparently based on Mamedyarov's own comments and isn't a third-party description of what happened. (One way or another they should add "according to..." so we know the source. Right now it's stated as a fact there that Kurnosov went to the bathroom on some of these departures, which has been denied.) Otherwise they don't know, because Mamedyarov didn't know, where Kurnosov was going or how ostentatious these comings and goings were or weren't.

For example, if leaving after every move is happening every 15-20 minutes that wouldn't be nearly as odd and annoying as if it were every five. Most would barely notice in an open if an opponent left after his move when both players were taking medium-long thinks, sharp position or not. I've watched plenty of players, including super-GMs via webcam, get up after each move. Aronian does it even in time trouble sometimes. Heck, I once congratulated a wandering GM on winning his game only to find out he was still playing and going to the bathroom with seven minutes on his clock!

Perhaps Mamedyarov will in the future refuse to play in events that don't have stringent anti-cheating measures in place. Good for him. Perhaps other top players will join him. Fantastic. At least that would be useful and wouldn't require smearing any other players without evidence.

I disagree with Mark Ginsburg here. The "this is disturbing" theme is irrelevant. Disturbing the opponent has its own definition/interpretation in or by FIDE laws. Simply because Kurnesov decided not to sit down at the same table 100% of his time during the game with Mamed doesn't mean he was disturbing him. Hell, we know players who sit down all the time and annoy us incredibly. In fact, we wish they left for a smoke or two. There's no law to keep Kurnesov tight down on his chair during an open event. Thus he didn't break any law, especially not disturbing Mamed. He destabilized him, that may be true. But that's cheap psychology and a top-10 chess player should have known better! I agree with osbender. Mamed went for the kill underestimating Kurnesov. His attack fails because Black is well prepared or found the right moves to stay in the game. Mamed gets annoyed by this "inferior" player and at some subconcious level perhaps Mamed developed an outrage which was only further fed by Kurnesov's often departures from the playing hall. In such mental condition, Mamed's mind opens its gates to the very tempting idea of computer-assisted cheating possibility which is born and entertained to explain the failures on the chessboard. The fact that he actually resigned and logged that open letter protest after Qd2!! only shows that the stunning move pushed him to the edge, really. Probably, it's not very easy for a 2700+ GM to lose under 20 moves in such a way, especially to an obnoxious opponent. His mind gets affected, his nerves rattle with anger. One doesn't need to be Freud to figure out Mamed's state of mind if he meets a guy who plays fast, stands up and exits the hall way too often, returns and plays fantastic moves and kills him with a beautiful shot. This in a game in which Mamed thought he goes for Kurnesov's throat with a sharp line and the game will be over in no time...Mamed's post-game decision-making is highly questionable and perhaps the ethic questions around his baseless accusations will be addressed by FIDE (not much hope there, though...). A player of Mamed's stature should have known by now that he needs to be ready to die by the sword if he lives by the sword and not bitch about it.

For what it's worth, updating my comment above (http://www.chessninja.com/dailydirt/2009/02/mamedyarov-leaves-aeroflot-with-cheating-accusation.htm#comment-197470):

My model (as it stands) predicts 8.35 matches from Black's 10 moves.

We say "prediction", but it really means a regression against 8,447 moves made in the FIDE WC events since 2005, throwing away moves 1-8, repetitions, and moves with the game completely decided. I.e. it is consistent with the actual data that anyone of 2700+ class would match 8-9 of those moves.

I've updated my file with output clips from my stat-analysis program.

the 'great shakwimp'sould be suspended for his outrageous behavior!90%out of your postted comments are against him(rather against his behaviour)it was a clear example of better home preparation for kurnosov,who discovered that qd6 at home(probably with rybka) and most of the subvariations derived from that move.the game was easy for K,who was most of the time going for a smoke and bragg about how badly is beating shak to some others 'off duty'chess players.it happens a lot in the open tourneys world.from here to the cheating allegations.....

Finn, I agree, that's what probably happened. However, as others said above, this entire incident shows that there is no clear procedure to deal with cheating accusations during a game. From what I see, at least during the game, Shak's suspicions could be well reasonable and maybe any other player in his place would get suspicious too. The fact that there is no specific mechanism for dealing with cheating accusations results in a situation where the accused has his reputation damaged (most likely undeservedly), while the accuser risks being reviled or even ostracized by the chess community for merely voicing his concerns. Practically (in most cases) the accusers can never have any real hard evidence at the time they suspect something, and there is no mechanism to protect the accused from their reputation being damaged.

And it is obvious that this whole situation hurts the game of chess and its credibility as a sport. I just don't understand why people in FIDE completely fail to face such challenges and do something serious about it, as all other sports federations do.

It is funy to read how many 1800-2200 players think that Kurnosov's moves were not so difficult to spot for a 2600 player, and the computer analysis is amusing as well.
Personally, I believe that Mamedyarov was correct in his analysis which can be summarized as follows:
1/ Kurnosov was out of theory by move 12
2/ Kurnosov produced a novelty on move 16
3/ Kurnosorov produced the double exclamation winning move on move 21
4/ Thus, Kurnosov must have seen move 21 during his calculations of a highly complex position on move 12, which is 9 moves ahead and impossible for a 2600 player

about cheating but subsequently acted in a rush.

Dear High-ELO Pali,
How did you deduce the ratings of posters on this blog, and perhaps elsewhere? I suppose your take on Mamedyarov's 'analysis' is as objective as your comments on computer analysis are accurate.

I have to defend Pali in one respect: I mentioned my own rating (1930), and at least one other person elsewhere (don't remember where it was) described himself as "1850 on a good day".

But this doesn't mean that I agree with the rest of his post. Regarding 21.-Dd2! (only one exclamation mark from me, it is not that surprising): I think it finished off things immediately, but it wasn't the only winning move at that stage.

No one should make a grave allegation publicly such as Mamedyarov did without solid proof. Mere suspicion is not enough when another's professional reputation is at stake. The same goes for Topalov, Danailov, Bareev, Morozevich, Barsky and van Breutigam. FIDE should apply heavy sanctions to those who make unfounded allegations against others and bring our game into disrepute.

I am not high ELO.
The simple point of my post was that Kurnosov had to see the one exclamation mark move 21...Qd2! on move 12, ie 9 moves ahead. Memadyarov did not see this move even on move 16 after 16...Qd6, which is 5 moves ahead. So Memadyarov concluded as he did.

By the way after 21...Qd2 one has to compute another 2-3 moves to assess the position. So we have got a player who can see between 11-12 moves (or 22 to 24 half-moves) ahead in a complex position.

Your logic escapes me entirely. Have you never heard of intuitive sacrifices and general considerations? By Mamedyarov's watery logic, Tal, Aljechin, Kasparov etc would have been accused of the same crimes-seeing many moves ahead!But that's besides the point, grave and damaging allegations should not be made publicly without proof. The decent thing to do is have your suspicions if you must, seek proof and then TALK. In that order!

Pali, you're talking complete nonsense.

12...Ne5 has been played several times before. Are you claiming that everybody who played this move had already calculated all the moves up until 21...Qd2? Because if you are, why didn't they play it? In some of these games, it was Black who chose a different move than in Mamedyarov-Kurnosov. In some of these games, Black lost. What you're saying is that these players of the black pieces MUST have seen the winning line in advance, otherwise they would NEVER have played 12...Ne5. So are you claiming that these players changed their mind and decided they in fact preferred to lose?

I guess even computers usually don't calculate ten moves in advance. Well of course they can but you have to give them plenty of time - and then in the present game they would prefer 16. - Nxb2, indeed an 'inhuman' move ... .
Over the board, you can find the best (or second-best) moves one by one, without calculating everything to the end.
BTW (one thing which hasn't been said yet, unless I missed something): Kurnosov refusing a draw at move 14 - despite the black pieces and the ELO disadvantage - is also no evidence whatsoever. There may well be players who never take short draws against anyone (or at most if it secures tournament win or a GM norm). And even less principled ones may simply enjoy playing such a sharp position - yes, one can be nervous and still enjoy.

Pali, first, you don't know he was out of book at move 12. I sincerely doubt it since the first new move was 16...Qd6? (Nb2! was even stronger). So he had to come up with at most 5 moves on his own, several forced, or nearly forced.

A good IM friend of mine, and opening expert, (author of 3 opening books) said that everyone knows that line is just good for black.

Mark Ginsburg, players get up and walk around all the time, even at the highest level. Kramnik comes to mind, but if you want a closer example, how about Alexander Ivanov. He is ALWAYS walking around. Whenever you look at a webcam (like for Linares this year), you will find numerous players, who are not seated.

This blog is really fun and I like the way you have responded and disputed my reasoning, mostly.

Note that my posts do not comment on Memadyarov's behavior. My aim was to evaluate the likelihood that Memadyarov's accusations are in fact correct.

HardyBerger: In my opinion, the position is not so suitable for intuitive logic approach, because it is very sharp and double-edged. One wrong move and it is all over... a few moves later. Let's just say that Kurnosov may have been lucky and suddenly he spotted 21...Qd2! a few moves before. That argument is as sound as yours, in my opinion.

bondegnasker: Thank you for pointing out that I am talking complete nonsense. Memadyarov stated that on the 12th move Kurnosov looked surprised. So several commentators including some who posted above assumed that he was out of book thereafter. The rest of your logic I cannot comprehend, so perhaps you can help me with the following question:

How many best half-moves can a 2600 player see in this kind of position?

(I am assuming that luck did not play a part in Kurnosov's win, which may be incorrect; however, it seems that Memadyarov has excluded Kurnosov's luck as a winning factor due to Kurnosov's suspicious behavior during the game).

PhishMaster: According to some commentators Kurnosov was out of book on move 12. Even with counting from 16...Qd6 it is about 7 moves or 14 half-moves, since Kurnosov had to see a few moves beyond 21...Qd2 to assess the position.

So I am intuitively very sympatheic to Memadyarov's case as he observed all these coincidences perfectly unfavorable to him.

Pali, commentators will never know for sure when he was out of book since none can really know what he knows or doesn't know. What we do know is that 16.Rd4 has been played before, which makes it very reasonable that a GM would be aware of it since it is part of his repertoire.

Most IMs and GMs, whom I know, know their openings extremely well. I don't think it is unreasonable to think that he has seen or even blitzed that position before, after move 16.

Again, I reiterate that an openings expert, whom I know, said that this is known to be good for black.

Pali, what other move do you suggest on move 12? Perhaps it's because I play the Dragon a lot, but the Ne5-c4 plan is easy to see, in fact it's hard to imagine playing anything else. To suggest that Kurnosov needed to see 21...Qd2 when he played the thematic 12...Ne5 and 13...Nc4 is ridiculous. Then moves 14, 15 and 17 were forced, and 16...Qd6 wasn't best anyway.

So if we're going to suggest computer help, it's only plausible from move 18 onwards. Now I don't know if he saw 21...Qd2 at that stage, but even if he didn't, a check (18...Qf4+) and then a threatened discovered check (19...Bf5) is a pretty obvious plan which you don't need Rybka to find.

I saw only one video of Mamedyarov in which he was explaining that basically women are too stupid to play chess, and a few equally stupid theories.

From that moment I had the proof that Mamedyarov is an idiot. Therefore I don't find his behavior surprising.

Another deep thought : chess talent is strictly not linked with intelligence.

Hey you! Who recommend some type of punishment for Mamedyarov's behavior. Would you have fought to get some type of punishment for the people who are responsible for the flight that didn't take off on time due to the reporting of a suspicious activity? Are those people (reported) not innocent until proven guilty? Or do those people have no reputation?

I think it is important that we make a distinction between these two terms - "guilty" and "suspect". Is Igor guilty? A big No. Is Igor suspect? Yes!!!

I believe there is nothing that requires you to keep anything that happens in public as a secret. Also, there is nothing that stops you from reporting it. You report the facts. It is the duty of the concerned authorities to follow up on that. The suspect will be kept under surveillance until such time it is felt it is no longer necessary. What is the problem?

Look at it this way. What if the guy has cheated. A genuine chess professional's one month earning is gone down the drain.

With the advance of technology, cheating has become a very real threat to chess. So I believe this has to be addressed somehow. We don't want to see a hitech cheat to be sitting as a champion one day. Or do we?

Hi Pali, I would like to say that I disagree with three of the points you make in your February 24, 2009 8:17 AM post.

1)We do not know if "Kurnosov was out of theory by move 12". We only have the rather vague passage in the letter stating: "on the 12th move I played a move which confused my opponent".

3)21...,Qd2 is a nice move, but it deserves only one exclamation mark.(Btw, 21.Qh6,Qf2! , also loses an exchange)

4)Chess, even played by the half-gods we call Grandmasters, is simply not played this way.
Jacob Aagaard published a wonderful puzzle book in 2006, Practical Chess Defence. Last year Aagaard had a conversation with GM Gelfand, who told him that he was able to solve around 50% of the problems!

Oh, and I have a question, why are so many patzers talking so much - with so much vehemence and so little understanding - about problems that they all don't understand at all?

Go play chess, get your IM norms, and then ... you'll see clearly that commenting 2600+ GM moves is still far beyond your understanding.


Unless you can back that up with a link to an actual video I consider you just another (slandering) lier.

Mamed's statement: "on the 12th move I played a move which confused my opponent". It is one of the most idiotic statements ever made by a leading Grandmaster. In fact, it can serve as one of those silly chess quotes made since Philidor onwards. Like we are to believe that 12.d5 caused such a shock to a 2602 GM, who has never seen such a sacrificial path his whole life. It's just a stupid statement from Mamed, an artificial one made to justify, to build up his suspicion argument. And how exactly does he knows that 12.d5 "confused" Kurnesov?! Apparently, due to his often exits, Kurnesov may have very well been sitting outside smoking and chatting while Mamed made his notorious 12.d5. Then? He came at the board saw 12.d5 played and placed his head in his hands and whispered..."Oh, man...I am so confused now. This 12th move threw me in an ocean of doubt..."? Truth to be told, the only confused player at that board seems to have been the one at the losing end.

Thanks for the constructive input GM Ruslan. We must let IM Dvoretsky know that his annotations of super GM games are all rubbish then.
This is not to deny that a fair amount of complete crap has been posted on this topic, including that last post by harold.
And things like "So I am intuitively very sympatheic to Memadyarov's case as he observed all these coincidences perfectly unfavorable to him."
Pshaw. So much for intuition.
Burn her she's a witch!! I can FEEL it!

A lot of the people here have said you shouldn't accuse without proof, but how do you get proof? should Mamers (I'm not typing Mamedyarov, oh no, just did, drat) have tackled his opponent and searched him? Followed him out and taken incriminting pictures?
All I can think of is calling an arbiter over and making the accusation in the (vain, as I have nerver heard of a useful arbiter) hope that the arbiter and maybe the TD can get to the bottom of it. But then the accusation is public again.
The alternative is to get cheated quietly while all cheaters become world champions.
In the post Mig says that he can't imagine a young strong GM risking cheating. Two names: Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez, two young strong players who had no need of cheating as they were already great and yet they did. It seems to me computers are the steroids of chess except even more so.

Right, and if a strong young GM could make tens of millions of dollars for excellence, my suspicions would be much increased. The stakes being so low in this case and the consequences of being caught being so high make it something only a complete idiot would do. Not that everyone out there is a genius, but it's enough to decrease the possibilities in my eyes.

And if Mamedyarov calls the arbiter he makes an accusation of what, exactly? Based on what? The entire argument is that unless you have more than a gut feeling you should stick to the rules. Mamedyarov couldn't accuse his opponent of anything because the entire thing was happening in his own head. Not because it did or didn't happen; we literally have no way of knowing. But because Mamedyarov himself stated frankly he had no information at all. None. To the very best of his knowledge, from his own words, taking them as gospel truth, all he knew is that his opponent left the board after every move. Oh, and he apparently looked "confused" after one move. That's it. All the facts.

The "computer matching" move stuff has been trivially refuted. Many GMs have weighed in, along with the computers, that Black's play, while very good, was in no way incredible. Also, the point isn't whether or not Kurnosov really was still in book up to point X; it's that if it's been played before it adds further silliness to the charge that only a computer could have played those moves.

Don't be so sure the possibilities of cheating are decreased by the lack of financial remuneration. After all, GM's know they won't be compensated like baseball players or soccer stars but they still put in the massive work to become GM's. If its important enought to someone to put in that kind of work, then its important enough to cheat.
Alright, so maybe Kurusov didn't cheat. Like you say, we have no way of knowing.
But also you restated my point. There is no way to complain about computer cheating. It will often just be your suspicions with no proof. So, no one can ever complain? How will anyone be caught?
Maybe there's more cheating now than you figure. If no one can get proof and no one wants to be the jerk to complain without proof, how would cheaters ever get caught? How would we know how much cheating is going on?

@ hiram: Your discourse is exactly the type of paranoia that encourages baseless cheating accusations in the first place. Based on the existing hard evidence thus far, computer-assisted cheating in chess is actually extremely rare (comparing with the other forms of cheating in other sports). There are plenty of cases where the cheaters were caught with hard evidence on hand, so I'd suggest you'd go and study the procedure/circumstances in which the claim was made and the proof was produced. This whole cheating issue in chess might turn into a problem that is already being dealt with (however imperfect and however idiotic by an incompetent FIDE body). What bothers most of the people writing here, however, is the fact that poor Kurusov played a good game, won against a 2700+ grandmaster and instead of receiving applaudes for it his name now goes into most of the journals in a column next to "accused of cheating" formula. And why is that? Because of the bruised ego of a guy who can't reconcile with the thought of losing his past good form and who screamed "Cheating!" (because his opponent wasn't sitting and because he found a pretty sequence of moves that trashed him swiftly?) Yes, cheaters should be forcefully punished if found guilty. But so should be the accusers without evidence who assasinate someone's reputation and character based on fairy-tales. I'm not a lawyer (so I don't know the exact circumstances in which this could actually take place) but if I was in Kurusov's shoes, I'd have taken Mamed to court for defamation in the very next day.

@Finn: I'll agree that it's a shame if an innocent player's reputaton is tarnished. Although Kurusov doesn't seem to have much to worry about there if this thread is any indication. On the other hand, few people like playing the filthy machine that's why they're at otb tournaments.
If computer cheating in chess is so rare, how are there plenty cases for me to go and study?
In the cases I've heard of the complainer didn't have much more than Mamed did it's just that the ensuing search turned up suspicious harware (not the case here) and the cheater couldn't come up with a good reason for having the hardware.
So, we have obvious technology and/or an incompetent cheater. Now what if there are more competent cheaters out there? Surely we can't assume every cheater gets caught every time? I'm just wondering how many people get away with it. If this issue isn't taken very seriously chess will end up like the "other sports" you refer to.

Finn, while I agreed with your previous comment that to a certain extent it may be a case of a bruised ego, now you are taking it to a further extreme. Bruised ego or not, Mamedyarov had some reasons to suspect. There must be a way to address these suspicions, because in most cases it is impossible for the player to obtain any evidence of cheating during or after the game. (in hindsight, his suspicions are probably wrong, but during and immediately after the game they may have very well been reasonable)

For example, firstly, measures should be taken so that there is no room for such accusations in the first place. E.g., have x-rays at the entrance, a designated smoking area which is strictly monitored all the time, etc. In such a case, arbiters could conclusively rule out that a smoker or "frequent" walker" could get some information in the monitored area. Apparently, at Aeroflot, the players are not monitored all the time and can even talk to people during a game(?). This creates a possibility for cheating, as a player can get a "tip" in a few seconds by a variety of methods and go undetected.
Secondly, there needs to be a procedure to properly investigate each accusation both during and after the game. Let's say, hypotetically, that if everything is properly investigated, out of 100 suspicious situations only 5 turn out to be proven cases of cheating. If we go by your logic, no one can ever complain unless they have hard evidence. However, on the contrary, I think that anyone can complain if they have only a suspicion (but a reasonable suspicion), because it is virtually impossible for an accuser to obtain hard evidence without the assistance of arbiters/organisers who should investigate accusations. In the above example with the hypothetical 100 suspicious situations, by your logic, no one would have complained and those 5 cases of cheating would not be discovered.

As in today's high-tech era it becomes easier and easier to cheat and harder for the opponent to detect it, one must be very careful not to set the standard of proof very high.


Ruslan, when did Mamedyarov say that women are too stupid to play chess? I have for sure read Aronian saying something like that, but haven't heard Mamed say that. After all, he has two sisters who play chess.

The day before the Mamedyarov incident there was another accusation of fraud, this occurred in the Pfaltz Open Tournament. GM Sergey Tiviakov claims to have seen IM Leonid Milov the day before, using a mobile phone during playing time and carrying two bags with him to the toilet. Tiviakov was paired against Milov the next day and his request to delay the live broadcast was honored by the tournament directors. Milov also had to hand in his cellphone, and was warned by Tiviakov not to go to the toilet with his bags. Milov missed a simple tactical shot and lost in 21 moves. An emotional Tiviakov claimed that this proved that Milov had cheated earlier and has not backed down from this irrational claim.
GM Tiviakov posted his comment on Utrechtschaak.nl in the thread "Internationaal schaaknieuws". I cannot link to it so I will copy/paste:

Sergey Tiviakov za 21-02-2009 17:28
Ik heb vandaag gewonnen.
Op mijn verzoek er was geen Live-uitzending van mijn partij.
Mijn tegenstander fraudeert. Gisteren zag ik hem mobiel telefoon gebruiken tijdens partij. En ook met 2 (!) tassen naar WC te gaan.
Zo vandaag voor het partij hij moest zijn mobiel telefoon afgeven aan de arbiter's. En ook heb ik hem gewaarchuwd om niet naar WC te gaan met zijn tassen. Op 13de zet hij stond positioneel verloren in het Scandinavisch. En op 21de zet kon hij opgeven. Onze partij vandaag is de bewijs dat hij eerder fraudeerde.
Op verzoek kan ik ook de text van de partij van vandaag laten zien.....

An emotional Tiviakov claimed that this proved that Milov had cheated earlier and has not backed down from this irrational claim.

why is it irrational? this looks far more substantial than the kurnosov accusation.

I agree with jaideepblue that this looks far more substantial, IF Tiviakov's claims are correct (were there any other witnesses?). Carrying two bags to the toilet is clearly suspicious, and using a mobile phone during the game is actually forbidden as far as I know [can this be confirmed by arbiters following this blog?].

Two questions remain: Is Milov's quick loss against Tiviakov clear proof that he cheated before? Should Tiviakov have gone public with his accusations? Nothing is actually proven, Milov is neither guilty beyond reasonable doubt, nor demonstrably innocent ... .

P.S.: For those who don't understand Dutch - Harold's quote is actually mostly a repetition of the English version above, adding that Milov was positionally lost (in Tiviakov's opinion) after 13 moves.

Jaideepblue, I don't think the argument adds up.

T accuses M of cheating, and takes measures to avoid fraud.
T has an easy win over M.
T says: See, I have proven that M has cheated in the past.

I was asked to post the decision made by the head referee, I do not fully grasp what it entails:

'Stellungnahme ISR Dr. Markus Keller, Hauptschiedsrichter des 2. Pfalz Opens:

„Offenbar kursieren Gerüchte um die Nicht-Live-Übertragung der Partie Milov – Tiviakov in der 8. Runde des 2. Pfalz Opens. Wären die entsprechenden Berichterstatter vor Ort, wäre das wohl nicht der Fall gewesen. Kurz zum Hintergrund: Aus Gedankenlosigkeit griff Leonid Milov am Vortag der Partie in seine Tasche, da er meinte, sein Handy verloren zu haben. Er zog es heraus und öffnete das Klapphandy sogar kurz. Sergei Tiviakov beobachtete dies, teilte es aber ebenso wenig wie andere Spieler den Schiedsrichtern mit. Als er am nächsten Tag gegen Leonid Milov zu spielen hatte, bat er mich als Hauptschiedsrichter und seinen Gegner, die Übertragungsmöglichkeit für das Spiel zu unterbinden. Leonid Milov sagte sofort zu und händigte dem Schiedsrichter zudem sein Handy aus. Die anwesenden Zuschauer konnten die Partie live verfolgen. Sofort nach Ende der Partie wurde die Notation auch online gestellt. Um auch weiterhin jedes Missverständnis auszuschließen, wird auch die Partie Epishin – Milov in der 9. Runde nicht übertragen. Stattdessen übertragen wir die Partie Mariya Muzychuk gegen Stefan Macak. Die erst 16-jährige Schwester der Weltranglistensechsten Anna Muzychuk spielt in Neustadt um die oberen Preisränge.“'

My take is that it does nothing to further the accusation, if I am wrong please tell me.


Although we (Chess Tigers) had directly contact with the arbiter Dr. Markus Keller, we don't know anything about "two bags". Keller is also the chief arbiter of our annual Chess Classic in Mainz (GER). Due to Mr. Keller Milov's only failure was that he put out his handy and opened it, because he wanted to check if he didn't forget to switch it off. Markus Keller told us that the transmission of the games Milov-Tiviakov and Epishin-Milov have been canceled to protect Milov.
Imho Tiviakov should take care and calm down a little bit. The organizers did everything he wanted and finally he won. The real critical point is that you shouldn't cancel the live broadcast of the top board because one player wishes it without having proofed anything!!! If I were the sponsor, I wouldn't give further money for the next event. Lucky Pfalz Open, the sponsors already agreed to pay for the 3rd event next year. :-)

That is great news Deep! It seems very odd that Keller did not mention the two bags, even if he could not use the argument in his decision. On a Dutch chess site I read that "Milov frequently went to the toilet carrying two bags". ;-)

Is Anand lost vs. Carlsen?

It was two bags of horse manure. Tiviakov was also abducted the those aliens in the UFO.

Thanks Harold and Deep Mikey, that changes the whole story! Harold, why didn't you include this in your first post? Maybe you didn't have that information yet ... .
In any case, I am glad that I put a disclaimer in my post ("IF Tiviakov's claims are correct", no typo that IF was in all-capital letters).

[if anyone is interested, I can still translate the German statement of the head referee, but Deep mikey's post contained the essential points]

Of course the story will change but the truth won't change!

I do not claim to know the truth about this entire story, do you?? Do you have more information which you don't want to share with all of us?
As always, I can only speak for myself, and my view of this ("my personal truth", if you prefer) DID change ... .

Tiviakov is the same douche who got all bent out of shape and thought that someone should give him a draw when he (Tiviakov) had been pressing for a win, got low on time, finally offered the draw, then lost on time. (This was covered in NIC magazine.)

I would not trust his judgment since he has such a strong sense of self-entitlement.

Right on, PhishMaster! :) Simply, a douchebag. When I see his photo reports and naive comments, I wonder why would parents allow their kids to turn into professional chess players. Truth be told, the ex-Soviet Union space offered quite a number of weird cases invading the civilized world. The paranoia syndrom is in their blood at most of them.

The progress of computers has only added to their improper instincts and unethical outbursts. These are the same guys who in 1980s were claiming that their opponents went up to the hotel room and are browsing Informators. Or that the junior they play against is receiving aid from his coach through various ways.

These GMs should start acting like real men and stop bitching about this and that. If I was that strong and that confident, I wouldn't give a rat's ass on what and how many bags that guy takes to the toilet! Do not tell me that poor Milov needed 2 or 3 bags and a cell-phone to cheat Tiviakov and - after so much work - he actually missed a simple tactical shot? That would be the most idiotic cheating act ever and only Tiviakov's weird brain could see some sense in it.

Psychologically, most of these GMs start to hate the whole computer business. They can't accept it easily that now there's someone stronger than them out-there and they simply panic at the thought of a computer's tail interfering with their plans against an (otherwise) inferior human-being. On the other hand, they like it very much when their analysing engines produce novelties or clarify lines of play that depressed them for years. Paradoxically, the engines' input makes them feel stronger in over-the-board play. Armed with the latest tricky line in a well-known system, they sip that coffee and proceed at reproducing the analysis their engines produced for days. But, when the simple thought that Milov's bags might contain 2-3 similar engines creeps in, Tiviakov's self-confidence is gone. His status is threatened and he feels cheated by the theoretical possibility of cheating, not by the cheating act itself (which may very well have never taken place). They confuse the two and - due to the self-preservation instinct doubled by megalomania - they scream "cheating took place"!

At a lower level, on the playchess.com server, I have sometimes been accused of 'cheating' by various sore losers, followed by a torrent of abuse.They never do this when we draw.

"Castro" put an interesting related story on Chessvibes. He once beat an IM on the Internet, who accused of computer cheating. THEN (hence after the game) he asked a computer for his opinion. And the computer told him that his beautiful combination (so he thought) was completely incorrect and could have been refuted in three different ways ... .

If you want to know the truth I think you should try and find out!! There is no other way for that!

If Tiviakov himself (an established player) has claimed to have seen the "two bags", there is very very good chance IM Milov carried the bag, which can be easily verified by inquiring people, by checking video tapes and by many other means. The phone call(s) made from the cell phone can be verified. When there is a view originally, you don't blindly support it but you weigh in the claims to decide whether to support it or to reject it. So any counter claims, denials that comes out after that, unless valid or genuine, should not necessarily result in an automatic change of view, imo.

But, my main point is, the accusations, especially against people contenting for top prizes (the accused's rating strictly should not be used to decide whether to purse the case or not), should not be taken lightly. The world chess federation should mandate high or all level tournament organizers do certain steps/measures if games are to be rated. These steps/measure are necessary foremost to stop cheating in tournaments/matches but also to prevent players being smeared for reporting suspicious activities. So basically it is for the good of chess in general!

And another story about Tiviakov - something else and a few years ago, but also showing what kind of character he is ... : He once dropped out of a blitz tournament at short notice AND made sure that the public knows his reason. The reason was that one of the organizers was joking about him on an Internet forum. The joke was maybe a bit dubious but still rather innocent (possibly inspired by Mig?!) - something as "How come the most ugly guys tend to have the most beautiful girl-friends??".

This is like that Monty Python sketch - Two Sheds Jackson. Will Milov be called "Two Bags Milov" from now on?

:) Thomas should like that!

"If you want to know the truth I think you should try and find out!!"
Why should _I_ do so?? I have neither time, authority nor means to carry out such an investigation - I was not at the tournament site when the incident happened.

On your first paragraph: It is at least remarkable that you appear to believe the "claims" (or at least give Tiviakov the benefit of doubt), but question that the "counter claims" are 'valid and genuine'. In other words, for you Milov isn't innocent unless proven guilty, but guilty unless proven innocent. I had asked in my first reaction if there are other witnesses (none so far), and with regard to follow-ups I presume that the arbiter is independent and unbiased [you would need quite strong arguments to claim anything else!].

So what remains of Tiviakov's claims?
a) the mobile phone: While the two sources (Harold 12:58PM and Deep Mikey 1:47PM) differ in (irrelevant) detail, neither states that Milov actually used his mobile phone, _he did not make a phone call_. Harold (the German quote) says that Milov was afraid that he may have lost his phone and checked if it was still in his bag; Deep Mikey says he wanted to (double-)check if it is really switched off.
b) the two bags: These are not at all mentioned in the arbiter's report, I see two possible reasons:
1) Tiviakov didn't even mention it to the arbiter, but only in his post-game post on an Internet forum
2) The arbiter decided that this claim was unfounded, ridiculous and thus not even worthwhile mentioning.

P.S.: I don't know what jaideepblue 4:42AM is actually referring to, and I am not a particular fan of Monty Python humour .... .

Hi Thomas and Pirc, I think that the difference between Tiviakov's account and the decision by the Umpire is striking, and IMO rather embarrassing for the GM (not even one bag, and no "using the phone"). Seen in this light I find it very surprising that the bad behavior of the GM is rewarded and Milov and his fans are punished.

Hi Thomas and Pirc, I think that the difference between Tiviakov's account and the decision by the Umpire is striking, and IMO rather embarrassing for the GM ( not even one bag, and no "using the phone"). Seen in this light I find it very surprising that the bad behavior of the GM is rewarded and (now GM!)Milov and his fans are punished.

Harold, I fully agree with your first sentence - I think I said the same [with more words ,:)] in my previous post. But I don't see how Tiviakov was rewarded and Milov punished, except if the "pre-game intermezzo" affected the result of their game.
Even then, it may (and should IMO) backfire on Tiviakov in the longer term, because I disagree with Deep Mikey in one respect:
"If I were the sponsor, I wouldn't give further money for the next event."
Why should he? But he may well insist that people as Tiviakov (Mamedyarov, Topalov?) are not welcome at the next event - and maybe other sponsors or organizers could do the same ... .

Yes Thomas you did, and I would like to thank you and Deep Mikey for posting! I think Tiviakov's request should have been thrown in the bin, and the reason it was not is IMO because he is a World Class Grandmaster. Here in Holland he is not treated with respect to his ranking (and I have read some really nasty speculation about this).
I think sponsors want a smooth and exciting tournament, an allegation of fraud is not good for the sponsor(and not good for chess). People who cause trouble are great on a blog like this one, but they cut themselves in the fingers when it comes to invitations. I will side with Deep Mikey on this one, if there is **** flying around I will take my money somewhere else.
Sergey requested a delay in the live broadcast, Milov had to hand in his cellphone, GM 2bags warned Milov about visiting the toilet... I think Tiviakov was rewarded. (I would give him a punch on the nose ...)

(sorry for the double posting and the bad jokes)

"But he may well insist that people as Tiviakov (Mamedyarov, Topalov?) are not welcome at the next event "

The reality is that sponsors insist on HAVING Topalov in their tournaments, not the other way around.

Yes, but he belongs in the list of 2650+ grandmasters who accused their opponents of cheating - and among those three names, he was clearly rewarded for his behavior.
I put a question mark behind Topa's name for two reasons:
1) Yep you are right, he gets away with it
2) He probably wouldn't play in a strong open tournament anyway.

Where are Kournosov's rights in this?

They say he was visibly shaken in round 7 and took a short draw with white. In round 8 he lost miserably with black. In round 9 he might still have won the tourney, but blundered away a won position with white. All three games showed signs of nerves.
He was clearly affected by the accusations and as a result his concentration was ruined and his results suffered.

Without Mamedyarov's cowardly and baseless accusation Kournosov could well be going to Dortmund, with the 30,000$ check in his pocket and his career on the raise. Now, it will take a lot for him to recover from this mental blow and disappointment.

And Mamedyarov? Don't tell me he should just escape without a punishment here. Of all the top players in the world, he is the one I currently despise the most. A complete self-indulged jerk.

"I think sponsors want a smooth and exciting tournament, an allegation of fraud is not good for the sponsor(and not good for chess)."
I mostly agree with you, even though one could argue [from a sponsor's point of view] that "any news is good news". Despite their strong fields (for open tournaments) the Aeroflot and Pfalz opens were largely in the shadow of other events, cheating allegations were arguably more 'newsworthy' than games and results!?

"if there is **** flying around I will take my money somewhere else."
I am not a sponsor ,:) but here I would disagree, for two reasons:
1) **** may also fly around to another place ,:) certain players may come up with that sort of allegations and scandals wherever they play. Or did you mean take your money to another sport (which may or may not be less ****ty, see also below)?
2) It would be odd IMO if more than hundred players are punished for one colleague misbehaving. The other players include both grandmasters (who want to earn money) and amateurs (who want to play against grandmasters). It would be a different story if cheating allegations or obvious/proven cheating happened more frequently. The analogy with other sports is doping ... . Maybe I go a bit too far, but it almost seems that in cycling this was (is?) the rule rather than the exception - and cycling has serious difficulties to find sponsors these days.

Now I understand why my post was moderated ... "****" refers to a word starting with the letter s (also in Harold's post which initially went through).

Not sure why the filters didn't moderate both. I don't do any moderation manually, of course. I'm not prudish, but since I have advertising and occasionally sell things I would like to keep the site off the many net nanny lists that operate on keyword indexing, etc. I don't think anyone misunderstands what the **** is going on. Thanks.

Danadyarov, how come Kurnosov could not find the best moves any more? Is it only due to the nerves? Or maybe it's because he had some help in the earlier rounds? We will never know, because there was no proper mechanism to investigate accusations and to prove them either right or wrong.

By the way, Kurnosov finished 147th in the blitz event (out of 165 players), with 6/18 and only 1 win, and below a number of 2300-2400 rated players. Not exactly what you would expect from a Dortmund-level player, eh? (even if there were signs of nerves)

What happened ?
I just saw Mamedyarov pulling a 3rd place in the rapid section , wasn t he out?
Did he apologyze or the other guy was guilty?
Anybody knows what happened there?

Clearly Aleksandrov and Akobian are cheaters too, since they finished lower than Kurnosov.

About Kurnosov: Well, if he obtained a won position in his last-round game (I did not check and take Danadyarov's words for granted) he must know how to play chess - and blundering may well be a sign of nerves (or time trouble). As far as blitz is concerned: it is obviously different from slower time controls, and not only because you cannot have a toilet or cigarette break during the game - not sure if it is formally forbidden, but it would be a very bad idea ,:).

About Mamedyarov: From what I read it was his own idea or choice to drop out of the open tournament, he was not thrown out by the organizers. From his point of view it may make sense, not only as a sign of protest but also because he was out of contention for the top places (or thought so). And in the blitz (not rapid), everyone starts with 0/0, new day new chances ... .

Of course, in the last three games, Kournosov went .5, 0, .5. Draws near the end of that tourney are traditionally incredibly common, with everyone trying to get their slice of the pie, while not squandering a big chunk of money by losing.

The one loss Kournosov had to a slightly higher-rated 2621, who was clearly on form and finished tied 3-9, is nothing out of the ordinary either, especially considering he probably did alter his routine after the bogus allegation.

Everyone knows that the hot hands all end up on the top boards at the end, and those are the toughest games to win since there is lots of motivation by all parties.

Any follow-up? Chessbase also reported on the story.
Will the Azeri be punished by FIDE?
What was Kurnosov's reaction to the accusations, did he issue a formal statement?

Mamedyarov has a right to voice suspicions, but not accuse outright.

As for his comments about female players..could be true, Muslim societies are extremely patriarchal..not to use a stronger word, but you get the idea.

You can draw no conclusions from his 6/18 in the blitz. He could have been drinking his disappointment away the whole of the previous night. And anyway still mentally disturbed from what happened in the main tournament.

I find it bizarre how some people are ready to take Mame's side here and try and justify his baseless accusations and disgusting behaviour.

Mame's punishment should at least fit the economic and career losses Kournosov suffered from the collapse of his performance, hopefully multiple times that. Really make an example of him, or the chess world is doomed to repeat the paranoia over and over again. Send a message it is not acceptable.

quote: "They say he was visibly shaken in round 7 and took a short draw with white. In round 8 he lost miserably with black. In round 9 he might still have won the tourney, but blundered away a won position with white. All three games showed signs of nerves."

Or maybe it was because he had to stop cheating.
Just like computer analysis proves nothing (at best it is corroboration) you can't second guess these things. Only one person knows the absolute truth: Kurnosov.

I am not in favor of randomly accusing players of cheating, obviously.


The answer: nothing unless you have 100% sure hard proof just won't do as obviously in tournament conditions you will never be 100% sure with hard evidence. Was Mamedyarov supposed to follow his opponent to see what he was doing? That's not even legal as he can't leave the board when it's his move. If there was a way to be 100% sure, we wouldn't be having this problem in the first place. Doh. Potential cheats will love the way almost everybody has reacted to this by vilifying Mamedyarov.

Hi, I just came here to tie some loose ends together.
Thomas was spot on, when he said: "Maybe you didn't have that information yet ..." I had all the factual information when I posted and admit being manipulative in spreading this info, I was hoping to get more (and it was in the order that I received it).
I was irritated when Tiviakov posted his libelous account and there was only one other person on the utrechtschaak forum who criticized him (not counting the one who posted the decision). And when Tiviakov gave an account of how he had celebrated (10 gorgeous girlfriends and a swimming pool full of champagne if I remember correctly), my head exploded and I posted here.
all the best,

Hi Harold,
I just checked on utrechtschaak.nl (took me a while to find out how to navigate through earlier posts ...). In fairness to Tiviakov, you exaggerate quite a bit concerning "how he celebrated" - or your memory/imagination was playing tricks on you. All I could find was (25/2 14:10)
"1,5 L fles Champagne was heel lekker. Vanavond [ik vermoed "gisteren avons"] met vriendinnen opgedronken. :-)"
1,5l of champagne shared with some female friends, not necessarily 10 of them, not gorgeous ones, no swimming pool ... . And his post (this exact one) was not unsolicited, but a response to a question by someone else.

But you are right that most of the other posters on that forum were uncritical fans of Tiviakov. And at least the suggestions that he should "now finally" receive invitations to supertournaments are quite odd. He played Corus A several times in the past ... but probably the organizers got a bit tired of his cautious style, preferring someone like Van Wely (and now the younger generation). Just looking at results in 2007:
Tiviakov 5/13 (=10 -3)
Van Wely 5/13 (+2 =6 -5).

In any case, thanks for bringing this up in the first place! It is still a bit strange that Mamedyarov got lots of attention on all major chess sites, whereas Tiviakov was discussed only here (thanks to your post) and at utrechtschaak (in the first instance, due to a post by ... Tiviakov).

And I can add one (irrelevant?) detail: The other guy was IM Leonid Milov, not GM Vadim Milov. Of course this was (or should have been) always clear from harold's posts, but maybe I was not the only one mixing things up. I only "saw the light" when Rob Brown on Chessvibes pointed out the poor result of Vadim Milov at the Aeroflot Open (which was parallel to the Pfalz Open).

Just a funny coincidence: Today's matches of the German Bundesliga featured, among many other games, .... Mamedyarov-Tiviakov (drawn in 26 moves, no cheating accusations known [yet?])

Thomas, they agreed to the draw early so they could get together and discuss accusation strategies after the game.

Tivi: "Do you accuse if he goes to the toilet with one or TWO bags?" "I prefer two, but with a cell phone, only one is needed."

Mame: "I like it, but let's talk chain smokers now."

I'd meant to enter this a few days ago, but have been too swamped in the evenings (and no longer comfortable taking risk by posting under my own name during business hours).

It's a real dilemma, since there are compelling arguments on both sides. Everyone posting here pretty much agrees (and what evidence has been brought out supports the conclusion) that there is little reason to think Kurnosov actually did cheat. However, in the absence of any legitimate court/arbiter/procedure to hear and/or investigate Mamedyarov's complaint about suspicious behavior, simply punishing Mamedyarov - and thereby in effect ordering any player faced with an opponent's suspicious behavior in the future to just "put up and shut up" - wouldn't be good policy either.

So in the end, the details here aren't what matter most. What matters most is organized chess' continued denial that there is enough danger to warrant having an established, accepted procedure for handling such accusations (which could include some kind of systematic monitoring of players so that it's not solely up to the opponent to produce evidence).

If there were a procedure in place, then a player in Mamedyarov's situation wouldn't feel the need to air accusations in public - and could be severely punished if he did (as is done in "other sports," as some have pointed out).

So, Robinson (February 23, 2009 4:35 PM) and Vugg (February 24, 2009 4:42 AM) have the right idea. As Vugg wrote: "The fact that there is no specific mechanism for dealing with cheating accusations results in a situation where the accused has his reputation damaged (most likely undeservedly), while the accuser risks being reviled or even ostracized by the chess community for merely voicing his concerns. Practically (in most cases) the accusers can never have any real hard evidence at the time they suspect something, and there is no mechanism to protect the accused from their reputation being damaged."

How can people attack Mamedyarov? He really thought Kurnosov was cheating. Can he be blamed for being human?

Mamedyarov finished third in the blitz and Kurnosov wasn't even in the top 85%.

Kurnosov finish strong to show he wasn't a cheater with 1 out of 3 despite having two whites and being the clear leader after the sixth round.

People who accuse Mamedyarov live in a dream world. How can you blame him for living in the real world? Blame God for that.

Hi harold,
From the English part that you posted what I can make out is nothing from the umpires/arbiters that denies the accounts of Tiviakov. The only time the GM should be embarassed is when he fabricated the whole incidence but there is no reason here to believe so. We can't also say IM Milov is guilty. If he is competent enough, there is no reason he should opt to use such an obvious "two bags" for cheating. He is just a "suspect" for his actions.

But cheating is real, so, we have to have
1. Automatic filters/measures
e.g x-ray/manual scan for gadgets and stuff, automatic scrutiny of any upward spike in performance, monitoring of top prize contenders
2. Suspicious activity reporting - Confidential or otherwise
Competent cheaters won't always use conventional means, so reporting should be integral part of anti-cheating measures. Suspicious activities would include extended break, frequent breaks, talking in a manner arising suspicion, going out of playing hall, using phones etc etc.
3. I think option to go public with your accusation should always be there. Chances for coverups will be less. Why should innocent and people of integrity should be concerned about false accusations? You are not automatically guilty anyways.

Kurnosov scored 50% at the World Blitz through round 6.... he withdrew and did not play at least the last two rounds.... not clear whether he scored 0/2 in round 7 or defaulted.

On the other hand ,Mamedyarov claim WAS attended by the arbiters and the other guy forced to show the content of his pockets ...
You should remember that Mamedyarov was not ¨merely voicing his concerns¨ , he accused the other guy ,made people search in his clothes ,put an open letter in the internet AND leave the tournament .
But then he got to play the blitz part and Kurnosov is suspected for finishing 147 !?!
Maybe Kurnosov needs to talk to a lawyer , there is a lot of damage done to him .

Is there a big difference between "merely voicing concerns" and "shut up and put up"? An immediate search has to be made in the event of a suspicious activity and not after you give the suspect a chance to hide evidence if any. Once it is performed it is public. Whether Mamedyarov explains his stance on why he did what he did or others write what happened it hardly matters I think.

OK, another round ... :
@tekendama: At least all the "evidence" you mention happened AFTER his game against Mamedyarov, so that was unknown to Shak at the moment he made his accusations.

@Manu: Interesting post - are you objective enough to agree that Kramnik was also damaged and would have the same rights to "talk to a lawyer"?

@PircAlert: Guess I better translate the German part after all, here we go:
„Apparently there are rumors on why the 8th round game Milov-Tiviakov was not transmitted live on the Internet. Presumably this wouldn't be the case if these reporters were present at the tournmanet site. To briefly explain the context: One day earlier, Leonid Milov absent-mindedly looked into his bag, because he thought that he might have lost his cell phone [Deepmikey's version was: he wanted to make sure that the phone is really switched off]. He took his phone out of the bag and even briefly opened his foldable cell phone. Sergei Tiviakov was watching this, but neither he nor any other player informed the referees. When he had to play against Milov the next day, he requested me as main referee and his opponent to block the live transmission of the game. Leonid Milov agreed immediately and, in addition, "surrendered" his cell phone to the referee. Spectators watching on site could watch the game live. Immediately after the game was finished, the moves were also published on the Internet. To still exclude any misunderstandings, we will also not transmit the 9th round game Epishin-Milov live on the Internet. Instead we will present the game Mariya Muzychuk against Stefan Macak. The 16-year old sister of world #6 Anna Muzychuk is still fighting for the top prizes."
I really translated everything - nothing more about cell phones and nothing at all about "two bags". Well, you have to trust the referee (as I said before) and you have to trust me for my translation ... .

¨Once it is performed it is public. ¨
Once it is performed , and there is no proof , you should finish the tournament like a professional.
In a way it ended up him being the cheater, he got to insult his oponent , perform a search on his clothes , accuse him in public , and leave the tournament to comeback the next day and play the blitz section.
Like in other post i read , i can only wonder what are Kurnosov´s rights on all this .

Kramnik was threatening to sue the whole match , that´s what ¨under protest¨ means , Thomas.
There is a big difference between this and the Elista situation, that was a match and this is a tournament , no one here had a bathroom for himself, Thomas.

There are many players who drop out when they are not in prize contention. That is a separate issue I would think.

It is not if you are using that to call someone a cheater .
It is part of the moral damage i would say , although im not a lawyer.

After Mame accused Kournosov, and they realized that Kournosov was just smoking, and had nothing on his person that would imply cheating, Mame should have apologized, and just kept playing.

Instead, he acted like a f-ing child and made his accusation public, and not just public, INCREDIBLY public. It was his intention to publicly embarrass someone he had no proof against to cover his own a$$. He is an utter a-hole.

I don't know the laws over there, but if he did that to me, I would indeed sue him if it happened here. In the alternative, I might like to beat the crap out of him too.

Ok, Thomas, I fully trust your translation! Trusting you here is very easy actually. :)

I wouldn't expect whatever transpired there to be fully explained by the referee here. This is just a brief account. But if I have to go by this account of referee and if it was the ONLY time during the previous game IM Milov used the bag and the phone, I would say, there is NOTHING at all to suspect. Referee would normally try to balance situation so the Tiviakov's full account of what he suspected and reported to the referee would be more appropriate for our discussion I think unless it is explicitly denied by the referee of what was reported to him. But I see the problem here. It is the live transmission that is the culprit!! Tiviakov had suspicions and now you need the relay delay to have the confidence of the player but then you have to explain why you do so. The news went public then!!!

Manu -But still You said earlier that accusations without proof is the Problem with Mamedyarov and Kournosov, and i agree fully.
Now what happent is Elstra was actually the same, Accusations from Topalov and his Manager ( his name is not worth mentioning) . But offcause looking at your trackrecord you can never agree with Kramnik or say that Toplaov and manager was at fault.


Think of it this way. I could search your pocket and make sure its empty and then I could search your hand and make sure there's nothing in it and I could search you and the whole area where you and your hand are to make sure there's nothing in it and I could agree that you're allowed to put your hand in your pocket without additional checking because I've already checked everything but if you keep putting your hand in your pocket where I can't see it that's suspicious, right? You could have something in your pocket, right?

There are similarities with Elista , but some huge differences too.
For starters Topalov had to answer to the ethics comission and (so far ) Mamedyarov did not.
Kramnik refused to play without his toilet , not the case here.
On the other hand if you are looking for coincidences , both accusations involved russian players playing in Russia , but like i said i dont consider apropiate to mix the 2 examples.

Do you understand these additional examples? If a player wants the contracted playing conditions to be carried out that is suspicious! And Russians playing in Russia is suspicious! That is how the tapes were first disclosed to Danailov without notifying Hensel! That is why Kramnik was forfeited. Those Russians are very suspicious! But I don't want to mix the 2 examples.

Hi Thomas, your comment about the Tiviakov celebration made me chuckle, but you are absolutely right. Using humor in it's various forms, irony, sarcasm, even plain abuse, is a lot of fun but it obscures what you really feel about a subject. I was reminded of this clever and funny sketch:

And going even more off topic, to a comment made by PircAlert: "Why should innocent and people of integrity should be concerned about false accusations?" Should I show my ID, let my pockets and bags be checked, let my house be searched? I do not want a Chess Police Force! Here in Holland we have a smoking ban in pubs and restaurants, our government takes a great deal of interest in our health, they also want to save the planet by reducing CO2 emissions, and they now have big plans for saving the economy. Broadly, people who make such big claims fall in two categories, the ones who stand on a soapbox in the park on a Sunday morning, and the politicians who are viscious but not dumb. End of rant, stepping off soapbox.

@Manu: Yes, there are differences between a match and a tournament, but I would say they are either irrelevant or even work the other way around (see below). First, ANY toilet is (temporarily) "your private one" - from the moment you enter and lock the door until you leave again you are undisturbed and unobserved.
Now, a match is a rather cheating-proof environment, whereas a tournament is - comparatively and inherently - cheating-prone. It is not possible to control all 160 participants. Well, of course it would be possible (it is routinely done at airports). But would we really want airport-style security checks? And if the answer is yes, down to what level (including all amateur tournaments)?
It is then both easier and safer to hide electronic devices in a public tournament toilet. "Safer" because, even if such equipment is found, it cannot be assigned to any single player (a priori odds in the given case are <1% or 1/160).
In summary, Mamedyarov's cheating accusations against Kurnosov could make sense - this stands loose from my (and your) opinion that Kurnosov is innocent unless (or until) proven guilty. Cheating accusations by Topalov/Danailov against Kramnik are simply absurd.

One final point: According to Chessbase, there wasn't even such a thing as "Kramnik's toilet" or "Topalov's toilet" at Elista - it rather was the white player's toilet and the black player's toilet. Manu, for you this is presumably irrelevant, as it comes from [your earlier words] "a source I don't trust" and, to my knowledge wasn't confirmed or admitted by "a source I like" (Topalov+Danailov) - "I" is obviously Manu in both cases. Still worthwhile mentioning to the general public IMO.

Maybe you dont understand this examples,the point i was trying to make was exactly the opposite .
But anyway , the time has come when players should play their games in front of the audience without private areas that complicate things.
On a side note , if Kramnik would have played the 5 game of the match and beat Topalov without his private restroom, everything would be clear , but he didnt.

If during one game you are asigned the white player´s bathroom , that becomes your private bathroom for the game , Thomas.
If you go in there all the time, and then refuse to play without it i would say that is at least suspicious.
The bathroom method used in the recent candidates match seems fair to me .

And cut the crap with ¨the sources i trust and the sources i dont¨ , what are you doing , profiling me?
That is simply idiotic Thomas.

And since you are in the mood for stupidity please quote me saying the exact words: "a source I don't trust" and, "a source I like" (Topalov+Danailov) -
If you dont find the quotes i will have to assume you are a lier.

Idiotic lier Thomas,
Cut the crap.

A player should get three or four bathroom visits per game because it is humanly impossible to cheat with three or four bathroom visits each game especially since three or four visits doesn't look suspicious. So since you have to make lots of bathroom visits during a game to cheat the more visits you make the more suspicious you are. Five visits are a little suspicious. Six more. Seven even more. Understand? Probably not.

And since Top thinks Kram cheated the whole match but doesn't know how the only way for Kram to prove that he didn't cheat is to play lousy and Top says Kram did play lousy but Kram did not play lousy enough to prove he wasn't a cheater. If Kram lost the match he could say he wasn't cheating. But he won so he's a cheater. Understand? I didn't think so.

Hey troll , nobody is saying that , but you have to play in front of the board.

BTW Topalov answered to the Ethics comission , why not Mamedyarov ?

It took me a while to find back your quote, a google search for "Manu Danailov interview Thomas Chessbase Chessninja" finally helped ,:).
I compared and contrasted Danailov's interview with a Bulgarian newspaper (prior to the Topalov-Kamsky match) with the much discussed and much criticized interview of Kramnik with Chessbase. My conclusion was that Danailov's interview was comparable or worse propaganda.
You, Manu, even agreed with me and wrote
"Of course this is very similar to the chessbase interview , and of course that this doesnt bother me and the other does.
The reason is very simple my friend: i like this guys (Topa and Don King, he he) and dont trust the others (chessbase , Kramnik )."
[posted Feb8 2009 1:14PM, thread "Old, Young and In-Between" starting Feb 6]

So maybe now it is your turn to excuse for words as "crap", "stupidity" and "liar" [only the last one was conditional, if I couldn't find the quote].
As Confuron wrote, your track record is well known, no need for detailed profiling (your above-mentioned post is part of a long legacy).

my bad , you were right , but still you are profiling and is still nothing to do with this.

I cant excuse my self for the stupidity remark on you yet, it is attached to your intentions to make a profile on me.

IF you cheat in the bathroom, one (a single one) visit at a critical point in the game might already make a difference ... . After all, in "Advanced Chess" players are officially allowed to get advice from a computer, but usually do not consult him for every single move. But IMHO the conclusion should not be "no toilet visits at all during the game, organizers will provide a bucket and some toilet paper for every player in case of urgent need".

I know d_manu was joking, but I still wanted to make this point ... .

BTW, I am just curious: What is this "d_" business all about? Does d stand for "derivative" or something like that? Or do lots of people just have fun copying d_tal, who uses this name on a regular base? I admit that, at one occasion, I joined the crowd (posting under d_gorbachov).

Idiotic liar Thomas in the mood for stupidity,

No more hiding in bathrooms. They should have to hold if for the whole game or else pee or whatever in a glass bathroom right on stage.

Rotten cheater Kram filed a complaint to the rotten Ethics Commission against Top and Top had to answer it. What a joke. And now the rotten Ethics Commission is probably not investigating Mamed because of a rotten stupid technicality that nobody filed a complaint about Mamed. What a joke.

You think that Topalov 's claim in Elista was absurd , i think it was clearly justified by the circumstances, so what?
But like i said Topalov answered for them and Mamedyarov didnt.
Questions from your part like : " are you objective enough? " or things like " no need for detailed profiling (your above-mentioned post is part of a long legacy)." are the kind of idiotic remarks i was just talking about.
Argue with facts , not making profiles from people that dont agree with you.

As far as I remember, Topalov had to report to the FIDE Ethics Commission several months after the incident. So it is possible (still too early to say) that Mamedyarov will have to do the same. Maybe also Tiviakov ... I kinda doubt it because his incident received far less publicity.

On "profiling": Like it or not, regular posters leave a 'track record' and may be reminded of what they wrote at earlier occasions. This also applies to me and a few other people (e.g. Clubfoot, frogbert, Greg Koster, ... my apologies to anyone who feels that he should also be on this list ,:) ).
Do you still stand behind your Feb8 quote, or do you wish to retract it?

Ok i see there is a kindergarden meeting here , see u guys later , pls dont quote me anymore Thomas , i dont want my name near yours ...

Manu, you seem to be in a bad mood today, this may change again tomorrow ... good and bad moods are also part of your track record ,:)
And whoever "d_manu" is, I solemnly swear it's not me!

" On "profiling": Like it or not, regular posters leave a 'track record' and may be reminded of what they wrote at earlier occasions. "
Yes Thomas i was aware of that , you have your own profile too , the thing is that i just dont use it when arguing about things that has nothing to do with that.
You like to state the obvious , and change the subject when proven wrong , your posts are long and of childish nature , you hate (dont like or whatever) Topa and Danailov and the list goes on ; it would be simply idiotic to bring that to the table everytime you feel the need to post something...
Like every minute.

Idiotic remarking Thomas,

Even if no one files an Ethics complaint against Mamed he still has to answer it, just like Topalov did. Got it yet?

Topalov claimed that Kramnik cheated in an unknown way to play lousy. What part of that don't you understand?

I like your new friend Thomas , it suits you.

Posting under near identical names, childish bickering, yabbering on about trivial rubbish, continuing to attempt to reason with a clearly unreasonable person, lame insults: the Thomas-Manu saga is boring the hell out of me for one.
21 posts in a row of pure rubbish. Do either of you think any of us cares?

Actually I wanted to correct the first part of that #3. I meant it to be going public with the complaints of suspicious activities but I don't know if that can be considered public accusations. You can put it across to a committee but the going public option should always be there. That is how you can make the committee function honestly and transparently. People should know the facts.

Say for example, if your opponent go to an unmonitored place, you should have the freedom to say something like "I suspect this player because his current performance is out of the ordinary and his moves resemble rybka's top 1 or 2 recommendations consistently. The fact that he is unmonitored sometimes during the game just increases my suspicion. Therefore I request that this player be monitored until he proves his performance beyond any suspicion and clears himself." If the other player is concerned so much he shouldn't act in a manner that arises suspicion. You can't come and say things like "I just went to my hotel room nearby like everybody else" "I can't play without taking a dip in the pool between every move". I think my friend Thomas understands me correctly on airport style security etc.! May be only for challengerships and championships??

But if you want to soar high above, you will have to subject yourself to some type of scrutiny! No other way I guess!!

"I think my friend Thomas understands me correctly on airport style security etc.! May be only for challengerships and championships??"

My words .... :
For matches such as Topalov-Kamsky: OK
For tournaments such as Linares: maybe
For opens such as Aeroflot: at least impractical
For amateur events (my own level): I would lose interest in playing chess if it comes that far [even though I would accept doping controls ...].

For my work, I once went to a scientific conference with airport-style security (it was soon after September 11, and American scientists were participating). While it was understandable given the circumstances, I considered it quite a nuisance that 10,000 people had to face the long queues at least once every day (twice if you leave the conference center during lunch break). And of course not bbecause I had anything to hide ..... .

Yeah I agree!

After things have calmed down, I still want to reply on this one, keeping it short ...
1) If someone calls me a liar, I want to defend myself (_maybe_ Manu just wanted to annoy me, forcing me to find the exact post ...)
2) I am pretty sure (or at least it is my preferred hypothesis) that d_manu is a third person, mixing things up and making fun of ... maybe both of us. While I see stylistic similarities with other posters, they are not close enough to publish my suspicions on d_manu's other identity.

P.S.: 21 is a magic number in the current thread, both Mamedyarov-Kurnosov and Milov-Tiviakov took 21 moves ,:)

"I am pretty sure (or at least it is my prefe
rred hypothesis) that d_manu is a third person, mixing things up and making fun of ... maybe both of us"

Ok. Then kindly explain this:
"D manu" posts at March 1st, 10.14, writes "lier".
"manu" posts at 10.15, correcting "lier" with "liar".
Now, there are two explanations:
1."Manu" posts one minute after "D manus's" post, somehow eager to correct the man, and being coincidentally online at precisely that time.
Or 2. Manu forgot he was posting under an alias and posted under his real name, thus giving the silly "game" away.
Now, which seems more plausible to you? I may be wrong, especially since D manu has generally better spelling than Manu, but I don't particularly care; I find both scenarios equally boring.
If you want to "defend" yourself against Manu, then you have a really low level of self-respect. You are inviting his continual nonsense by engaging with him so much. Do you really have to clutter up the blog in so doing?

I was correcting my " lier"...

But brilliant anyway , i must say , you should be mediating the middle east crisis and not wasting time with us.

¨If you want to "defend" yourself against Manu, then you have a really low level of self-respect.¨
Wow dude , for being bored you are quite agressive , what happens when you are angry?

he he

No need for an extensive Thomas - chesshire cat yoyo discussion (we had that before ...) but I will answer your question. My idea (already confirmed by Manu) was
1) Manu 8:55AM posted "lier"
2) d_Manu 10:14AM copied this typo or error - I would say deliberately (it was the only mistake I saw in all of his posts ...)
3) Manu 10:15AM corrected Manu 8:55AM, it was pure coincidence that this happened almost at the same time.
The main reason why I think d_Manu is not "Manu in disguise": While Manu's track record includes lots of things, jokes about himself were never part of it ... . And d_Manu's English is indeed better, actually the name(s) I have in mind for his true identity are all native speakers. But unless someone still 'confesses' "Yes I am d_Manu" we will never know ... .

And if Manu hits at me again (for two or three posts he focused on chesshire cat) I will not reply - already because it is almost bedtime for me.

¨While Manu's track record includes lots of things, jokes about himself were never part of it ... . ¨

Manu | February 24, 2009 1:02 PM |
I just saw the draw , i don´t know if it is my patzer status or what but i like the chess they are playing.

You know me like no other Thomas ...

OK I admit that my "profiling" was incomplete! But that joke was 'innocent', I don't remember you joking about "important" issues such as who was right and who was wrong in Elista.
If I am proven wrong again, my suspicions that d_Manu was a third person are solely based on gut feeling or intuition (which may be right or wrong).
Interesting sideline BTW: When you, Manu, suggested "blind identity" games (you don't know whom you are playing) I had the follow-up suggestion of blind identity blogging - a regular poster picking a different username. It seems (at least to me) that someone picked up my suggestion. Don't blame me for remembering those posts ... or do if it makes you feel better!

On the other hand, that's typical troll behaviour, posting with several names (not that I want to accuse Manu of that, just pointing the fact). I don't care if Manu and d_manu are the same person. I think he (Manu) already got banned at Chessvibes, something i would regret here. Anyway, i would prefer if the general tone could be less agressive. And to contribute (just a little) to the post, I think that what Mamedyarov made was a shame. I wouldn't like for him to be "punished" by organizers, but who could blame them for that. Imagine he would do this at a closed tournament. It would not only ruin (even more) his own reputation, but also his opponent's, and the whole tournament. As if it would be easy to get a tournament going these days...

I really like the idea of a "blind identity" tournament, even if it were held at faster time controls, and as an adjunct to another tourney. Who do we have to convince?

Mmm , sure .
did not get banned from chessvibes , i didnt liked the moderation and stop posting there.
About the other Manu you can ask Mig or anyone who ¨sees¨ the ids from the computers, if we are the same poster.
Unlike you i use my real name here , why would i choose to go under such stupid remarks and troll behaviour ?
Ok Thomas , i see no matter how many times you are wrong you still need to talk to me , although i dont understand the reason.
Like i said , im not very enthusiastic about your writing , please dont mention me in your post if is not a problem .

I tried the idea in my holidays , it worked pretty well , if you are interested i can provide you with more information about the project.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on February 22, 2009 6:33 PM.

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