It was five years ago that the puzzle world was rocked by a Sudoko cheating scandal. Now the chess world has faced its own scandal with the effective banishment of Georgian champ Gaioz Nigalidze, who was found to have secreted a smartphone in a toilet to cheat during an international tournament. This brings a new meaning to the chess terms of a “bust” and a “bye.”
Nigalidze, the two-time national champion, was given a 15-year suspension after the discovery at the Dubai Open Chess tournament discovery. His opponent lodged a complaint during the tournament that he was suspicious about all of the bathroom breaks before moves. The officials investigated and found a mobile phone in a cubicle, covered in toilet paper. The mobile phone had headphones and Nigalidze is believed to have been using a chess App to figure out his next move.
This is not the first such case. In July 2013, Bulgarian player Borislav Ivanov was suspended after his moves matched those of a computer chess program. However, he was only given a four-month suspension. IN 2008, an Iranian player was banned for received text messages with moves. In 1999, three French players were suspended for sending text messages with moves and coded signals to win the 2010 Chess Olympiad.
Nigalidze’s opponent, Armenian Grandmaster Tigran Petrosian, was declared the winner.
What is interesting is the lack of any legal action in such cases. Obviously if there were untrue, Nigalidze would likely sue for defamation, which he has notably not threatened. Conversely, it is interesting that the competition does not try to recoup expenses from such a player who effectively destroys a competition and forced a default.