The problem of cheating in chess is such a shameful one that perhaps not everybody has read this modest sounding article:
At the end of last week's tournament in Zadar, Croatia, there was a surprising result from the 25-year old Bulgarian player Borislav Ivanov, who had the lowest rating (2227) of the 36 players in the event. He scored 6 out od 9, sharing 3-4 places, and beat Kurajica, Zelcic, Kozul and Sharic, and put up a rating performance of 2697. A computer programmer by profession, he was searched before the start of the 8th round, but no evidewnce of cheating was found. He received ap;ologies. Even so, few believe that the Bulgarian could have achieved such a result honestly, according to chessvibes.com.
A more serious investigation was carried out by Chessbase, who have produced some interesting material on the problem. The article below is reproduced with some changes and additions.
Cheating suspicions at the Zadar Open in Croatia
In this event with 16 GMs and many other strong players, one player attracted special attention: 25 year old unknown Bulgarian Borislav Ivanov scored 6/9, with a rating performance of 2697. In the January rating list he has gained 155 points on his previous 2227, which was based on over 400 games over three years. Suspicion again raises its ugly head.
The International Zadar Open took place from December 16 to 22, 2012, at the Falkensteiner Hotels & Resorts Borik in Zadar, Croatia. The tournament consisted of two groups, OpeOpen A for the players rated above 2300 FIDE and Open B for the players rated U2200. Players rated between 2200-2300 could choose the group in which they would prefer to compete. Both groups were played as nine-round Swiss tournaments, with time controls of 90 min for the whole game + 30 sec increment per move. The top prize in Open A was 2200 Euros, first place in Open B was awarded 500 Euros. Here are the top final standings of the event.
As you can see the untitled Bulgarian player Borislav Ivanov, who is a computer programmer, produced a remarkable result, playing 470 points above his nominal (and highest ever) FIDE rating of 2227. Here for the record are his individual results in the Zadar Open, which include wins against grandmasters Bojan Kurajica, Robert Zelcic, Zdenko Kozul and Ivan Saric.
The meteoric progress in this event led a number of players to sound alarm signals, and the organisers conducted what has been called a "strip search" of the Bulgarian player – which naturally drew the attention of main stream media in Croatia. Jutarnji List described it less sensationally: Ivanov was asked to take off his shirt, empty his pockets and submit his pen for inspection. Nothing was found. But is spite of that the story was out. Here are three reports from Croatia::
The headline reads: "Genius or crook? Check Bulgarian chess player stripped to see whether he is using cheating chip!" And the intro paragraph: "Ivanov is 25 years old and has a job as a programmer. Everybody is watching him, but he is not doing anything that raises suspicion that he might be receiving signals during the game." You can read the full article (in Croatian) here.
The Croatian Times article goes on to say that Borislav Ivanov was stripped and had his clothing searched after judges decided he must have a hidden aid telling him what moves to make after he beat much better ranked chess players.
"Technologies are so developed now that theoretically, since the games were broadcast live, Ivanov’s friends in the neighbouring room, from Sofia, or even from the Antarctic, could have sent him hints for his moves through chips, which could have been placed under the skin, in the ear, or in the teeth," one of the tournament participants told Jutarnji List.В статье «Croatian Times» говорится о том, что Борислав Иванов был осмотрен и, его одежда была проверена после того, как судьи решили, что он может иметь возможность скрытой помощи после того, как он обыграл намного лучших его по рейтингу шахматистов.
IFocus reports: "A huge scandal burst out at the international chess tournament in the Croatian city of Zadar, after the organisers decided to undress Bulgarian chess player Borislav Ivanov to the skin, because they thought he had implanted chips, which tell him what moves to make. Everyone was looking at him but he did not reveal any evidence of using illegal help; he did not even have headphones, but all his moves were astonishing. “It is not true that we made him strip naked. He himself took off his t-shirt, while we emptied his pockets,” said Chief Oraniser Stanislav Maroja.
Knowledgeable sources thought the Bulgarian was cheating. However, they were wondering why he would take part in a tournament, which costs a couple of thousands of euro, while the cheating equipment, which can be integrated into contact lenses, for instance, costs thousands of Euros more. The suspicions about Ivanov’s cheating were based on the fact that when the organisers stopped the broadcasting of the round before the last one, when Ivanov played vs Predoevic, the Bulgarian lost the game. Croatian grandmaster Zlatko Klaric said that Ivanov was cheating, because he was already accused of this at chess competitions in Bulgaria and Serbia.
“Ivanov is chess programmer, who since mid-2011 until now had won only one rating point, while at the Zadar tournament he won 60. He made moves like a computer, which was obvious in the game vs Jovanovic,” Klaric remarked. “Technologies are so developed now that theoretically, since the games were aired live, Ivanov’s friends in the neighbouring room, from Sofia, or even from the Antarctic, could have sent him hints for his moves through chips, which could have been placed under the skin, in the ear, or in the teeth,” Klaric added.
Borislav Ivanov is ranked 114 in Bulgaria, and after playing over 400 games in three years had reached his highest ever rating of 2227 at the end of last year. In the January list of FIDE, which has included his Zadar Open results, he is listed at 2342, 115 points higher than his previous rating.
Here is one example of the Bulgarian's play. With hand on heart, one must say that it is too good for a candidate master
Material prepared and edited by Sergey Kim
The Ivanov file