Hi-Tech Cheating Scandal Shakes Chess World

French federation suspends grandmasters using texts, computers
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2011 2:43 AM CDT
Updated Mar 25, 2011 6:20 AM CDT
This is the first time formal accusations of cheating of this kind have surfaced in international chess.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Three leading French chess players have been suspended in a cheating scandal that has rocked the usually sedate world of international chess. The French chess federation accuses the trio of using a complex text message-based system to cheat at the Chess Olympiad in Siberia last fall, reports the BBC. One player not at the tournament allegedly used chess software to find the best move, and texted his findings, disguised as a phone number, to the team captain. The captain then communicated the move to the player involved in a game by switching to one of dozens of tables in the competition hall. The trio had pre-arranged codes that translated the captain's locations to squares on a chess board, officials said.

The alleged plot was uncovered after a chess federation official, who had loaned her cell phone to one of the players, discovered a text saying "Hurry up and send the moves." She checked the records to find that more than 100 coded messages had been sent. "There have often been suspicions of cheating but there has never before been such clear evidence of it at the highest level," said the federation president. "Even Garry Kasparov has rung me about it. He is astounded." The suspended players claim they are the victims of a conspiracy.

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