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Chess Champ Busted Cheating in the Bathroom

Grandmaster Gaioz Nigalidze could face 15-year ban over hidden phone
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2015 10:04 AM CDT
Chess Champ Busted Cheating in the Bathroom
Indian chess grandmaster Viswanathan Anand, left, concentrates during his game against US/Italian grandmaster Fabiano Caruana in Zurich, Switzerland, Feb. 16, 2015.   (AP Photo/Keystone,Ennio Leanza)

(Newser) – Chess has a case of "high-tech doping," the BBC reports. Georgia's national chess champion, Gaioz Nigalidze, visited the same bathroom stall enough during the Dubai Open on Saturday that his opponent, Armenian Tigran Petrosian, became suspicious. "Nigalidze would promptly reply to my moves and then literally run to the toilet," he tells the Telegraph. Officials investigated and the BBC reports they found a phone covered in toilet paper in a trash bin. "He denied it was his, but it was logged into his Facebook page and there was a chess program running on it, showing his positions," the tournament director says. Nigalidze, ranked 400th in the world, was booted from the competition and is the first grandmaster to be referred to the World Chess Federation's (FIDE) Anti-Cheating Commission, set up last year.

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At stake in the tournament is a $12,000 prize. The Georgian Chess Federation says the incident was "very bad," but it plans to hear from the 26-year-old before discussing retribution. Cheating with electronic devices "has increased in the past three or four years, so we've made special efforts to combat it," the secretary of the Anti-Cheating Commission says. FIDE officials are able to search tournament participants, while metal detectors and blocking devices are also used. After an investigation, the commission will pass the case to an ethics committee, which will decide Nigalidze's fate. The tournament's chief arbiter tells CNN that guilty parties are handed a three-year ban from sanctioned tournaments, while repeat offenders face a 15-year ban. On Twitter, former world title contender Nigel Short suggested Nigalidze should face criminal charges for fraud. (Meet the youngest US grandmaster ever.)

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