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article imageIt's 'checkmate' for chess grandmaster caught cheating in Dubai

By Karen Graham     Apr 13, 2015 in World
One chess grandmaster is probably ruing the day he ever decided to play in the 2015 Dubai Open Chess Championship. Georgian grandmaster Gaioz Nigalidze will now have to live with the harshest of labels — Cheater.
Going to the bathroom after every chess move was the tip-off for Nigalidze’s opponent during a match at the 17th Dubai Open Chess Championship. Tigran Petrosian of Armenia couldn't help but notice the strange behavior, and mentioned it to one of the officials.
The Dubai Open Chess Championship, known as the Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Cup, has a total cash purse of US$50,000, with $12,000 going to the winner. This year a total of 155 players signed up for the championship, a nine-round Swiss system where each player is allotted 90 minutes, with a 10-second increment for each move, to complete the game.
According to, Chief arbiter for the tournament, and international Arbiter (IA) Mahdi Abdul Rahim said, “The Armenian noticed the Georgian was oddly frequenting the toilet after each move during a crucial part of the game." He added that Petrosian had informed officials earlier in the match of his suspicion that Nigalidze was getting help from a chess computer using an electronic device. This was when officials started watching him more closely.
The rules for tournaments sanctioned by the International Chess Federation, of which the Dubai tournament is included, forbid the carrying of smartphones or other electronic devices by players during their games. When Nigalidze was first checked by officials, nothing was found on his person.
But the tournament director and other officials were still suspicious because the Georgian kept bolting to the bathroom as soon as he made his move, and he always used the same stall. When they finally checked the cubicle, they found the mobile phone along with a headset hidden behind the pan and covered with a big pile of toilet paper.
When confronted with the mobile phone, Nigalidze denied it belonged to him. But when the officials opened the smartphone, they found it was logged onto a social networking site under the Georgian's name. They also found that his game was being analyzed by a chess application.
Nigalidze was ousted from the tournament and a report of the incident will be sent to the International Chess Federation. Players found to be cheating will be suspended from all sanctioned tournaments for three years, and for up to 15 years for a repeat offense.
Nigalidze has back-to-back wins of the Georgian Chess Championship in 2013 and 2014, as well as being the winner of the Al Ain Classic in Al Ain last December. It is not clear how many times the Georgian visited the bathroom in these tournaments, but it's a good bet someone will be checking.
More about chess grandmaster, Dubai tournament, app on smartphone, toilet stall, computer programs
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