It is not clear what the true motives are for cheating at chess. One goal is to become a grandmaster. Another is to rake in prizes. A third is to acquire the prestige of being a genius. A fourth is to find a way to beat the system. But whatever the goal, cheating dips especially low in the annals of ethics.
The latest report brings a story of extraordinary interest that appears on ChessBase.com, a popular source of chess events. The report involves the strange case of Borislav Ivanov, a young man from Bulgaria. The website states that “everyone has heard about Borislav Ivanov, a lowly FM from Bulgaria, who since late 2012 has wowed the chess world with super-GM performances.” Many grandmasters have vowed to boycott any tournament in which Ivanov plays.
Nevertheless, the Bulgarians decided to preserve his eligibility to play in the large Blagoevgrad Open. Grandmaster Max Dlugy, former president of the US Chess Federation, decided to enter the tournament. ChessBase asked Dlugy only one question (via Skype): “Maxim, tell us what happened to you in the Blagoevgrad Open?” and Dlugy proceeded to explain what had happened.
Dlugy relates that, in the first two rounds, Ivanov was the first to dispatch two opponents. He then faced Ivan Saric, rated 300 points higher than Ivanov. Saric thought he was playing a machine, offered a draw on move 13, declined, and eventually did draw. Ivanov resigned against his next opponent despite a drawn position. Dlugy watched and noticed that Ivanov was doing something peculiar with his feet and wearing big sneakers. He also noticed Ivanov walking peculiarly. Dlugy suggested that the directors search Ivanov’s shoes, but nothing was found in a subsequent game. Dlugy was later paired against Ivanov. Ivanov wrote on his scoresheet, “White, machine, Black, unknown clown.” Accordingly, Ivanov was going to be searched again, and he seemed to be upset. The search of his person occurred and nothing was found. Then he and Dlugy were asked to take off their shoes and stockings. Dlugy complied. Ivanov declined, claiming an odor. He was then defaulted for that game but later played two more games. The denouement is that Ivanov has announced his resignation from chess, insisting on his innocence, quoted by the Bulgarian news outlet Blitz. This ends l’affaire Ivanov.
Meanwhile, at the Paris Grand Prix, Fabiano Caruana, of Italy and America, had struggled to win the tournament, which would have given him an entry into the 2014 Candidates’ tournament for the World Championship. He needed a clear first to qualify and with one round left he had an even score with Boris Gelfand of Israel. In the last round he agreed to a short, gentleman’s draw, thus failing to qualify and leaving the spot to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan. There were no explanations.
Brevity: M. Romi vs. H. Wright (1925) 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Be2 Be7 6.0–0 Nf6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.Bd3 e5 9.f4 exf4 10.Bxf4 Qb6+ 11.Kh1 Qxb2 12.Nd2 Qb6 13.Nc4 Qd8 14.Nd6+ Bxd6 15.Bxd6 Ng8 16.Qh5; 1-0
Winners: Greater Boston Open Section: 1st-2d, David Vigorito, Steven Winer, 3.5-0.5, 3d, Mika Brattain; U1900 Section: 1st-2d, Eddie Wei, Andrew Luff, 3.5-0.5, 3rd (tie), Robert Stewart, Michael Isakov, 3-1
Coming events: Boylston Legends of Chess, Oct. 19, BCC Scholastic Grand Prix and BCC Annual Blitz, Oct. 20, 240B Elm St., Somerville, www.boylstonchessclub.org; Eastern Class Team Championship, Sheraton Hotel, Stamford, Conn., www.chesstour@com/etc13.htm