Monday, March 02, 2009

More Allegations of Cheating in the Chess World

The chess world was marred by yet another cheating allegation. At the Aeroflot Open in Moscow, Shakriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan) -- the favorite to win the tournament -- was defeated (in 21 moves) by Igor Kurnosov (Russia). Allegations of cheating arose when it was noted that Kurnosov went to the bathroom allegedly after every move and wore heavy clothing (suggesting he was concealing an electronic device). The most damning evidence was the alleged fact that all of Kurnosov’s moves matched a computer chess program’s analysis of the game (i.e., his moves perfectly matched those of a computer-generated analysis).

After these allegations were made, referees investigated Kurnosov’s person and found no electronic equipment or other signs of cheating. And Kurnosov was able to proceed in the tournament.

The incident highlights major problems in the chess world as computers and electronic communication devices become easier to acquire and even easier to conceal. How competitive chess will proceed into the 21st century under these circumstances remains to be seen.

The winning move (whether discovered by computer or man!) in the Kurnosov/Mamedyarov match was a bold queen sacrifice.

(Black to Move)

1... Qd2! (Threatening 2. . . Qxb2#).

2. Rxd2 Nxd2+. 3. Kc2 Bxh5.

3. Rxh5 Nc4.

And Black has obtained a game winning advantage.