‘Outside’ help lands chess player in trouble
NEW DELHI, April 30, 2015
Updated: April 30, 2015 02:47 IST

Cheating in chess is rampant with mobile technology increasingly playing a role. Lesser-rated players taking ‘outside’ help during a game has been noticed in many events around the world, but efforts to put an end to this unethical practice is yet to fetch the desired results.

On Wednesday, during the fifth round of the inaugural Dr. Hedgewar Open chess tournament at the Thyagraj Stadium here, Dhruv Kakkar was caught with two mobile phones strapped to his legs, and a micro-speaker inserted in his left ear soon after he upstaged Grandmaster Pravin Thipsay.

In chess, rating points reflect the playing strength of a player. Thipsay, rated 2409, was playing with black pieces against Kakkar, a 19-year-old with a modest rating of 1517. A rating difference of nearly 900 points pointed to an easy win for the veteran GM.

But, that was not to be. After 87 moves, Thipsay resigned. But, much before the game ended, Thipsay had complained to chief arbiter Dharmendra Kumar. “I noticed that he was taking around two minutes for every move, whether it was a complex move or a simple piece-capture with a pawn,” said Thipsay.

“I expressed my doubts to the chief arbiter, who asked me to continue. By the 29th move, I was clearly lost and chose to offer a draw. He promptly declined the offer.

“But, my doubts stood confirmed when he missed simple winning lines as though he waited for a confirmation from someone.

“At times, I thought he misheard the move (that was transmitted through the strapped phone) and played incorrectly.”

Finally, after Thipsay resigned, Kakkar was whisked away to the tournament office and frisked.

He had neatly tucked away two 9-volt batteries into a pouch and strapped it to a belt around his waist.

The batteries were connected to a loop around his neck, but hidden under the shirt. He also carried two spare batteries in his bag for the next round.

The batteries were also connected to the phones strapped to each foot, just above the ankle.

A micro-speaker tucked in his left ear helped him listen to the moves suggested by his friend Shubham, who sat before a computer using chess software ‘Fritz’, around 220 km away at Yamuna Nagar in Haryana.

Full article here.

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