License to Cheat?
Cheating Has Become Commonplace, Even in Chess. Are We Headed for a Lawless Society?
By BILL REDEKER
Park City, Utah, Aug. 9, 2006 — – Seems as if every occupation has been tarnished of late by accusations of cheating. Corporate America (the list is too long to cite specific individuals), the news industry (that Reuter’s photographer who manipulated pictures of Qana, Lebanon, under attack), and steroid-obsessed professional sports (Floyd Landis, Rafael Palmeiro, et al). All have had their share of notorious, high profile accused cheats.
Now comes word that the so-called gentleman’s game — chess — has been caught in allegations of improper play.
According to The New York Times, two players reportedly received help from computers or from friends using computers during the biggest chess tournament of the year, the World Open, in Philadelphia, over the Fourth of July weekend. The Times reported that Steve Rosenberg was expelled from the tournament and that Eugene Varshavsky was searched before each round, although Varshavsky was allowed to finish the tournament.
In Rosenberg’s case, a small, wireless earpiece was found. The device, which is called a Phonito, is described on an Internet Web site as a “wireless earphone” that “goes in the ear, providing clear and discrete audio,” with no wires protruding “above the user’s neck.” Apparently, Rosenberg had received wireless advice on various chess moves, possibly with the help of a computer.
In Varshavsky’s case, his nearly flawless moves were run through a computerized chess-playing program called Shredder. The last 25 moves of Varshavsky’s win against the grandmaster matched the moves generated by the computer. Coincidence? Perhaps, though previously Varshavsky had played disappointing chess and was among the lowest-ranked in his division.
The Times points out that cheating at chess is not new. Chess players have previously consulted other players about upcoming moves during breaks. But according to Bill Goichberg, director of the World Open and the Continental Chess Association, the use of computers and miniature transmitters and receivers takes the offense to a new level. “Before, a player might have discussed the position with someone who is a grandmaster,” he told The Times. “That sounds terrible, but if the grandmaster hasn’t seen your position, I don’t know if that is going to be much help. What is happening now is that the cheaters are concealing the fact that the moves are being transmitted to a computer.”
The tournament organizers did not respond to repeated requests for further information.
The rest can be read here.
In my opinion, this issue is paled in comparison to the election of Mr. Sam Sloan (a convicted felon who lied to the members of the USCF about his conviction record) to the Executive Board of the US Chess Federation, a non-profit 501(c)(4) organization with approximately 40,000 young members and 80,000 overall members. Mr. Sloan also has a highly questionable past in a number of areas including inappropriate sexual relations with very young female. This is the same man who loves to brag about his questionable actions.
There is something very wrong with this picture. What disgust me even more is some people are actually defending this newly elected official by saying that integrity, moral, honesty, etc., do not matter. These people think that there is nothing wrong with an individual like this serving on the Executive Board. Thank God that these people are in the minority but unfortunately enough to sway the election.
As I adamantly stated before, the Susan Polgar Foundation will stay as far away from people like this as possible. I absolutely oppose Mr. Sam Sloan. I strongly feel that Mr. Sloan is completely not qualified to serve on the Executive Board and representing approximately 40,000 young members.
I was asked to keep quiet about this!
I was asked to be patient and leave things be!
I was asked not to rock the boat!
I was even asked to apologize to Mr. Sloan for speaking out the truth!!
The answer is NO. There will be no politics as usual.
I have sacrificed so much time, effort, money, etc., to promote the educational, social and competitive benefits of chess to young people of all ages, especially girls. This is the mission of my foundation. I am not going to stay quiet when I see wrong things that can negatively affect the children and the game that I love and devoted my entire life to.
I am not Mr. Kasparov. I have no political aspiration. I am just a Chess Mom who want to do the right things. I am not perfect and I may make mistakes from time to time. But I will do everything in my power to be a good role model to my own children and children across the country and around the world. I will stand up for what I believe in.
The good news is there are plenty of good people who agree with me on this matter. I hope that together we can reverse this serious moral decay. We have to protect our children and do everything that is best for our children. Thank you for your support.