[ExI] chess cheating

spike spike66 at att.net
Mon Mar 21 16:51:03 UTC 2011

Those of you who have been around here a while may recall our discussions of
computer assisted cheating in chess at the top levels.  That discussion took
place mostly about 12 years ago or so.  The reason I can approximate the
timeframe is that Sasha Chislenko and I discussed it at Extro4, which was in
August 1999.  Well we now have an unambiguous example of it.  The perps are
the French Olympiad team during the 2010 international competition.  France
placed tenth in that, and the official records do not yet have an asterisk.


We went over all the tricky I/O systems that could be used, but it all
turned out to be much simpler than any of our ideas, and the way they got
caught was much simpler than we anticipated.  The players got in with a
confederate who sent the moves via text message disguised as a phone number
over cell phone to yet another cheater, who had a laptop computer, which
suggested a move, at which time the move would be transmitted back by text
disguised as a phone number.  The answer would be signaled to the player by
standing behind designated players.  At grandmaster level, all that is
needed is a "to" square, so they only need two signals.  Stand behind player
3 then behind player 5 is the "to" square c5 for instance.


The French players did not second guess the computer.


The French found out their players were cheating by getting access to the
text messages during the time in which the games were taking place.


The French busted their own Olympians.


This scandal has taken out three of France's top players.


I am surprised at how unsophisticated was this technique.  A nation has lost
credibility in the sports world and we didn't even get any tricky new
inventions out of the deal.






How it was perpetrated

>From Jean-Claude Moingt and from others involved in the investigation we
have learnt the technicalities of the alleged cheating in Khanty-Mansiysk.
According to Moingt the system, as revealed in the meeting of October 11,
2010, was as follows:

*	Cyril Marzolo, who was in Nancy at the time of the Olympiad, sent
SMS texts with phone numbers 
*	The first two digits of the numbers were always 06 
*	The next two were the move number 
*	The fifth and sixth were the "from" square 
*	The seventh and eighth were the destination square 
*	The final two digits were random and of no importance 
*	For example: 06-01-52-54-37, 06-01-57-55-99, 06-02-71-63-84,
06-02-67-65-43 are the first moves of the Latvian Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5).

Arnaud Hauchard had two phones on him, his and that of Sebastien Feller. He
would consult them at the bar and then come back to the playing hall. The
moves were transmitted to Feller as follows:

*	The opponent of Vachier-Lagrave was A and 1 
*	The opponent of Fressinet was B and 2 
*	The opponent of Tkachiev C and 3 
*	The opponent Feller D and 4 
*	Feller himself was E and 5 
*	Tkachiev was F and 6 
*	Fressinet was G and 7 
*	Finally Vachier-Lagrave was H and 8 

Arnaud Hauchard would move around the tables and stop for some time behind
different players, e.g. behind the opponent of Tkachiev and then behind
Fressinet to signal the square c2. Incidentally it is usually sufficient to
signal the destination square - a 2600+ (or even much weaker) player is
easily able to determine which piece should be moved there...



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