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Georgian Grandmaster caught using smartphone to cheat at Dubai Open chess tournament

Gaioz Nigalidze of Georgia was caught using a smartphone to cheat at chess event
Modified 22 Feb 2016, 21:01 IST

Georgian Grandmaster Gaioz Nigalidze has been expelled from the 17th Dubai Open after being caught using a smartphone to consult his moves during frequent toilet breaks. Nigalidze, the reigning chess champion from Georgia and ranked 400 in the world, was playing Armenian Tigran Petrosian in the sixth round when he was found out.

The 26-year-old Nigalidze, who was spoken of highly even before he became a Grandmaster after sensationally winning the Georgian Championship twice in a row in 2013 and 2014, now faces a 3-year ban. 

His Armenian opponent grew suspicious at the frequency and duration of Nigalidze’s toilet breaks and alerted officials. 

Petrosian said, "I was suspicious about my opponent already after the tournament in Al Ain in December, where we both had been taking part. Nigalidze won that tournament; during our game he would go to the toilet very often, as well as this time. However, in Al Ain I had no evidence, I could only make guesses. Today, my suspicions have been confirmed.

“In today's game, Nigalidze would promptly reply to my moves and then literally run to the toilet. Twice, I made my moves promptly as well, so that he couldn't leave, and he made mistakes on those occasions. Then I decided to keep an eye on him. I noticed that he would always visit the same toilet partition, which was strange, since two other partitions weren't occupied.

Computers bigger danger in chess than doping: Kramnik

Officials entered the toilet after one of Nigalidze’s visits and discovered a smartphone wrapped in toilet tissue and buried in the bin. The phone was logged into the player’s Facebook account and there was a chess program running on it showing his positions.

Nigalidze’s opponent talked about the scene after the toilet visit, “We both were sitting at the board, when the chief arbiter came up to Nigalidze and showed him the mobile phone, asking: "Is this yours?" Nigalidze blushed, got confused and couldn't say anything.”

"Not everything is true in what Petrosian said", is all the tainted Nigalidze had to say when contacted.


The first prize up for grabs at the competition was $12,000.

Vladimir Kramnik had recently said about proposed doping controls introduced by the World Chess Federation FIDE, “Instead of a doping control, which is meaningless in chess, they should have airport-style security systems at all major tournaments to make sure nobody is getting help from computers during the game. That is a much greater danger.”

Published 14 Apr 2015, 22:19 IST
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