German International Master (IM) Jens Kotainy was disqualified from a tournament for allegedly cheating in his chess games through the use of a cell phone. It seems this is becoming quite the trend. It’s one that competitive chess players of all levels should be concerned about.
IMs are strong, there is no doubting that fact; heck, they are one level below grandmaster (GM), and many play at the GM level but haven’t received sufficient norms for the title. However, very few players at any level win their first seven games against formidable opponents at a strong tournament. That is, however, exactly what Kotainy had done before the Christian Goldschmidt, the tournament’s director, pulled him from the competition.
The IM, when questioned by Goldschmidt about his phone, took it out of his pocket for all to see and claimed it was off. However, even while he was showing the phone to Goldschmidt, it began to vibrate in apparent Morse Code messages.
As you can guess, that probably isn’t so good.
Kotainy’s opponent claimed that each and every time he made a move, he reached into his coat pocket. Presumably, of course, to give and receive messages about the ongoing game. In light of the phone and the fact that he had convincingly won his first seven games, one of them against a GM, Goldschmidt decided to forfeit him.
On one hand, it’s really good that these dishonest, thieving players are getting caught and punished. On the other, the mere reporting of such incidents may encourage other would-be cheaters to think up new and inventive ways to steal games.
Cheating is here to stay. With technological devices becoming smaller and more powerful by the month, keeping up with all the different cheating methods will be virtually impossible. What will happen to our great game? What new regulations will be put into place at chess tournaments? Where will the lines be drawn between preventative measures and bullying?
Time will tell.
New York Times article on this subject:
Jens Kotainy’s FIDE card: