French chess team cheated via text

Apr 01, 2011 by Katie Gatto weblog
Image: Wikipedia.

(PhysOrg.com) -- We all want to get ahead, but how many of us are willing to cheat to do it? As it turns out, when the stakes are high, cheating really isn't that uncommon. Sadly, we have come to see cheating as commonplace when it is done by professional athletes or politicians, but when you think about cheating, chess probably isn't the first place that comes to mind.

Well, you may want to think again. As it turns out some of the smartest people in the world may not be the most moral, and technology is helping cheaters to be better at what they do.

The French federation has seen fit to suspend three of its players for allegedly using technology to cheat. The players under suspension are Sébastien Feller, a chess grandmaster who is only 20 years old, Cyril Marzolo, and Arnaud Hauchard, who is the French team captain. The trio is accused of using the help of a chess playing computer during the matches. You may wonder how they were getting the information in real time during the match. Simple, by using a tool that you probably have in your pocket right now, a cell phone. Moves were allegedly exchanged via text messages.

The is supposed to have happened at last September's Chess Olympiad which took place in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. The team was accused by the French federation's own vice president, Joanna Pomian, who saw a saying "Hurry up and send me some moves." that was sent by Mr Hauchard during a match.

An examination of the players phone bills showed over 150 texts during the match. Privacy laws prevented looking at the actual text of the messages, but it was enough to convince authorities.

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User comments : 9

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wealthychef
5 / 5 (1) Apr 01, 2011
How in the world were they able to see their phones without getting noticed? That's pretty good sleight of hand
LKD
not rated yet Apr 01, 2011
I was wondering that too. If you were in Las Vegas and tried to get the other hands of the opponents by text, they would have spotted it instantly.
J-n
not rated yet Apr 01, 2011
I did hear about some guys doing something similar to this in vegas, they used a program that turned the text into vibrations. Though in that case they were just texting numbers so it was easy to figure out.. then again p k4 isnt that difficult to translate into vibrations.. and the outgoing txts could be done without looking at the screen...

ennui27
not rated yet Apr 01, 2011
Did they win the matches they cheated in?


I guess that is the question of the hour, SmartJerry. Imagine how irksome it would be to be disciplined for taking moves that lead to a loss.
patzer
not rated yet Apr 01, 2011
Did they win the matches they cheated in?

he got a gold medal for his board.
How in the world were they able to see their phones without getting noticed? That's pretty good sleight of hand

it is fairly normal to get up while it's not your turn. games last easily over 2 hours with standard time controls.
REP01
not rated yet Apr 02, 2011
Things could get more interesting if both sides did this. Then you could drop out the humans and just let the computers play each other.
Agrippa7
not rated yet Apr 02, 2011
"Did they win the matches they cheated in? "
Only one of the four players who actually played was cheating (Feller). His win was the edge the team needed to win about 3 matches.
"How in the world were they able to see their phones without getting noticed? That's pretty good sleight of hand"
One of them signaled the moves by stopping next to the players' chairs. Each of the chairs corresponded to a different rank/file.
Quantum_Conundrum
not rated yet Apr 02, 2011
Things could get more interesting if both sides did this. Then you could drop out the humans and just let the computers play each other.


You can do this on some versions of Chess Master, which is probably what they were using.

You can even "weight" how the A.I. values material and positions, and set up any board position and allow the best computer A.I., or several of them, to play the game(s) from that position over and over. This will allow you to pick the move which is most likely to be the "best possible move" no matter what.

Oh yeah, computer A.I vs computer A.I tends to end in a stalemate or a win by white "almost" every time...
Quantum_Conundrum
not rated yet Apr 02, 2011
One of them signaled the moves by stopping next to the players' chairs. Each of the chairs corresponded to a different rank/file.


That's actually pathetic. You'd think that people allegedly that smart would come up with a better way of cheating.

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