During my time on the FIDE Anti-Cheating Committee I discovered that the rules we proposed didn't go far enough to eliminate cheating, and at the same time went too far in an attempt to eliminate cheating. For some, any imposition on players and organisers to prevent cheating (metal detectors, storage areas for phones, or the searching of players) would stop events being organised and result in the death of chess itself. On the other hand, by not insisting on stringent requirements, and preventing even the slightest chance of cheating, would result in events not being organised and the death of chess itself.
But in what might come as a shock to almost everyone who plays chess, there needed to be a middle ground, where organisers had the power to act against potential cheats, but do so in a sensible and affordable manner. There also needed to be penalties for those caught cheating, but at the same time, a method to prevent players from being accused of cheating,without any consequences if the claim was false.
This was brought into focus by the recent happenings at the European Women's Championship. WGM Mihaela Sandu got off to a flying start, at which point a number of other competitors asked the organisers to delay the live broadcast of her games. This was done via the rather crass tactic of putting up a petition on the notice board at the hotel where the players were staying.The organiser in fact did accept this request for a round, before the blow back made him reconsider. The upshot was that Sandu lost her last 4 games, a whole lot of people have had their reputations damaged, and further action may be on the cards.
The real problem though was that the Chief Arbiter blundered right at the start of the process. One of the things the FIDE Anti-Cheating Regulations was sure to include was a process for handling accusations. If any of the players had a suspicion that a player was cheating then they needed to make a formal complaint to the Chief Arbiter. This cannot be done anonymously, and for anything further to happen the player has to put their name to the complaint. If they don't, then that is the end of the matter. If they do, the arbiter is obliged to investigate and report to the FIDE Anti-Cheating Commission. Importantly, if a complaint is made privately, then the process remains confidential.
Then the case can either go three ways. A breach of the anti-cheating regulations is found, and the player is sanctioned; or insufficient proof is found, and there is no sanction on the player; or no breach is found and the Anti-Cheating Commission decide the initial complaint was unfounded. In the final case, there can be sanctions against the player(s) making the complaint.
Now this may seem a little harsh, but the issue of false complaints was a real concern. It was felt that this was the best way of balancing the competing issues, without deterring well founded complaints.
In the Sandu case, a bad move by the Arbiter/Organisers not only affected the performance of one of the players, but has also opened up the possibility of sanctions against a number of other participants.