Monday, 8 May 2017

Sandu controversy - redux

In 2015 concerns were raised about the performance of Mihaela Sandu in the European Women's Championship. Sandu started the event with 5/5, at which point a number of competitors raised questions about the anti-cheating methods in place for the competition, and somewhat unwisely, mentioned Sandu by name. Sandu in return lodged a complaint with the FIDE Ethics Commision, which has finally been decided. (My initial post on the matter is here. I recommend you read the comments as well).
The Ethics Commission has handed downs its judgement, with a variety of punishments being handed out to 15 players named in the complaint. Natalia Zhukova has received a 3 month ban from chess, suspended for a year on the condition she makes no further unfounded accusations against another player. The Ethics Commission regarded her as the chief complainant, and as a result, deserving of the greatest punishment. A further 9 players received a reprimand and warning, while the remaining 5 players received a warning not to repeat the behaviour.
Ultimately this is an important judgement, albeit one that was a little late in delivery. While I was a member of the FIDE Anti-Cheating Committee (ACC), the issue of false public accusations was one that I thought needed to be dealt with, and I pushed hard to have regulations dealing with this included. Of course the work of the ACC was stalled in 2014 as the FIDE Executive lost interest in almost everything that did not directly contribute to re-election of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, but it seems that after a 2 year hiatus, work is now progressing in this area.
Finally, there are some who may think this judgement will discourage players from reporting suspect cheaters. This was taken into account when the regulations were drafted, and there is a distinction between reporting concerns directly and privately to an arbiter (although a formal complaint may still be requested), and making such suspicions public (noting that there is some dispute about whether this occurred in the Sandu case).
For further coverage on this issue, including a link to the judgement, read the Chessbase report.


Anonymous said...

Why weren't the male players "banned" who requested a similar broadcast delay with Feller in 2011? Also, the naming of Sandu being crucial is *really* pedantic, as it would be clear who it was about (like with Feller) even without it.

Laar said...

Here is the open letter from 2011 (March, Euro Indiv):

Open Letter Dear French chess federation, dear ECU, dear chess community, In view of the rumours and allegations about possible cheating using electronic devices and outside help taking place during the European Individual Championship in Aix-les-Bains, we have an atmosphere that makes it impossible for the players to approach their games calmly and being sure that their opponents do not break the rules. We therefore demand that - the arbiters reserve the rights to search any player’s pockets in case of suspicion - no electronic devices can be brought into the playing hall, switched off or otherwise - electronic boards can be unplugged if one of the players demands it Respectfully,

Although it does not mention Feller by name, it constructively is aimed at him. If the same had been done in Chakvi, I'm sure Sandu would obviously realize it was aimed at her.