Wednesday 9 September 2015

If you plan to cheat

If you are planning to cheat at chess using a computer you should at least try and be clever about it. The latest cheating controversy involves a player in the Imperia Chess Festival, who seemed to be playing extraordinarily well for some one with a 1600-ish rating. This in and of itself is not proof of cheating, although the Chief Arbiter did the sensible thing and investigated the player concerned.
After a scan with a metal detector, it was discovered that the player, Arcangelo Riccicardi, had a camera in the pendant around his neck, and was receiving assistance from a confederate who was replying in morse code to a receiver hidden under his armpit. Some of the tell tale signs, according to the arbiter, was that he never left the board (as most players do), and he blinked when he was trying to decipher the messages.
Of course the player was expelled from the event, and an investigation is underway. Probably the most interesting thing about this case (to me anyway) was that the method of detection was more akin to how a casino would spot a card counter, rather than through any chess related detection. Of course the good results were a tip off, but it was the amateurish approach that seemed to give the game away.


Anonymous said...

My guess is that Ricciardi will get off lightly. The arbiter is quoted as saying that "such results are impossible" and "I *knew* the guy was a cheat." AFAIK, the determination of the camera (or "camera" as Ricciardi-defenders would say) in the pendant and the detection of the "armpit box" (claimed nonexistent by Ricciardi) were not done in front of a lot of people, and he will likely argue that the preconceived notions of the arbiter played a role in imagining these. Of course, he also claims that the search was "illegal" in that he had already quit the tournament when the metal detector was announced, and they (by force) "abducted" him to do the test. I know who I believe, but...

The Italian federation discipline system is fairly strict about evidence (recall Loris Cerada), and I'm not sure whether this case has sufficient "international implications" to fall under direct FIDE Ethics Commission purview (cf. recent decision with Humpy Koneru). Ricciardi was under some sort of censure by the Italian federation for not showing up for the last round at a June tournament w/o telling anyone, so this might have been his "payback" --- alternatively, the arbiter suggested he was "road-testing" the system for someone else.

Anonymous said...

the international smear campaign against archangelo ricciardi is here too.

first the bogus facts, archangelo is no 1600-ish but 1829. after being rudely deplored by italian chess leaders from milan (july), archangelo set out with high studies and preperation for imperia to show them right.

but noone likes the whistle blower and so leaders trumped up everything in response. they searched him after round 6, and found not a thing. NOTHING. I will quote the arbiter, exactly

«Dall’ispezione, eseguita in sede privata con il consenso del giocatore e alla presenza degli arbitri, non รจ emerso nulla che possa far presumere un atteggiamento scorretto o fraudolento»

yet they called the fide anti-cheaters community, who demanded the metal detecter, obviously to embarass the tournament leader. with powerful forces against archangelo, the decision was made to quit, in spite of the competetive result to date.

no matter, they grab archangelo by force, declare pendant jewelry to be a camera, and i guess body hair is now "wires" in the armpit.

archangelo will not back down. archangelo has spoken to the press. all appeals will be made until justice is seen.

the chess world is famous for protecting all powerful arbitrators, at the expense of wounding players. will this time be different?