Fake Heroes Tournament revisited
spurious nature of the event was originally uncovered by TWIC
– The Week in Chess, reported that the International Chess GM
Tournament called "Memorial Heroes of Chernobyl", which took place
in Óity a Slavutich (Kiev region, Ukraine) from April 14th-26th, 2005,
never actually happened.
Our story on
the fake tournament, which appeared shortly after the TWIC revelations,
was picked up by news outlets all over the world. FIDE discussed the matter
in their Presidential Board meeting in Doha a week ago, sent out a
warning to all federations that there will be "severe punishments
for players, arbiters, officials, organisers and Federations" if tournaments
and results are falsified.
Today we received a message from the President of the Ukrainian Chess Federation
V. Petrov, informing us that indeed the "Memorial Heroes" tournament
had been faked and had been an "open and shameless falsification".
Although the matter is still under investigation, Petrov accuses a number persons
of collusion. He writes: "My basic question to the direct organizers is:
Did not you understand what a sin you were committing thus humiliating memory
of the numerous victims and real heroes of that terrible catastrophe? How cynical
was your thirst for ratings and titles?" And Petrov issues a stern warning:
"I would like to warn all chess schemers: do not play with fire –
UCF Management will suppress all attempts of falsifications." The full
letter is given below.
In his Telegraph column Nigel Short picked up the subject of dishonesty
in chess, accusing some of the FIDE officials who had issued the stern warning
of not having a lilly-clean vest themselves. Here is Nigel's most
recent column in The Telegraph.
Filed: 22/05/2005. This week the 17-year-old GM Timur Gareev
and fellow Uzbek IM Anton Fillipov were disgraced when they were caught using
analysis engines while competing in tournaments on the popular PlayChess server.
The fraud – the equivalent of taking a crowbar to a cash-dispenser –
was detected by the use of sophisticated software programs. A recent scam on
an altogether grander scale was the Heroes of Chernobyl Memorial Tournament
which, it was claimed, took place in Slavutich, Ukraine, about a month ago.
It is not clear whether any of the games were actually played, but what is
certain is that some of the alleged participants were nowhere near the place
at the time. Alexander Nosenko, the man who defaulted against me by not appearing
in the Monarch Assurance, Isle of Man, a couple of years ago, apparently won
this fictitious tournament – thereby obtaining a grandmaster norm.
After the deception was uncovered by Mark Crowther of The Week In Chess, the
Ukrainian Chess Federation was galvanised into avowing to penalise the perpetrators.
As the stench of corruption has grown ever more pungent, FIDE itself has finally
woken up to the problem. At the recent presidential board meeting in Doha,
Qatar, it solemnly declared: “There will be severe punishments for players,
arbiters, officials, organisers and Federations in proven cases of malpractice,
up to a ban for life.”
Noble intentions for an organisation that collects money for the awarding
of each and every FIDE title. The statement noted: “FIDE is aware that
instances of misconduct are far from easy to prove.” Indeed. Therefore
it should confine itself only to cases where there have been serious allegations.
For its words to carry any weight, FIDE might begin its investigations with
the presidential board itself.
The FIDE vice president Zurab Azmaiparashvili of Georgia won the 2003 European
Championship, on his own admission, by retracting a move during the decisive
game against Malakhov. There is not much point in expressing regret about this
later, as he did in an interview in New in Chess (2003/5), when the deed, which
is totally forbidden under the laws of chess, has already been done.
FIDE might also care to make an official inquiry into the highly irregular
tournament that took place in a restaurant in Strumica, Macedonia, in 1995,
to determine whether there is a case to answer. Azmaiparashvili, who won it
with a massive 16/18, gaining 40 rating points, admitted no wrong-doing, but
conceded in the same NIC interview that it had been a mistake to play there
– a very peculiar comment considering that this was undoubtedly one of
the greatest results of his career.
The following game from that tournament has an interesting history: from beginning
to end it is Garry Kasparov’s analysis. As a former second of Garry’s,
Zurab would temporarily have had access to that information. Please forgive
me for having skipped over most of the opening moves, but I wanted to get to
the meat of the story. In the evening before the last round of Novgorod 1997,
when I was due to play Garry Kasparov, I was set upon by a large dog while
walking. I received a nasty bite in my arm and was admitted to hospital.
Bandaged and bleeding, I was in no condition to play chess. Thus, for the
only time in my life, I proposed a pre-arranged draw to the great man, which
he duly accepted (in fact a draw with black guaranteed him at least a shared
first place). We then decided to concoct the following game for public benefit.
Garry thought that, as we were playing a fake game, it would be hilarious if
we followed Azmai’s game for as long as possible.
I might add that he was still livid that Azmai had exposed chunks of his analysis
to public scrutiny, which in his eyes was the act of a disaffected ex-employee.
Of course, we had to arrange a different result and, for the sake of aesthetics,
do it as prettily as we could.
Annotated game Azmaiparashvili vs Rashkovsky, Strumica,
1995, with the Kasparov-Short persiflage given.
The Ukrainian Chess Federation President V. Petrov
“On falsifiers and their accomplice”
Can you imagine leader of Ukrainian chess Vasiliy Ivanchuk losing an “agreed
game”? Of course not! His devotion to chess leaves no place for doubt.
And though people like Vasiliy constitute a majority, there are still “masters”
of another kind – masters of cheating and falsification. In the last
decades, when FIDE made requirements to the high titles’ owners more
liberal and it turned out it was not always justified, a number of machinators
increased. Now, FIDE attempts to stop the “cloudy tide” and extremes
also happen from time to time when honest players come under suspicion.
However, it would not be right to pretend that nothing like this could happen
in Ukraine and that is why in the years 2002 and 2003 CFU Executive Committee
adopted decisions aiming to introduce order in this sphere. But the recent
scandalous case brought our attention to the problem of obtaining dubious results
and titles again. An attempt to falsify not only separate parties but the whole
international tournament had been suppressed.
It started at the UCF Executive Committee session (April 14th,, 2005) where
we learned about TWIC announcement of the “The International Chess GM
Tournament Memorial Heroes of Chernobyl” opening on April 15th in Slavutich
city. The fact that this tournament had not been registered and some other
details were suspicious. Right from the session a telephone call to one of
the participants, residing in another city, was made and he honestly replied
he was at home. Which made us submit an official inquiry and get an official
reply stating there were no chess tournaments in Slavutich at the time at all!
On April 19th, a real international tournament was opened in Kiev, among participants
we could see Chohonelidze, who was mentioned as a “Memorial” participant.
In the meantime, a pseudo-tournament table in Internet was regularly updated
with new pseudo-results. Of course, we informed TWIC about it and learned from
its editor, that he had been already warned by M. Krasenkov, that one of Slavutich
“heroes” was playing in the Polish tournament at that time.
Obviously, we came across an open and shameless falsification. The
investigation is being held with the purpose to find out what participants
and judges conceived and realized the idea and whose names where just used
by machinators. And now I would like to draw your attention to the following.
Could it happen if UCF Qualification Commission – Chairman M. Seleznev
was really standing guard over lawfulness and morals? What they needed, in
fact, was only to observe the above-mentioned Executive Committee decisions.
Moreover, M. Seleznev withdrew from this incident investigation. It looks like
honesty of Ukrainian tournaments is more important for Polish grandmaster M.
Krasenkov than for the UCF Qualification Commission Chairman. Which makes us
think M. Seleznev must report on Commission activity at the nearest session
of the Executive Committee.
My basic question to the direct organizers is: Did not you understand what
a sin you were committing thus humiliating memory of the numerous victims and
real heroes of that terrible catastrophe? How cynical was your thirst for ratings
and titles? Some have already denied their involvement, said they knew nothing.
It could also be, so, I repeat: we continue investigation. Many of us are eager
to learn how will grand master D. Komarov explain his name appearance in the
pseudo-tournament table, while his remarks that he was ignorant could hardly
be serious: A person who publishes as a chess observer of a serious newspaper
simply must analyze all news on a daily basis. It is not likely, he could be
unaware of anything like this… Or was he “aware”? Knowing
Mr. Komarov as an author of articles passionately calling to morality in chess,
we request him to make clear his role in this unseemly story.
I would like to warn all chess schemers: do not play with fire – UCF
Management will suppress all attempts of falsifications.