Our recent report regarding two players accused of receiving computer assistance during their games at the World Open in Philadelphia in July originally appeared in the New York Times. But it contained some inaccuracies. Subsequently the tournament director who found the secret communication device set the record straight. In the meantime we have received more feedback from readers, which we would like to share with you.
Phonak is not just a retailer, but in fact a hearing aid producer, the third largest and second most profitable in the world. It is a Swiss company which was involved in the greatest sporting scandal of this summer, when another ambitious US athlete tried a short-cut to success and fame. Phonak sponsors the cycling team that won the Tour de France, with American athlete Floyd Landis, who was presumeably on drugs when he killed the whole peloton on the crucial stage, and now is soon to be stripped of his victory.
Incidentally Phonak seems to be reconsidering their sponsorship focus after the Floyd Landis B sample tested positive, and moving it from cycling to the arts.
The next is a letter from an expert in a critical area.
Dr Michael Vidler
First, congratulations on your excellent site – it's a daily read!
I'm writing because I've read your two reports on the allegations of cheating using the Phonito aid. I'm a clinical scientist who specialises in hearing, and as such I think I'm qualified to point out a few things.
In short, I can see no reason why a hearing impaired person playing at a chess congress should wear a radio aid during a game for normal purposes.
I hope this information is useful – it might help arbiters in future.
All best wishes
Randy Evans, Richmond, VA
In addition to the disqualification, I think this information should be brought to the attention of the District Attorney in Philadelphia. If Mr. Rosenberg was cheating as suspected, he may well be guilty of attempted fraud or obtainig money under false pretenses. He would be no different than a con man who attempted to cheat a group of people out of $18,000. Even if charges could not be brought in this case, this would give organizers an idea of what would be necessary to do so in the future.
I am well aware that I have only heard one side of this story, and Mr. Rosenberg may be completely innocent. The facts would seem to indicate otherwise (particularly since the TD, Michael Atkins, is a very reasonable person in my experience), but they always do when you only hear one side. This is another reason to get some input from law enforcement officals. If organizers had the type of proof that would be necessary to bring a criminal case, there would be less chance of making a mistake.
James Stripes, Spokane, USA
After your report last week regarding cheating at the World Open, I researched one of the players in the US Chess Federation's online database. In September 2004, Steve Rosenberg took 19th place in the Michigan Open with 3 wins, 2 draws, and 2 losses. Since that event, he played in four OTB events, and 33 USCF rated online quick events. Through this nearly two year period he played 181 games with 159 wins, 15 draws, and 7 losses. I suspect that he has spent a long time working on his (cheating?) technique, and hope there will be a full investigation.