Ivanov misses an anti-cheating test organized by the BCF
By Alex Karaivanov
It’s been a while since we last saw Borislav Ivanov playing chess at an international open tournament along with other aspiring players, who were aiming to gain more over-the-board experience, Elo points, and maybe some cash prize to invest in their next chess holiday. It is not that Ivanov, who crushed four GMs in Zadar last year, does not want to compete any more. In fact he has been methodically turned down by tournament organizers both at home and abroad, after he failed to attend a special anti-cheating test organized by the Bulgarian Chess Federation on June 19th. This test was supposed to give him the opportunity to “clear his name from all unfounded cheating allegations” he has been subjected to in the past several months, after his splendid, yet inconsistent tournament performances at a string of international events held in Bulgaria, Spain, and Croatia.
Borislav Ivanov’s steep improvement in chess made him famous overnight, especially after he placed fourth in the A Group of the Zadar Open, which was held in December last year in Croatia. After taking a close look at his games, many chess engine experts noticed the striking similarity of Ivanov’s moves with those of Houdini, the strongest chess engine currently in use. Suspicions were quick to follow, though Borislav had already been strip-searched before the eighth round in Zadar. Only his pen was taken away, while no material evidence of unfair play had been found.
On June 19th, 2013, the Bulgarian Chess Federation organized a special anti-cheating test for Borislav Ivanov at its headquarters in Sofia, Bulgaria. The purpose of this one-of-a-kind experiment was to help Ivanov vindicate himself, after he publicly agreed to demonstrate that he is a natural talent who plays chess without outside assistance of any sort, and can still outplay GMs successfully.
The president of the European Chess Union and the Bulgarian Chess Federation, Silvio Danailov, had just arrived from Spain to attend the test demonstration by Ivanov. The young FM had submitted a declaration to Danailov, through his lawyer, that he was willing to submit himself to such a “specialized test using technical methods to prove objectively, with scientific means, that he is not using any unfair methods in his play.”
Waiting for Ivanov: BCF President Silvio Danailov (left) and the test commission
However, Borislav Ivanov failed to show up for the test at the BCF headquarters at 1 p.m. when the test was supposed to begin, and only offered a last-minute notice to the BCF the night before the test, written by his lawyer. It stated that at the time scheduled for the test Ivanov was going to play at the 7th Varna Open, which was starting on the same day in Varna, Bulgaria. The only problem with this notice was that Borislav Ivanov had a week earlier mentioned, in an interview for the Slavi’s Show, that the chief organizer of the Varna Open, Boris Hristov, had “categorically refused” to let him participate in the tournament, out of fears that other prospective participants “do not like” Ivanov.
The Bulgarian Chess Federation has been clear about Borislav Ivanov, following the failed test, which was expensive to organize in the first place. According to Danailov, “the Ivanov case is now closed.” Furthermore, the lawsuit that Ivanov had filed against the Bulgarian Chess Federation in connection with his four-month ban from tournament participation was also won by the BCF, and the court decision was presented at the business meeting immediately following the failed test. At that point, Marin Atanasov, Ivanov’s chess club trainer, who was also in attendance, disclosed that he had urged Ivanov to show up for the test until the last minute, but without success.
The BCF came out with a statement that “once Ivanov’s four-month ban from tournament participation on Bulgarian soil expires, he will be free to play chess wherever he wants. But the final decision on whether he can play will be made solely by the tournament organizers.” Following Ivanov’s failed attempt to join the competition at the 7th Varna Open, he has also been turned down at another tournament in Spain, for which he had allegedly signed up beforehand.
About the author
Alex Karaivanov is the manager of FM Valeri Lilov and has looked after his coaching career for the past six years. He is the CEO and co-founder of Tiger Lilov’s Chess School and the president of Shanghai Chess Club: Pudong Branch. He is also involved in producing Valeri Lilov's ChessBase DVDs and is the founder of Edgewater Chess Club in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Alex tells us that he was present at another Bulgarian tournament, Golden Sands, where he was a witness when a player was caught trying to beat a much stronger opponent using a smartphone. There is a large article on the case in the Russian portal Chess-News, which features comments by the well-known trainer GM Sergey Dolmatov.
The player caught red-handed in this event is just twelve years old and a student of Dolmatov. "I worked with the boy," Dolmatov said, "I put in a lot of effort. We went to the training camp and talked a lot. Maybe my reaction is too hard, but in my opinion it is best that he learns this lesson in childhood and draws the right conclusions for his future life. But he should leave chess forever, because his reputation is ruined, and it will not recover. The chess world is very small, the stain will remain, so he should go."
A few days after we published the interview with Irina Lymar FIDE made contact with the WGM and Moscow lawyer. A meeting was arranged with FIDE Vice President Israel Gelfer. On Tuesday they issued the following press release.
FIDE is preparing to fight against cheating Print
Press release: Tuesday, 09 July 2013 10:07
FIDE is seriously preparing several measures against the phenomenon of cheating, mainly electronic devices cheating in official tournaments. FIDE established a special Committee, in cooperation with ACP to discuss the issue and to come up with proposals how to fight these diseases.
Yesterday, one of the members in the Committee, FIDE Vice President Mr. Israel Gelfer met Russian lawyer, WGM Irina Lymar and discussed some legal aspects of the problem. Her interview on this topic was published on some chess websites.
The Committee is going to have a meeting during FIDE General Assembly in Tallinn, October 5th, and FIDE is expecting to publish these new measures towards the beginning of 2014.
Anti-Cheating Committee has been formed
The ACP Anti-Cheating Committe consists of five representatives of the ACP and five representatives of FIDE:
IA Laurent Freyd
IO Yuri Garrett
GM/FST Miguel Illescas
GM/FST Konstantin Landa
IM Kenneth Regan
IA Klaus Deventer
FM/IA/IO/FST Israel Gelfer
IM/IO George Mastrokoukos
FM/IA Shaun Press
08.1.2013 - Cheating
scandal in Croatia – feedback and analysis
Recently we reported that the incredibly brilliant play by a 25-year-old untitled Bulgarian player at the Zadar Open in Croatia had raised suspicion that he might have been using illicit electronic assistance during his games. A number of readers criticised us – for linking to the mainstream Croatian media reports?! One of them, an expert in the field, actually analysed all the games in question.
17.1.2013 - Cheating
scandal – Borislav Ivanov speaks out
Recently a 25-year-old untitled Bulgarian player scored 6.0/9 points in a strong GM tournament, with a 2697 performance. His opponents complained, he was searched, and no electronic equipment was found. Still, the case put chess on the front pages of the mainstream media, and led to intense discussions on the Internet. Now Ivanov has given the Russian news portal WhyChess an exclusive interview.
23.3.2013 - A
Game of Chicken: Ivanov rides again
In the last weeks of 2012 he wowed the chess world with a 2700 performance. Two months later the new Bulgarian star FM Borislav Ivanov finished 88th in the Plovdiv, this time with a performance of 1970. Then came another enviable achievement, a clear win at the Villava rapid (again with a 2700 performance). What is going on? Alex Karaivanov speculates, with new video analysis by Valeri Lilov.
3.6.2013 - The
show goes on: Ivanov in Kustendil
Borislav Ivanov is an FM who in the past months has been crushing GM hundreds of points stronger than himself. Bulgarian GMs, who suspect computer cheating, are now boycotting tournaments in which he appears, or chosing not to play their games against him. Ivanov has called them antisocial buttheads in newspaper interviews. Alex Karaivanov reports, with new video analysis by Valeri Lilov.
5.6.2013 - Experts
weigh in on Ivanov's performance
Two days ago we reported on the crushing victories of a Bulgarian FM against top grandmasters and the suspicion that he was secretly using computer assistance to achieve his success. Extensive analysis of the games by Valeri Lilov made this seem quite plausible. In part two of our series we present the opinions of international experts and one of the GM victims, plus initial reader feeback.
19.6.2013 - Rombaldoni:
"He never calculated moves"
The very talented Italian IM Axel Rombaldoni, aiming for a final GM norm, recently travelled to Bulgaria to play in a GM tournament. First he discovered that most of the grandmasters had cancelled their participation, and then in round seven he faced the reason for the cancellation: FM Borislav Ivanov, who has been accused of computer cheating. Alex tells us what it is like to play Ivanov.