Andrew Martin – The Inside Guide to Chess Cheating

by ChessBase
2/7/2007 – It seems that the modern tournament player cannot get by without having at least a working knowledge of the ways one can extract the maximum out of a chess game. In this week's Radio ChessBase Show on Andrew Martin covers the basics of cheating. Miss it at your own cost.

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It's ... the Andrew Martin Radio ChessBase Show

It seems that the modern tournament player cannot get by without having at least a working knowledge of the ways one can extract the maximum out of a chess game. If this involves cheating, well, what the hell! Let us cover the basics now so that we are all prepared.

Right at the start you should know that an accomplice is usually quite useful. If one can afford a windowless van with a large antenna in the car park so much the better. The accomplice may signal or utter appropriate sounds throughout the game to alert one to the right course of action or move. Examples:

1. Touching parts of the body:

  • Rubbing finger on left nostril – play 1 d4
  • Finger on right nostril – play 1 e4
  • Pick nose – play 1 g4

2. Wearing odd items of clothing:


  • Glasses off – play on the queenside
  • Glasses on – can't see a bloody thing
  • Glasses on/off – attack the enemy King
  • Glasses upside down – far too much wine with lunch.


  • Red shirt – go for mate on the kingside
  • Green shirt – a quiet, positional game is the key to victory
  • Polka dots – only random complications can win the day
  • No shirt – very bad online poker session


The modern chess cheat cannot get by without an appropriate item of headgear. Here's what the Grandmaster about-town is wearing if he wants to shoot up the rating list.

  • Poker visor/baseball cap: Probably has Fritz 10 wired in there with the obligatory bluetooth device. Almost certainly getting extra advice from the guy in the car park who in his spare time hacks in to civil defence systems.
  • Deerstalker: Favoured by players over 2700. Plenty of room for several programs, a mainframe and access to cricket scores worldwide, the weather and shipping forecasts.
  • Rastafarian Wig: Linked up to an analysis team in another part of the world on a beach who are using the latest in satellite navigation to beam through the best moves. Possibly accompanied by a large bottle of rum.

3. Noises

Various sounds in the tournament hall are accepted as a matter of course. The accomplished cheat stations him/herself close to the latrines so that additional options are possible.

  • One pull of the chain – good, carry on with what you are doing
  • Two pulls of the chain – be careful
  • Three pulls – what a crap move that was
  • Four pulls – I'm in trouble here, please call for assistance immediately.


  • Several loud staccato bursts of coughing followed by a choking fit – the Slav with 4...a6 will have him struggling
  • Two long foghorn-like humming sounds, and then a loud cough disrupting the entire round – 26...Bg3 is a winning sacrifice.
  • Waving and gesticulating accompanied by shouting "38 Nf5 wins outright! I just checked it on Shredder" – Probably 38 Nf5 should be considered.

I'm sure you appreciate that the list is endless and we have a radio show to discuss. But the full guide will soon be available from the Andrew Martin Chess Academy. Miss it at your own cost.

Serious chess

Meanwhile, miles away from all the scandal, we have some excellent games from the Bundesliga for you.

Which are important, knights or bishops? The following game attempts to solve the riddle:

Naiditsch,A (2663) - Nataf,IA (2589) [B30]
Bundesliga 2006-7 Berlin GER (7), 02.01.2007
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 e6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.b3 d5 6.Nc3 Ba6 7.d3 Nf6 8.Bb2 Qa5 9.Qd2 c4 10.dxc4 dxc4 11.e5 Nd7 12.Ne4 Qxd2+ 13.Nfxd2

In the following Shirov game fire is on the board after Black's pawn sacrifice.

Alekseev,Evgeny (2661) - Shirov,A (2715) [C24]
Bundesliga 2006-7 Tegernsee GER (8), 03.02.2007
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 c6 4.Nf3 d5 5.Bb3 Bd6 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.0-0 0-0 8.Re1 Bg4 9.h3 Bh5

Then comes a grim QGA, a game very representative of a tight, competitive team match:

Bacrot,E (2705) - Khenkin,I (2611) [D22]
Bundesliga 2006-7 Tegernsee GER (8), 03.02.2007
1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nf3 a6 4.e3 b5 5.a4 Bb7 6.b3 e6 7.bxc4 bxc4 8.Bxc4 Nf6 9.0-0 c5 10.Ba3 Nbd7 11.Nbd2 Be7 12.Qe2 cxd4 13.Bxe7 Qxe7 14.Nxd4 0-0 15.N4f3 Nc5 16.Rfc1 Rfd8

This week's puzzle

We take a look at ChessBase Magazine 115 and the puzzle awaits, a minimalist effort from master composer Grigoriev.

White to play and draw

Entries on the puzzle to before 20:00 GMT on Wednesday.

Solution to last week's competition

Gaprindashvili,N - Servaty [B39]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.c4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 Ng4 8.Qxg4 Nxd4 9.Qd1 e5 10.Nb5 0-0 11.Be2!? Qh4 12.Nxd4 exd4 13.Bxd4 Qxe4 14.Bxg7 Qxg2

Solution: 15.Qd4!! A brilliant idea! 15...Qxh1+ 16.Kd2 Qxa1? Relatively best is 16...Qc6 but even here 17.Bxf8 Kxf8 18.Qh8+ Ke7 19.Re1 is very strong for White. Meanwhile 16...Qxh2 runs into 17.Bf3!! idea Rh1 17...Re8 (17...d5 18.Bxf8 Kxf8 19.Re1±) 18.Rh1 Qc7 19.Bh8 Qa5+ 20.Kd1. 17.Qf6!! with no defence to either Bh6 or Bh8. Nice! 1-0.

The Andrew Martin Radio ChessBase lecture begins on Wednesdays at 21:00h CET (Central European Time = server time, which translates to 20:00h London, 3:00 p.m. New York, 05:00 a.m. Sydney (on Thursday). You can use Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Shredder, Junior, Tiger, Hiarcs) to follow the lectures, or download a free trial client.

The Andrew Martin Chess Academy offers a personal game annotation service; a regular newsletter written by AMCA staff; the best online tuition in terms of value and quality; a series of tournaments for children aged under 14; all aspects of chess training, including specific opening preparation; an AMCA room at, where lessons may be held in complete privacy with our expert tutors – all at a time that is best for you at any time of day or night, anywhere in the world. The motto: "Join us, Improve and enjoy your chess!"

Andrew Martin, chess trainer and teacher

He is not some unknown in the world of chess. Andrew Martin was the star commentator in the 2000 London match between Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik, and he gained recent international fame and popularity with his live audio commentary on during the FIDE world championship in San Luis.

Andrew is also a prolific chess trainer, not just live in British scholastic circles, but also in a series of training DVDs he has produced for ChessBase, taking full advantage of our Chess Media System. His lively, entertaining style, combined with a good dash of humour, makes any lesson with him a delight to follow.

Andrew Martin is 47 years old and lives in Sandhurst, England, with his wife and four children. His book King‘s Indian Battle Plans for Thinkers Press was an international best-seller.

Each week Martin will cast his eye over the contemporary chess scene, presenting a veritable pot-pourri of interesting topics. We look forward to the pleasure of your company.

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