Dark times for Ukrainian chess

by Mikhail Golubev
1/30/2020 – Two rating manipulators on the World Top-10 lists. A national team in disarray. And a federation President and Deputy President firmly keeping their silence. Ukrainian GM MIKHAIL GOLUBEV shares his opinion on the sorry state of affairs in his home country. | Image: FIDE ratings

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The New Year in Ukraine

2020 began in a really uninspiring way for those who wish the Ukrainian chess community to remain a decent and respected part of the chess world.

In the official January FIDE ratings, FM Ihor Kobylianskyi entered the World Top-10 in Rapid. On the blitz rankings, Iuri Shkuro (whose Grandmaster title deserves, in my view, to become a subject of the separate investigation) returned, after the period of inactivity, to the Top-10 in by playing one local FIDE rated blitz tournament in November, showing there his more or less real level. But Shkuro's previously accumulated "passive" blitz rating was already high enough to stay in the Top-10 even after the loss of more than 20 Elo points.

Objectively, there are no signs that Kobylianskyi's or Shkuro's chess level is sufficiently high to be among Top-500 — and probably even Top-1000 — of the world's best players, in any form of chess. So, for the first time Ukraine has not one but two obvious rating manipulators in the World Top-10 lists.

Shkuro

The rating charts for Iuro Shkuro showing the sudden divergence of his blitz rating | Image: FIDE ratings

The 50-year-old Kobylianskyi and the 37-year-old Shkuro are living in the very different parts of Ukraine: Ivano-Frankivsk and Kherson, respectively. But they still have many things in common. First of all, they are not widely known, even in Ukrainian chess circles!

I'm still not sure whether I ever met either of them personally. (Though we may have played in the same tournaments in Ukraine sometime, and in the case of Kobylianskyi, who was born in 1969 — as well as Vasyl Ivanchuk, by the way — it could have happened, hypothetically, even in the early 1980s. So, who knows? The fact is that I don't remember him). 

Both of them are professional chess coaches; one of Kobylianskyi's pupils is GM Vladimir Onischuk. Both of them, especially Kobylianskyi, have rarely competed in the any internationally significant tournaments — having, therefore, not many games in the ChessBase Mega Database. Both, as far as I can judge, never really played on the professional/grandmaster level, which is 2500 classical Elo and above. Both of them have produced their fantastic ratings, in rapid and blitz, respectively, in self-organized tournaments, playing mainly against the extremely low-rated opposition.

The FIDE Director General grandmaster Emil Sutovsky reacted immediately by writing on January, 1 an angry Facebook post where he, in particular, stated:

Unfortunately, the Ukrainian Chess Federation is not taking any measures, as if not realizing that such inaction discredits Ukrainian chess. Moreover, it discredits not only Ukrainian but also the worldwide chess. We will not turn a blind eye to the situation, and today I asked the appropriate FIDE commission to study the situation thoroughly and make recommendations immediately.

On January 2nd, the head of the Qualification Commission of the Ukrainian Chess Federation, Olexander Pryhodko, also writing on Facebook, informed that the federation "temporarily blocks" [for the rating calculations, presumably] tournaments where Kobylianskyi plays. He added that, possibly, "tougher measures" would follow later. But at the same time Pryhodko opined that the FIDE rules were not violated by Kobylianskyi. Some days later Pryhodko even more clearly commented on Facebook that he "does not see a solution" to the problem within the framework of authority of the Ukrainian federation.

Well, "blocking" Kobylianskyi's tournaments certainly can be a good idea, because on January 8th the Ivano-Frankivsk chess coach scored a perfect 10/10 in one more local chess rapid tournament.

But otherwise, the aforementioned Facebook posts by Sutovsky and Pryhodko is all the official information on the matter which we had until now from FIDE and the Ukrainian Chess Federation.

UkraineThe history of the rating manipulations in the Ukrainian chess is not fresh at all. While Shkuro's previous appearances in the world Top-10 in blitz already provoked strong reactions several years ago, Kobylianskyi started his similar activities possibly even earlier. But with a difference that for a while he was concentrated on achieving the high Ukrainian national chess rating (and had 2821 in January 2015!). And only in the last period he achieved huge progress in the FIDE rapid rating.

I'm sure that it was possible to produce these, essentially fictitious, 2800+ ratings only because the majority of the Ukrainian chess-players are tolerant to cases like this. Or just uninterested. And, unfortunately, the heads of the Ukrainian Chess Federation are tolerant to rating manipulations and/or have little interest as well.

National team weakened

It's hard to believe but both the federation President Viktor Kapustin and the first Vice-President/Executive Director Yuriy Gnyp in December-January provided no public comments also to a situation, which is, arguably, less important internationally, but is highly important for the Ukrainian chess.

In short, our national chess team collapsed.

In the early December, eight of the country's top players: Pavel Eljanov, Ruslan Ponomariov, Alexander Moiseenko, Anton Korobov, Yuriy Kryvoruchko, Alexander Areshchenko, Yuriy Kuzubov and Zahar Efimenko wrote an open letter in support of replacing the team's coach GM Oleksandr Sulypa.

Areshchenko and EljanovIn late December, it was followed by a 2-hour long, detailed interview of Areshchenko and Eljanov [pictured] to Evgeny Surov, the editor of the Russian-language site Chess-News. In January, Ponomariov twice provided his comments to newspaper KP v Ukraine (kp.ua). At least, these three players publicly announced that they will not play for the team and are intending to quit the federation because their letter and opinions are ignored.

The conflict around our national team is complex. The minority of the realistic candidates to the team (including Ivanchuk) are supporting Sulypa, and so does the federation. In my own view, Sulypa, who as team's coach/captain had not bad results at all, nevertheless should have resigned after so many leading players expressed dissatisfaction with his role. The reason is that the main job of team's coach is to keep the team together. But this is my opinion only.

But what's surely crazy is that Kapustin and Gnyp do not feel any necessity to comment on the situation and explain their position publicly for almost two months! Crazy, but normal for them. Thus, in 2017, I wrote an open letter to Kapustin regarding Shkuro's scandalous blitz rating, but received no answer from the federation president.

In 2018, on behalf of Nigel Short, then the FIDE President candidate, I contacted Gnyp, asking politely to put Short in the direct contact with Kapustin, whom he knows a bit personally. In fact, Gnyp sabotaged the effort: after some promises and delays, they just published press release that the Ukrainian Chess Federation would support Makropoulos, without any response to me, much less any sort of apology. I never previously revealed details of this small incident, which simply shows how they are dealing with people, including grandmasters.

KapustinI would not deny that Viktor Kapustin [Photo: ukrchess.org.ua] has some achievements as the President of the Ukrainian Chess Federation. Since 2011, the national championships were organized on a much better level that it was before. He solved one of the main problems of the national chess life, and this is true.

But the federation's silence in the present situation is completely unacceptable. So, I do not wish any more be involved in the work of the central structures of the federation under the present leadership, and now I resign as a member of the Media Communications Commission of the Ukrainian Chess Federation. After all, currently there are no media communications as such.

Returning to scandalous ratings of Kobylianskyi and Shkuro: personally I hope to see solutions of these problems directly in the FIDE rating lists!

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Topics: opinion, Ukraine

Mikhail Golubev is a Ukrainian grandmaster, chess journalist and organizer. In 1996 he won the Ukrainian national championship in Yalta.
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Ajeeb007 Ajeeb007 2/3/2020 01:13
It's rather difficult for an outsider to follow all of what is going on here and what the whining is about. It sounds like a couple of players achieved high blitz or rapid ratings legally, though through devious means, and some people don't like it. When people do that with taxes you don't penalize the tax avoiding (which is legal) but you close the loop holes.
mrstillwater mrstillwater 2/2/2020 01:32
@mc1483 Thanks for providing some clarity on this. Obviously without knowing the details it's difficult to make any kind of judgement but if a significant number of players are refusing to work with a particular coach/team captain then you would have thought the national federation would at least intervene in some way.

Also, it's amazing how one simple heading can make the article so much clearer...!
mc1483 mc1483 2/1/2020 02:17
@everyone: the article has been edited to reflect the criticism in the comments and it's now much more understandable.
Also, I had the Surov interview translated, and the situation with Sulypa looks clear now. In short, Sulypa is accused of:
- being a bad coach, unlike his predecessor Tukmakov, and that is thought to be one of the reasons ukrainian players are declining (there are no ukrainian players above 2700 at the moment).
- having got the job without any merit, and despite the presence of better candidates. Also, he was despised and rejected by the ukrainian female team and dismissed by the turkish federation for unknown reasons.
- strongly favouring friends of him, especially Ivanchuk and Volokitin (of course the only ones supporting him).
- not supporting financial requests by the players, while supporting his owns instead.
So most players would like Baklan as new coach, or even Beliavsky, but it seems that UCF, despite agreeing with them, does nothing of the sort; also, most young players are going abroad because of lack of financial support (Shtembuliak above all). So UCF is blamed too.

I'm nor sure I understood everything correctly, but more or less this should be the matter. I hope everything is clearer now!
malfa malfa 2/1/2020 12:54
GM Golubev, I do not know if there is English "literature" available online about it, but if you have never heard of it, please take some time to look for the "Ricca case" in Italy, when some years ago, the future IA Roberto Ricca, then a national candidate master, intentionally played a huge number of tournaments in a very short period precisely in order to show how, thanks to a flaw in the Italian rating system, even for an amateur it was possible to gain such a huge national Elo that he would become the highest-rated player in the nation. There was nothing unethical and disrespectful in his hacking of the system, just the will to demonstrate that weak point in the system. In fact, later he made no qualms when his result was de facto cancelled from the rankings: he was just ok with having made his point. Food for thought.
ketchuplover ketchuplover 2/1/2020 05:11
Alongside a player's rating should be the average rating of their opponents.
Mikhail Golubev Mikhail Golubev 2/1/2020 01:11
2 Frits Fritschy
You make me to answer for the 3rd time what the Ukrainian Chess Federation could/should have done...
They might have informed FIDE secretly if they are afraid of legal procedures or something. They might have informed FIDE openly. They might have confessed a problem, first of all. Sorry but Kobylianskyi had 2800+ in the national rating 5 years ago. (I didn't know that, or don't remember, was focused mainly on other things in 2015, but ratings can be found in the UCF national rating archives).
Re the old FIDE team, perhaps we should be grateful that they didn't put Kirsan himself in the world's Top 10. (But, by the way, Ilyumzhinov's public announcements that he awarded Muammar Gaddafi a grandmaster title still can be found online).
I'm not a fan of the new FIDE team as well, but at least it's rather good that they involved some strong grandmasters like Sutovsky, people who know well which amount of the mental effort, work and ability is required for entering the world's Top 10 in the any list, including blitz and rapid, by playing in the normal, serious, not self-organised competitions. And how unethical and disrespectful to chess-players are attempts to hack the rating system. So, I hope that now FIDE has enough will for solving all the technical issues!
mc1483 mc1483 2/1/2020 12:36
The fact that GMs Ponomariov and Eljanov could change federation is indeed of great international importance, so I wonder why, grandmaster Golubev, didn't you mention that in the article? It would have certainly helped your cause and drawn attention to it - although the nature of the problem is still far from clear.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 2/1/2020 12:14
GM Golubev,
I tried to read the FIDE rating regulations carefully, and I don't see what a federation can do if all requirements are met. Which must have been so, as I got it, as these tournament reports weren't refused earlier by the QC. Only FIDE can take measurements if the QC think results are dodgy nevertheless (art. 0.5 as quoted). If the UCF refuses to sent reports through to FIDE, or OPENLY expresses doubts about these reports, they make themselves vulnerable to legal procedures, as they have no rule-based ground to do so, as far as I have seen. They might have informed FIDE secretly. As I already wrote, in itself there are no problems with existing rating rules; they should work fine. So maybe you should ask FIDE why they didn't act earlier in Mr. Shkuro's case – a case, as I wrote, that is quite well known for some time now.
Don't get me wrong, of course there is a problem here. The question is: who has the weapons to tackle it, FIDE or UCF?
By the way, the organizer of mr. Shkuro's tournaments can within seven days protest against FIDE's decision based on art. 0.5. I wonder whether that will happen.
macauley macauley 1/31/2020 11:48
@ adbennet Good point. ;)
adbennet adbennet 1/31/2020 11:21
Very informative. I don't agree at all with commenters who suggested that ChessBase should not have published this. Nor do I agree with suggestions that GM Golubev needed to supply proofs or whatnot. His article is clearly a reaction to *silence* from the UCF, bring it out in the open, the facts can come at a later stage. My only slight editorial criticism is that subheads would have helped. "Two rating manipulators on the World Top-10 lists. A national team in disarray." -- two distinct topics that could have been set apart. When I first read through, the paragraph beginning "It's hard to believe..." I completely missed that it was about the second topic; if there had been a subhead "A national team in disarray." just prior, then it would have helped a lot with my thought transition.
Mikhail Golubev Mikhail Golubev 1/31/2020 11:09
Shkuro's blitz rating had been inactive for some 2 years, until he played a tournament in the end of 2019, and returned to the world Top-10 in January. So, the situation with him in Top-10 is NEW for the new FIDE team.
Kobylianskyi entered the world's Top-10 in January for the first time.

Re what the Ukrainian chess federation could have done: First of all, to determine what exactly creates a problem: the FIDE rating rules only, or the FIDE rating rules, combined with other factors. And to act! FIDE is working with the national federations, first of all. So, if the national federation finds a problem with the existing FIDE rating rules, it's more than normal to contact/inform FIDE about the problem.

As contrary, the whole situation in the national team is an internal problem of the Ukrainian chess federation and the Ukrainian chess community, and in no way the FIDE jurisdiction. The problem, nevertheless deserves some international attention, because as a result the former world's Top-10 players Ponomariov, Eljanov may change the federation. (I'm not sure why should I write all these banal obvious things though. Probably it's a sign that the whole discussion becomes destructive and senseless).
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 1/31/2020 10:29
GM Golubev,
As I wrote, all the necessary rules are there. As the FIDE QC never before the past 5(!) years seemed to have any problems with the paperwork concerning Shkuro tournaments, why should the problem lay with the Ukrainian federation? What do you expect, that a national federation presents these data and says: 'we neither trust the organisation NOR our accredited arbiter'? Or to share their doubts with any outsider without any legal proof? About the last: share their personnel problems (mr. Sulypa) with outsiders? I don't know how it is with privacy protection laws in Ukraine, but that would look very strange to me (French inhabitant, Dutch born).
ivz ivz 1/31/2020 06:59
I know Igor Kobylianskyi as a coach, as he was my coach for many-many years (from 94 on and off to 2010s). He is one of the most ethical people I have ever known and very well known in western Ukraine, as a chess coach. His life is chess coaching, his schedule is to train students from 9 am to 9 pm. His notable students include V. Onischuk, Petro Golubka, Dmitry Kedyk and many others. I played in many of those rapid tournaments in the club where he coaches in Ivano-Frankivsk that are regular, and I think until recent they haven't been FIDE rated. There is a FIDE system flaw that allows for a situation like this to occur. However, I believe it is unfair to accuse Kobylianskyi in rating manipulation, there is no rating manipulation, he dedicates his time to coach his students through playing blitz and rapid. And if he happens to score 10/10 but at the same time improve his students' play, i don't see anything unethical. -- Iryna Zenyuk
mc1483 mc1483 1/31/2020 05:45
Frits Fritschy: the use of a nickname was not strange in the beginning of the Internet. I first joined a BBS in 1994, and had to use the alias "mc1483" just like any other BBS' user (users did not like that, even mocked each other, but there were technical reasons). Also I chose the nickname "Fantasio" when chatting, as it was customary back then choosing one, given the fact that our family names were common ones.
Since then, for practical reasons, I always use "mc1483" or "Fantasio" when joining a site like Chessbase, Anazon, eBay and so on: the first one (and often the second too) is always available, while my name is usually not.
I think something like that is true for most users, and certainly there's no need to despise them for that.
Mikhail Golubev Mikhail Golubev 1/31/2020 05:39
2 Frits Fritschy

As FIDE already announced, https://www.fide.com/news/344 its responsible persons (FIDE Legal Advisor Mr. Aleksandr Martynov and QC Secretary Alex Holowczak) will investigate 'recent achievements' of Kobylianskyi and Shkuro.

What the Ukrainian Chess Federation could have done in recent years is, for example:
1) to recognise a problem as serious one
2) to investigate the matter properly within UCF, making the necessary conclusions/decisions
3) to propose, if necessary, some appropriate changes to the FIDE rating rules.

Personally I visited Kherson, the town where Shkuro lives, in 1988. And perhaps I never visited Ivano-Frankivsk, the town, whee Kobylianskyi lives. That's why, in particular, I don't fit the high standards of the investigative journalism that some ChessBase readers for some reasons demand here in comments, and could not have provided more than some important basic facts and my subjective opinions.

Now, the problem has attracted more attention, and FIDE started to do something, so anyone is welcome to contribute to the FIDE investigation or to the public discussions.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 1/31/2020 04:51
mc1483,
Strange thing you write about being forced to use a nickname. I just used my own name (check on fide rating) without any problem.

Peter B,
Some months ago, I put a rook en prise against a player rated over 700 points lower than me. I would have been very pleased if that game had not been counted...
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 1/31/2020 04:50
GM Golubev,
The Rausis case is similar in that he also upped his rating by playing mainly low-rated opponents, but he only could be stopped beacuse he also cheated using his phone. There is nothing wrong in itself in playing mainly low-rated opponents.
According to the FIDE Handbook, part B.02 'FIDE Rapid and Blitz Rating Regulations' (effective from 1 July 2018), tournaments to be rated shall be pre-registered by the federation and the FIDE qualification commission (QC) may refuse to register a tournament. (art. 0.2); there should be a licensed arbiter present (0.3) who is responsible for submitting the results (0.4); there is a maximum number of rounds per day (3.1); there is a minimum number of rated players (6.2), and so on. Even when all may seem right 'FIDE reserves the right not to rate a specific tournament' (0.5). In short, there is an extensive system of checks and balances to make reasonably sure that the rating system is not misused.
So, instead of getting emotional, could you please try to specify where it did go wrong in the submitted cases. Has the licensed arbiter sent in flawed reports to the federation? Where the reports sent by the federation to FIDE incorrect? Has the FIDE QC been asleep (mr. Shkuro being 'active' since 2014)? Something that should have worked (or should have worked faster), apparently didn't. That would be practical information. If all requirements were met by by the 'tournament organization', there indeed is nothing more the UCF can do but send the paperwork to FIDE. Only FIDE has the possibility to strick these tournaments of the records anyway (as they have done).
Mikhail Golubev Mikhail Golubev 1/31/2020 03:01
Guys, the connection between Kobylianskyi/Shkuro ratings and the conflict in the national team is that the Ukrainian Chess Federation is responsible in both cases (now, all FIDE-rated tournaments must be approved by the national federation first).
And, moreover, in both cases two most important persons of the Ukrainian chess federation, Kapustin and Gnyp, are silent.
And, moreover, it's a logical explanation that their policies and methods eventually led to the unpleasant consequences in both cases. I think, all of this explained clearly enough in my article. It's an opinion-type of article and contains not only the indisputable facts but also my personal subjective opinions. And also this is explained clearly by the website editors in the very beginning: ..."Golubev shares his opinion"...
So, what do you want, after all? :) Are you disagree with me? OK, it's up to you.
Mikhail Golubev Mikhail Golubev 1/31/2020 02:40
FIDE:
Resolution on the rating of Mr. Kobylianskyi and Mr. Shkuro https://www.fide.com/news/344
mc1483 mc1483 1/31/2020 02:36
Thanks, mrstillwater.
One thing I find strange is the fact these guys played hundreds of games without a single defeat, even a draw. When playing weaker opponents it's difficult to stay concentrate all the time, and every now and then a slip should occur. So I guess grandmaster Golubev also believes tha games were (and are) prearranged, with losing players resigning almost immediately: such a behavior cannot be easily checked, as in blitz/rapid usually there is no scoresheet, and the games cannot be found in any Fide DB.
mrstillwater mrstillwater 1/31/2020 02:03
@mc1483 Thanks for the clarification - you've managed to explain this more clearly in the space of a paragraph than the entire article above does. Perhaps someone else can do the same for the Sulypa as the author clearly has no intention of doing so. I agree that Chessbase really should be asking itself some questions over its editorial standards if something in this state can make it onto the site.
mc1483 mc1483 1/31/2020 01:05
By the way, I myself looked into Fide DB, and may now clarify something, in order to make things clearer for other readers (as I'm afraid grandmaster Golubev won't clarify anything).
It is exactly like AWSoP wrote: in 2015 the Shkuro guy played in some obscure local blitz tournaments (usually double round robin in order to maximize the number of games), playing 180 games and winning them all, gaining more than 250 points and approaching the 2800 mark (after that, he did not play often, but from time to time did it again, reaching an impossibile 2828 rating).
The players were each time the same guys, likely pupils/friends/even relatives of his, and not only did he exploit the 400 points rule, he always won even against guys with an high rating, Fide masters close to 2400 points, not far from his own rating (at least at the beginning): that's why he gained much more than 180 * 0.8 points.
In his case I think the matter is complicated, likely an exploitation of the 400 points rule together with the "closed pool" problem.
Much simpler is the other case, the Kob guy: he's just exploiting (still doing now!) the 400 points rule, playing tons of games against 1400-1500 guys and winning them all: since november 2018 he gained 400 points and in 3 months he will have become the "strongest" rapid player in the world.
The point, IMHO, is quite simple: the 400 points rule is wrong, and players are starting to exploit it, also because nowadays every single tournament, no matter how unimportant it is, is classified.
About grandmaster Sulypa, I've no idea what's the matter with him.
mc1483 mc1483 1/31/2020 12:03
Grandmaster Golubev, it's not our fault if nicknames are required to login everywhere over the Internet, and most of us did not - and sometime could not - use real name/surname from the beginning, so now we are "stuck" with "mc1483" or "Fantasio" (in my case), not being able to guess in advance that could hurt you. If you are interested in who I am you can find me here: https://ratings.fide.com/profile/834696, although I don't think you will find anything of interest.
It is certainly true that "random guys", as you call them, should not be in the top 10 list, so I agree that "something is rotten in the state of Denmark", but if you wish for support you should at least clarify, as many of us requested, if these guys are breaking some rules or not. Are they receiving assistance? Are they bribing other players in losing their games? Are they just exploiting the 400 points rule? Are they interely making up games and tournaments (given such a thing is possibile)?
Also, none of us understood why (and if) grandmaster Sulypa is related to these random guys, and what are the reasons many elite players do not like him (but not grandmaster Ivanchuk, a player I personally think very highly of). Clashing with the coach is a common occurence in chess and any other sport, it has occurred before and will occur again, so we need clariications on that matter also.
If so many of us require details and criticize your artcile, maybe there are not us who "pretend" to not understand what you wrote. Maybe it's true, after all. Did you think of that?
malfa malfa 1/31/2020 10:12
I strongly agree with all the comments that raised serious doubts about the quality of this article, its lack of logic, the fairness of its contents and so on, to say nothing of GM Golubev's remarks below. It all sounds like throwing a stone into the water just to watch the effect, while at the same time hiding one's hand. In short, total rubbish, frankly, and one of the increasingly more frequent times that Chessbase publish something they should be ashamed of, were it not for interest in raising their number of contacts on their website.
Phillidor Phillidor 1/31/2020 09:34
@ Mikhail Golubev
I can agree with the premises it's beyond reasonable doubt that (1) less known players do not belong to top 10 and (2) that something is wrong with the rating system. But from these two premises it does not follow (with the standard of beyond reasonable doubt) that the accused coaches are rating manipulators. They could very likely be - but it is not proven beyond reasonable doubt. What were their interests? Why did they play those opponents? I can imagine someone doing a research in order to improve the rating system, without harming anyone. I'm not saying that's the case here, but in criminal law the factual basis would be insufficient to conclude the coaches are manipulators. This is probably the reason why many readers are not satisfied with the content of article. However, I'm not one of them, the topic is interesting, the article has good points. The only thing is, I wouldn't judge the players without enough factual data and sometimes editors point out those things before the publication. Article would actually be really good without such accusations. There could be a follow up after two month, after the competent commissions would give opinions or take measures. If still nothing happened? Then it would be good to report about what they were ask and how they did (or didn't) answer.
AWSoP AWSoP 1/31/2020 08:34
VERY strange article. I guess, ChessBase should do some pre-publishing quality check to ensure elementary standards. This article presents two totally unrelated cases, with the author suddenly switching from one case to the other without any explanation or some kind of smooth transition to ensure readability. Perhaps some insiders of ukrainian chess know what's going on and how these cases are related but most of us don't have a clue and we are the 99,9% of Chessbase readers, I guess. And when someone asks about it in the comments, the author answers "go and ask them yourself". I beg your pardon? As for the first case, I would like to know what FIDE rule have these two individuals actually broken? As far as I understood they organized and played in a lot of local tournaments against weaker opposition and they won all of them. Is this forbidden by FIDE rule? What rule exactly? If you don't like the FIDE rating system, blame the system. If you have any other suspicion, either have the guts to say it EXPLICITLY or just remain silent.
Mekkk Mekkk 1/31/2020 07:21
Imagine I am IM-emeritus. Nowadays I train some local youngsters (no great talent among them unfortunately, but they enjoy it) and I organize weekly rapids for them. As a matter of promotion I play myself. They aren't very strong, so I win. Apart from that I don't play – I am emeritus after all, and mayhaps my health or non-chess occupations doesn't allow me to travel and locally nothing happens except my tournaments. What wrong I do?

Rating system is guilty in the first place. IIRC Glicko stabilizes on giving 0 (zero) points for win against opponent >400 points weaker (simplifying a bit, it also matters how stable both ratings are).
AlexYermo AlexYermo 1/31/2020 07:06
Cheating in Ukrainian chess, who would have thunk it?
Aighearach Aighearach 1/31/2020 04:26
There is nothing "random" about increasing your rating and Mr. Golubev having not heard of you, that is insulting too all of us that he never heard of.

Accusations put forwards where the evidence is held in secret is itself a MAJOR ethical violation.

This article is literally libel, and I call on Chessbase to publish the details of the accusations, or to withdraw them and apologize. You can't make public accusations involving secret evidence.
UncleFischer UncleFischer 1/31/2020 03:46
Technically they are not cheating, the system has to be fixed to avoid this kind of exploit.
r2r-02020 r2r-02020 1/31/2020 02:12
Sad news indeed. Why are there people go to these length of “cheating”? Are they not contented that they gain their rating thru hard work? What honor do you have if you know your rating is not a true reflection of your ability?

I am lost on this.
Mikhail Golubev Mikhail Golubev 1/31/2020 02:02
2Phillidor
Another principle is "beyond reasonable doubt" and it's beyond reasonable doubt for the chess professionals that guys like Shkuro and Kobylianskyi doesn't belong to the world Top-10 (even Top-100), blitz or rapid, so it's beyond reasonable doubt that something is terribly wrong with the way/system how it all works.
Phillidor Phillidor 1/31/2020 01:34
There are old principles: "innocent until proven guilty" and "anyone shall have a right to defence", which have obviously been avoided in the article. However, from the practical point of view facts speak for themselves, obviously there's something really strange going on. And from that point of view, it is a pretty good and detailed article.
Zagliveri_chess Zagliveri_chess 1/31/2020 01:27
GM Golubev,
It is true that your English can improve a bit, mine too, but your article is clear enough. The focus of this website is specific enough and one would expect the readers to have a basic understanding of terminology. Unfortunately, in any public electronic forum there are trolls.
Good luck with your efforts.
Mikhail Golubev Mikhail Golubev 1/31/2020 01:16
2TMMM
Some totally random guys in the FIDE Top-10 - OK?
The national team is broken apart but both the Fed. President and Executive Director are silent for some 50 days of the public conflict - OK?
Well, maybe all of this is OK for you. But not for me.
And sorry but I don't think that I'm trying to convince people who use strange nicknames and/or who pretend that they don't understand what's written.
Zagliveri_chess Zagliveri_chess 1/31/2020 01:15
Beware that asking for investigation in Ukraine is an impeachable offense! Besides, one should not expect corruption to disappear overnight after 3 generations of suppression and fear behind the iron curtain.
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 1/31/2020 01:05
*does not have a big impact
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 1/31/2020 01:05
I thought the rating system was designed so that beating low-rated players does not have an impact on the rating? So how can someone get a top-10 rating this way? The other question is, are the players who are losing in these events playing in other events? Or is it really a closed system?
Mikhail Golubev Mikhail Golubev 1/31/2020 01:04
Yes, the 400 ratings point rule turned to be a problem for the rapid/blitz events. (Though I don't claim/insist that it's the ONLY problem with events, discussed above). I believe that appearance of the random people in the Top-10 lists deserves a much larger discussion than we had seen so far. Many people tend to think that rapid and blitz ratings are insignificant but these ratings are steadily becoming more important, in fact.
2 Frits Fritschy: No, Rausus' method of cheating is not really similar. No, being high on the rapid/blitz rating lists CAN be rewarded (the rating-based conditions at the World rapid/blitz world championships is a simple example), but more important is that presence of the random people on the top undermines the rating system as such and inspires other random people to try the same methods of achieving the high ratings. I don't think I that I should make very specific proposals to FIDE. Sutovsky and some people around him know the problem well, while I'm certainly not a friend of the FIDE team; I just agree with Sutovsky on this particular issue. What is most important is understanding by officials and public that what's going on is fundamentally wrong and can't be allowed. To find solution(s) is not difficult then.
TMMM TMMM 1/31/2020 12:39
If the rules are that beating someone rated 800 points lower than you gives you 1 rating point, and these two guys find willing victims who are ready to play (and lose) against them for fun, then how are they breaking any rules? There's something wrong with the system, and these two people are just pointing it out. Fix the system, and these things won't happen anymore.

As for the coach (who apparently has Ivanchuk's support), and backing Makropoulos rather than Short, that seems like slightly impolite but perfectly reasonable behavior otherwise. If Golubev really wants to convince us of "wrongdoing" he should provide more details.