FFE: cheating not the first time, Biel statement

by Albert Silver
2/1/2011 – The French Chess Federation disclosed they had evidence that the "organized cheating" accusation, which has rocked the chess world recently, is in fact not the first time. They have now mandated the Federal Bureau to take the case to trial in a court of law. Meanwhile the Organisers in Biel have issued a statement on the same players earlier last year in their Master Group. Open letters.

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Le Comité Directeur de la FFE, réuni le 29 janvier 2011 à Paris, a pris connaissance des circonstances ayant amené les membres du Bureau Fédéral à saisir la Commission de Discipline le 22 décembre 2010, pour une action disciplinaire contre les Grand-Maîtres Internationaux Sébastien Feller et Arnaud Hauchard, ainsi que contre le Maître International Cyril Marzolo, au motif de : « soupçons de triche organisée, manquement grave à l'éthique sportive, atteinte portée à l'image de l'équipe nationale olympique, dans le cadre du Championnat du Monde d'Echecs par équipes qui s'est déroulé à Khanty-Mansyik (Russie), du 21 septembre au 3 octobre 2010 ».

Le Comité Directeur a pris la mesure des accusations portées, et de la constitution d'un dossier contenant les éléments de preuve. Il a décidé de soutenir pleinement l'action entreprise, à l'unanimité.

De surcroît, compte tenu de la gravité des faits allégués et de la présence d'éléments nouveaux laissant à penser que la « triche organisée » ne s'est pas limitée aux Olympiades de Khanty-Mansyik, le Comité Directeur a mandaté le Bureau Fédéral afin de porter cette affaire devant les juridictions pénales.

Par ailleurs, le Comité Directeur réaffirme sa volonté de lutter contre toute forme de tricherie et se félicite que les quatre membres de l'équipe de France Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Laurent Fressinet, Vladislav Tkachiev et Romain Edouard, aient affirmé publiquement leur soutien total à cette démarche. 


Le Comité Directeur de la FFE
Paris, le 29 janvier 2011

Source: French Chess Federation


Translation

The Executive Committee of the FFE (French Chess Federation), which met in Paris on January 29, 2011, was made aware of the circumstances which led the members of the Federal Bureau to enact the Federal Disciplinary Commission, on December 22, 2010, for disciplinary action against the International Grandmasters Sebastien Feller and Arnaud Hauchard, as well as International Master Cyril Marzolo, on the grounds of "suspicion of organized cheating, serious breach of sports ethics, and undermining the national Olympic team’s image, at the Chess Olympiads held in Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia) from September 21 to October 3, 2010.”

The Executive Committee has examined the accusations made, and the folder containing the supporting evidence. It has decided to fully and unanimously support the actions hitherto undertaken.

Moreover, taking into account the seriousness of the allegations and the presence of new evidence suggesting that the "organized cheating" was not limited to the Olympiads at Khanty-Mansiysk, the Executive Committee has mandated the Federal Bureau to bring this case to trial in a court of law [penal or criminal jurisdiction].

Furthermore, the Executive Committee reaffirms its commitment to fighting against all forms of cheating and congratulates the four members of the French team, Maxime Vachier Lagrave, Laurent Fressinet, Vladislav Tkachiev and Romain Edouard, for publicly stating their fullest support of these procedures. 

The Executive Committee of the FFE
Paris, January 29, 2011

(Translation by Albert Silver)


Two days later we received a statement by the organisers of the Biel Chess Festival giving us their view on similar accusations that have been brought against the same players at the 2010 Master Open in July. The following is our translation of the original, which was sent in French and in German (Word files)

Media statement of the International Chess Festival Biel

Three French chess players who participated in the Master Open of the 43rd Biel Chess Festival (July 2010) are under investigation by the French Chess Federation on suspicion of having cheated at the Chess Olympiad that took place in Russia in July 2010. In September 2010 anonymous witness testimony was brought to the attention of the Organisation Committee of the Biel Chess Festival accusing the same three players of having done the same in Biel. The Organisation Committee was unable to investigate the matter any further since the accusations remained anonymous, too much time had passed and there was no evidence presented. In any case tighter security measures will be implemented during the next Chess Festival (16-20 July 2011).

The Organisation Committee of the International Chess Festival in Biel has taken note of the announcement by the French Chess Federation (FFE) of January 21 2011, which stated that the FFE had initiated, on December 22, 2010, disciplinary action against the International Grandmasters Arnaud Hauchard and Sebastien Feller as well as against International Master Cyril Marzolo, on suspicion of "organized cheating, serious breach of sport ethics, undermining the image of the national Olympic team, at the World Team Chess Championship that took place in Khanty-Mansyik (Russia) from September 21 to October 3, 2010”. [Original: "triche organisée, manquement grave à l'éthique sportive, atteinte portée à l'image de l'équipe nationale olympique, dans le cadre du Championnat du Monde d'Echecs par équipes qui s'est déroulé à Khanty-Mansyik (Russie), du 21 septembre au 3 octobre 2010."]

In articles and interviews that appeared on a number of web sites it was suggested that the three players had already attempted a similar fraud during the Master Open of the Biel Chess Festival in 2010. The Chess Festival in Biel replies to direct and indirect inquiries as follows:

  1. The announcement of the FFE says that an investigation has been initiated into the actions at the Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk. To date we have not received an inquiry from the FFE.

  2. Both GM Arnaud Hauchard and Sébastien Feller did take part in the Master Open in Biel 2010. IM Cyril Marzolo spent a few days at the Convention Centre, but without participating in the Master Open himself.

  3. During the tournament there was no direct and official complaint made to the arbiters with reference to any of the mentioned players. A person did appear in the office of the Chess Festival and expressed a "suspicion for collusion." Since such suspicions are raised relatively frequently in the office, but are often not well founded, that person was instructed to contact a referee. Neither the chief arbiter nor a member of the organizing committee are aware that anyone spoke to an arbiter about a concrete suspicion.

  4. It is clear that any concrete suspicion would have been clarified by an arbiter.

  5. It was only in September, i.e. more than a month after the Master Open in Biel, that we received an e-mail from a third party with detailed statements by three anonymous witnesses, expressing the suspicion of “cheating” by the three players. These anonymous statements refer in particular to a specific game. The GM who had in accordance with these statements been at a disadvantage in this game, could not remember anything abnormal that may have transpired during it.

  6. To this day, the names of the three witnesses are not known to us. In addition the accusations were levelled weeks after the end of the tournament, which means that the Chess Festival is currently unable to respond to questions about the accusations.

  7. After becoming aware of suspicions we have decided to implement an increase the checking procedures in the next Chess Festival which will be held from 16 - 29 July 2011.

Internationales Schachfestival Biel
Organisation Committee, 30.01.2011


Previous reports

FFE accuses its own players of cheating
22.01.2011 – Shocking news: the French Chess Federation (FFE) has announced that it has initiated disciplinary action against three players – one of them one of France's most promising talents – on suspicion of "organized cheating, serious breach of sport ethics, undermining the image of the national Olympic team in Khanty-Mansyik". We are following the investigation. Press release.

Feller replies: 'I completely deny the cheating accusations'
24.01.2011 – Two days ago the French Chess Federation announced the investigation of three French players on suspicion of "organized cheating" at the Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansyik. Now one of the three, 19-year-old French GM Sebastien Feller, has replied emphatically, implying that the entire action was a result of his support of the current FIDE president (the FFE supported his rival Karpov). Open letter.

Battesti: 'It's insulting to our president and his federation'
24.01.2011 – Instead of adopting an ostrich position the President of the French Chess Federation and his VP have initiated an investigation of French Olympiad members suspected of cheating. They have appointed Leo Battesti, a Sorbonne-educated lawyer, as the spokesperson for the Federation. Battesti has reacted to the criticism of one of the accused player with an interview in Europe Echecs.

French GMs: ''We express our full support of the FFE
27.01.2011 – Four grandmasters Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Laurent Fressinet, Vladislav Tkachiev and Romain Edouard have expressed their dismay at the charges brought against three of their colleagues who are accused of cheating. "If the allegations are found to be true, we will condemn them firmly," they write, in this public statement in Europe Echecs.

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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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