Igors Rausis: How to quit chess in one move

by ChessBase
8/23/2019 – A photo of a chess player using a mobile phone in a toilet during a tournament game made international headlines for the sport and rekindled fears of cheating in chess. Igors Rausis, the grandmaster caught in the act, says that it was his chance to quit the world of chess in one move. ANDRIS TIHOMIROVS spoke to the accused. | Photos: Playerbase

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A conversation with Igors Rausis

By Andris Tihomirovs
Originally published in
SestDiena magazine, July 26, 2019

In 1770, the Hungarian inventor Wolfgang von Kempelen invented a chess machine, whose appearance earned it the moniker of The Turk. This chess machine was showcased in the royal houses of Europe as a technical marvel. The machine played chess against human beings and often beat them. It became a genuine sensation. The Turk’s opponents included both Napoleon Bonaparte and Benjamin Franklin. However, needless to say, the mechanical chess machine could not play. It was a hoax. In truth, the Turk’s mechanism was designed so as to conceal a real chess player inside it, who helped the machine play humans.

Rausis phoneJust under 250 years later, on July 12th of this year, the whole chess world was shocked by the news that a grandmaster from Latvia, Igors Rausis, had cheated by using a mobile phone during a tournament in Strasbourg. The news was accompanied by a photo of the grandmaster in a toilet with a mobile phone in his hands. Nowadays, using a chess application on a mobile phone, even the world champion can be beaten by anyone in a match. This is how signifcant the unauthorised use of a phone could be during a chess tournament. Cheating and dishonest play do occur in chess from time to time, but on this occasion the news about Igors Rausis became the focal point for global attention, because during the past six years, the 58-year-old grandmaster, who represents the Czech Republic, has succeeded in climbing the chess rating list to 52nd place in the world. Nothing like this had ever occurred at such a high level.

I invited Igors Rausis to an interview to hear his version of these events, because the chess world is almost unanimous — the cheating had been going on for years and the penalty must be severe. At the outset of the interview, in order to feel more comfortable, Rausis went to the toilet. Could it be that herein lies a fine irony?

Andris Tihomirovs: Let’s go through the initial phase of your biography. You’re from Ukraine?

Igors Rausis: I was only born there. I believe that Sevastopol was never Ukraine. I grew up in Sevastopol. But I was born in Luhansk Oblast in 1961.

How did you come to chess?

As in all the big cities during the Soviet era, there was a pioneers’ castle in Sevastsopol, which I attended. It was a similar story with Mikhail Tal — he attended the one, where the President now resides. It was a nice house in Sevastopol. I played everything there: chess, draughts, but I started very late.

How old were you when you started?

Fourteen. As a beginner. I got my first rating when I was 27. I was a candidate master.

When did you move to Latvia?

In the first Latvian championship, I finished second to last. That could have been in 1985. Back then, mostly masters played in the championship and good ones at that. Like Edvīns Ķeņģis.

Was chess already your profession at that time?

I worked in a chess school. I entered university in Riga in the Faculty of Medicine, but didn’t graduate. I switched to the pedagogical faculty and graduated from there. I studied and worked. I worked in first aid. I witnessed it all and somehow escaped medicine.

How did your chess career develop in Latvia? How did you become a grandmaster?

From 1986 to 1988, I spent two years studying in Moscow at the Supreme Coaches’ School. In Moscow, I obtained the title of USSR master by playing in tournaments in Moscow. The Supreme Coaches’ School was an elite institution, where budding coaches in football, hockey and chess were educated. We had all the famous hockey players, Olympic champions and footballers there. In other words, we were training together with celebrities.

Back then chess players were celebrities too!

Well, we were coaches, whereas the hockey players and footballers were members of the USSR team. We sometimes travelled abroad for international competitions. The hockey players went to Canada and we visited Yugoslavia. In just my second tournament, I made it to International Master. But this was no surprise, because back then a USSR master was stronger than an international one.

How was your career affected by the collapse of the USSR? 

Rausis 1996I fulfilled the Grandmaster criteria from 1990 to 1992. I think I was awarded the title of Grandmaster in 1992. But then the USSR collapsed and so did my job. We were driven out onto the streets from the Riga Chess School. I had my own workplace near Dome Square. We worked there with Alexei Shirov and others. I had good pupils. Shirov was hugely motivated. He thought about chess twenty-four hours a days and started to progress very quickly. Maybe I have problems with fantasy, because I’ve never had dreams about chess. I started organising my pupils’ trips to the West; we visited Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and other countries. [Pictured in Yerevan, 1996.]

How did you end up in Bangladesh?

When a cross was erected over my chess career in Riga. It’s sad that you receive an education, have never done anything else, and then suddenly everything collapses. Grants were cut. They were tough times — salaries were tiny. And people already knew where they could earn more, so it was logical that I left the chess school. For a while, I was still officially the youth team’s coach. I looked for opportunities to earn money. I had small children. Naturally, I continued to coach. At first, I was a private coach in Southern Germany. Semi-privately, the chess federation in that country also paid me officially. I was able to travel. I worked in Bangladesh where I became the national coach. I was followed [hired as a coach by the Bangladeshi Federation] by the coach in the Emirates, Edvīns Ķeņģis.

What does a national team coach do in chess?

I met pupils, some in private; there were also group training sessions. There were also major lectures intended for everyone. Those were quite rare. The frequency of meetings depended on tournament schedules. In Bangladesh, the players were of a high standard. When I arrived, I started to coach the national team. At that time, there were already players of my level. It was very interesting to work with them. It was interesting in Iran and in Egypt too. When I quit, I recommended Edvīns Ķeņģis. I recommended Ķeņģis three times, because he also worked in Bangladesh after me.

How did you arrive in the Czech Republic?

Rausis in 2004In 2006, I also worked in Tunisia and there I received a letter from my fellow students from my Moscow days. One of them approached me and told me how good things were in the Czech Republic.

What did you do in the Czech Republic as a chess player?

I arrived in a small inhabited place in the Czech Republic, not far from Austria. I did a little coaching and started competing as a professional chess player.

Can you make a living in chess by playing in tournaments?

Only by playing […at elite level]. There was not enough money at the level where I was. But one can make a living coaching, organising trips and doing various things. I organised our Czech chess school’s overseas trips, as well as offering advice as a coach during tournaments. They were children, I was responsible for them. I literally represented them until last month. In 2007, I became a Czech chess player, which was in the interests of my Czech chess club. However, from the outset, I felt that I didn’t have a good relationship with the coaches, because I was a foreigner.

The Czechs didn’t accept you as one of them?

It’s understandable. I don’t speak Czech and I was older than anyone in the Czech team. Formally, I was among the ten best Czech players. These ten are awarded the federation’s money. For twelve years, I didn’t receive a copeck from them. I totally understand them and don’t want to complain.

Around 2013, your rating started to climb rapidly. How do you explain this?

My rating rose and fell. I also had unsuccessful tournaments. For the first time in my life, I paid more attention to my rating and I had good pupils. I started doing a lot more work on openings. I’d always found it interesting to study endgames, and to solve compositions, but in regard to openings … Unlike Zigurds [Lanka, Latvian grandmaster and coach], openings were my weak spot. I recall that one time I was visited by a grandmaster from India, and I asked Zigurds to help coach him on openings. However, computer capabilities and databases changed rapidly. Previously, I was thrilled to buy any chess publications; now there are thousands of them. In principle, with a good computer, good database and good engine, you can quickly prepare any opening. You also require patience and motivation. There are many factors. And you need to be in good health.

It’s no secret that Tal’s competitive results benefited from his collaboration with Karpov. Did your pupils influence your game?

Yes. That was an another factor. That’s why the best grandmasters seek good seconds.

From 2013, did your rating rise, because you started working on openings, you had good pupils and you kept track of your rating?

I became more serious about my rating, because I realised that it was significant. Until then, it had been different. I would turn up at tournaments ill, but now I started to pick my tournaments and to avoid double-rounds and blitz chess games and so on.

Was your goal to avoid double headers and blitz tournaments?

At my age, a person tires more quickly. It was vital for me to prepare before a game. Both in regard to my opponent and myself. It was vital for me to go for a proper walk before a game and to eat well.

When did the rumours about your possible cheating start?

That was in 2017.

What exactly happened in Strasbourg?

Starting from 2017, the pressure was considerable. There was no need for me to pay attention to social media. But nowadays that’s practically impossible. If you don’t read it yourself, one of your friends will send it to you. I also got calls from colleagues, who said: “Do you know what’s being written about you?” And there were certain confrontations, especially when the Czech team coach Konopka announced that two letters signed by Latvian grandmasters had been received accusing me of cheating. For a long time, he didn’t say who, but finally he revealed the surname: Miezis. [Normunds Miezis, Latvian grandmaster]. Normunds was, to put it mildly, shocked. [Rausis shows me the correspondence in which Konopka informs Miezis, that someone in Czechs side misheard Miezis`surname].

If the federation received letters, how could they have misheard about Miezis?

The Czechs blackmailed me with these letters for a year and a half. I don’t want to moan now. I made a huge mistake in Strasbourg, and that’s a fact. People make mistakes sometimes. That was an awful moment.

What exactly did you do during the Strasbourg tournament? Did you use a chess programme?

The phone was in my hands. You can’t see it [in the photo], but I agree that I did use one. But it was against the rules to film me. I don’t want to complain. I had a phone in my hand. Why was I holding a phone?  Maybe I was provoked by the unpleasant rumours concerning me. This was all in my head. The Strasbourg tournament was quite weak. Every other player had a phone with them. Even the player who filmed me had a phone with him. To threaten me with the courts is nonsense on the part of Mr [Emil] Sutovsky [Director General of the International Chess Federation]. Until now, chess has had nothing to do with the criminal code. [Sutovsky denies threatening Rausis, noting that the FIDE Presidential Board as a whole recommended in a recent resolution (PDF) that tournament organizers "avail themselves of all recourse that the legal system of their country provides against cheating and to submit relevant evidence to law enforcement agencies to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of matters". -Ed.]

Maybe the aspect that the tournament had cash prizes?

I signed the form. I withdrew from the tournament. I signed the statement that I’d used a phone and left. I paid all the travel and hotel costs.

Did the tournament organisers suffer financially?

No. Theoretically, claims could be brought by the players from the first two rounds. Because it all happened during the third round. But then they would have to find proof that I did it during games.

Did you also admit using an app?

I’ve got an app. Let them give me what [penalty] I deserve, then I’ll tell you.

What did you think you deserve?

Remember that I am a coach. If we discuss this, it could induce one of the youngsters to do the same. And this is the main reason why I agreed to this interview. To say that what I did is very bad.

Was this the only time that you used a phone during a tournament?

FIDE is trying to get the answer to this question from me all the time, because it matters to them. The sanctions will depend on it. In this situation, nobody is going to believe me. Trust has vanished. What I can say is what was done to me.

What exactly?

A provocation. On the part of the Czechs. I was expecting it.

But were there any other instances of this?

There’s no evidence. No matter how I answer your question, it will be used against me. If it goes to court, I will fight my corner.

Do you intend to collaborate with FIDE in combating cheating in chess tournaments?

I am now wondering whether, in my situation, it’s a good idea to continue my life in chess. Because all my colleagues, if not doing so askance, now view me with hatred. I felt this flying to Riga on Monday. There were some chess players on the plane. They noticed me. Being a coach, I would also meet other chess players. The situation with my pupils is not clear cut. Yes, some pupils left on Monday. But some remained. The question is whether it’s worth my while to continue my chess activities. I’m giving this some serious thought. But first I have to await FIDE’s verdict [referring to a pending Ethics Committee process].

What would like to say to the International Chess Federation?

I’ve already complained, but that was one instance concerning Normunds’ [Miezis’] letters. That’s not a complaint. It’s a fact. Normunds knows about this matter. I’ve got nothing good to say, but nor do I wish to complain.

People say that nobody has ever raised their rating to such a degree at such an age.

Raised? That’s a good word. During the past year, I deliberately raised my rating. I didn’t want anything to do with the Czech grandmasters. And so I started attending small tournaments, so small in fact that at one tournament, the German Seniors’ Open Championship, I won all nine games. At first, my goal was to attain a rating of 2600.

Was this was a strategy? To  specially play in the weakest tournaments to attain a high rating?

My target was 2600. After that, the backroom gossip began. I decided to maintain my rating. Believe me, I earned it myself, not sitting on a toilet. And I also played in good tournaments. This year, I was tested [for using unauthorised devices] before games during tournaments in the Czech Republic. Because they had to placate all the people writing in.

Has anyone else been accused or suspected of cheating in chess?

Lots. Unfortunately, lots. I don’t want to talk about the others. I don’t want to name any specific surnames. I don’t know why people came up with this idea of making phone apps for chess. It all started with that.

They’ve been around for a long time.

But why? What’s the point?

To play. To analyse. I play on the tram.

But they didn’t think about the consequences. Well, there are a lot of sick people in the world. Previously, this sickness didn’t exist. Gaming mania. Unfortunately, it’s a contemporary illness.

Like casino?

That’s different, because a person goes to the casino and leaves money behind. It’s like drugs.

What exactly? Chess?

Gaming. And the world supports this, because somebody’s earning money from his.

Beyond phones, is chess a sickness?

Chess players never talk about it, because chess fans like other words — like chess is art. Maybe it partially applies to those who compile compositions [chess problems].

So is chess a disease?

In a manner of speaking. A great pyramid has been built. I can now say something controversial aimed at the functionaries.

What will you do if you quit chess?

I’ll quit. If I have to, I’ll quit. But I’ll find an alternative.

What do you reckon you’ll do? Can you at least give us a clue?

I just discussed this with a friend of mine. I believe that I’m smart enough to emerge from this situation. Right now, I’m devoting my time to my daughters and grandsons. I’m happy now. And it’s easy for me now, because there’s no longer all that pressure. Of course, a lot is being written now, but I don’t read it. I’m not interested.

But there’s one thing I’d like to understand. The pressure already existed before Strasbourg, the rumours spread by fellow players. Given the shadow of suspicion, shouldn’t you have completely avoided your phone?

If you’ve got bad thoughts in your head that you can go and do something like that, then it’s better to do it.

So you wanted to be caught?

Afterwards, I analysed this situation; why things turned out as they did. Maybe It was a kind of suicide. I escaped. Now I’ve no longer got anything in common with the Czech Federation. I achieved the objective I set out to.

What objective?

Well, I thought they’d kick me out of the federation. I instantly left all those problems behind me. I don’t want to say that I did anything deliberately or that I asked someone to film me. I’m a believer. God gave me a chance. Why shouldn’t I take advantage of it? I don’t know whether I’ll stay in chess. If I do remain, it’ll only be for a while. I’ll try to make the most of this chance.

Not going to write a book?

No, I’m only a reader. And I don’t remember a book that I’ve read through to the end. I don’t have the patience.

But you had the patience to attain a 2685 rating?

That was a goal, it was not patience. Patience was travelling to small tournaments.

Original article in Latvian

Andris Tihomirovs correction August 27:

During the interview Igors Rausis showed me the email for short period of time, some seconds. Content of this email was understood as apology to Miezis and email was signed by Konopka. [The article has been updated to revise the characterization of the email from Mr. Konopka -Ed.]

Editor's note: We received the following email from Mr. Konopka on the matter:

First - there is no letter from two Latvian chess players. It was just an oral statement, irrelevant in this case. - we had received a number of other similar statements from other players from different countries.

Secondly, I have never spoken about Mr Miezis in connection with the Rausis case. It was a mistake by the officials of the chess club in which Mr Rausis played. I have never apologised to Mr Miezis! There was no reason! On the contrary, the chess club official apologised to me and Mr Miezis.

A screenshot attached appears to show an email from Mr. Konopka to Mr. Miezis, dated July 14, 2019, in which he reiterates that he has never mentioned Miezis in connection with the Rausis affair.

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koko48 koko48 8/27/2019 04:45
If you all think cheating started with the advent of the engine and smartphone, brush up on your chess history...People were fixing games, match results, and buying norms long before Fritz rolled around. It was rampant, there were tournaments known as 'norm shops' (which still exist today, btw)....And such fixing was standard procedure in the SU

Rausis admitted "I got my first rating when I was 27. I was a candidate master." Given the fact he was just caught cheating, this doesn't lead to questions in any of your minds? How many 27 year old candidate masters do you know who make GM?

It's difficult for me to see how the SU "did a huge service to chess" when they regularly fixed results and torpedoed a $5 million WC match in 1975, just to get their title back. Fischer said "they didn't want anyone else making money from chess"

Chess in 1975 was making more money than tennis, golf, football, the NBA, major league baseball, or any other sport besides Muhammad Ali title fights...The Soviets and their cronies in FIDE (including President Euwe) destroyed that monumental opportunity for the game - an opportunity the game will never see again. Then, after claiming Fischer's demands were unfair, they gave Karpov an automatic return match in 1978 - a much greater advantage than anything Fischer ever asked for!

So what was the ultimate cause of Rausis' poverty after the SU broke down, along with his subsidies? You can go back to that decision in 1975. Chess was hitting the big time, but the Soviet Union brought the game back to the stone ages...to the back rooms and penny prize funds where it remains to this day...and where people have to fight for pennies, and cheat to get their small pieces of a very small pie
JanneKejo JanneKejo 8/27/2019 01:18
koko48: This article isn't about what the Soviet Union did for or against chess. But if it were, I think it shouldn't be too difficult to see that the SU did a huge service to chess, making it a popular sport among the whole Russian/Soviet people. It's no accident there are so many strong players and coaches who come from the former Soviet area/republics. Also in the interview that we are commenting, it is said clearly that in the Soviet Union many people could have chess as a profession and feel economical security and concentrate just on chess. How could that be bad for chess? Isn't that exactly what we hope would be the situation in the present world, too?
IntensityInsanity IntensityInsanity 8/27/2019 04:28
Koko48: you’re a troll because you questioned his GM title while many others, even critics like GM Navara, acknowledge as absolutely legitimate. Also, in 1990-92 computers were not that strong and no one used cell phones. So his GM title is not in question here. Don’t get me wrong, he did a bad thing. But you’re just here to bash and sloppily, at that. If you’re feeling self righteous, good for you, but no one is interested.

Also, that little part about federation that “literally institutionalized cheating...” ... quite a stretch. Were black helicopters involved too?
koko48 koko48 8/26/2019 11:44
@IntensityInsanity When truth is trolling, we're all in worse shape than I thought.... RIP Chess btw, Fischer was right...The comps finally killed it. they just had to become small enough and mobile enough.

Scanners and metal detectors can't solve this either...Remember the cheating at the team tournament a few years ago, when a guy getting comp assistance from outside the room, signaled the players by standing behind a certain chair? How can you stop that?

If anything this interview just confirms that a lifetime ban from tournament chess is hardly punishment for a guy like this. He probably would have quit chess anyway, if not for his comp assisted results... And as far as my 'trolling' is concerned, anybody who thinks Rausis just started cheating recently, right before he got caught, is either being shockingly naive or willfully ignorant
IntensityInsanity IntensityInsanity 8/26/2019 08:14
I knew that sooner or later trolls like koko48 will start to appear. Surprised it took so long!
koko48 koko48 8/26/2019 02:44
I like how he plays the victim here...."I fulfilled the Grandmaster criteria from 1990 to 1992.... And how did you do that, Rausis? We know you learned cheating from the best... from the Federation that literally institutionalized it, back in the analog era
JanneKejo JanneKejo 8/26/2019 01:54
One more point in addition to my previous comment (the 2000 characters limit of the comments...)

5) Rausis is a professional chess coach, got his education in the Soviet Union and has worked as a chess coach ever since (about 30 years). In the interview I didn't notice a word about what achievements his students have made; it's all about how much Rausis has earned (or not earned: "For twelve years, I didn’t receive a copeck from them") by coaching or playing.

(This reminds me about a principle of critical reading: don't pay attention only to what is written but also to what is not written...)
JanneKejo JanneKejo 8/26/2019 01:21
Re Former Prodigy

I noticed the following things (among others) in the interview:

1) Rausis has moved from one country to another (Bangladesh, Iran, Egypt, Czech Republic...) and every time the motivation seems to have been to earn more (or even some) money.

2) Rausis says about the collapse of the Soviet Union: "It’s sad that you receive an education, have never done anything else, and then suddenly everything collapses. Grants were cut. They were tough times — salaries were tiny. And people already knew where they could earn more, so it was logical that I left the chess school. ... I looked for opportunities to earn money."

3) When the interviewer asks "Can you make a living in chess by playing in tournaments?", Rausis replies: "Only by playing […at elite level]. There was not enough money at the level where I was." He adds that it's possible to make a living by coaching and organizing trips etc. Regardless of whether he would have liked to earn a living as a player or not, I believe that even as a coach it's preferable to have a rating as high as possible. So...

4) [...so...] Rausis says: "I became more serious about my rating, because I realised that it was significant." Rausis doesn't explain why the rating is significant and the interviewer doesn't ask. However, the feeling throughout Rausis' personal history as described in the interview is a fight for economical survival. I think the rating is significant in that respect.

Of course it's impossible to know what another person is thinking or feeling (for example, what he regards as "normal" living or earning standard). We can only guess based on what we see and hear.

Naturally there is little point in trying to "prove" what is the truth about Rausis' motives, thoughts and feelings, since we cannot know them. I just wanted to point out the things in the interview that cought my attention. It's OK if someone else got another impression.

Kind regards,
Janne Kejo
Former Prodigy Former Prodigy 8/25/2019 08:31
Re JanneKejo: The costs of living in the Czech Republic are not so high, so a 2500-rated GM who also works as a trainer can earn normal money (for Czech standards), particularly if he is ready to play and train abroad as well. I am not aware of the financial situation of GM Rausis, nor do I know his motivation. Alas, the current interview does not shed much light on the latter.
Marselos Marselos 8/25/2019 12:51
The action is wrong.
However, I believe he must remain in chess.
He should got another chance.
He can give free lessons to poor childrens, for example ... and after , only after, he could go back to tournaments.
Forgiveness is human.
JanneKejo JanneKejo 8/25/2019 11:39
A sad story. Sounds like there were economical motives; not even to get rich but just to make a living. Anyone using a chess program during a game must understand that it is the program who wins the game, not the player who uses the program. The player just gets the rating points and the prize money and whatever other opportunities might come along with them. But as a chess player one can hardly feel satisfied winning a game using a program.
MKJes14 MKJes14 8/24/2019 07:17
There are many inaccuracies in Mr. Tihomirovs article. Unfortunately also affecting me. There is no letter from two Latvian chessplayers! It was only a private conversation with two Latvian chessplayers – I was alerted to the possible cheating of Mr. Rausis. But it’s completely irrelevant – we received later a number of similar notifications from other chessplayers from different countries.
The article falsely states that I have identified Mr. Miezis as one of the notifiers. It´s not true. It was a mistake of the chess club officials, where Rausis played. This chess club tried to defend mr. Rausis. I never apologized to Mr. Miezis! There was no reason. I never related the name Miezis to the Rausis case. On the contrary – the chess club official apologized to me and Mr. Miezis.
Unfortunately the case of Igors Rausis negatively influenced the Czech chess scene.

Michal Konopka
MJFitch MJFitch 8/24/2019 06:28
"Igors Rausis: How to quit chess in one move"

You didn't quit, you got caught CHEATING and got a swift kick to your backside out the door CLOWN...Chess doesn't need despicable people like you associated with it...
KevinC KevinC 8/24/2019 01:04
@Doe111 Cheating brings TOTALLY deserved humiliation.

Also, he was a GM, which by definition makes you a strong player, but he was not exactly strong among all GMs.
Doe111 Doe111 8/24/2019 11:02
Dear friends at chessbase,
Please don't publish new posts on this incident,
The veteran GM Rausis was already a strong GM before strong computers came along
Maybe the veteran wanted to cross the 2700 mark for once, at his long career,which was towards it's end
He was wrong by cheating,but bringing it up again may cause more humiliation for him,and most probably not a deserved one
Thanks for your kind heart,
RobertaArdenzi21 RobertaArdenzi21 8/24/2019 12:49
Sometimes it is better to remain silent and appear stupid than open your mouth and remove all doubt. (Oscar Wilde)
BeFreeBusy BeFreeBusy 8/23/2019 11:59
Wow, quite an interview. Almost felt like a traditional April Fool`s story. ;-)
Well at least that cleared up things, if something was still unclear about this.
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 8/23/2019 05:58
If he did attain the 2600 rating legitimately, then, as soon as it is attained, it would have been a good time and better manner to quit official competitive chess, with a declaration in those lines: "I have attained my objective, I do not think I could do much better, I am a bit old, so I stop competitive chess". Which permits to continue chess involvement otherwise, if he wants: coaching or else.

But hey, in retrospective, we all are geniuses.
HolaAmigo HolaAmigo 8/23/2019 05:14
I read this in the hope of finding other sorts of information. Trua, the fall of the wall iniciated a tough period for chess players from the other side of the wall, truee they flooded Europe and it was also a tough time for European player fighting for survival in opens.
The excuses given and the thesis exposed defending it was a sort of revenge against accusations is quite lame, they do not hold. Sorry, Igor. He is under process, waiting for a veredict, and he is trying to improve the outcome.
I do believe that you can improve your results after a certain age. People forget that Smislov reached the candidates final well over 60.
But I naively hoped to find answers to questions like how many times does a GM need to check his mobile per game on average to really improve his results. I believe there are critical situations in a game that a good player does identify that can change the fate of the game. The way he was cheating - not a ear device or similar external help where they can tell you every move, but the chance to sometimes consult - makes the cheating process difficult: you have to choose the moments and foresee them. You cannot go to the toilet after your oponent has moved, better. have an overview when he is deep in thought. If you have him wait for you to come back from the bathroom well after he pressed the clock, suspicion is immediate.

I did hope for this sort of approach. It is a shame, wasted interview.
ICCF Grandmaster ICCF Grandmaster 8/23/2019 05:01
Unbelievable --- It reminds me (sorry for that comparison) of a rapist arguing: "Well, she provoked me..."
Rational Rational 8/23/2019 05:00
Also ‘I started to avoid...blitz games and so on’ . Most chess players love blitz, though it doesn’t give you time for a toilet break if you have a sensitive bladder like Mr Rausis apparently has ....
Magic_Knight Magic_Knight 8/23/2019 04:30
@Rational: what were Trent and Gormally's suspicion back then?
KevinC KevinC 8/23/2019 04:28
I am just a few months younger than Rausis, and one thing I have learned in my years is that if you make an error, or in this case, a huge lapse in judgment and morality, you need to come forth and admit everything. That is the quickest way for people to move on, and forgive you.
KevinC KevinC 8/23/2019 04:17
Wow, it is everyone's fault but his own. What a pathetic interview that was on his part.
Rational Rational 8/23/2019 03:59
@Former Prodigy’s comment is interesting. He had very strong suspicions years ago as Trent and Gormally did Yet this was allowed to go on for years. It may be just the tip of the iceberg there are some very suspicious rating improvements like Rausis but so difficult to prove. I would like to see searches or some sort of electronic detector used for any one in the running for prizes of any significance in any chess tournament.
Hello2018 Hello2018 8/23/2019 03:35
Navara, it's extremely obvious he started cheating at the latest in 2013. It's possible he cheated earlier than that, but with a lot more patience and care.
Former Prodigy Former Prodigy 8/23/2019 03:22
I played GM Rausis back in 2014. He left the board five times for at least six minutes or six times for at least five minutes and after returning played very strong moves. (Not always the best, but very good, at a 2700+ level.) Later he put his mobile phone next to the board, possibly someone had asked him to do so. He then offered a draw in a good position when we were both getting closer to a time trouble. I rejected and he soon made a blunder and lost. I had not experienced anything like that before. Of course, it does not prove anything, but such experiences might raise some suspicions.
Our game from 2015 was also rather strange. I mentioned this to several friends, but when they did not share my views, I remained silent until 2017, when I learnt that other grandmasters had similar suspicions. (In fact, I was by far not the only one.)
It is true that two Latvian grandmasters shared their doubts about GM Rausis. It was neither GM Miezis, nor another GM with a similar name. (I wrongly believed the latter.)
It was not IM Michal Konopka who wrongly mentioned GM Miezis, the information got confused elsewhere, possibly in the former Czech club of GM Rausis. Its official apologized to GM Miezis for that. {I corrected this paragraph as my original text was factually wrong.}
I admit that some Czech officials might prefer young players with a better command of the language, but it has little to do with the current situation. Ironically, IM Michal Konopka and me belong to those people who were initially happy that GM Rausis moved to the Czech Republic.
GM Rausis is a player of a grandmaster level and an experienced trainer, but one can hardly believe that he played correctly all the time and then suddenly cheated when a special check was arranged because of him. I do not even believe that he started cheating only after reaching 2650. That said, spreading a picture from the toilet is problematic, but it is another story.
David Navara, Czech Republic
TheBlueGhost TheBlueGhost 8/23/2019 02:45
Cheats have been caught before, banned and come back. If Rausis wants any prospect of that he would be advised to tell the complete truth and show remorse.
CMPonCB CMPonCB 8/23/2019 02:35
Contrition and remorse are clearly not words in his vocabulary.
Keshava Keshava 8/23/2019 01:29
"I don’t know why people came up with this idea of making phone apps for chess. It all started with that."
Jarman Jarman 8/23/2019 12:54
Sometimes I get the impression that people who do such reckless acts can't just resist the thrill. It reminds me a quote from Michael Douglas: "I was always shocked when so many people who saw Wall Street (1987) said I was the person who influenced them and inspired them to go into investment banking. I'd say, "I was the villain."
virginmind virginmind 8/23/2019 12:49
"I made a mistake" "They were provoking me" "Why did they make phone apps for chess? They didn't think about consequences." Oh boy...This guy has serious issues. And to think he was a COACH for so many years...
Oh well, he'll make it outside of chess world, he's smart enough - as he puts it.
besominov besominov 8/23/2019 12:14
"Andris Tihomirovs spoke to the accused."

Here comes the bullshit. Was the first thought in my head.

Fascinating to watch his mental gymnastics. Rather than admit he made a big mistake he tells himself: "Ah but I did it on purpose!" It's called rationalization.

(Mistake is too nice a word. Blundering a piece: that's a mistake. He knowingly committed a morally wrong act.)
TimSpanton TimSpanton 8/23/2019 10:44
Fascinating interview - great job by Andris Tihomirovs

goeland goeland 8/23/2019 10:37
Its a sad story for chess and also for this man and its nice that Chessbase opens the door with this interview.

Nevertheless, the stance of the player is a bit erratic : complaining about Czech ?, admitting he had a phone "but Why was I holding a phone? Maybe I was provoked by the unpleasant rumours concerning me", not admitting about the cheating. But then, stating it was a kind of suicide (like the criminal who wants to be caught ???) and he will quit chess if need be but God gave him a chance?. I see confusion not clarity.

I've seen Rausis a few times on the french scene in the past 20 years and he seemed to me like a good guy. But good guys can make mistakes. And I feel Rausis in this interview didnt clean his plate properly.