Ivanov in Navalmoral – the real deal

by ChessBase
12/12/2013 – On Monday we published a report on the forfeit and disqualification of Borislav Ivanov at this year's Navalmoral de la Mata Open, after the Bulgarian FM had started with a 4.5/5, beating two GMs in the process. An examination was requested by his round six opponent, and a suspicious device was detected. But Ivanov refused to allow the search to proceed and left the event voluntarily.

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C/ Calvo Sotelo, 53
10300 Navalmoral de la Mata (Cáceres)
E-mail torneo: naint@hotmail.com
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A statement issued by the organizers provides more specific information surrounding the forfeit and disqualification of FM Borislav Ivanov from this year's Navalmoral de la Mata Open tournament. Some of the details that appeared previously on the Internet and our report were, it appears, not fully accurate. We bring you a summary of the press release – the full report, in Spanish, can be retrieved in a PDF file here.

The original list of participants, published before the start of the tournament, included Borislav Ivanov. No protest was received by the organisers until the first day of the event, when some of the grandmasters expressed displeasure at the fact that Ivanov was playing, but did not file a written protest.

Due to the suspicion that was expressed during the first three rounds the organisers decided to examine Ivanov's shoes at the end of round four. Ivanov agreed, and the organisers found nothing unusual in the shoes, even when they were examined with a metal detector. When the examination of the shoes was concluded Ivanov started to take off his pants, asking the organisers whether he should continue stripping. Since the complaints had focussed on the shoes the organisers decided not to go any further.

During the fifth round one of the participants, Andrés Holgado Maestre noticed that Ivanov, who was playing with a coat and scarf (although the heating was working perfectly) has a suspicious lump on his back. Other participants noticed this as well and reported it to the chief arbiter, who did not want to interrupt the game to investigate. After it was over Holgado grabbed the lump through the clothes and asked Ivanov what he was hiding. He asked other participants to help him get to the bottom of it, but nobody did. When he let go Ivanov immediately exited the playing hall. Holgado said he had felt an elongated device, much like an MP3 player.

In the next round GM Namig Guliyev filed a verbal request with the arbiter and tournament director to conduct a new examination. Ivanov agreed to the search but was visibly agitated and said that he would not strip. Guliyev emptied his own pockets and took off his pullover, while Ivanov only agreed to take off his coat and scarf. He was then frisked by Juan Antonio Sánchez Bermejo, a retired policemen with experience in such matters. He started with the head, neck and shoulders, when he got to his chest area but Ivanov pulled back. Before he could do so Bermejo felt something suspicious near his left armpit, but couldn't say what it was. One of Ivanov's shirt buttons had become unfastened when he drew back and Bermejo could see a tape across his chest. When asked what was under his shirt Ivanov said it was nothing and refused to allow the search to continue. He was warned that he would be disqualified from the tournament. As it turned out that was not necessary as Ivanov said that he would voluntarily leave the event, requesting that his entry fee be returned as he did not have enough money to return home. Bermejo gave Ivanov €50 out of his own pocket, as an act of kindness and explicitly not as compensation of any kind.

The tournament organisers stress that they had at all times stayed within Spanish law as all searches were conducted after receiving the expressed permission of Ivanov.

Previous articles on Borislav Ivanov

12/9/2013 – Ivanov restarts his chess career
In early October we reported that Borislav Ivanov had announced that he will retire from chess, after the Bulgarian FM had forfeited a game in the Blagoevgrad Open for refusing to allow the arbiter to check his shoes for hidden devices. Now Ivanov is back at it again: he started the Navalmoral de la Mata Open in Spain with 4.5/5 points, beating two GMs and drawing a third. But then there was, once again, a problem with his shoes.

10/5/2013 – Ivanov ends his chess career
On Thursday we reported that FM Borislav Ivanov had forfeited his round seven game after he refused to take off his shoes and allow the arbiter to check for hidden devices. His opponent in that round, GM Maxim Dlugy, provided all the details. Ivanov was permitted to continue in rounds eight and nine, but now has announced that he will retire from chess, as the Bulgarian new outlet Blitz reports.

3.10.2013 - The shoe assistant – Ivanov forfeits at Blagoevgrad
Everyone has heard about Borislav Ivanov, a lowly FM from Bulgaria, who since late 2012 has wowed the chess world with super-GM performances. Ivanov was suspected of computer cheating, and forty GMs are boycotting tournaments in which he plays. GM Max Dlugy is not one of them, but he insisted on a thorough check of his opponent before their game. You'll never believe what happened next.

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.

11.7.2013 - Ivanov misses BCF anti-cheating test
The Borislav Ivanov saga continues. Recently the wonder chess player agreed to take part in a test, conducted by the Bulgarian Chess Federation, to prove the authenticity of his amazing new-found chess skills. In the end Ivanov simply did not appear at the appointed time. Meanwhile a 12-year-old player, student of a famous coach, was caught cheating, and FIDE is at last stirring into action.

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