Ivanov restarts his chess career

by ChessBase
12/9/2013 – 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.

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Navalmoral de la Mata Open 2013

The 19th International Open Tournament "Villa de Navalmoral" took place from December 5th to 8th in Hotel Moya in Navalmoral de la Mata, a municipality located in the province of Cáceres in western Spain.

The tournament was a seven round Swiss, with 91 players from 16 countries, including twelve grandmasters and eight IMs. The total prize fund was €12,300, with €3,000 going to the winner. That was Azeri GM Namig Guliyev, who shared first with IM Vitali Koziak of Ukraine, both having scored 6.0/7 points, but Guliyev with the higher tiebreak scores.

The winner: GM Namig Guliyev of Azerbaijan

Final Ranking after seven rounds

Rk. SNo Ti. Name FED RtgI Pts.  TB1   TB2 
1 5 GM Guliyev Namig AZE 2551 6.0 25.0 24.5
2 12 IM Koziak Vitali UKR 2486 6.0 22.5 22.5
3 3 GM Peralta Fernando ARG 2600 5.5 25.0 22.5
4 2 GM Grigoryan Karen H. ARM 2604 5.5 23.0 22.5
5 6 GM Epishin Vladimir RUS 2548 5.0 23.5 22.0
6 10 GM Ibarra Jerez Jose Carlos ESP 2510 5.0 23.0 21.5
7 14 FM Gonzalez Perez Arian FID 2467 5.0 23.0 20.5
8 20 IM Dias Paulo POR 2397 5.0 22.5 20.5
9 15 IM Enchev Ivajlo BUL 2447 5.0 22.0 21.0
10 16 IM Barria Zuñiga Daniel CHI 2434 5.0 20.0 20.0
11 4 GM Perez Candelario Manuel ESP 2568 4.5 26.0 21.5
12 23 FM Ivanov Borislav BUL 2318 4.5 25.5 23.5
13 7 GM Nikolov Momchil BUL 2529 4.5 24.0 21.0
14 1 GM Fedorchuk Sergey A. UKR 2660 4.5 24.0 19.5
15 19 IM Antoli Royo Joaquin Miguel ESP 2405 4.5 23.0 19.5
16 26 IM Brito Garcia Alfredo ESP 2307 4.5 22.5 19.0
17 25 FM Garcia-Ortega Mendez Jose M. ESP 2308 4.5 22.5 18.0
18 28 FM Ryan Joseph IRL 2280 4.5 22.5 17.5
19 18 GM Komljenovic Davorin CRO 2407 4.5 22.0 19.5
20 37 Gonzalez Trigal Jose Luis ESP 2222 4.5 22.0 17.0
21 9 IM Forcen Esteban Daniel ESP 2511 4.5 20.5 20.0
22 39 Gertosio Franck FRA 2210 4.5 20.0 16.5
23 43 Vasques Antonio Pedro Freixia POR 2187 4.5 19.5 16.0
24 32 Melero Fidalgo Juan De Dios ESP 2250 4.5 18.5 16.5

Ivanov strikes again

The chess blog Play Chess Murcia is reporting that after a fine start our friend Borislav Ivanov was excluded from the tournament in round s. The details are quite delectable: Ivanov had scored 4.5 points in the first five rounds – against two untitled players and three GMs – and was leading the event, together with GM Namig Guliyev. The two were paired for round six, and Guliyev asked to have Ivanov's shoes examined, to see if he was hiding a sophisticated device ("GM Guliyev le solicitó al árbitro que Ivanov debía quitarse los zapatos, para ver si escondía algún dispositivo sofisticado"). Ivanov refused and the game was awarded to Guliyev. In addition Ivanov was disqualified from participating in the final round. This is how the tournament progressed for him:

Rd. Bo. SNo Name RtgI FED Pts.
1 21 66 Sanchez Camino Jose 1849 ESP 3.0
w 1
2 18 92 Sanchez Diaz Oscar 0 ESP 2.0
s 1
3 6 13 GM Campora Daniel H. 2474 ARG 4.0
w 1
4 1 2 GM Grigoryan Karen H. 2604 ARM 5.5
s 1
5 1 4 GM Perez Candelario Manuel 2568 ESP 4.5
w ½
6 1 5 GM Guliyev Namig 2551 AZE 6.0
w 0K
7 44 -2 not paired 0 0.0
- 0

As you can see Ivanov beat two GMs and drew against the third. Below are the the three games he played against the GMs, which you can peruse, learn from or check with the computer (suggestion: try Stockfish running on an iPhone or quad core Android). Take a look especially at the game against Campora, which Leonard Barden, respected chess columnist of The Guardian, calls "a smooth, controlled win where the GM looks outclassed".

Replay all Ivanov games from Navalmoral

Select games from the dropdown menu above the board

As our readers probably recall this is the second time Borislav Ivanov has refused to allow his shoes to be checked, in spite of the fact that this would cost him the game and even mean the forfeit of the tournament.

In early October during the Blagoevgrad Open in Bulgaria, he was confronted by GM Max Dlugy, who asked for a body check before their encounter in round seven. After the metal detector found nothing Dlugy asked for the shoes to be checked – his own and Ivanov's. What then happened he described in the harrowing interview we conducted with Max:

Without a word I take off my shoes, I take off my socks and throw them to the floor – just ba-doom, there, I’m done, now show me your shoes, please. What happened next was completely unexpected. The guy just goes “I categorically will not take off my shoes. My socks smell.” At this point my friend [a security expert] says: “I guess that would be forfeit, right?” and Borislav says: “if you have to forfeit me, forfeit me. But I will not take off my shoes.” The arbiter said: “You realise that you will lose, but I will also have to disqualify you from continuing to play in the tournament, and no one will play you ever again. All you have to do is to take off your shoes.” He actually tried to convince him for another couple of minutes, but Borislav was categorical about it: “No way I’m taking off my shoes. No way!” So the director shrugs and says “Okay, I’m putting in a zero.”

At the time we did a little research and found that, unfortunately, there is a very low-tech way to cheat in chess: a modern Android or Apple smartphone easily fits into a shoe, and you can use your toes to send signals to the motion detector in the phone. Little wiggles will do it. Or the toe can be used to tap on the LED screen. The response of the phone would be short bursts of vibration. An app could handle the interface to a chess engine running on the device. So it is not really necessary to work out a very complicated communication system to explain how a player may be using computer assistance during a chess tournament.

Subsequently we reported that Borislav Ivanov had announced that he was retiring from chess, a decision that he has clearly revoked. We were also informed that he had registered for the XXIV International Chess Festival Cracovia 2013, to be held from December 27 to January 4th in Hotel Galaxy in the Polish city of Kraków, though we do not find his name anymore on the current starting list.

Previous articles on Borislav Ivanov

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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