Support for Mihaela Sandu

5/30/2015 – Yesterday we reported on the suspicions that had been expressed after the remarkable performance of WGM Mihaela Sandu at the European Women's Individual championship in Chakvi, Georgia. The protest was lodged by her rivals in the event. Now the Romanian Chess Federation and other players have expressed their support, and Mihaela Sandu herself has issued a press statement.

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Letter of support by the Romanian Chess Federation


To the Organizers of the European's Women Championship 2015
Chief Arbiter of the European's Women Championship 2015
European Chess Union

Dear Sirs,

Romanian Chess Federation, being aware about some allegations regarding the possible cheating by the Romanian Player WGM Mihaela SANDU during EWICC 2015 which is happening in these days in Chakvi – GEORGIA, hereby ask you to observe strictly the FIDE Anti Cheating regulations and FIDE Ethic rules in this situation.

This field was recently regulated by FIDE in what regarding cheating cases, false accusations and sanctions and that is why we draw your special attention in dealing with the situation. In this particular case, it is clear when a Cheating Complaint, without any evidence or clue, was forwarded in the stage when Mihaela SANDU was leading the tournament, that a big pressure was put on her. Here we mention also the negative atmosphere around the case and that she is complaining about severe harassments, situation that clearly affects the capacity of Mihaela SANDU to compete at her best.

The Romanian Chess Federation (RCF) states that Mihaela Sandu had a irreproachable fair play attitude during all her chess career and express its will to support and protect Mihaela SANDU against any breach of Anti cheating or Ethics rules and kindly ask you to inform RCF about the entire situation and what actions were taken by the arbiters and organizer.

We assure you that our federation is supporting FIDE anti cheating policy, including the protection against false accusations and for the sake of chess, we ask your strong support in assuring a proper environment during the EWICC 2015.


Letter of complaint by Mihaela Sandu


Dear organisers of the European Women's Chess Championship 2015,

I am writing in response to the attack I have been submitted to in the past few days in the European Women's Chess Championship in Georgia.

First of all I would like to know what is the official reason of the interruption of the transmission of my game in round 6 against Nino Batsiashvili? That was a critical point in the tournament for me, I was leading the tournament and that interruption started to generate suspicions about my play.

I somehow managed to pull myself together after this incident and my 6th round loss, and win another game in round 7, but after this I was submitted to a very strong attack from several women chessplayers in a written letter.

In this letter they were expressing "concerns about the situation with M. Sandu's performance" and asked to stop the live transrnissions of my garnes. The letter was signed by 15 chessplayers, the first signature on the list was of my next round opponent, N. Zhukova.

So I am writing this letter to file a complaint about their behaviour. What they did was a very dirty attack, permanently damaging my name in the chess world. Also want to mention Zhukova's paltry behaviour is standing out as she was the main benefactor of the defamation campaign, making psychological attacks right before our game.

I play chess for a long time now and I have never cheated in my life. My life revolves around chess, I am both a chess teacher and a professional chess player so my name in chess is very important to me. I have come to this cornpetition after serious chess preparation, with great hopes of a good result and confidence in myself. But some people seem to think that if you have a good result, you have to be punished.

I have tried to stay calm and play as usual after this attack, but I have learned it's impossible. There is an enormous psychological pressure and it's difficult to find the energy to play normal chess. I even thought about withdrawing from the tournament, but my family and my dear ones support me and tell me to continue in spite of everything.

I also want to inform all 15 chessplayers who have signed the above mentioned letter that what they did is a very serious crime, smearing my name, and that together with my Federation we're seeking legal counseling to make justice.

I hope this case is sent to FIDE and that they will take measures to prevent such situations in the future. I am looking forward to your official answer,

Mihaela Sandu

The blog of Irina Bulmaga: Cheating and Ego Matters

Friday, 29 May 2015

While studying hard for my final exams and having no time to throw away at all, I simply couldn't help myself expressing my deepest disgust about the situation where a few WGM's, ex World and European Champions and strong GMs amongst them, accused my colleague from the National Team- WGM Mihaela Sandu for cheating.

WGM Mihaela Sandu

We have been colleagues and also opponents for quite a few years so far and I find this accusations very disturbing, not only for Mihaela herself, but for the chess community as well. She is a very dedicated player who loves playing and teaching chess. All the games we played against each other were very combative and fought until the last drop of blood. I have a high respect and consideration for Mihaela's chess.

I understand that losing to a lower rated opponent can be quite frustrating, but I don't understand the need of being so paranoid and unprofessional. I find this whole situation simply outrageous and I want to point out that chess is not war and not all the means that can be used to win are ok. I used to think that professional chess players are very intelligent and highly sensible persons and as sportsmen they all demonstrate a high level of fair play. Well, I guess I couldn't be more wrong.

I understand that we all want our rights to be respected, then why not respect the rights of others? I can understand the accusations made though I could never agree with them. I understand that with so many cheating cases around, one might get paranoid. What I don't understand is:

  1. On what grounds could someone who didn't even get the chance to play against Mihaela accuse her?

  2. Why the arbiter to whom the accusations were presented after the game finished didn't check Mihaela immediately in order to clarify the situation and avoid all this fuzz?

  3. Why the organizers, after thoroughly having analyzed the situation and having come to the conclusion that there were no proof of any kind and the player was wrongly accused didn't take out those shameful signed letters from the walls of the playing hall? Why didn't they publicly apologize to Mihaela?

  4. Why the organizers didn't give a warning to the player who clearly took advantage of this situation in order to put pressure on Mihaela before their game?

Maybe some of you would think of this words to be somewhat harsh, but how do you think Mihaela felt with all this false accusations? How should I feel now as a professional chess player? Should I be afraid to play good chess and to win against stronger opponents? Does it mean that in 10 years I will be cataloged as an expired chess player who doesn't have the right to play strong? What is with all this nonsense?

I am very disappointed that such kind of situations can happen nowadays and I hope that conclusions will be drawn and measures will be taken so that such unfair and abusing behavior would never happen again!

Mihaela, all your friends and colleagues are with you, cheering for you and my admiration for your fighting spirit has only grown! Keep up the good work and I cross my fingers for you to keep offending those high egos!

Top standings after ten rounds

Rk. SNo Title Name FED Rtg Pts.  TB1   TB2   TB3 
1 15 GM Zhukova Natalia UKR 2456 8.5 2359 53.5 57.5
2 7 IM Batsiashvili Nino GEO 2473 8.0 2421 58.5 61.5
3 14 GM Danielian Elina ARM 2458 7.5 2417 55.5 59.5
4 20 IM Kashlinskaya Alina RUS 2423 7.0 2434 57.0 61.5
5 30 IM Guseva Marina RUS 2391 7.0 2422 56.5 60.5
6 4 WGM Girya Olga RUS 2479 7.0 2404 58.0 62.5
7 11 GM Socko Monika POL 2467 7.0 2348 54.5 59.5
8 29 IM Gaponenko Inna UKR 2391 7.0 2348 51.0 53.5
9 6 WGM Goryachkina Aleksandra RUS 2474 7.0 2346 49.5 53.5
10 25 IM Bodnaruk Anastasia RUS 2402 6.5 2395 56.0 60.0
11 22 IM Savina Anastasia RUS 2417 6.5 2379 54.5 58.0
12 2 GM Khotenashvili Bela GEO 2527 6.5 2360 55.5 60.0
13 9 GM Hoang Thanh Trang HUN 2472 6.5 2355 54.5 59.0
14 16 IM Melia Salome GEO 2452 6.5 2347 55.0 58.0
15 8 IM Paehtz Elisabeth GER 2473 6.5 2340 49.0 53.0
16 45 WGM Sandu Mihaela ROU 2300 6.0 2471 62.0 65.0
17 18 IM Kovalevskaya Ekaterina RUS 2450 6.0 2408 58.5 63.0
18 52 WIM Abdulla Khayala AZE 2266 6.0 2382 49.5 53.5
19 5 IM Galliamova Alisa RUS 2478 6.0 2372 54.0 59.0
20 31 WGM Charochkina Daria RUS 2391 6.0 2365 51.0 54.0
21 42 WGM Charkhalashvili Inga GEO 2318 6.0 2354 47.0 50.0
22 13 IM Mkrtchian Lilit ARM 2459 6.0 2332 51.5 56.0
23 17 IM Khurtsidze Nino GEO 2451 6.0 2307 48.5 53.0
24 34 IM Guramishvili Sopiko GEO 2370 6.0 2306 47.5 50.5
25 19 WGM Zawadzka Jolanta POL 2434 6.0 2283 48.0 52.0
26 28 IM Atalik Ekaterina TUR 2392 6.0 2246 44.5 47.0

Individual performance of Mihaela Sandu

Rd. Bo. SNo Title Name Rtg FED Pts. Res.
1 45 94 Mammadova Aysel 1862 AZE 2.5 w 1
2 12 16 IM Melia Salome 2452 GEO 6.5 s 1
3 4 6 WGM Goryachkina Aleksandra 2474 RUS 6.0 w 1
4 1 4 WGM Girya Olga 2479 RUS 6.5 s 1
5 1 10 IM Javakhishvili Lela 2472 GEO 4.0 w 1
6 1 7 IM Batsiashvili Nino 2473 GEO 8.0 s 0
7 2 3 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2512 BUL 4.5 w 1
8 2 15 GM Zhukova Natalia 2456 UKR 7.5 s 0
9 3 14 GM Danielian Elina 2458 ARM 6.5 w 0
10 6 11 GM Socko Monika 2467 POL 6.0 w 0
As we go into publication Mihaela Sandu is playing her final round game in Chakvi against IM Alisa Galliamova, with the black pieces. A somewhat deeper scan of the ten games played so far has not yielded anything that would indicate that computer assistance might be involved. However, the fact that Sandu without exception won all the games in which there was live transmission and lost all in which the broadcast was delayed is going to be used by her opponents to justify their suspicions. We once again urge our readers to judge for themselves, using the computer correlation function in ChessBase 13 (highlight the games in the games list, right click and use "Edit – Let's Check Engine Correlation"). Please post your conclusions in the feedback section below, where possible stating which engine were involved in the analysis.


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