Kindred’s Special: A Tale of Cheating or Coincidence?

This really bugs me!  I wrote in the past about how history tends to repeat itself.  Okay!  Once more I had to use my brain power for memory of past readings on the subject now coming under discussion.  The very similar occurrances seen in two tournaments–one in Russia, namely The 2009 Moscow Open (Areoflot Open) and the other in the USA, namely The 2013 Marchand Memorial Open held this past weekend in Rochester, New York. In each case the similarity is shocking, the aftermath equally amazing as how the suspicions of cheating, absent of definite proof, led to the accused in both cases losing remaining games.

Shakheiyar Mamedyarov  vs  Igor Kurnosov battle saw the following play:

1. d4  Nf6 2. c4  g6  3. f3  d5  4. cxd5  Nxd5  5. e4  Nb6  6. Nc3  Bg7  7. Be3  O-O  8. Qd2  Nc6.

This opening position was the same reached in the Alekhine vs. Bogoljubow game of 1931 and more recently in 2007 between Moiseenki and Li Chao at move 10 which, by the way, was won by Black.

9. O-O-O  f5  10. h4 fxe4  11. h5  gxh5 12. d5  Ne5  13. Bh6  Nec4 14. Qg5.

At this point, White offered a draw and Black confidently declined it having spent a lot of time on the next moves feeling he was already better.  Igor claims White did not offer a draw until after  15. Bxc4. Later on, checking with the computer Rybka was the follow up which gave Black an edge and increased after White’s 16th play.

14. … Rf7  15. Bxc4  Nxc4  16. Rd4  Qd6  17. Bxg7  Rxg7 18. Qxh5  Qf4+ 19. Kh1  bf5  20. fxe4  Bg4  21.  Nge2?  Qd2!  White resigned here and dashed off to write a protest which he gave to the TD instead of the tournament arbiter.

The aribter’s comments:

We cannot control everything!  We do not have any proof that the Russian player did anything wrong. Mr. Mamedyarov mentioned that many of the moves by his opponent matched those of the computer Rybka. During the game, Igor K. went out to smoke which is not permitted in the playing area. He took his jacket and lighter with him so he could smoke. He said many were there while he smoked. He visited the toilet so he could freshen up and wash his face with cold water.

The loser believes that Igor K.  lost the last few games because he no longer  used computer help.

But if a player is accused of cheating, will it not adversely put great stress on his being for the remaining games especially if he did nothing wrong? Igor Kurnosov will always be associated with these accusations of cheating where no proof was shown except that he played  moves that were also chosen by the computer Rybka.

I wonder if this computer age of high tech world we live in is after all such a marvelous adventure in our life journey?

In the Marchand Open game, played between GM Eugene Perelshteyn and William Fisher, a similar complaint was launched by the loser. This turned out to be Fisher wearing a black wristwatch that was commercially made to contain a tiny camera and he was accused of exposing his scoresheet moves which could have been transmitted to a powerful computer whose program would be capable of dashing off many variations as well as evaluating their strength. Apparently the GM Perelshteyn was not used to losing a game and suspected his lower rated opponent of skullduggery.  My copy supplied me suggests that Mr. Fisher chose the planned action in the computer printout notes to the actual game. After the complaint he was asked to remove the wristwatch and then lost his remaining games for which another GM confirmed that something smelled in Denmark.  Here is the game.

White Perelshteyn  vs.  Black Fisher  Opening: NimzoIndian Defence.

1. d4  Nf6  2. c4  e6  3. Nc3  Bb4  4. g3.

White chooses a rare line that has gained a little popularity among players who want to stay away from heavily trodden book lines.  It does not have the tension that is seen in more popular lines of play. Black now plays a good developing move without giving away how he wants to more aggressively pursue an active defense on the field of battle.

4. … O-O  5. Bg2  Nc6  6. Nf3  Bxc3+ 7. bxc3  d6  8. Qd3  e5  9. Nd2  Bg4.

This increases attack per my square count theory.  Passive development might be a foreboding of things to come. White proceeds with….

10. O-O Qd7  11. e4.

Maybe 11. f3 intending if …Bh3 12. Rf2 where the Rook can exercise quick action in combination with utilizing both Rooks as a battering ram on a Kingside file or even maybe on the half-open b-file. The next moves lead to greater square count for Black. White’s square count is tied mostly to the pawns on the 4th rank and Bishop.

11. …Bh3  12. Re1  Rfe8! 13. Nf1 exd4  14. cxd4  Nb4!  15. Qb1  Bxg2 16. Kxg2  Qa4!

Putting a lot of pressure on this sector. White seems to have no real plan but just moves in meeting Black’s tension.

17. Re2  Nc6  18. Qd3  b5!

Using the pressure exerting from the black Queen. As I remember this similar attack idea was seen in a GM game in NIC. Perhaps Fisher got the idea from studying chess. He now opens up lines and prepares to settle the central complex at the same time preparing to expand his square count and increase central tension.

19. Nd2  bxc4  20. Qc3  d5  21. e5  Nb4  22. Rb1  Nd3 23. Ba3  Re6  24. Re3  Nd7  25. Rf1  Ra6! 26. Nb1  Rb8  27. f4  Rxb1  28. Rxb1  Qxa3 29. Qxa3  Rxa3  30. Re2  g6.

Gives luft for the King advance and prevent danger to the monarch.

31. Rb7  Nf8  32. Rxc7  Ne6.

The start of a Knightly tango and finds White in virtual zwugswang.

33. Rc8+ Kg7  34. Rd2  Ne1+  35. Kf1  Nf3  36. Rb2  Nfxd4  37. Ke1  c3  38. Rf2  Nf5  39. g4  Ne3  40. f5  Nf4  41. Rxc3  Rxc3  42. Rxf4  Nc4  43. f6+ Kh6  44. Rd4  Rc1+ 45. Ke2  Nxe5  46. h3  Rc5  47. Ke3  Kg5  Black wins 0-1.

Perhaps more important than to try for me to answer the questions raised by the losers in both games, might I suggest that a lot of the trouble comes from the assumption that rating differences mean finality in the real world and that no one can play as accurately as a computer.  The world chess library of games prove this fallacy.  I, myself, chose the vast majority of moves in both games, not on the individual move but based upon a plan of operation that evolved.  Neither of the losers herein could say with certainty that a scam was perpetrated on the board.  No one should be the last word in assuming that ratings reflect truth in game play.  History is full of wonderful games where the plan is mightier than the numerical rating path.

Amateur that I am, can personally condemn the poor quality generalship of both Grandmasters.  You win games on the board, not in your research and mind. Play badly and you lose no matter what your rating superiority is. Even if some skullduggery exists, no one can alter the plans and skill shown on the 64 squares.  Live with it!

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130 Responses to “Kindred’s Special: A Tale of Cheating or Coincidence?”

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