Archive for September 18th, 2016


Another funny from TrollChess


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Did he cheat or violate the rules unintentionally? At the recent Baku Olympiad the untitled Japanese player Tang Tang, who defeated Turkmenistan GM Handszar Odeev in Round 3 was given a loss by the arbiters after they discovered he was in possession of an electronic device, even though it was established it (the player’s phone) had not been used during the game.

Is the young Japanese player guilty of cheating or making an innocent mistake? It is unclear. I think the most important thing to do for now is to look at the game, which can be found here.

In doing so, you may have noticed in the player stats that black has a rating advantage of around 300 points but comes out of the opening slightly worse only to equalize in the middlegame. On move 26 the following position is reached.


White (Tang Tang) now plays 27. f4, at which point had black played either Qxa2 (suggested by Leonard Barden on the ECF Forum) or Qxd6 (my suggestion) the game would probably have been drawn but instead black plays for the win with 27. …exf3 28. Rd2 f2?!+. Perhaps unhappy not to be winning against his much lower rated player, he tries to mate white, only to find himself being mated. The difficulty here is that if black’s mating attack works then of course its justified, so is the result of the match due to black’s miscalculations? If so, isn’t it unfair to accuse white (Tang Tang) of cheating? He has hasn’t really won the game himself, black has lost it through a choice of incorrect plan. I’m not sure whether white’s play is strong enough to suggest he has been cheating and of course we hope that whenever an untitled player beats a Grandmaster they don’t automatically fall under suspicion. If anything the game looks like a classic example of a higher rated opponent dropping his game and the lower rated opponent upping his so that they meet somewhere in the middle.

The case was brought to light on the following site The captain of the Japanese team GM Mihajlo Stojanovic, has defended his player in the comments below and clarified one or two points (though it would have helped if the player had done so as well). It appears that Tang Tang was given a loss for possession of an electronic device rather than use…well according to his captain he was.

Unfortunately FIDE has attracted a lot of criticism over the anti-cheating measures enforced, which were considered to be draconian and, as we see here, ineffective. Players were forced to go through scanners and body searches before entering the playing venue and could be stopped and searched during play, much to the frustration of England’s Nigel Short. Of course, FIDE want to send the message that cheating is unacceptable, and rightly so, but this is not the way to do it surely. Chess is a gentleman’s game, such heavy-handedness has no place in it. No wonder so many players felt aggrieved. It is a great shame that the majority have to suffer because of the actions of a few, and in turn, the governing body’s inability to deal with the issue effectively.

One final point, given the attention the incident attained, I wonder if Tang Tang is now big in Japan, because ‘when you’re big in Japan…’



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