Chess Grandmaster Caught Using His Phone While On The Toilet During A Tournament
Rausis told Chess.com:
I simply lost my mind yesterday. I confirmed the fact of using my phone during the game by written [statement]. What could I say more? Yes, I was tired after the morning game and all the Facebook activity of accusers also have a known impact. At least what I committed yesterday is a good lesson, not for me—I played my last game of chess already.
It’s not clear whether he’s specifically looking at a chess app, but it’s likely that the grandmaster will face a harsh penalty nonetheless given the attitude that FIDE has towards phones during tournaments. Even being caught in possession of one during competition can lead to disqualification.
This suspension does add a wrinkle to Rausis’s unprecedented career, and opens the floodgates for even more reasonable doubt to spill in.
The Latvian-Czech grandmaster advanced to become a “super” grandmaster in the span of six years, which is a really quick turnaround for such a feat.
The challenge of raising one’s FIDE rating from 2500 (regular grandmaster) to 2700 (“super” grandmaster) in that timespan requires near-perfect play against every opponent.
Even more incredible is the fact that he reached this level in his 50s, which immediately caused some to question the sudden jump in success, particularly when he broke into the Top 100 and was the oldest player on that list.
“It’s amazing Rausis wasn’t stopped earlier. Seems naive that people think someone can improve that much in their fifties,” said grandmaster and ex-England player Danny Gormally.
Had Rausis not been caught today, there appears to be evidence that he might have been stopped sooner rather than later, as FIDE’s Fair Play Commission Secretary Yuri Garrett outlines in his own Facebook post that the commission had been closely following Rausis for a while.
Fide anti-cheating procedures work best in team.
The Fair Play Commission has been closely following a player for months thank to Prof. Regan’s excellent statistical insights. Then we finally get a chance: a good arbiter does the right thing. He calls the Chairman of the Arbiters Commission for advice when he understands something is wrong in his tournament.
At this point the Chair of ARB consults with the Secretary of FPC and a procedure is devised and applied. Trust me, the guy didn’t stand a chance from the moment I knew about the incident: FPC knows how to protect chess if given the chance.
The final result is finding a phone in the toilet and also finding its owner. Now the incident will follow the regular procedure and a trial will follow to establish what really happened.
This is how anti-cheating works in chess. It’s the team of the good guys against those who attempt at our game.
Play in our team and help us defend the royal game. Study the anti-cheating regulations, protect your tournament and chess by applying the anti-cheating measures in all international tournaments. Do the right thing, and all cheaters will eventually be defeated.
I wish to thank the chief arbiter for doing the right thing, my friend Laurent Freyd for alerting me and Fide for finally believing in anti-cheating efforts. The fight has just begun and we will pursue anyone who attempts at our integrity.
Today was a great day for chess.
Though he doesn’t mention Rausis by name, it’s obvious that that is who he is referring to in the post.
Strangely enough, this isn’t even the first time cheating of this nature has happened—though the career implications were certainly not the same. In 2015, a Georgian grandmaster was banned for three years and stripped of his grandmaster status when he too was caught cheating with a phone app on the toilet during a tournament.