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Dublin: 18 °C Tuesday 11 August, 2020

Chess world scandalised by alleged French cheating

Three team members suspended after a plot involving text messages, computers and coded signals was discovered.

Image: Ng Han Guan via AP/Press Association Images

THREE FRENCH CHESS players have been suspended by their federation after an alleged plot of high-tech cheating was discovered.

The three players are claimed to have used an elaborate combination of text messages, chess computers and coded signals to gain an advantage at the chess olympiad in Russia last September, the Telegraph reports.

French chess federation chief Laurent Verat said it was the first case of its kind. “There have already been suspicions of cheating in chess, even involving strong players in the past, but there has never been proof of cheating,” he said.

The federation claim the intricate plot centred around a match in which 19 year old International  Grand Master Sebastien Feller was involved.  His team mate Cyril Marzolo was able to track the game over the internet and use computer software to work out what the next best move would be.

Marzolo would then send the the moves to a third person, team captain Arnuad Hauchard, by coded message. Hauchard would signal to Feller by placing himself at various locations in the room, with different tables representing different squares on the chess board.

Suspicions were raised when the French federation’s vice president, Joanna Pomian, found a text message from Hauchard to Marzolo saying “hurry up and send me some moves”.

Feller and Marzolo both face suspensions while Hauchard faces a lifetime ban as a coach and selector. All three deny the accusations and are appealing the federation’s ruling.

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