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Gaioz Nigalidze banned for cheating at the Dubai Open Chess Tournament

Gaioz Nigalidze as Georgian Chess Champion

Gaioz Nigalidze as Georgian Chess Champion

Gaioz Nigalidze, winner of the Georgian championship in 2013 and 2014, used a smart phone hidden in a toilet to consult moves with a chess computer.

A chess Grandmaster has been banned from the Dubai Open Chess Tournament after he was found to have used an electronic device during a match. GM Gaioz Nigalidze of Georgia was caught by tournament officials consulting a device hidden in one of the toilet cubicles of the Dubai Chess and Culture Club during his sixth-round encounter with Armenia’s GM Tigran Petrosian.

International Arbiter (IA) Mahdi Abdul Rahim, the tournament’s chief arbiter, said Petrosian had earlier informed tournament officials of his suspicion that Nigalidze was getting help from a chess computer through a portable electronic device during the game, as the Armenian noticed the Georgian was oddly frequenting the toilet after each move during a crucial part of the game.

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When the officials initially checked Nigalidze, they did not find any device with him. The tournament Director and the Chief Arbiter were suspicious that he is using the same cubicle. When they checked the cubicle in question, they found a mobile phone and a headset hidden behind the pan and covered with toilet paper. When confronted, Nigalidze denied he owned the device, but officials opened the smart phone and found it was logged into a social networking site under Nigalidze’s account. They also found his game being analyzed in one of the chess applications.

Nigalidze was back-to-back winner of the Georgian Chess Championship in 2013 and 2014, and was also crowned champion of the Al Ain Classic in Al Ain last December.

Review: Nigalidze wins Al Ain Chess Classic

Review: Nigalidze’s games from the Georgian Chess Championship

Abdul Rahim has removed Nigalidze from the tournament and will send a report about the incident to the International Chess Federation, which has recently established a commission to deal with cheating in chess competitions. He said players proven to have committed such an offence will be suspended for three years from all sanctioned tournaments, and up to 15 years in case of a repeat offence.

Fide Anti Cheating Guidelines”

It was not the first time a player was caught cheating at the Dubai Open. In 2008, an Iranian player was also banned from the tournament after he was found to be receiving help from someone who was watching the game’s live broadcast on the internet and was sending the moves through text messages.

Tournaments sanctioned by the International Chess Federation, including the Dubai Open, do not allow players to carry with them mobile phones and other electronic devices during their games.


Italian grandmaster Daniele Vocaturo rebounds with five straight wins to join leaders at the Dubai Open Chess Championship

UAE’s top junior Ahmed Fareed upsets Russian IM

Meanwhile, following a sensational opening-round debacle, GM Daniele Vocaturo has ignited a fierce comeback as the Italian 24th seed won a fifth straight game to join the leaders after six rounds in the Dubai Open Chess Championship – Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup Saturday night at the Dubai Chess and Culture Club.

Vocaturo, who was derailed by untitled Mokal Amruta Sunil of India in the opening round, used the French Defence to defeat Polish GM Mateusz Bartel in 51 moves to up his tally to five points in six games. Top-seed GM David Howell of England also has five points to maintain his hold of the leadership despite successive draws in the fifth and six rounds with GM Nils Grandelius of Sweden and GM Alexander Shabalov of the US respectively.

Grandelius and Shabalov also have five points along with second-seed GM Vladimir Fedoseev of Russia, GM Dragan Solak of Turkey, GM Andrei Istratescu of France and GM Yuri Solodovnichenko of Ukraine.

UAE players

Untitled Ahmed Fareed, one of the UAE’s up-and-coming junior players, pulled off an upset against Russian International Master (IM) Ernest Kharous to rise to three points. Other UAE players with three points are Fide Master (FM) Saeed Ishaq, who dropped his match against Armenia’s IM Vahe Baghdasaryan, FM Nabil Saleh Nabil, who defeated Jordan’s Candidate Master Rakan Alattar, and Arab Under-18 champion FM Sultan Ibrahim, who outplayed Ali Abdulla.

FM Yousry Salah of Egypt leads the race among Arab players with four points after defeating Sudan’s Mohammed Tarig Elther in the sixth round. IM Mohamed Ezat lost to Azerbaijan’s GM Eltaj Safarli to stay at 3.5 points, along with fellow Egyptians FM Fawzy Adham, who held Indian GM Arun Prasad to a draw, and IM Imed Abdelnabbi, who defeated Woman Grandmaster Zeinab Mamedjarova of Azerbaijan.


The Dubai Open Chess Championship – Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Cup offers a total cash purse of US$50,000 to the winners, with US$12,000 going to the champion.

Playing system

The tournament is a nine-round Swiss system event with each player allotted 90 minutes plus a 30-second increment for each move to complete a game. The event is being managed by tournament director Yahya Mohammed Saleh and IA Mahdi Abdul Rahim, the chief arbiter, and assisted by deputy chief arbiter IA Saeed Yousuf Shakari, IA Jamal Qasim, IA Sheikha Ali Rashid, IA Walid Abu Obeid and IA Marcel Augusto.

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