Flushing your promising chess career down the toilet? There's an app for that.
Officials overseeing the 17th annual Dubai Open Chess Tournament say they busted 25-year-old reigning Georgian champion Gaioz Nigalidze using an iPhone chess app to strategize during his Saturday match with Armenian grandmaster Tigran Petrosian after Petrosian became suspicious of his opponent's frequent trips to the bathroom.
“Nigalidze would promptly reply to my moves and then literally run to the toilet,” Petrosian told The Telegraph. “I noticed that he would always visit the same toilet partition, which was strange, since two other partitions weren’t occupied.”
According to the tournament officials, that's because Nigalidze had stashed an iPhone wrapped in toilet paper behind the toilet.
“When confronted, Nigalidze denied he owned the device,” according to the tournament’s website. “But officials opened the smart device 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, a two time Georgian national champ, was expelled from the tournament and could be banned from tournament chess play for up to 15 years.
Chess aficionados say they fear Saturday's incident is a perfect example of a modern malady that could erode the integrity and prestige of the game.
“The basic problem is that it’s incredibly easy to cheat with a phone,” Nigel Short, an English chess grandmaster once ranked third in the world, told the Washington Post. “You can have some application running on your phone, and it’s quite easy to conceal… My dog could win a major tournament using one of these devices. Or my grandmother. Anybody could do this.”