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  Cheating Scandal in Thessaloniki

Cheating Scandal in Thessaloniki

08.05.2017 / GM Pap, Misa (2480)

GM Pap about the game you can download in PGN

First of all to say few things about chess and how I see it: I think that chess culture and fair-play, should be above result, and that respect for the game, and for opponent should be on some decent level. If that is not the case, then we will have more and more cheaters, who are destroying chess. And, that is why, I am for severe punishment of all proved cheaters, so that we try and stop cheating in chess, once and for all...

I played in an OPEN tournament Triandria in Thessaloniki, from April 17th till 23rd. In round 4 I played against strange player, rated 2155, Papasimakopoulos Alexandros, born in 1996. We played the game on board 4, and it was live transmission on chess24 (and probably on some other sites). Chess24 is very useful, because there you can also check for yourself, how much time was spent for each and every move! Chess24 shows, that my opponent was late for the game 2min. and 13 s.

And then... He plays the whole game verrry fast! Too fast! For almost all moves, he spent around 10 seconds or less. Few times he spent 1 min. or so...He was slowly but surely outplaying me with ease, and I was fighting not to lose such hard game! I felt like I am playing against somebody so strong, tooo strong. Maybe rated 3000+ ?

According to my notes (and if you don't believe me, please do check on chess24 - Triandria tournament, round 4), he had 1 hour and 28 min. left, after move 27, and I had only 18 min. After 32nd move, he had 1hour and 25 min. and I had just 3 min. left! And I was almost lost! How is that possible, that such player, rated 2155, (or for any player in general, including some strong GMs), plays so fast, and so strong? I would say, it is impossible. Also, he never calculated any variations, and played so easy, without any problems...He knew something, of course, or he was simply using some outside help, supported with some electronics?

Here are times for his moves:
1.d4 (2min. 13 s)11.cd5 4 s 21. h3 3min. 9s 31.ab6 2min. 12s 41.Bh6 1min. 9 s
2.c4 4 s 12.Bd8 6 s 22. bc3 4 s 32.ed4 12 s 42.Re3 14 min. 31 s
3.Nc3 3 s 13.Bh4 4 s 23. Rac1 14 s 33.Rb4 2min. 46s 43.Be3 2 s
4.Qc2 4 s 14.Bf2 6 s 24.Be2 15 s 34.cd5 1min. 1s 44.d6 3 s
5.a3 2 s15.Bd3 33 s25.Bg3 1min. 21 s 35.Rb6 4 s 45.h5 3 s
6.Qc3 3s16.Ne2 27 s26.Rf1 1min. 15s 36.Be5 1min. 4s 46.g4 1min. 27s
7.Bg5 5 s 17.0-0 4min. 13 s27.c4 46 s 37.Bg7 1min. 5s 
8.f3 5 s 18.fe4 3 s 28.a4 3min. 29s 38.Kh2 4 s 
9.Bh4 4 s 19.Bc4 3 s 29.Rb1 1min. 6s 39.Rf6 1min. 8s 
10.e3 5 s 20.Nc3 5 s 30.a5 28 s 40.Re6 2s 

Who plays like that?

In the end, he gets into winning position (according to an engine), and then...He didn't win! Why? How? Did I make draw against engine? Probably so. Thing is that engine shows, until the end that white wins easily, but without TB (Table base), engine doesn't know that opposite coloured B, with g-h pawns up is well known, theoretical draw! And that was first line, first choice of engine! Only then, when he realised that, did he spend (only time in the whole game), 14 min. 31 s, for his move, searching for any chance to win, or at least make some final trick. I was of course again low on time (second time control). And I managed to find 1-2 only moves, to save draw. My opponent, was angry and upset, soooo ANGRY, that he didn't win that game! I thought that he will explode from anger! And probably, most of those 14 min. 31 s, he used to calm down, before the game ends, not to explode from anger!

Immediately after the game, I tried to speak with my opponent, and asked him several questions like: Wow, you play so strong, like you are 2800 rated, and you outplay easily GMs, do you play always like this? Etc. He was very silent, signed the score-sheet, and left the playing hall, very fast, too fast, almost running...Suspicious? Of course! I had no time to ask the main arbiter for official search for any hidden electronics, he might have had. And of course, that was the only time, when he left the playing hall so fast, other days, (when he probably didn't cheat), he stayed always after the game...You might ask me, if he was cheating against me, why he didn't repeat it again? Maybe he wanted to destroy my tournament, and/or maybe he was just scared, when I mentioned that he was very suspicious, and his play...So, maybe he decided to lay low in this tournament...

Immediately after the game, after he (my opponent) left running, I spoke to the main organizer Mr. Betsakos Vasileios and to some arbiters (names irelevant), about the game. I expressed my suspicions about regularity of my opponents play, and I said that he could be cheating in some way. But, because he left running, it was not possible to ask him or check him! How convenient! I remember, I asked the arbiter if this guy plays always so fast and so good, and he said something like no. So, only against me then?

And Mr. Betsakos Vasileios is special story. He says to me something like: "Misa, my friend, listen to me, I know this guy, he is my very good friend, and he never cheats, I guarantie for him!" When I asked him, how is it possible, that such player, played so fast and so impossibly good, he said: "Listen, he told me before the game, that he has some appointment, he has to be there before 20.00 h (and the game began at 17.30 h). So, you see, he told me that he would play very fast against GM, and try to be there on time..." Haha. What do you think about that? And of course, to my horror, when I got back to my hotel, and switched on engine, what could I see?

According to my check, 44 out of 46 game moves, were engine moves (first and second line), played by famous Papasimakopoulos A. 96 % of engine moves (ok first and second line), but if you like, you can check for yourself, how many of those he played by first line, and was it close to 90 % ? Just to mentions, that best players in the world, rated above 2800, have around 58-60 % of moves matching those of engines (and of course, they spend some time in their games, right? They do not play high quality games in under 5 min, right?).

So, what do you think? Is that suspicious? Did he cheat? Is that enough of evidence?

I also sent e-mail to the main organizer and to the arbiter, mentioning chess-culture and fair-play, but they never reacted. No asnwer, simply. Main guy, Mr. Betsakos Vasileios, also tried to scare me, calling me different names, and telling me that I am very rude, arrogant, etc...And that in addition he will inform all organizers of chess tournaments, in whole Greece, what kind of bad, and rude guy am I, and that I can never play in Greece again... Charming no?

What to say more? He (Papasimakopoulos A.) played next day against player rated 1969, on board 12 (without live transmission), and he spent almost all of his time, and was totaly lost, saving the game by miracle only. This time without outside help, maybe? Until the end of the tournament, he didn't try to cheat (probably), because he was scared of my reaction, where I said publicly that his play against me was verrrry suspicious...

I asked that my games should be switched off from live transmission until the end of the tournament, and I didn't leave, but maybe I should have...Especialy, considering behaviour of Mr. Betsakos and his friends...

I played until the end of the tournament under tremendous pressure from Mr. Betsakos, and his "friendly" arbiters, and no wonder scored only 6.5/9. I just want to inform whole chess world, about these guys, and that anybody who wants to play in that and in similar tournaments, should be extremely careful!

Best regards,
GM Misa