Igors Rausis: Chess cheat resurfaces after an infamous toilet break

Written by Shahid Judge
| Mumbai |

Updated: October 14, 2020 12:47:11 am

Igors Rausis resurfaced in Valka, Latvia as one of many 37 contestants at a small-scale match. (Source: Twitter/nigelshortchess)

If you run the identify Igors Rausis by a search engine, likelihood is the primary picture will likely be of the chess participant, sitting absolutely clothed on a bathroom, consulting his cell phone whereas nonetheless lively in an worldwide match. The infamous incident, that came about in Strasbourg in France final yr, resulted within the Grandmaster being stripped of his title and banned from worldwide chess for a file six years.

On Saturday nevertheless, the 59-year-old resurfaced in Valka, Latvia as one of many 37 contestants at a small-scale match. The solely GM current on the occasion, Arturs Neikšāns, recognised Rausis regardless of a masks on the latter’s face. Only, it was Rausis enjoying beneath a special identify – Isa Kasimi.

Rausis or Kasimi?

A photograph of Igors Rausis in a toilet cubicle consulting his cellphone went viral in July 2019. 

The dishonest scandal final July made world headlines because the photograph of Rausis in a toilet cubicle consulting his cellphone did the rounds on-line. For breaching the laws, the worldwide chess physique FIDE banned Rausis from competing at worldwide occasions in December. He, nevertheless, determined to indicate up on the Valka match as Isa Kasimi — he even has a passport bearing that identify.

GM Neikšāns realised this after the unrated Kasimi comprehensively beat his first-round opponent.

“I looked from afar but couldn’t tell as he was avoiding everybody,” Neikšāns recited the incident to Chess24. “When the third round was about to start, I decided to investigate and came closer. And there he was, Rausis in person, hiding behind a mask and additionally (carrying) a crutch. I immediately established eye contact and asked directly: ‘What are you doing here?’”

Still, not unlawful

While weird, Rausis or Kasimi’s, choice to compete in Valka was not unlawful. He is just not allowed to compete at any worldwide occasions that may give him ELO (rating) factors. The match in Valka. nevertheless, was a memorial for former Latvian participant Vsevolods Dudzinskis who handed away in January this yr, and provided not more than the 1000 Euro prize cash.

Speaking to Chess24, FIDE normal director Emil Sutovsky mentioned: “Fide does not own chess. We can’t decide that Rausis has no right to play the game, as long as the tournament has nothing to do with FIDE. However, I’d expect organisers and indeed players to manifest their attitude towards the participation of a convicted cheater in the tournaments.”

Meanwhile, British GM and FIDE vice-president Nigel Short was outraged.

“I fail to understand why any chess organiser would allow the disgraced… Igors Rausis to participate in their event,” he mentioned to The Times.

It’s not unlawful to vary one’s identify both, however why do it? Rausis/Kasimi defined to Chess.com.
“Because the name Rausis is completely shamed. First of all, I feel sorry for my entire family. Even my daughter was ashamed of this story. This toilet photo, you cannot imagine, it was published everywhere, in all media, especially here in Latvia.”

Man of many identities

Rausis was born in Alchevsk, within the former Soviet Union and present-day Ukraine. Before his chess profession, he had been coaching as a neurologist and labored as an ambulance crew member in Sevastopol, Ukraine.

He grew to become a GM in 1992 when he was representing Latvia. In 2000, he determined to symbolize Bangladesh and switched to the Czech Republic in 2008. As reported by the Dhaka Tribune final yr, he was additionally the Bangladesh nationwide coach until the incident in Strasbourg.

As a participant, he was the oldest within the high 100 and had remarkably not fallen together with the development of an elder participant falling down the ranks. Instead, over the previous couple of years, his ELO score moved up from the 2500s to the 2700s, a class dubbed ‘Super Grandmaster.’

However, the sudden, fast and surprising rise raised many flags. FIDE’s honest play fee was subsequently alerted by a statistical mannequin employed to catch laptop cheats on the potential for Rausis dishonest. Secretary of the honest play fee Yuri Garrett confirmed to The Times that that they had been “closely following a player (Rausis) for months.”

Caught red-handed

During the Strasbourg Open, which awarded the winner a prize of 1000 Euros, {a photograph} was taken of Rausis from above the cubicle, exhibiting him consulting with a software program program on his cellphone. The use of any and all know-how, except accredited beforehand, are prohibited, particularly cell phones as there are quite a few purposes that may analyse and counsel strikes.

The official rule

Article 12.3.B within the FIDE handbook states: “Without the permission of the arbiter a player is forbidden to have a mobile phone or other electronic means of communication in the playing venue, unless they are completely switched off. If any such device produces a sound, the player shall lose the game. The opponent shall win.”

The handbook defines the ‘playing venue’ as “playing area, restrooms, refreshment area, area set aside for smoking and other places as designated by the arbiter.”

Not the one one

Though Rausis will be the solely identified case of a participant altering his identification to get right into a match, he isn’t the one one who has been caught illegally utilizing know-how.

Former Georgian GM Gaioz Nigalidze was discovered utilizing a cellphone within the toilet on the 2015 Dubai Open. In this incident, the cellphone was allegedly hidden within the bathroom the place Nigalidze would continually go to. This alarmed his opponent Armenian GM Tigran Petrosian, who then alerted the arbiter. A search of the bathroom confirmed a hidden cellphone which was logged into Nigalidze’s social media account. He was subsequently handed a three-year ban.

There was additionally a low ranked Italian participant, Arcangelo Ricciardi who was caught for allegedly utilizing Morse Code to win matches. At an occasion in Imperia in Northern Italy in 2015, Ricciardi, ranked 51,366 on the planet beat gamers ranked within the high 3000, together with a French GM and Slovakian International Master. He was believed to have hid a digicam in his pendant and had a field positioned beneath his armpit which might obtain the data.

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