Chess: grandmaster accused of cheating!

By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw

Cheating in any sport is against the basic idea of sport, namely, fair play.

A chess grandmaster has been accused of cheating at the Strasbourg Open, having been photographed in a toilet cubicle using his mobile phone.

Igors Rausis, who is 58 years old, broke into the top 100 players last year, reaching the position of 40 in the live rankings list, and this surprised the world of chess, as players over the age of 30 years tend to decline in ability with advancing years.

This led to suspicions about him; and it is not clear how he came to be photographed in a compromising situation in a toilet, although the Chess Fair Play Commission revealed that officials had been “closely following a player for months.”

Chess players can use powerful “engine” apps on mobile phones to analyse games and find good moves.

Thus, most high-level chess tournaments ban the use of mobile phones and, in fact, players are required to pass through metal detectors before entering the playing area, to ensure that they are not in possession of them.

If found guilty, Rausis, a former Latvian chess champion, could face a life-time ban from the sport!

Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘’