Art & Culture

Chess grandmaster booted from tournament for iPhone hidden in toilet

Gaioz Nigalidze
Przemek Jahr | Wikimedia Commons

A Georgian chess grandmaster has been kicked out of a tournament carrying a $12,000 prize after game officials found a smartphone in a toilet stall that they say he was using to cheat on games.

At 25 years old, Gaioz Nigalidze is Georgia's national chess champion, but he may have a tougher time finding games for the next several years, according to the Washington Post. Nigalidze's troubles began at a chess tournament in Dubai, when an opponent complained that he was taking a great number of bathroom trips during matches, and always to the same stall.

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Armenian champion Tigran Petrossian said Nigalidze would "literally run to the toilet" immediately after taking a turn during their game, Petrossian told the Post. Petrossian reported Nigalidze's behavior to competition officials, who inspected the stall and found an Apple iPhone wrapped in toilet paper and tucked behind the toilet. Nigalidze at first said the phone wasn't his, but the device was found to be signed into a social network under his name and had an open app that was analyzing Nigalidze's game with Petrossian, according to the article.

Nigalidze was kicked out of the tournament, and his past achievements are now under scrutiny. Some fellow grandmasters have publicly called for the World Chess Federation to strip Nigalidze of his titles and ban him from competition for up to 15 years.

Top players quoted in the article said cheaters need to be punished severely n order to discourage increasingly widespread smartphone-enabled cheating, which they characterize as even more unfair than the use of performance-enhancing drugs in athletics.

Read the full story in the Washington Post.