Lip Balm Stains Chess Tourney


Anna Rudolf, recent cheating-smear victim (as depicted on Susan Polgar’s blog).

I am back blogging, after a long holiday break.

The latest (false) cheating scandal in international chess soiled the Vandoeuvre Open in France during the last week in December. Latvian grandmasters were fazed by the strong performance of Anna Rudof, who was unexpectedly leading the tournament. The disgruntled GMs accused the Hungarian phenom of cheating.

The pattern of these nebulous accusations is often the same, as in Toiletgate and Toddlergate: a successful player is accused of going to the bathroom too often and having physical or wireless access to a chess-playing computer. In Rudolf’s case, suspicion centered on her lip balm, which was said to be a wireless device for communicating with a remote silicon adviser. To her chagrin, the organizers confiscated her handbag and lip balm before the key round. Her opponent refused to shake her hand before the game and told her she didn’t play fair. Her concentration was rattled and she ultimately blew the game.

The Web site Chessdom has an interview with Rudolf and continuing coverage of the nonsense.

It is now too common in chess for disgruntled losers to raise the specter of cheating without offering a shred of evidence. False allegations, which are maliciously made in order to hurt a player’s reputation and confidence, are as much a threat to tournament chess as are real cases of hidden microcomputers and surreptitious wireless devices. The problem is that FIDE, the international chess federation, has let the false accusers run amok.

10 Responses to “Lip Balm Stains Chess Tourney”

  1. Ryan Emmett Says:

    I couldn’t agree more with you when you say that the ACCUSATIONS are as damaging to chess as the possibility of actual cheating.

    The presumption of innocence must be maintained in all such cases unless someone can provide any actual evidence. This incident seems like just another case of sour grapes from players who couldn’t face the fact that a lesser ranked player (and a woman at that) was beating them. Shame on them all.

  2. jay bonin Says:

    It seems that any superb performance in any sport is now met by suspicion. This young lady may be scarred for life. Lip balm? How absurd!

  3. Janet Newton Says:

    Paul, I object to you use of the term “nonsense”. That implies that this story isn’t worthy of reporting – that, in essence, it was about nothing. In fact, it is of utmost importance. That three no-name IM bullies can get away with this sort of behavior against ANY player is not nonsense – it is criminal. It is the worst sort of personal slander and of course it will have a negative impact on any player (I don’t care who the player is.

    Rules need to be put into place as soon as possible to address the leveling of cheating charges against any player without evidence. Putting the burden of proof of innocence on the accused party is ABSURD, pure and simple.

    The three accusers in this case – girlie men!

  4. Sissyfus Says:

    This is why chess people choose to accuse each other for slander and sue each other. Chess trolls like Sam Sloan are products of the accusational nature of current chess rules!

  5. paulhoffman Says:

    What the men said was nonsense. The incident, of course, is not, which is why I said that false allegations are a threat to chess.

  6. pollychess Says:

    It’s disgraceful that players are allowed to get away with such crap. Unfortunately there is such a culture of cheating that any remarkable performance by a young lower rated player with be eyed suspiciously. Hopefully Miss Rudolph will be able rise of this nonsense and beat the shit out of these low life accusers the next time she plays them.

  7. Howard Goldowsky Says:

    From a psychological point of view, I don’t think that the accusations alone would hurt this girl. If anything, it’s a compliment to be accused of cheating. If she really was cheating, then she has to live with herself; if she really wasn’t cheating, then she knows it and these accusations are an ego boost. What really gets me is that so many people have such confidence in the supposedly rock-solid certainty of the rating system. Not only does a rating have variance, it also has uncertainty. Sometimes the paper-dog wins (even a few times in a row). Duh.

  8. Terry Doherty Says:

    I have just read about the way Ms. Rudolf was treated by this group of older, experienced chess players who really ought to know better! No wonder we have such trouble encouraging women to play chess and retaining them in the game if the reaction when they play well is that they must be cheating.
    Sadly this is a symptom of the sexist nature of international society as well as the world of chess and I would like to offer my sympathies, for what they might be worth, to the young lady concerned. (I’m not all that good at this internet business so I don’t know if she will see this but I would be grateful to anybody who can pass my message along to her.) I am a 40 year old male player from Scotland who comes nowhere near the skill levels shown by Ms. Rudolf but I have been dismayed by the paucity of women playing in league and tournament chess. Before taking the game up again about 5 years ago I had last played aged 11 at Primary School where the only other pupil who could beat me was a girl in my class- I wish she were playing now as I’m sure I could get my own back after all these years!

    I would just like to encourage Anna Rudolf to ignore the jealous whinings of these ne’erdowells- continue to do your talking over the chessboard and wipe the smug grins off their faces!

    PS Just on the off chance, can you recommend a good lip-balm? ;o))
    Nil illigiti carborundum!

  9. Improbable Research » Blog Archive » Anna Rudolf, recent cheating-smear victim Says:

    […] So writes Paul Hoffman. […]

  10. Lola Says:

    LIP BALM??

    Couldn’t it get even more absurd? lol

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