Tuesday, March 3, 2009

GM Igor Kurnosov (Russia) Responds to Allegations of Cheating

In the blog post "Grandmaster Accuses Fellow GM of Cheating at Tournament" we talked about GM Shakhryiar Mamedyarov's accusation that his opponent GM Igor Kurnosov cheated during their game. There has been to date absolutely no evidence to support this claim, and now Kurnosov has responded to the accusations in the following letter:

Dear Colleagues and chess lovers,

With regard to the discussions in the press of Mamedyarov's letter, I must explain the situation. I present the game Mamedyarov-Kurnosov from round six of the Aeroflot Open, with my brief notes:

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nb6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.Be3 0–0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.0–0–0 f5 10.h4 fxe4 11.h5 gxh5. A well-known theoretical position, which I consider to be better for Black. Here my opponent played a move which was new to me. 12.d5 Ne5 13.Bh6 Nec4. I also looked at Rf7, but I did not like the fact that after Rh5 the knight is attacked with tempo: 13...Rf7?! 14.Bxg7 Rxg7 15.Rxh5. 14.Qg5 Rf7. The only move. 15.Bxc4. This move seemed dubious to me, but objectively, it is not bad. 15...Nxc4. After thinking over his previous move for 40 minutes, my opponent now offered me a draw. However, I considered that I had a serious advantage, and saw no grounds for taking a draw. 16.Rd4? It seemed to me as though the move Qd6 gave me a serious initiative. It turns out that instead, Nb2 led to a decisive advantage, but I did not consider this move. Just think how much I would be to blame if I had analysed this position at home!? 16...Qd6?! 17.Bxg7 Rxg7. The only move! 18.Qxh5 Qf4+. Also forced, and mate was threatened, and the knight en prise. Now I would invite any competent player to give themselves three minutes on the clock, and try to find Black's next three fairly straightforward moves. I think the majority of people would manage this! 19.Kb1 Bf5 20.fxe4 Bg4 21.Nge2? Losing immediately. 21.Qh6 Qf2. 21...Qd2! 0–1. Black has a winning position. Here, my opponent stopped the clocks and, without shaking hands or signing the scoresheet, approached the arbiters' table. The rest you know yourselves...

I believe that every chessplayer, regardless of titles or ratings, should have respect for himself and his colleagues, and should not make accusations of computer use, without any foundation or evidence whatsoever. Especially when they have played the game quite weakly! Mamedyarov's claim, that I left the playing hall after every move, taking my coat with me, and went into the toilet, does not correspond with the facts. During the first twelve moves, which we played quite quickly, I did not once leave the hall. Whilst my opponent was thinking for 40 minutes over his 15th move, I twice went to the smoking area, which was located just two metres from the door into the hall, and where there were always quite a few other players, arbiters and also security guards. I also several times went and splashed cold water over myself, without ever speaking to anyone. Neither before, nor after, the protest did the arbiters show any unusual interest in me, as claimed in the press. I behaved exactly as I always do. Whilst my opponent is thinking, I find it easier to think about the position whilst walking round, without looking at the board. As far as I know, most other chessplayers do exactly the same.

Unfortunately, all these negative things could not but have an effect on my play in the rest of the tournament... I should like to thank all those who supported me on the pages of the Internet, or in personal conversations. I should also like to make the following proposals:

That the organisers of top tournaments install metal detectors and other such devices at the entrance to the playing hall, so as to exclude the possibility of players receiving outside help, and also to rule out unfounded and insulting accusations, which can seriously impact on a player's reputation.

That the international chess organisation adopt a rule, under which serious sanctions would apply both to those who use outside help, and also to those who make unfounded accusations of such, against other players.

IGM Igor Kurnosov

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2724) - Igor Kurnosov (2602)

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. f3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nb6 6. Nc3 Bg7 7. Be3 O-O 8. Qd2Nc6 9. O-O-O f5 10. h4 fxe4 11. h5 gxh5 12. d5 Ne5 13. Bh6 Nec4 14. Qg5 Rf7 15.Bxc4 Nxc4 16. Rd4 Qd6 17. Bxg7 Rxg7 18. Qxh5 Qf4+ 19. Kb1 Bf5 20. fxe4 Bg4 21.Nge2 Qd2 0-1*

Personally, I believe GM Shakhryiar Mamedyarov needs to step forward and apologize. With the lack of evidence I see no other alternative. Any thoughts on the issue?

1 comment:

Royal said...

Well, in light of this letter and doing a little research on my own time, I believe I will retract my previous claim of nutrality and instead replace it with; Mr. Mamedyarov, suck it up, take your thumb out of your mouth and apologize. I went through the game myself, and Kurnosov was NOT making the best moves, even on low depths.

I do not know what Mamedyarov was thinking, but if I may introduce a bit of baseless conjecture for a momment, it sounds like we just wanted to get this game overwith. First he offers a short draw, which in my opinion is insulting on it's own, and then continues to simply walked away.

In anycase it's rather absurd to think that Grandmaster, people young chess players and club members look up to, act so rudely among each other. Sure the old chess champions and crusaders hated each other's guts, and would probably kick each other under the table if they could get away with it, but that was for political and competative reasons. This is just sad.