The FIDE Ethics Commission has recently announced its judgment and sanction in the case against GM Gaioz Nigalidze of Georgia for cheating in the 2015 Dubai Open, held in April this year. Mr Nigalidze was found guilty of violating clause 2.2.5 of the FIDE Code of Ethics and sanctioned with a 3 year ban and revocation of his Grandmaster title.
The investigation followed an incident when Nigalidze was caught using an electronic device during play to analyze his game against GM Tigran Petrosian of Armenia in the 6th round of the tournament. Nigalidze was immediately defaulted in the game by the chief arbiter and expelled from the tournament.
The Presidential Board appointed a 3 person Investigatory Chamber to investigate the complaint of cheating. Nigalidze admitted his guilt and voluntarily withdrew from participation in all tournaments since April 2015.
The Ethics Commission stressed that cheating is a very serious offence. The anti-cheating guidelines adopted by FIDE recommends up to a 3 year ban for a first offence and up to a 15 year ban for a second or later offence, subject to further review in the future.
Given that the offence was committed by a professional player and reigning national champion in a high profile tournament with substantial prize monies, the Ethics Commission held that a worldwide ban of 3 years from participation as a player in any rated chess competition or any chess activity as an arbiter, organizer or representative of a chess federation is appropriate. The ban will last until 5 September 2018.
In addition, Nigalidze was stripped of his Grandmaster (GM) title on the basis of unworthiness. However, his international master (IM) title, obtained already in 2009, was left intact in recognition of his remorseful and cooperative conduct in the investigation.
This case is significant for being the first case of cheating being decided since FIDE’s establishment of an Anti-Cheating Committee and its adoption of anti-cheating guidelines and amendment of the Code of Ethics to provide for much increased sanctions in November 2014.
The full text of the Ethics Commission’s decision is available here.
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