DUBAI - A Georgian chess grandmaster has been banned from the Dubai Open Chess Tournament after officials discovered he was darting to the toilet to consult his smartphone, which was logged onto a chess analysis app, the Dubai Chess and Culture Club said.
Gaioz Nigalidze's opponent, Tigran Petrosian of Armenia, grew suspicious when Nigalidze kept bolting to the restroom.
"The Armenian noticed the Georgian was oddly frequenting the toilet after each move during a crucial part of the game," the Dubai Chess and Culture Club said.
When officials first checked Nigalidze, they didn't find any device on him, the club said. Then, after looking into the bathroom stall he visited, they found the smartphone hidden in toilet paper.
Nigalidze claimed the smartphone wasn't his until investigators found his account logged into a social media network on the device, the Dubai chess organization said.
"They also found his game being analyzed in one of the chess applications," the chess club said.
The infraction has been reported to the International Chess Federation. The Dubai tournament's chief arbiter, Mahdi Abdul Rahim, said players found guilty of cheating will be suspended for three years from all sanctioned tournaments and up to 15 years for a repeated offense, the chess and culture club said.
There has been another isolated case of cheating in high-stakes chess matches. In 2008, an Iranian player was banned from the Dubai Open after getting help from someone who was watching the game's live broadcast and was sending suggestions via text messages, the Dubai chess club said.
Nigalidze's resume includes victories in the 2013 and 2014 Georgian Chess Championships. It's not clear how many times he went to the bathroom during those matches.