IM Diwakar Prasad Singh was enjoying his chess, gaining about 260 points in a span of three years, (he went from 2300 in 2005 to 2560 in 2006) until his sparring partner Umakant Sharma was caught using a bluetooth device at the Air Marshal Subroto Mukerjee Memorial all-India Open FIDE rating chess tournament in December last year.
While Umakant was given a ten-year ban, a complaint was filed by GM Dibyendu Barua, President of the Chess Players Association of India (CPAI), against DP Singh. And Singh, here for the 5th Parsvnath International Chess Tournament, is feeling the pressure. “I can see everyone judging me, looking at me as if I have done something wrong,” he said.
So, is he a cheater?
“There is a faction of West Bengal players in the CPAI who are jealous and are conspiring against me. I have told the organisers I can play even without any clothes if they want. This whole affair is affecting my performance,” said Singh, who hails from Jharkhand.
Bengal player GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly reacted strongly to this. “When some of his games were scrutinised, they were found to be exactly same as a computer-generated programme called Junior 9. For him to be so good he has to be a genius but if he is a genius he cannot lose to unrated players,” he claimed.
Meanwhile, Sameer Salgaokar, a member of the three-member committee set up to investigate DP Singh, refuted the factionalism claim. “We are not investigating Singh because of the CPAI complaint, we are investigating him because he is Umakant's sparring partner,” he said.