Jeel Shah, a 21-year-old chess player from Surat, has been suspended by the organisers of the 19th Dubai Open Chess Tournament on Wednesday allegedly for cheating during the tournament.
Jeel was playing compatriot Dushyant Sharma of Delhi in the third round of the tournament 50,000 when the arbiter pulled him aside for suspicious behaviour.
According to a Dubai Open official and also a report on a popular chess website, Shah was asked by the arbiter to accompany him to the washroom for frisking. He refused the organizer nevertheless conducted a a thorough check and “found he was cheating”.
According to a person involved with the Dubai Chess and Cultural Club, the organizers of the tournament, Shah was caught with a mobile phone while playing and the arbiter contended that he was using it to cheat. Shah was suspended from the tournament with immediate effect.
It was not clear what means Shah was using to cheat though there are some reports of him being cited for suspicious behaviour during a university-level tournament in India. Though the organizers conducted a thorough check, they did not find any means to confirm their suspicion.
Attempts to contact Moheb Serag, one of the organizers of the Dubai Open proved futile and another official said they will not issue any statement till the end of the round.
All India Chess Federation CEO Bharat Singh Chauhan said they have no information about the incident. As the Dubai Open is an open tournament, the AICF has not put an official team and no manager is accompanying the players, Chauhan told HT.
In recent years, cheating has been a major concern in international chess and the organizers and the sport’s world governing body FIDE has taken many steps against India.
Frisking and metal detectors have been made mandatory at major tournaments and severe action has been taken against those caught cheating. But illegal activities, or even, more importantly suspicion of players cheating using computers and electronic devices is quite common.
A few years back, the AICF had banned for 10 years a player Umakant Sharma after he was caught using a mobile device to receive moves during a tournament. Another player, DP Singh was investigated thoroughly after senior players including some grandmasters raised suspicion regarding his level of play.