My recent post on the FIDE Journalists' Commission (see that post for links and background), was the first in a series of articles on changes brought about by the 84th FIDE Congress Executive Board, Tallinn, Estonia, in October. In this post let's look at the 'Ethics Commission', a subject I addressed a year ago in Feller, Rybka, Arbiters, and More.
The ground rules for the commission are set in the FIDE Handbook > A. Administrative Subjects: 01. FIDE Statutes > Chapter 08 - The Commissions of FIDE, and 09. FIDE Code of Ethics. The minutes of the Tallinn meeting noted two important evolutions of the rules.
All member federations are requested to introduce in their statutes organs and proceedings apt to prosecute breaches of the FIDE Code of Ethics at national level, in compliance with the fundamental principles of law. Unfortunately this still seems not the case for many federations.
Member federations now have also the possibility to attribute an appeal competence to the EC. [...] With the new statutes, if a member federation attributes a full appeal competence to the EC, then national decisions not appealed in front of the EC or confirmed by the EC will be recognised as directly applicable by all FIDE organs and members. For example, the ban of a player judged responsible of cheating by the competent organs of a member federation, if not appealed or if confirmed by the EC, will directly extend its effects to all FIDE members.
I've emphasized that last sentence because it is an important weapon in bringing the rampant problem of cheating under control. Before we look at the current status of anti-cheating measures, let's look at some of the major decisions of the Ethics Commission. The first concerns a case of cheating dating back to the 2010 Olympiad:-
Case n. 2/2011: "French Team" (probation period for Mr Cyril Marzolo), the EC rules that:
- Mr. Cyril Marzolo, who was sanctioned with the exclusion from the participation in all FIDE tournaments, as a player or as a member of a national delegation, for a period of 1 (one) year and 6 (six) months, with a suspension of the sanction for the last nine months, under probation, has positively concluded the period under which is behaviour was tested, in accordance with the report sent by the French Chess Federation. The probation period is concluded and the case is closed.
Another case, dating to 2011, received widespread attention at the time. Section 2.2.3 refers to 'officials who fail to perform their functions in an impartial and responsible manner':-
Case 2/2012: "Rybka and ICGA" (complaint by Mr Vas Rajlich and Mr Chris Whittington against the International Computer Games Association - "ICGA"), the EC, following the reception of additional information, rules that:
- the case, concerning an assumed violation of par. 2.2.3 of the FIDE Code of Ethics has to be considered as receivable;
- the FIDE Secretariat will communicate the decision to the parties, informing them about the EC procedural rules.
Another case invoking section 2.2.3 occurred at the 2012 Olympiad:-
Case n. 10/2012: "Arbiters at the Chess Olympiad in Istanbul" (complaint submitted by the English Chess Federation against Mr Ali Nihat Yazici and a the Turkish Chess Federation), the EC rules that:
- Mr Ali Nihat Yazici is responsible for the violation of par. 2.2.3 of the FIDE Code of Ethics and has to be sanctioned with a warning.
The Turkish federation often appears in ethics cases. Here's one they initiated, although I'm not sure what the original complaint was. I imagine that it has something to with journalistic standards:-
Case n. 15/2012: "Turkish Chess Federation against Mr. Daaim Shabazz" (complaint by the Turkish Chess Federation against Mr. Daaim Shabazz), the EC rules that: - the case has to be rejected as not receivable and has to be dismissed.
Now here are two accusations of cheating, both of which received considerable attention in the chess world. The details can be found by searching on the obvious keywords:-
Case n. 2/2013: "German Chess Federation against Mr. Falko Bindrich" (report of the German Chess Federation against Mr. Falko Bindrich), the EC rules that:
- the case, as it has been submitted by the German Chess Federations, does not concern an assumed violation of the FIDE Code of Ethics, therefore has to be rejected as not receivable and has to be dismissed.
The German federation was the plaintiff in both cases:-
Case n. 6/2013: "Mr. Andrei Istratescu against Mr. Jens Kotainy, Mr. Falko Bindrich and Mr. Leon Mons; German Chess Federation against Mr. Kotainy" (complaint of Mr. Andrei Istratescu against Mr. Jens Kotainy, Mr. Falko Bindrich and Mr. Leon Mons report of the German Chess Federation against Mr. Falko Bindrich), the EC rules that:
- the case against Mr. Leon Mons has to be rejected as not receivable and has to be dismissed;
- the case against Mr. Falko Bindrich has to be considered as receivable, but has to be rejected, given that there is no evidence of a violation of par. 2.2.5 of the FIDE Code of Ethics;
- the cases against Mr. Jens Kotainy, for an assumed violation of par. 2.2.5 of the FIDE Code of Ethics, have to be considered as receivable; the FIDE Secretariat will communicate the decision to the parties, informing them about the EC procedural rules.
A new 'Anti-Cheating Committee' met (for the first time?) in Tallin. Here is an excerpt from their minutes:-
A draft paper on the topic of Anti-Cheating issues was presented to the meeting. This paper was drawn up in consultation with the ACP members from a meeting in Paris on the 2-3 October 2013. Attending this meeting were: Israel Gelfer (FIDE), Ken Regan (ACP), Laurent Freyd (ACP), Yuri Garrett (ACP), Konstantin Landa (ACP)
Professor Ken Regan gave a presentation on the statistical methods used to detect suspected cheating. A copy of the presentation can be found at
Shaun Press was appointed secretary of the committee. The chairman of the committee intends to meet with the Arbiters Commission to discuss changes in the role of the arbiters in the area of anti-cheating methods. The ACC also hopes to have input into the design of that new Arbiter reporting form.
How does the 'Anti-Cheating Committee' relate to the 'Ethics Commission'?:-
The work has just started. This is not going to be the [body] to accuse or go to the court. We will build a structure and make recommendations that the case should be brought to the Ethics Commission. When we finish the work and in one stage, we will consult [the Ethics Commission], there will be cooperation between the two bodies.
A recent, well-known case of suspected cheating reappeared this past week: Borislav Ivanov is back — "device found" but still no evidence, and Official statement on the Ivanov story [both links Chessvibes.com]. It is in everyone's interest to treat the topic rationally; see also No more cheating in chess! Cheat = ban for life [Facebook.com], including an update on Tallinn, Shaun Press: Below is a draft set of proposals from the FIDE/ACP Anti-Cheating Committee...