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Mihaela Sandu vs Antoaneta Stefanova
European Individual Women's Championship (2015), Chakvi GEO, rd 7, May-25
Pirc Defense: Classical Variation. Quiet System Czech Defense (B08)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-12-16  BloatedBelly: Except for the moves 11. dxe5 and
28.Qe3 this game looks extremely suspicious: White plays like a strong computer for the rest of the game. White is opting for an equal but very sharp game patiently waiting for a mistake or even a blunder from her opponent and then harvesting the fruits. What's her rating? 2600-2700? She cant be 2200: impossible.
Sep-12-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Ron: After 3. ... c6 my Stockfish 7 preferred c4. Sandu played Nc3

After 4. ... d6 my Stockfish preferred a4. Sandu played Be2

5. 0-0 by Sandu is a commonsensical developing move.

After 5. ... 0-0 my Stockfish preferred a4, as played by Sandu.

After 5. ... Qc7 my Stockfish prefered, after some time h3, as played by Sandu

Moves in parentheses is move by Sandu, Stockfish moves in non-parentheses

9 (Bf4) Bf4
10. (Be3) Bg5
11. (dxe) Qd2
12. (Ne2) Nb1
13. (Nc4) Nc4
14. (Nb6) Nb6
15. (Qxe2) Qe2
16. (Nc4) Nc4
17. (axb5) axb5
18. (Nd2) Nd2
19. (Nd5) Nd5
20 (exd5) exd5
21. (Nb3) Nb3
22. (Bc5) Bc5
23. (Qe3) gxf3

20 Qe3 was a blunder by Sandu, the evaluations change from advantage White to advantage Black

24. (Rd1) Re1
25. (d6) d6
26. (Ba7) Qe3
27. (Na7) Na7

Here, Stefanova blunders with 27. ... Qb5. White eval, which was about zero, now jumps to over 7

28. (Qb3+) Qb3
29. (c4) c4
Notice that Black is forced to lose material.

I'm not going to go further. In my judgment, Sandu did not use computer assistance. There was variance in the opening moves that Sandu played. Sandu's moves that matched a computer were commonsensical moves such as castling, recapturing, and moving an attacked piece to a good square. One move by Sandu had flipped the advantage from her to her opponent. The position after 27. .. Qb5 would make a good puzzle of the week which at least some members of chess games.com would solve. So what do you have to say, <BloatedBelly>?

Sep-18-16  BloatedBelly: Hi Ron! Thank you for your analysis!

Before giving my own analysis, I want you to know that I do not easily accuse someone of cheating unless I am almost 100% sure. Almost: because she did not admit cheating. I've also analysed her opening-repertoire and gamestyle.(solid/aggressive/sharp etc.)

She has played this opening (the Pirc) many times before and knows what moves to play. I think 9.Bf4 is her first move out of book (9.Be3 is standard) The first 9 opening moves are completely normal. After that, is where I start to question the moves Sandu played.

If your a 'good' cheater you will not play nr1 (best) engine moves all the time, but keep the position sharp and rather equal. Your opponent will eventually make a mistake/blunder and lose. Always comparing nr1-engine moves from Stockfish with her moves is not a logical way to analyse the game. For example: 10. Bg5 and 12. Nb1 are not human looking moves: If I was the cheater, I would not have played these moves at all. Also take in consideration that it's not always possible to cheat: maybe at certain times the risk of cheating is too high and she had to make move without help!

Analysis:

Opening: moves 1-9 (Sandu's opening-rep, no engine-analysis needed...yet)

10. Be3! (Bg5=computermove)
11. dxe5? (very odd move to give up your strong centre and exposing your queen on the d-file: even 11.d5 looks better closing the position)
12. Ne2! (Nb1=computermove)
13. (Nc4) Nc4 (moves 13 to 18 are rather forced and best) 14. (Nb6) Nb6
15. (Qxe2) Qe2
16. (Nc4) Nc4
17. (axb5) axb5
18. (Nd2) Nd2
19. (Nd5) Nd5 (best)
20 (exd5) exd5 (best)
21. (Nb3) Nb3 (best)
22. (Bc5) Bc5 (best)Stefanova played the sharp 22...f3 but maybe Sandu was expecting another move: 22...Rc8 and only knew what to do in that line. 23. (Qe3) gxf3
(Qe3 is not a big blunder imo. just a weak/dubious move, the position remains sharp and pretty equal) 24. (Rd1) Re1 (both are equally good: Rd1 looks more human supporting the d6 pawn) 25. (d6) d6 (best)
26. (Ba7) Qd3 (Ba7=computer move. Ba7 and Qd3 are equally good) 27. (Na5) Na5 (best)
28. (Qb3+) Qb3+! (best)
29. (c4) c4! (best)

Of course I did not accuse Sandu of cheating by just analysing 1 or 2 games but all her games and knowing what happened during the tournament. She's won her first 5 games but then lost her 6th game: during that game something strange occured : In round six, the two top boards were transmitted with a delay due to technical problems. In that round, Sandu lost to Nino Batsiashvili (2473). (The top 35 boards were transmitted live on the internet.) The next day her game transmission wasn't delayed, and she won again. Her opponent was ex-world champion Antoaneta Stefanova (2512). Today Sandu has a rating of 2200.

Sep-18-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <BloatedBelly....Before giving my own analysis, I want you to know that I do not easily accuse someone of cheating unless I am almost 100% sure. Almost: because (Sandu) did not admit cheating....>

Why on earth would anyone reasonably expect someone who falls under suspicion, but has not had the case against them proven, to admit to the offence?

It will be noted that some players who signed the 'J'accuse' against Sandu retracted their signatures.

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