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Shakhriyar Mamedyarov vs Igor Kurnosov
Aeroflot Open (2009), Moscow RUS, rd 6, Feb-22
Neo-Grünfeld Defense: Goglidze Attack (D70)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Peligroso> It was typical for me, also, to walk about when it was my opponent's move, and so long as a player stayed in the playing hall, I wouldn't take this as prima facie evidence of anything untoward going on.
Feb-01-12  PhilFeeley: <Peligroso Patzer: <chancho:> Read the accused's explanation:

<I believe that every chessplayer, regardless of titles or ratings, should have respect for himself and his colleagues, and should not make accusations of computer use, without any foundation or evidence whatsoever. Especially when they have played the game quite weakly! Mamedyarov's claim, that I left the playing hall after every move, taking my coat with me, and went into the toilet, does not correspond with the facts. During the first twelve moves, which we played quite quickly, I did not once leave the hall. Whilst my opponent was thinking for 40 minutes over his 15th move, I twice went to the smoking area, which was located just two metres from the door into the hall, and where there were always quite a few other players, arbiters and also security guards. I also several times went and splashed cold water over myself, without ever speaking to anyone. Neither before, nor after, the protest did the arbiters show any unusual interest in me, as claimed in the press. I behaved exactly as I always do. Whilst my opponent is thinking, I find it easier to think about the position whilst walking round, without looking at the board. As far as I know, most other chessplayers do exactly the same. >

Sounds reasonable to me. Anyone know if this has been resolved? Did Mamedyarov apologize?

Feb-21-12  HectorChess: I believe that Igor Kurnosov was just having a good tournament. He's a GM after all.
Apr-30-12  Abdel Irada: On cursory examination, it seems to me that white's 16. ♖d4 was overreach, and black simply ably exploited the weaknesses it created. It is not unheard of for leading GMs to be possessed by suicidal excesses of ambition, and in this case ambition was punished as grievously over the board as another case of historical ambition was punished in the Forum on the Ides of March.

Perhaps white should calmly recapture on e4 rather than push for an instant knockout?

Apr-30-12  Abdel Irada: On the question of cheating, I would advise a look at Aleskerov-Sanikidze 2005, in which white's premature KO attempt 15. ♖h4 was met with the same thematic defense. If, therefore, Kurnosov consulted a computer here, we must assume that Sanikidze did the same four years earlier.
Oct-02-12  Blunderdome: Great game by GM Kurnosov.
Oct-10-12  Jafar219: Time proved that Kurnosov is fu**ing cheater.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Gawd, why must this be revisited by <Jafar219>?

Here's a song from long ago on the pop charts: 'The Cheater', by Bob Kuban and the In-Men.

In a piece of supreme irony, the man who fronted the group was murdered by his wife's lover.

Oct-10-12  parisattack: I'm a big Shak fan, but don't think Kurnosov was cheating. Grunfeld's are like this - lots of pieces on the board + open lines = surprises. I'm thinking of a couple Fischer games...
Oct-12-12  Jafar219: <parisattack>, "Apparently Kurnosov was leaving the board and taking his jacket with him EVERY MOVE." - What do you think? is this normal?
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: < obsesschess: ....A GM makes a few moves out of theory that accord with 'God', oh sorry, I mean Rybka....>

Dayum-there's someone out there who can spell God. That bit of knowledge brightens my day. Isn't another variant of God spelt Houdini?

<....and shatters the ego of a 2700+ super GM playing white and suddenly he is a cheater....>

There is one person (whom I shall not name) here who believes that any time he loses a game online, his opponent had computer assistance.

<....Plus he had the temerity to have a nicotine addiction and wear a coat in cold weather.....>

I'm telling you, that takes one hell of a nerve.

Jan-17-13  dumbgai: Jafar219 sounds a lot like AJ Goldsby. A peculiar combination of imbecile and troll.
Jul-27-13  PhilFeeley: <Jafar219> Did you even read the player's explanation a few posts back? It wasn't EVERY MOVE.
Aug-08-13  EvanTheTerrible: RIP Kurnosov.
Aug-08-13  JCigan: R.I.P. Kurnosov :(
Aug-08-13  csmath: <Kurnosov claims that <12 d5> was the first move that was new to him. I find that entirely believable. <12 ... Ne5> - The alternative's don't look particularly edifying so would such a natural looking move be the result of cheating? <13 ... Nec4> - The most likely candidate for cheating, but in keeping with black's agressive play. Many GMs would choose this move.

<14 ... Rf7> - Forced.

<15 ... Nxc4> - Forced.

<16 ... Qd6> - A novelty and hence a candidate for cheating. But if 16 ... Nxb2 is a better move, is this move likely to be the result of cheating?

<17 ... Rxg7> - Forced.

<18 ... Qf4+> - The most likely move. White was threatening Qe8#.

<19 ... Bf5> - Again, pretty obvious.

<20 ... Bg4> and <21 ... Qd2> - Nice moves, but this short combo shouldn't be beyond the capability of any good GM.

So whilst I cannot know for sure that Kurnosov didn't cheat, the moves themselves would suggest to me that he didn't.>

I think 16. ... Qd6 is looking to me as a rather fishy engine move. It is also decisive move in the game. It must have really shocked Mamedyarov.

It is really speculative to say whether or not would Kurnosov be able to conjure such a move on his own. After all he was a pretty strong GM. The move itself strikes me on the face value as a surprise although obvious threat to take bishop on h6 seems rational reason for the move. It is a little bit harder to see that queen sets up control of important diagonal with that move. It is a "uber" strong tactical move.

The rest of the game looks very normal although Kurnosov played very strong tactical game.

By the way, Mamedyarov responded to Kurnosov's letter:

Needless to say, I am on the side of Mamedyarov although obviously I cannot say that Kurnosov cheated but only that his games against Mamedyarov, Moiseenko, and Onischuk are suspect. That is a small sample though for any conclusion, the truth has been now carried to the grave literally.

Aug-08-13  csmath: Here the playing hall conditions are of the utmost importance and what if anything was noticed by other players and arbiters. Since to my knowledge nobody publicly supported Mamedyarov he does not have the case.

However I would be rather caotious about attacking Mamedyarov here since none of us knows what was really happening during the game.

It would have been interesting to get opinion of Onischuk and Moiseenko, interesting that nobody bothered to ask them.

Aug-08-13  gazzawhite: The reason why nobody publicly supported Mamedyarov was because his accusations were completely unfounded. His response letter didn't at all address Kurnosov's counterpoints to Mamedyarov's claims that he (Kurnosov) left the board after every move. Basically, Mamedyarov made up some false claims, then ignored the accused's rebuttal.

I can understand somebody sticking to their guns if they truly believe they have been wronged, but making up lies is not the way to go and it is disappointing that Mamedyarov chose to resort to such disgraceful actions.

Aug-08-13  csmath: Shak repeated that Kurnosov was leaving hall "after every move." That is a direct challenge to Kurnosov's statements. Obviously I have no idea which is but both cannot be true. Now, what is the truth?

If my opponent leaves the playing hall "after every move" I would certainly be concerned about possibility of cheating, don't you agree?

Aug-09-13  hedgeh0g: <Shak repeated that Kurnosov was leaving hall "after every move." That is a direct challenge to Kurnosov's statements. Obviously I have no idea which is but both cannot be true. Now, what is the truth?>

The truth is that they contested a highly theoretical variation, most of which was probably analysed by Kurnosov before the game; I wouldn't even be surprised if he had analysed the final position on his computer before the game.

Once (if) Kurnosov was on his own, it was likely just a matter of converting a winning position with a couple of precise tactical blows, which a player of his calibre could be expected to manage with relative ease. It's not hard to match even the strongest engine when you play out a forced/forcing line.

Honestly, what 2700 GM (other than Mamedyarov) walks into a theoretical minefield and is shocked when his opponent's opening play corresponds with computer-generated theoretical variations?

Aug-09-13  csmath: <The truth is that they contested a highly theoretical variation, most of which was probably analysed by Kurnosov before the game; I wouldn't even be surprised if he had analysed the final position on his computer before the game.>

You don't know the facts.
Kurnosov stated that the move 12. d5 was new to him therefore he did not "analize the final position" whatever that means to you.

According to Kurnosov the moves 12 to 21 were all new to him.

Again, I am not supporting Mamedyarov claim that Kurnosov cheated although I am somewhat curious about his play in Aeroflot in the first 7 rounds (he was leading the tournament by that point).

To know more about the facts would be to check who is correct - was Kurnosov leeaving playing hall after "every move" as Mamedyarov claimed or not.

Some people claimed that he only left to smoke where other smokers were present which is not true as Kurnosov himself said that "couple of times" he went to splash water on his face. So he *was* probably alone on a number of occassions.

The behaviour of player is extremely important here. Was that just ordinary behaviour that did not raise any suspicion or was it something else that simply was not picked up by arbiters? Here it would be important to find out what Moiseenko and Onischuk, the other two "offending" parties to the affair have to say.

After all nobody was sanctioned for the affair.

In general there is a lot of paranoia about cheating with engines and unfortunately many organizers do not understand how important is to have a greater control over the tournament conditions so that can be prevented. I am sure it is happening. In the past people were buying and selling points fairly often, it would not surprise me a bit that the same people could be cheating with electronics. I am not a big believer in ethics of chess players, I've seen otherwise.

Aug-16-13  Crocodile78: >I think 16. ... Qd6 is looking to me as a rather fishy engine move.

Òû äóðàê? Ýòîò õîä ëþáîé áîëåå-ìåíåå ãðàìîòíûé ïåðâîðàçðÿäíèê íàéäåò. ×åðòè, óéìèòåñü óæå, ïåðåñòàíüòå ïà÷êàòü ñâåòëîå èìÿ Èãîðÿ õîòÿ áû ïîñëå åãî ñìåðòè.

Mar-14-14  buRnINGbeNd: this is the fishy cheating game? you've got to be kidding me. i'm an 1800 USCF player and i'm familiar with Qd6 themes in the grunfeld since it's a pretty common move in a decent number of lines, so i really wouldn't be surprised if it was literally the FIRST thing he looked at. this all looks super straightforward for these guys.
Jun-30-15  SimplicityRichard: Rest in Peace GM Igor Kurnosov.

On the question of cheating, it seems to me that over-confidence and a dash of arrogance can result in the defeat of the possessor of these qualities when they have a generally superior skill to one they accuse of unfair play in circumstances when they lose to a supposedly weaker opponent. In the first law of combat in Chinese philosophy, it is said: Never underestimate your enemy, for therein lies your first mistake.

I was at Hastings Chess Congress in 2009 where GM Kurnosov was leading in the open section. I observed that he regularly quit the board during his games. Later as I went for lunch, I found him outside, again, smoking a cigarette. And as I understand, in the Mamedyarov saga, Kurnosov never left the playing hall. In my view Kurnosov seemed a quiet fellow with a gentle disposition and manner. He played a brilliant game against GM Mark Hebden; Ruy Lopez Marshall Defence. Kurnosov was white and defended a sacrificial plan by Hebden. Kurnosov won the tournament.

You can infer my conclusion.

Jan-07-17  N0B0DY: <The reason why <N0B0DY> publicly supported Mamedyarov was because his accusations were completely unfounded.>

What kind of logic is that?

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