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Von Neumann
Number of games in database: 3
Years covered: 1993

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 page 1 of 1; 3 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. I Asmundsson vs Von Neumann 1-027199321st World OpenC69 Ruy Lopez, Exchange, Gligoric Variation
2. Von Neumann vs H Olafsson ½-½21199321st World OpenB96 Sicilian, Najdorf
3. Von Neumann vs D Shapiro 0-19199321st World OpenC44 King's Pawn Game
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Von Neumann wins | Von Neumann loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-28-03  Diggitydawg: Eggman asked for a page on cheating and it occurred to me that we could use this page. The story is that at the '93 Philadelphia Open, a dredlocked guy participated as unrated while wearing a walkman. He called himself John Von Neumann. He proceeded to first draw against a GM, always taking several minutes per move, even on moves that were obvious. Anyway, the whole story is here:
Oct-28-03  refutor: jeez, i should go play in the open section of the world open...i'd be unrated and i'd like to play a grandmaster in the first round ;)
Aug-12-04  waddayaplay: Ok, the link doesn't work anymore, so here is another: (Scroll down a page or so)
Aug-12-04  Dick Brain: I would like one of those for my next trip to Reno. But not so much for the chess.
Aug-12-04  who: Looking at the article I am still confused. Even if there wasn't a computer playing for Neumann, if there were a grandmaster feeding him moves, the result would be the same. They should have been suspicious just from his having headphones.
Aug-12-04  Dick Brain: But when you have a conspiracy of dedicated cheaters, banning headphones wont help. One cheater could just make subtle body language signals to the other without the electronics.
Aug-12-04  biglo: Read about Pocket Fritz cheating in the toilet
Aug-14-04  Calchexas: <While we in ChessBase condemn every form of electronic performance enhancement we would like to express our thanks to the player for choosing Pocket Fritz for his devious behaviour.>


Mar-22-05  F47: I see only one good game by Neumann. He got a draw against Olaffson, so maybe they were working together. The other two games, grandmaster assistance or not, he got opening theory help.
Jul-20-05  Eatman: I can't find the link which explains that Von Neumann's acomplice was a GM. In 1993 computer programs were not quite 2500 level, so likely some strong player helped him but is there any more evidence.? It is still an extremely fascinating story especially since name chosen Neumann is so suggestive.

Incidentally, I was once accused by no less than Gufeld himself of using a computer. This happened in late 199x's at an American Open. The game ended in a draw when I forced a draw in a 1 pawn vs 2 pawn endgame using distant opposition. I guess I should have felt insulted but found the situation rather funny. I suppose I could have had a computer hooked up to a 5 piece tablebase in the restroom..

Jul-20-05  WMD: There's no suggestion that a GM helped him. If Kasparov could lose to a PC computer program in 1994, wins and draws against run of the mill GMs and lesser masters in 1993 is hardly beyond the realms of possibility.

The most amusing aspect of the whole affair was mentioned by Hans Ree:

'Who was John Von Neumann and what exactly had he been up to? He was a black American with a Rastafarian hairdo. I learned this from one of the editors of the U.S. Chess Fedration's publication Chess Life, who told me with great reluctance, as if afraid to commit a sin against political correctness. "Come on, say it," I urged him like an experienced midwife, "It is relevant for the investigation. If he had been a German immigrant the pseudonym he chose would have been less provocative."'

Jul-27-05  SEVEN: There are rumors that something similar happened at Böblingen's open on 1998. Somebody named Clemens Allwermann (Rating 1925)got first with 7 1/2 points to nine games. At the last round he won Sergey Kalinichev and announced "mate in eight" to a complex potition. More informations in
Jul-27-05  Giearth: Unfortunately I can't understand Dutch. However check this:
Jul-27-05  Giearth: Allwermann's games (in chessbase format) available for download at You need to scroll down a bit.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Didn't he wrote <Theory of games and Economic behavior>?
Apr-18-10  rich187113: Maybe they designed a chess engine specially for this operation. I do find it rather funny though. : )
Aug-25-10  hstevens129: From Wikipedia:

"One of the earliest known cases of using technology to cheat was in 1993 at the World Open, a dreadlocked, headphone-wearing, unrated newcomer, who took the name 'John von Neumann' (matching the name of a famous artificial intelligence research pioneer), scored 4˝/9 in the Open Section, including a draw with a grandmaster and a win over a 2350 player. This 'von Neumann' seemed to have a suspicious bulge in one of his pockets, which appeared to make a soft humming or buzzing sound at important points in the game. When quizzed by the tournament director, the ‘lesser’ von Neumann was unable to demonstrate even a rudimentary knowledge of some simple chess concepts, and he was disqualified."

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Some of Allwermann's 'doped' games are here: Clemens Allwermann

Chessbase reports on Von Neumann, Allwermann and now Ivanov:

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