My Experience with Cheating – Part Two
Here I present a game I played in the penultimate round of the Balkan Grand Prix Tournament in Sonchev Breg, Bulgaria. I was playing white against a 72-year old IM Petar Popov of Bulgaria, rated 2240. Unbeknownst to me, he beat IM Mitkov the previous day (and as I learned from Mitkov after the game, he played some extraordinary computer moves in that game too – you can find that game in the database).
You will find the analysis of the game below, here I will describe his behaviour and my actions during and immediately after the game. Throughout the whole game he was sitting very still with his left hand in his pocket and never stood up from the chair. From the moment I sensed the strength of his moves I went to the arbiter, GM Inkiov, and expressed my concern that his moves are not what you usually would expect from an old IM. I also told him that he kept his left hand in his pocket all the time He heard me, but didn’t do anything. I was sent to the tournament as a representative of my country so I didn’t want a scandal (like in Sautron), but again, like in Sautron, I was feeling that the guy was robbing me. So I agreed with Inkiov that after the game, which I told him I was going to lose (and that was way before I was actually lost), in the presence of Popov’s friend GM Velikov, we would ask him to show what he had in his pocket. When I decided to resign, I stopped the clock and I asked him politely why he kept his hand in his pocket and to show me what he had there. As I was saying that Velikov approached and putting his hand over Popov’s shoulder asked him the same. And then suddenly Popov’s appearance changed, he got very nervous, started to get up from the chair, mumbled “Because it was comfortable”, signed the score sheet and put the result 1-0 (I was white!!! Guilty conscience?) and started to go towards the stairs that led to the lower floor and the exit from the playing hall. I moved in front of him and repeated my demand but he brushed me aside and started moving faster to the stairs. I ran in front of him again, right at the stairs and asked Inkiov (who started filming all this with his mobile from the moment I stopped the clocks) to do something about it, but he just laughed, said that he couldn’t do anything and continued filming. I was already very angry and asked Inkiov whether I should perhaps hit Popov to stop him, to which he replied, “Hit him.” By this time Popov was almost at the exit and I ran after him. I was already shouting and cursing him, calling him a cheat and a liar as I ran after him, while he was running for the hotel and his room. For the last time I managed to get in front of him before he entered the hotel, but again he pushed me aside and went inside. This was witnessed by my friend, IM Pancevski, who was running after me and a lot of other people.
Then I remembered the score-sheets. I returned to the playing hall and found his score-sheet with the result 1-0 and his signature and signed it. Then I put the same result on my score-sheet and signed it. Then I took them to the arbiter (Inkiov) and told him to note the result. He looked stunned, and said that was wrong and that I lost the game. I said that he had two signed score-sheets with the same result and that he should write down that result, just like he normally does with all the games in all the rounds. He said one of the score-sheets wasn’t signed by both players, to which I said that was his fault as he let one of the players escape the playing hall. He didn’t say anything.
Soon the tournament director Zhekov arrived and they started telling me that it was impossible that an old man should know anything about computers or cheating. I just told them that an innocent man never runs when accused, to which they had no counter argument. Later in the evening they still decided to award the point to Popov and in protest I didn’t play the last round.
The story ended there, even though I wrote an official email to my federation describing the whole incident – after all this was an official tournament within the Balkan Grand Prix tour. To my knowledge, there was no further inquiry into the incident.
Now take a look at the game: