Are security measures at chess tournaments ineffective?

The problem of computer-aided cheating in chess is very topical at the moment. And by no means for the first time. In the past, there have been a number of allegations of cheating and proven attempted cheating in various chess tournaments. FIDE and chess tournament organizers have introduced various security measures to prevent computer-aided cheating in chess.

A security measure used in almost all major tournaments is to scan players and people in the playing area with metal detectors. After Magnus Carlsen withdrew from the Sinquefield Cup in protest, these scanners were used to check players before each round. It looks professional, but is it professional?

To answer this question, one would need to know or test the sensitivity of these devices and what they can detect during the analysis. Another question is whether the personnel using the scanners are sufficiently trained to do so. Maybe they are not. And the next question is about the timing of verification. Is it enough to scan the players before the round? How then to check if someone installs a help during the game, maybe after the first opening moves?

A journalist from Norwegian TV channel NRK did something obvious – she tried out which assistive devices would be detected by the scanner used as a security measure in Reykjavik during the Fischer Random World Championship – and which would not. The result was not very encouraging.

Upon entering the Fischer Random World Championship gaming room, everyone is checked by scanners.

The NRK journalist underwent this procedure and had a whole panoply of electronic aids hidden on her body.

In her ear canal, she had placed a tiny, pearl-sized earpiece in front of her eardrum, invisible from the outside. This was connected as a receiver to a signal transmitter hidden in his clothing, which communicated with a smartwatch attached inside his belt buckle.

Tiny headphones

This equipment allows a second person to send signals to the Smartwatch from the outside, which are then relayed to the tiny earpiece.

The NRK reporter also brought a walkie-talkie into the playroom, an electronic power bracelet and sunglasses with built-in earplugs.

At the entrance control, the walkie-talkie and the power bracelet were discovered. Earplugs, smartwatch and sunglasses technology were not discovered.

Apparently, there is still room for improvement for FIDE and chess tournament organizers.

Article on NRK…

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