Canberra Times, October 21
Whoever proposed the idea of allowing eight places in the FIDE World Championship to be decided by holding an internet qualifying tournament must be wishing they had kept their mouth shut.
The qualifying tournament, which concluded this week, has been a fiasco, with the ban on computer or human assistance honoured mostly in the breach.
Top French GM Christian Bauer withdrew from the final in disgust, after opponents who had obviously used computer assistance were given no more than a slap on the wrist.
"I tried all I could do to qualify without cheating [but to continue] makes no sense," he wrote.
The problems first became apparent in the preliminary stages when amateurs such as Philippe Chopin began producing games such as the following.

P.Chopin - M.Denis


1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. Nf3 Bb4 7. Bd3 dxc4 8. Bxc4 Qc7 9. Qe2 O-O 10. O-O Nbd7?!

10...Bxc3 is safer.

11. Nb5 Qc6 12. a3 Ba5 13. b4 Bd8 14. Ne5 Qe4 15. Be3 Nd5?

Missing White's brilliant idea. 15...Nb6 16.Bd3 Qh4 was still playable.

16. Nd6 Qh4 17. Nexf7!! Rxf7 18. Bg5!!

The brilliant point; Black's queen cannot guard the e6 pawn.

18... Qxg5 19. Qxe6 Qxg2+!? 20. Kxg2 Nf4+ 21. Kh1 Nxe6 22. Bxe6 Nf6 23. Bxf7+ Kf8 24. Nxc8 Rxc8 25. Be6


A great finish, made slightly less impressive when it emerged that the computer program Junior was able to find the combination started by 17.Nexf7! in under a minute.
After five of Chopin's games were found to be computer assisted he received a warning which was enough to cause Chopin to withdraw from the preliminaries, citing work pressures - a remarkable decision for someone who was leading the tournament at the time.
Yet, while warnings were frequent and the arbiters were pleading for action to be taken against players continually breaching the rule banning outside assistance, the FIDE organisers seemed too embarrassed or too scared to forfeit or expel repeat offenders.
Only when the tournament was almost over did FIDE take action.
Russian firm Chess Assistant was called in to do an independent analysis of the games and they confirmed the arbiters' claims that a large number of players, including Australia's Jose Escribano, were using computer help.
Expulsions followed, although hardly in the numbers justified by the evidence.
However since points were not then returned to victims of the offenders, some of the eight who earned the right to play in the World Championship tournament in Moscow owed their position as much to good luck as good play and a few qualifiers might even be thanking their silicon helper.

The Hetherington Memorial tournament, open to all, commences at the Tuggeranong/Woden Chess Club on the evening October 29 at Tuggeranong RU Club in Erindale on Monday nights. Details: Michael Whitely 62929937.

The ACT Rapid Championship will begin at 7.30pm on October 31 at the Canberra Chess Club, Griffin Centre, Civic. All players are welcome to enter with the time limit for rapid chess ensuring that all games will be completed within an hour. Details: Ian Rout 62766379.