Iulija Osmak scored 4.5/5 in the final of the Women’s Rapid
section of the 1st FIDE World University Online Chess Championship, but her
score has now been changed to 0/5, with Julia Antolak declared the winner.
23-year-old Osmak, the 2017 Ukrainian Women’s Champion, says she
was disqualified based on a statistical analysis of her five games from the
final and has expressed a willingness to take a lie-detector test to dispute
that verdict. The Fair Play Panel of the event say 20 players in total were
disqualified, but that they are not claiming “proof of actual cheating”.
With chess forced to move online due to the pandemic, many
events have been held online for the first time. It’s often proven a great
success, but with cheating so much easier online the problem of cheating, or
the suspicion of cheating when none has taken place, is impossible to ignore. At
times we get unpleasant situations such as with the FIDE World University
Online Rapid Chess Championship.
The 6-player finals were played as single 10+5 round-robins
on the Tornelo playing platform, with live commentary on the action.
They looked to have been a great success for the Ukrainian
While Kirill Shevchenko’s result stood, however, Iulija
Osmak’s results have been converted to losses. This is how the table looked
after the event – you can click on any of the results to replay the games with
computer analysis and judge for yourself.
And here are the final results after the Fair Play Panel of
the event got to work.
Iulija was given a forfeit loss for every game, while her
opponent’s losses were converted to draws.
Although Iulija wasn’t named in the
Fair Play Panel’s report it’s clear that it’s the reason for her results
being altered. The report begins:
The Fair Play Panel (FPP) of the FIDE World University Chess
Championships, after examining the games followed by several meetings,
disqualified 20 (twenty) players from the World University Individual Online
Rapid Championship for breach of Fair Play.
They say it took more than 70 hours to analyse 5036 games,
and explain that they based their decision on:
- statistical evidence
- Host internet platform (HIP) evidence
- physical evidence
- expert opinion
The panel, perhaps for legal reasons, point out that they
are not claiming proof of cheating, and that for now their decisions will have
no impact on the players competing in over-the-board events.
Neither FIDE, nor the Hosting Internet Platform claims that
the determination of a suspected fair play violation is proof of actual
cheating or an admission of guilt by the disqualified player. Such a
determination shall not affect the ordinary status of the player for
over-the-board competitions within the jurisdiction of FIDE or its members,
unless FPP decides in the case of a clear or gross violation, or repeated
violations, to refer the matter to the FIDE Ethics and Disciplinary Commission
which may exclude the player from all official chess participation for a period
up to 15 years.
There’s no right of appeal, however, and it’s clear that any
accusation of cheating has an impact on a player’s reputation. Iulija Osmak, the
2017 Ukrainian Champion, told
chessnews.ru that she was told she was disqualified based on statistical
analysis of the five games in the final. She commented:
I asked them to check me with a lie detector, since
otherwise I have no way of proving my honesty. Negotiations are currently
Meanwhile the World University Online Chess Championship
continues with the team event, the Online
Rapid Cup, today featuring some very strong players.