Italian chess player Arcangelo Ricciardi, ranked 51,366 in the world, has been busted for cheating.
In the Imperia Chess Festival in Italy Ricciardi began his first few matches by beating players ranked much higer than he.
And while this in itself wasn’t enough to draw attention, referees gave him a second look after he sat stone still with a hand under his arm for hours on end, and began blinking in a very strange way.
Jean Coqueraut, the tournament referee told La Stampa newspaper that Ricciardi’s ability to defeat such highly placed opponents were performances “that are impossible.” He was batting his eyelids in the most unnatural way. Then I understood it: He was deciphering signals in Morse code.”
When officials confronted Ricciardi he refused to open his shirt for them.
So he was told to walk through a metal detector. It showed a hidden camera hanging on a chain around Ricciardi’s neck. The camera was attached to a small box hidden beneath his armpit. The box was able to transmit video footage from the camera to an accomplice nearby with access to a chess computer.
The accomplice would then tell Ricciardi what moves to make by using Morse code.
But Riccardi denied any wrongdoing. “It’s only envy,” he said to La Stampa. “I always kenw my potential, but I was never able to express it. It’s all false. I’ve played for 30 years. It’s a genuine passion. But only now, thanks to yoga and self-training I managed to free my mind from tensions and emotions.”
In April, Russian Grand Master Gaioz Niglidze was expelled after he was found to be checking his moves with a smartphone hidden in a toilet rubbish bin.
He attracted attention when he continued to visit the same toilet cubicle for periods longer than 10 minutes at regular intervals.