Officials at a prestigious chess tournament in Italy called checkmate on one of the
participants, accusing him of cheating through a combination of Morse code and a tiny camera.
Italian chess player Arcangelo Ricciardi, 37, was expelled after raising suspicions when
he won his way through to the eighth and penultimate round of the International Chess
Festival of Imperia in Liguria.
Ranked 51,366 in the world going into the tournament, Ricciardi, a former beekeeper,
had not been expected to make much progress.
But over a period of seven days, he won five matches and drew two, beating a French
grandmaster and an international master from Slovakia – both in the world’s top 3,000
players – along the way
The tournament referee was suspicious of Ricciardi’s behaviour during matches,
particularly the way he kept his hand tucked under his armpit.
After refusing to open his shirt, he was asked to go through a metal detector, and a
pendant was discovered hanging around his neck.
Inside the pendant was a tiny video camera and a small box was found under his armpit.
It is believed the camera transmitted his chess matches to an accomplice or computer,
which then offered him suggested moves through a series of Morse code signals to the
box under his arm.
“In chess, performances like that are impossible,” tournament referee Jean Coqueraut
told La Stampa newspaper.
“I didn’t think he was a genius, I knew he had to be a cheat. I kept on looking at him. He
was always sitting down, he never got up.
“It was very strange; we are taking about hours and hours of playing. But most
suspicious of all, he always had his arms folded with his thumb under his armpit. He
never took it out.”
After noticing that Ricciardi was batting his eyelids in a bizarre fashion, the referee said
he realised what was happening.
“He was deciphering signals in Morse code,” said Mr Coqueraut.
The referee said Ricciardi drank a glass of water and wiped his face with a handkerchief
during matches to hide the pendant.
An investigation by the Italian Chess Federation is underway. As he was expelled from
the tournament, Ricciardi was heard to say: “They didn’t let me play.“
He claimed his pendant was a good luck charm.
I wonder why they felt the need to inform us he was a an ex-beekeeper
Are beekeepers untrustworthy people?
Or is it a typo and it's bookkeeper. I've never trusted those people.
You lend them a chess book and they keep it.
(which reminds me Datafly - where is that book on 'Cheapo Opening Traps ' I lent you?)