The oldest player among the top world 100 grandmasters has been caught cheating, has admitted guilt, and could face a life ban.

Igors Rausis, 58, is a Latvian who now lives in the Czech Republic. His unbroken advance in the past six years attracted suspicions, and proof came at last week’s Strasbourg Open when he was found using a mobile phone in the toilet.

Rausis later told the Czech newspaper Lidovky: “I signed a statement that I am guilty in full . . . I completely ruined my name and also destroyed the trust of all my colleagues and friends”.

The puzzle is why it took so long for Rausis to be caught. A Georgian who won a United Arab Emirates tournament in 2014 was stopped at his next event in Dubai when his mobile was found in the toilet showing his current game position.

At the 2010 Olympiad, France’s Sébastien Feller used a complex signalling system, aided by his team captain and an accomplice in Paris to defeat, among others, England’s current No1 David Howell.

Both the Georgian and the Frenchman served three-year bans, but are now playing again, at levels some 100 rating points lower than previously.


Frank Parr v Ash Wheatcroft, City of London 1938. Parr was the longtime Stock Exchange champion, while Wheatcroft was a law professor who created Value Added Tax. Can you find White’s brilliant finish?

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