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Chess cheat banned for Bluetooth gambit

by Paul Jay, CBC News Online

An Indian chess player named Umakant Sharma has been banned from competition for 10 years after he was caught using a Bluetooth wireless device to win games.

Sharma had qualified for the national championship but suspicions were aroused because of his rapid ascent up the rankings. After years of posting an average ranking of 1930, Sharma jumped to 2384 in just a year and a half.
Officials discovered at a recent tournament that he had a Bluetooth device stitched to a cloth cap and pulled over his ears. He used it to communicate to accomplices outside the hall who used a computer to relay moves to him.

Perhaps we should have seen this coming.

With Deep Blue and a team of programmers winning a decisive rematch over Gary Kasparov, computers fired a warning shot to human chess players worldwide. Still, we were talking about the mega-power of Deep Blue here.

But earlier in December world chess champion Vladimir Kramnik lost to Deep Fritz, a commercially available chess program running on a powerful home computer. In a time when off-the-shelf chess programs can beat world champions, it's perhaps not surprising someone would try to take advantage of the situation.

It looks like it's time to start frisking chess players.

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