He was the reigning Georgian chess champion for two years in a row and considered a rising star within the chess community. But now, the 25-year-old chess champion’s legacy has been ruined after investigators discovered he cheated during a chess tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Gaoiz Nigalidze was playing against grandmaster Tigran Petrosian on April 11 at the 17th annual Dubai Open Chess Tournament.
During the match, Petrosian noticed some suspicious behavior from Nigalidze.
“Nigalidze would promptly reply to my moves and then literally run to the toilet,” Petrosian told The Telegraph. “I noticed he would always visit the same toilet (stall), which was strange, since two other (stalls) weren’t occupied.”
Petrosian lodged a complaint against Nigalidze, which prompted an “on the scene” investigation, The Telegraph reported.
Investigators went into the restroom and found an iPhone wrapped and concealed in wads of toilet paper in one of the bathroom stalls.
Nigalidze denied the phone was his but when investigators opened social media apps, it became clear the phone was indeed his.
To make matters worse, a chess app was open and appeared to be analyzing his ongoing match with Petrosian.
Nigalidze was disqualified and banned from the tournament. His two national titles are now being questioned and he could be banned for up to 15 years, The Washington Post reported.
The tournament, which is still running, features 70 grandmasters from 43 different countries and the first place prize is worth $12,000.
Photo Credit: Dubai Chess and Culture Club Via The Telegraph