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Chess player expelled for using mobile phone in toilet

Mihalache found using Chess Apps on a mobile phone hidden in toilet, faces FIDE disciplinary charges

Paul-Stelian MihalachePaul-Stelian Mihalache, a player with a FIDE rating of 1698, has been expelled from Romanian Chess Championship after a mobile phone was found in his restroom. (Twitter)

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Paul-Stelian Mihalache, a player with a FIDE rating of 1698, has been expelled from Romanian Chess Championship after a mobile phone was found in his restroom. The issue has been brought to the notice of the FIDE’s disciplinary commission and the player faces a ban for a certain period of time.

During the fifth round of the Romanian Championship, a nine-round Swiss tournament currently underway in Sebes, Mihalache showed suspicious behavior which included frequent visits to the restroom.

After one of his frequent visits, an arbiter decided to check one of the toilet cubicles where a smart phone was found. The phone, which was left unlocked, had three chess apps on it with one showing Mihalache’s game after 15 moves with the engine Stockfish 15 runnings. A Google account with Mihalache’s name and email address was also active on the phone.

Right through the tournament a special anti-cheating officer has been doing random checks before and during the matches on players using metal detectors. After the phone was found, Mihalache was subjected to an inspection in a separate room, but no devices were found. And confronted with the information about the smart phone found in the washroom which had his Google account and the Chess app, the player denied it was his. However, he did sign the scoresheet which declared he lad lost the game.

Such incidents are not new in Chess. In 2015, Georgian grandmaster Gaioz Nigalidze was found using iPod at the Dubai Open and was expelled from the tournament. He even ended up losing his GM tag.

And more recently, Magnus Carlsen had found Hans Niemann’s behaviour to be suspicious and pulled-out of a tournament.

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