Odisha’s U-18 chess player caught cheating, national title taken away

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Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Only a few days ago some celebrities including billionaire entrepreneur Nikhil Kamath were caught cheating while playing against five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand in a charity chess stream organised online to raise funds for Covid-19 relief. 

Online chess is again in the news for the wrong reasons. This time, a player from Odisha has been caught for allegedly using unfair means during the National U-18 Open Online Rapid Chess Championship. The player in question, Manish Kumar, even went on to win the title but it was taken away after detection of the fraud.

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Interestingly, the All Odisha Chess Association (AOCA) and the Sports and Youth Services Department of Odisha even congratulated Manish for winning the crown.

The AOCA in a release said that Manish Kumar of Odisha has been crowned as National Under-18 Open Online Chess Champions which concluded on June 12. While congratulating the player, the state sports department on its Twitter handle mentioned that “Manish gathered nine points out of possible 11 in his name to secure his maiden national title”.

However, the All India Chess Federation later took away Manish’s title and announced Aronyak Ghosh of West Bengal as the new champion.
GM RB Ramesh looked concerned with the trend and said, “It was disgusting to see some young players taking help of coaches and using engines during the online game. In many games, the players were playing much above their rating level.”

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Ranjan Mohanty, AOCA vice-president, asserted that the cheaters will be handed stern punishments. 

“In good faith, we are conducting the age groups tournaments, but few players are resorting to unfair means. They will face the consequences. If we cover them up, we are actually encouraging cheating and punishing honest players,” said Mohanty.

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