An Indian Grandmaster managed to beat a youth who had come prepared with one of the most elaborate cheating setups every discovered in a chess tournament.
Pravin Thipaey, a celebrated chess-player, won his first tournament in four years, but it wasn’t an ordinary victory. The grandmaster had just won not against his opponent, but against a computer that was remotely hooked with him. The cheater had wired himself up, with one of the most ingenious of hacks that would impress even the most skilled of engineers and innovators.
In the fifth round of the inaugural Dr. Hegdewar Open Chess Tournament in Delhi, Thipay, a 55-year-old chess veteran was up against a 19-year-old engineer from Haryana, Dhruv Kakar. But what was supposed to be an easy victory for the seasoned player, turned out to be one of the most hotly contested events in chess history.
Kakar, a newbie, played with such an astounding assurance it enthralled the audience and would have been an excellent underdog story. The moves that perplexed the grandmaster were pulled off with utmost ease by Kakar. Multiple instances showed the veteran deep in thought, sometimes taking up to 30 minutes, but the response of the 19-year-old engineer were akin to involuntary reflexes. No matter what startegtic move from Thipaey, Kakar was able to respond in less than 5 minutes.
However, experience managed to triumph with Thipaey walking away with victory, but not before he had slogged in the game that involved 87 moves.
Though the grandmaster should have been happy, something about the game and more importantly about the boy did not feel right to Thipaey. As opposed to the determined silence and resilience that chess players display, Kakar appeared very fidgety. Apart from the restlessness, Kakar appeared to constantly tap his feet, which disturbed Thipaey on more than one occasion.
Suspecting foul play, despite his victory, Thipaey complained to the authorities who then conducted a body search on Kakar and found him strapped with several mobile phones all over his body and an earphone in his ear. The earpiece was so tiny, authorities had to use magnets to pull the sucker out.
Thipaey later commented he was constantly wondering whether he was playing against a 19-year-old boy or a powerful computer. It turns out Thipaey wasn’t wrong. Kakar had been seeking the help of a computer that his accomplice was operating remotely and the on-body setup was used to communicate the moves Thipaey made and get guidance from the computer.
Apparently, once Thipsay would play his move, it would be relayed to Kakar’s friend sitting in front of a computer in Haryana, through a series of foot taps which he could hear because of the mobile phone surreptitiously strapped just above Kakar’s ankle. The friend would confirm he had understood and would feed the move made by Thipsay into the computer and respond to Kakar what it spat out.
Though the duo have been caught red-handed, the grandmaster has chosen not to press charges and let the council handle the punishment.