Chess Champ Banned for Bluetooth-in-the-Ear During a Tournament

According to InformationWeek, Umakant Sharma, seeded 2nd in a tournament in New Delhi, was caught with a Bluetooth headset stitched into a cap that he wore “pulled down over his ears” during competition. According to the All India Chess Federation, accomplices fed him moves from a chess program. He’s been banned by FIDE for 10 years.

This reminds me of something I’ve discussed before — during Gary Kasparov’s famous 1997 battle with Deep Blue, he demanded that the program’s code be escrowed because Kasparov was of the belief that no computer could generate such play and that a human or humans must be feeding the machine moves. That response — an expert in his domain asserting that computer behavior “must be from a human” — always struck me as more important than the ability of the computer to ultimately grind down the world’s best chess player. The response was the first, and to date, closest thing to a triumph in the Turing test.

I have to admit it also reminds me of my own scandalous behavior in 3rd grade, when as a Cub Scout I made a pinewood derby car into which I could slip a fishing weight after the official weighing. I was caught because my car didn’t just win the race, it ran down the ramp about twice as fast as anything else (objects of different mass might fall in a vacuum at equal speed; objects with wire axles running through a wood block, not so much). Needless to say, that was the end of my time in scouting. (Although, to be fair, they actually wanted to have some kind of disciplinary thing and then let me continue. Somehow I never made it over to the Brennan’s house for that meeting.)