Indian grandmaster S.L. Narayanan is currently competing in the German Schachbundesliga – one of the world’s top chess leagues. After today’s game, Narayanan posted on his official twitter account that he felt humiliated during the anti-cheating checks which happened before the round.
“Today I felt humiliated. And if I prefer to remain silent about it, I’ll not be doing justice to myself and other sportspersons who go through similar experiences. I played in the Bundesliga today. Before the first round, I was one of the 5 players picked by the arbiter for a random check. During the check with a metal detector, there was a beep sound. So, I was told to remove my shoes and they checked again. Beep. Now, I was told to remove my socks. The arbiter then ran the metal detector on my naked foot and we heard the beep again. At this point, I was told to move aside and the next player was asked to step forward. It is hard to explain how bad it felt as if I was guilty of something I had no clue about whatsoever. All this happened in the middle of the playing hall. I held a sock and stood with a bare left foot. Imagine how I might have felt.
Meanwhile, the metal detector beeped again when the other player’s foot was scanned. That prompted the arbiter to check the floor. It was the carpeted floor that was triggering the beep and not any human.
The arbiter apologised to me. But I must say how embarrassing it was. And mind you, this happened just minutes before my round. The fact that the arbiter apologised is appreciated. But this whole situation could have been handled better. The arbiters should probably start checking the floors first and maybe start asking players if they have had any kind of surgery before instructing them to remove the shoes and socks.
Yes, we need such vigilant arbiters to prevent cheating in chess but at the same time, they should act in some professional way. Arbiters should check the floors before asking weird questions like if they had any surgery or not. Perhaps, FIDE and tournament organisers will bring about a change and safe players from going through such humiliation.”, wrote SL Narayanan on twitter.