Limerick man in Chess drama awaits next move

Eugene Phelan

Reporter:

Eugene Phelan

Chess Player Gabriel Mirza pictured at Home in Limerick City [Picture: Press 22]
AS the parents of a 16-year-old boy contemplate taking a civil case after their son was allegedly assaulted at a top chess tournament, the man at the centre of the storm, Gabriel Mirza, says he is receiving tremendous support from chess players from all over the country

AS the parents of a 16-year-old boy contemplate taking a civil case after their son was allegedly assaulted at a top chess tournament, the man at the centre of the storm, Gabriel Mirza, says he is receiving tremendous support from chess players from all over the country

“All people in the sport are supporting me, they want to stop cheating in chess,” said the 47-year-old Romanian, who has been living in Limerick for the past 15 years.

The former Limerick soccer player, who teaches chess in schools around Limerick agrees he overreacted when he pulled the student from Gonzaga College in Dublin from a toilet cubicle in the Metropole Hotel in Cork after he saw him using a phone tablet to access a chess engine to help him win his match.

After the incident in Cork on Sunday the parents of the boy, who Mr Mirza says admitted to cheating, travelled from Dublin, before he was interviewed by Gardai.

Mr Mirza led the Irish delegation to the recent world youth chess champions in Slovenia and his daughter Diana is one of the top young players in the country. He lives in Raheen.

“They [the parents] are obviously taking this very seriously, the father is a highly regarding professional in his field, and there are a number of they are avenues looking at including taking a civil case against Mr Mirza,” one high ranking member involved in Irish chess told the Limerick Leader.

“It is a very serious incident. I was stopped to win the tournament. But the main problem is about cheating. I showed to the chess world the truth, and all appreciated this. I am waiting to see the reaction from the Irish Chess Union and from all,” said Gabriel who is a qualified PE instructor registered with the Teaching Council.

“After each move he went to the toilet, at least 20 times ... I found him in the toilet with an Android checking the moves with a chess engine. I tried to get over the cubicle wall to grab the tablet from his hands, and firstly I was thinking to jump over inside that cubicle. But I wanted a witness, so I ran straight to the controller, Mr Gerry Graham and called him to follow me immediately,” said Mr Mirza.

“The organisers and other adult approached there at the Gents [and] followed me inside where I forced the cubicle door and I pulled this guy out from the toilet. I just grabbed him and then I was stopped by the people behind me,” he added.

Mr Mirza said that he later apologised to the organisers for over-reacting.

Gerry Graham, arbiter for the Cork Congress, expelled Gabriel from the tournament, for his over-reaction.

“His coach avoided me and he called the Garda. I was interviewed by a one lady from the Garda and then after I gave all details with a witness. I was told that I won my game as the guy admitted about his fraud. We were both stopped to play last round,” said Mr Mirza.