Italian chess tournament ejects player for Morse code cheating

Arcangelo Ricciardi denied cheating, crediting his increased skill level to "yoga."
By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |   Sept. 9, 2015 at 12:58 PM

IMPERIA, Italy, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- Officials with a prestigious chess tournament in Italy said a player was expelled for allegedly using a hidden camera and Morse code to cheat at games.

Organizers of the International Chess Festival of Imperia said referees became suspicious when Arcangelo Ricciardi, ranked 51,366th in the world, started winning games against players with far higher rankings.

Referee Jean Coqueraut said he noticed Ricciardi holding his hand under his armpit and blinking in an unusual pattern.

"Then I understood it," Coqueraut told the La Stampa newspaper. "He was deciphering signals in Morse code."

Ricciardi was found to be wearing a metal pendant that officials said concealed a small camera and connected to a device hidden in his armpit. They said the device is believed to have been used to communicate with someone outside the tournament who was sending the player messages via Morse code.

Ricciardi denied cheating, telling La Stampa the players who complained about him were jealous of his blossoming talent.

"I always knew my potential, but I was never able to express it. It's all false. I've played for 30 years, it's a genuine passion. But only now, thanks to yoga and self-training I managed to free my mind from tensions and emotions."

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