Wed, 02 Aug 2000

Percasi to dismiss cheats from Olympics team

JAKARTA (JP): The Indonesian Chess Association (Percasi) will not hesitate to punish players it finds cheating in the selection tournament for the Chess Olympics national teams.

Chief of the tournament's organizing committee, Eka Putra Wirya, said on Tuesday that the stern measure was need to improve the quality of the players and to attract more sponsors.

He said some chess players, including top names, were caught throwing games for money in three tournaments this year, namely the Bali Open in April, the Indonesia Chess League in Surabaya in May and the National Games (PON) in East Java in June.

"Any players, including top ones, who are involved in the fraud will be disqualified. He or she will be out of the team."

"We have to declare war against the trade in matches. Only a coward does such a thing. I hope our top players can teach their juniors to play fair. But it will be difficult because such a mentality is deeply rooted in our nation," said Eka, who is also official in charge of player's development at Percasi.

Sixteen female and 24 male players are taking part in the selection tournament, which was inaugurated by Percasi's chairman Machnan Kamaluddin at F. Sumanti Chess House in Central Jakarta.

The tournament, which ends on Aug. 10, is using a knock-out system in the men's event and the seven-match Swiss system in the women's. Players will be competing for Rp 19 million (US$2,100) in prize money.

Two women's and four men's team will be picked to join the Olympics team, which is taking place in Istanbul from Oct. 28 to Nov. 14.

The females will join International Master Upi D. Tamin and National Master Ai Zakiah, while the men will join Grand Master (GM) Utut Adianto and International Master (IM) Cerdas Barus.

Jeffry Geovanni, owner of the Bali Jeff Chess Center in Denpasar, Bali, is the team manager.

Indonesia first competed in the Chess Olympics in 1960. The men's team recorded its best achievement when it finished 19th in the in Dubai 1986. Ten years later, the women's team finished 11th in Yerevan, Armenia.

Percasi's deputy secretary-general Hendri Jamal said seven chess players had been disqualified for cheating at the Enerpac Fair Play Championships in Bekasi in March.

"They have been banned from competing in all events for about two months. But if anyone is caught cheating in the selection tournament, we will bar them from all competition for as many as two years," said Hendri, who chairs Percasi's disciplinary commission.

He said that at least four players would be punished for cheating in the Bali Open and at PON. He failed to name the players, however. (ivy)