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26 October 2009 @ 11:59 am
Some Picture Evidence for the Sudobomber  
I'll place "evidence" here as solvers or others send it to me of the likelihood something fishy was happening with Eugene Varshavsky at Saturday's tournament. These are screen captures from the Inquirer's own edited video. The first is the grid, as it was during the awards ceremony which was certainly after he stopped, and at increased contrast difference. It has 2 observable placements in it, both in row 5, and a suggestion that the 9 in R1C3 may be there too (eta: confirmed from other images now). It is however not the most focused image and does not tell how this grid got to this state, if erasing happened, etc. Still, having this for 8 minutes of work on the puzzle after demolishing 3 hard ones in 12-13 minutes to qualify is simply not possible.

The second is the only picture of the Sudobomber minus the hood from the video as well; I ask that anyone who knows members within the chess community who may have been at the World Open in Philadelphia three years ago to see if he is recognizable, with a large bucket hat over his head and ears or not.

(Anonymous) on October 26th, 2009 09:01 pm (UTC)
You should change your nickname to Dr. Watson :-)
(Anonymous) on October 26th, 2009 09:39 pm (UTC)
Yes, that's me! Hahaha...

onigameonigame on October 27th, 2009 12:56 am (UTC)
Not that there's any way to prove anything about an anonymous comment, but it stands to reason that anyone who would be motivated to cheat at a Sudoku tournament to the extent of swindling a $3000 prize would be more inclined to brag and make jibes at how he fooled a big organization, rather than feel any contrition or remorse or the anarchic destruction wrought.
lunchboylunchboy on October 27th, 2009 12:44 pm (UTC)
Or to lie low and never comment in the first place while some anonymous joker tries to make a funny.
Caziquecazique on October 27th, 2009 01:25 pm (UTC)
I'll just take this moment to compliment you on your (presumably) Heaney-drawn "where is the outrage" userpic. where does one get one of those?
motrismotris on October 27th, 2009 01:46 pm (UTC)
That is one of Francis' Dr. Sudoku drawings from Mutant Sudoku. So, you can either write a whole book of sudoku in which you develop a character that expresses himself through his puzzles, or I bet you can just ask him to draw you one.
owens888owens888 on October 28th, 2009 01:45 am (UTC)
It depends on the guy's motivations. Was it for the $3000? Lie low. Was it for the lulz, perhaps to show how easy it is to cheat at the sudoku tournament? He might well brag anonymously. My friend was a sysadmin for UGCS and once had to deal with a hacker who had hit several universities and government agencies. Someone who was trying to steal information would have quietly done his thing. This kid sent email to everybody and IMed my friend.

I am surprised that this "Eugene" looks like no kid.
nathan_0 on October 27th, 2009 02:39 pm (UTC)
Whether or not the anonymous poster is actually Eugene, it has to be said - it's pretty audacious to cheat in a public tournament using the same name you used just three years earlier to pull the same stunt. And when I say "audacious", I mean "idiotic."
(Anonymous) on October 28th, 2009 09:01 pm (UTC)
I would say it is very likely that this is the same person that used the name "Eugene Varshavsky" to win money in 2006 at the Chess World Open. Looking at Eugene Varshavsky's record from the USCF, it also seems pretty likely that he was cheating to win money in Under 2200 sections of other big money tournaments leading up to that time (Foxwoods, etc.). I am surprised that no one has, at least publicly, given this more scrutiny. Varshavsky's rating stayed stagnant at about 1800 and then shot up very quickly to 2100+ at an age that would be unusual for that to happen (though not impossible -- Michael de la Maza). However, for a sub-2200 player to have such a strong string of games against such superior opponents without assistance defies reason and if he would cheat in the Open, why would no one suspect that he had cheated in earlier tournaments in which he had finished "in the money." Steve Rosenberg was caught red-handed (or red-eared) with a hearing device at this same 2006 World Open chess tourney, using the same method Varshavsky was accused of using there and in this Sudoku championship. Is that just a coincidence or were they working together? There was a lot of money up for grabs in the World Open, so I guess more than one person could get the same idea. But it is also possible that Rosenberg knows Varshavsky, so I wouldn't mind seeing his feet put to the fire. Neither Rosenberg nor Varshavsky have played a rated USCF- or FIDE-rated chess game since 2006.

FIDE (The International Chess Federation), lists Varshavsky's birth year as 1962, which seems right for this picture. This is no kid and the motivation was obviously money.

Anyone running a chess, sudoku, bridge, trivia, poker or any other contest where large sums of money are at stake and where outside assistance would provide an advantage, needs to be aware of these devices, especially the Phonito, and disallow the use of any headphones or electronic devices. Each Monroi, a legal chess scoring device, should be examined for tampering and scrutinized, and all cellphones, mp3 players and other electronic devices disallowed from the playing area (even if apparently powered down). If someone is suspected of using a listening device and ditching it, officials should also make themselves familiar with the "loop" that is needed with a Phonito and be willing to search for that larger apparatus that could be hidden on the subject, within his clothing.

If he weren't 17 years too old, my guess would have been that this is an older, fatter Davis Wolfgang Hawke. Same ears, bone structure, eyes, same scumbag cheat-the-system M.O. Hawke, (not his real name) was a chessplayer, spammer, conman, Nazi, who is currently in hiding. Wonder if he has an older brother, uncle...
Shandrewshandrew on November 6th, 2009 01:56 am (UTC)
Re: Sudobomber
The little radio devices of course do have legitimate uses for people with hearing impairments. The big difference between sudoku and chess/bridge/trivia/poker is that sudoku is easily and quickly solvable by computer, and the density of information is low. By "density of information" i mean that the puzzle contents and solutions can be transmitted rather easily. Chess is similar in information density, but computer chess players are not overwhelmingly superior to humans.

It's a shame people are dishonest this way, but I would expect that incidents like this will become more commonplace as miniaturization continues. Sometime in our lifetime people will implant radios in their heads and cameras in their eyes (and sudoku solvers in their brains!).
(Anonymous) on June 3rd, 2010 08:49 pm (UTC)
That's none other than Eugene "shoe computer" Varshavsky. Find him in Manalapan or Englishtown.