ChessVibes were the first to report that the Aeroflot 2009 top seed, GM Shakhryiar Mamedyarov withdrew from the event as a protest against what he alleges to be cheating by his last opponent GM Igor Kurnosov. Mamedyarov lost the game in a quick-fire 21 moves! The Azeri wrote a letter to the organisers in which he said:
During the game my opponent went out of the playing hall after each move, took his coat and withdrew himself [to] the toilet. After suspicion of unfair play on move 14 I offered a draw, he refused. We quickly played 11 moves, [and] on the 12th move I played a move which confused my opponent. The next moves from him were given as first choice by Rybka, which quickly allowed him to win the game.
What is strange is that if Shakhryiar already suspected cheating as early as move 14, then why in hec didn't he do something about it right there and then? After all, at that stage Kurnosov had gone to the toilet no less than 14 times! And another question: how was Kurnosov supposed to have carried out the cheating? Use of a hand-held device? My imagination is thinking that it was carried out by phone, with a distant friend examining the position with a computer then relaying the recommended move either verbally or by text. There's only one problem with this. In the same ChessVibes report, our Dutch reporter quotes arbiter Geurt Gijssen as saying, "After the game I asked him [Kurnosov] to show the contents of his pockets, but all that we found was a pack of sigarets (sic), a lighter and a pen."
This is all more than a tad unfortunate, but mostly, in my view, for Kurnosov. The poor guy now stands accused of cheating in front of the whole chess world. For the time being, he has my sympathies. If there's one important thing that can be surely learned, it is that matters like this one ought to be first and foremost handled discreetly. Only when there is maximum certainty should anything be allowed out in the public domain.