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Chess king captured: champion admits to using smart phone on the toilet to cheat

Chess Tournament "Right Alsterufer vs. Left Alsterufer"
A black pawn on a chess board before the start of a tournament. Copyright Felix Konig
Copyright Felix Konig
By Ben Kesslen with NBC News World News
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"I simply lost my mind," the Czech champion cheat told


A chess grandmaster admitted to cheating after a photo surfaced of what appeared to be him using his phone on the toilet to help him win during a tournament.

Igors Rausis, 58, was known in the chess world for climbing the rankings in the past six years, something unusual for a sport typically dominated by younger players. The Czech champ's meteoric rise excited many fans of the sport, who found themselves shocked on Thursday when Rausis was caught cheating.

During a tournament in Strasbourg, France, someone took a picture, obtained by The Telegraph, of what looked like Rausis sitting on the toilet, fully clothed, using his phone during the competition.

The picture rocked the competitive chess word, which prides itself as a "gentleman's sport"

The World Chess Federation (FIDE) told NBC News via email there was an "incident" in Strasbourg and "a player has signed a letter admitting his wrongdoing," but wouldn't further comment on specifics of what happened.

No matter, Rausis, who NBC News could not reach for comment,came clean to, saying, "I simply lost my mind."

"I confirmed the fact of using my phone during the game by written [statement]." he said, adding, "What could I say more?"

Rausis later told the The Times of London he was using a chess software on his phone in the bathroom.

FIDE told NBC News that they recently approved more severe punishments for cheating. Rausis could face a 5 year ban and lose his "Grand Master" title.

While FIDE isn't officially making a statement on the case, some of their staff have taken to social media to discuss the controversy, and question Rausis' previous success.

On Thursday, FIDE's Fair Play Commission secretary Yuri Garret said on Facebook the organization had been closely following a player for months, in what appears to be a reference to Rausis. And on Friday, Emil Sutovsky, director general of FIDE, wrote on Facebookabout a "cheater"who rose to success in a "very suspicious" and "questionable" manner.

Rausis told on Friday his actions would mean an end for his competitive chess career.

"At least what I committed yesterday is a good lesson, not for me—I played my last game of chess already."

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