An Italian chess player has been removed from one of Italy’s most prestigious tournaments after allegedly using Morse code and a hidden camera to cheat.
Arcangelo Ricciardi ranked at 51,366 in world when he entered the International Chess Festival of Imperia in Liguria, Italy and surprised his competitors when he easily escalated to the penultimate round.
Mr Ricciardi was exposed after organisers became suspicious when the 37-year-old refused to stand up throughout the tournament, despite playing for many hours, and permanently kept his arms folded with his thumb under his arm pit.
Jean Coqueraut, the tournament's referee told La Stampa newspaper: “In chess, performances like that are impossible. I didn’t think he was a genius, I knew he had to be a cheat.”
He was “batting his eyelids in the most unnatural way,” added Mr Coqueraut. “Then I understood it. He was deciphering signals in Morse code.”
Mr Riccardi was forced to pass through a metal detector by the game organisers, revealing a sophisticated pendent hanging round his neck beneath his shirt, according to the Telegraph.
The pendant reportedly contained a small video camera, wires, which attached to his body, and a 4cm box under his arm pit.
To conceal the pendant around his neck, Mr Riccardi drank constantly from a glass of water and wiped his face with a handkerchief, according to Mr Coqueraut.
It is believed the camera was used to transmit the chess game to an accomplice or computer, which then suggested the moves Mr Riccardi should perform next.
These moves were allegedly communicated to him through the box under his arm.
Mr Riccardi denies that he cheated and has claimed that the devices were good luck charms, according to reports.
An investigation has been launched into the incident and the Italian Chess Federation is deliberating whether to press charges for sports fraud.