Chess Champ Stripped of Titles for 'Performance-Enhancement'

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Once more, a champ becomes a chump -- discovered juicing his sporting ability with a performance-enhancing drug.

Only this time, the guilty party isn't even human: it's a chess-playing computer. And the substance? Code, swiped from rival programmers and used to augment the computer's skills.

The chess-dominating computer program that has won the past four World Computer Chess Championship titles -- dubbed "Rybka" by programmer and International Master Vasik Rajlich -- was stripped of its silicon crown this week amid charges its programmer plagiarized the software of two rival programs, reported the Washington Times.

“We are convinced that the evidence against Vasik Rajlich is both overwhelming in its volume and beyond reasonable question in its nature. Vasik Rajlich is guilty of plagiarizing the programs Crafty and Fruit,” a letter by the International Computer Games Association (ICGA) states.

David Levy, president of the ICGA, announced a lifetime ban on the Czech-American programmer and MIT graduate -- and demanded that he return the trophies and prize money won with the program.

Rajlich, who reportedly lives in Warsaw, did not reply to the Washington Times emails. But a fellow computer program was in complete agreement with the ICGA finding.

“The Rybka code base was without doubt derived directly from other people’s work and this was never revealed, so this is [a] case of taking credit for the work of others,” Don Dailey, a fellow computer chess programmer, said.

For more information, read the full story at the Washington Times.