Grandmaster Igors Rausis, 58, was suspended from the Strasbourg Open after a photo emerged showing him sitting on a toilet looking at a phone during a break in play, the Daily Telegraph reported.
“Igor Rausis caught red-handed at a tournament in Strasbourg,” World Chess Federation director Emil Sutovsky posted to Facebook.
Phones are typically banned from chess tournaments because players can use certain apps to analyze their moves in previous games, gaining an unfair advantage. Rausis was suspended after officials found the device in the bathroom and he signed a declaration stating it was his.
"I simply lost my mind yesterday," Rausis told Chess.com. "I confirmed the fact of using my phone during the game by written [statement]. What could I say more? Yes, I was tired after the morning game and all the Facebook activity of accusers also have a known impact. At least what I committed yesterday is a good lesson, not for me — I played my last game of chess already."
Rausis has long been suspected of cheating in competition play. He stunned the chess world by racking up victories and progressing from regular grandmaster to "super" grandmaster in a six-year span.
“It’s amazing Rausis wasn’t stopped earlier," grandmaster Danny Gormally told Deadspin. "Seems naive that people think someone can improve that much in their fifties."
In a Facebook post that doesn't mention Rausis by name, Yuri Garrett, the secretary for the Chess Federation’s Fair Play Commission, said a player had been closely followed for months after unusual "excellent statistical insights" had given them away.
The evidence against Rausis was sent to an ethics committee and the French police will be involved.