“I had never seen anything like this in forty years”. Jean Coqueraut, an international chess referee, cannot believe it. He was the one who expelled from the Imperia Championship Arcangelo Ricciardi, a young man caught in the act of recording the games with a microcamera and receiving suggestions on the moves to be made from an accomplice connected to a computer. The young man had beaten, one after another, players and masters of chess who were much more estimated than him, a modest player. Coqueraut had sensed something, that there was a trick behind: “He is playing tricks on me right under my nose, I cannot believe it. I could not sleep at night, I had to stop him”.
The results, too impressive for a young and inexperienced player, were sufficient to feed heavy suspicion. The referee tells that “performance of this type is impossible. He could not be a genius, he was a cardsharp”. The thing that provoked the greatest wonder in the referee was the fact that the young man was always still on the chair. “Very strange. He never stood up. His arms were always crossed and he never took away the thumb from under his armpit. He blinked in an unnatural way, as if his eyes were focused not on the chessboard, but on something else”.
The referee guessed that the young man was deciphering signals in Morse code. The sophisticated system, that has allowed Ricciardi to win eight rounds seems to be a “spy-pendant” with a microcamera connected to the famous alphabet of almost two centuries ago. Everything hidden under his T-shirt: a trick worthy of Archimedes Pythagorean. “He kept drinking all the time and often dried his face with a tissue. Both actions were intended to hide the pendant which contained the camera. It was meant to be a signal for the accomplice, a reminder to suggest the move because he was running out of time. At the end of the game, he left the table immediately and never waited for the analysis of the moves. How could he have acted otherwise? He had no clue about what he was doing.
At the beginning, Coqueraut attempted to unmask him by making all the participants empty their pockets. Nothing to be done, nothing came out from the young man’s pockets. The referee asked then to open the shirts, but Ricciardi refused and threatened to protest. Indeed, the referee received a complaint, but it was from four players who had lost against the young man. “I had not slept that night and at six o’clock in the morning I called the organizers: you must put a metal detector”. The metal detector rang every time Ricciardi passed through it, even when he removed from the pockets the five-cents coin he claimed to be his talisman. The chess cardsharp said the same thing about the pendant hanging from his neck, the wires attached to his body, and about the four-centimetres box that was found under his armpit, through which he presumably received the signals.