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There's a Sep2020 reddit post by user ChessAddiction entitled 'How the Elo rating system works, and why "farming" lower rated players is not cheating.' I also ask about farming here: When is farming unethical?

NoseKnowsAll asked here

Who the heck is Iuri Shkuro and how did he get such a high blitz rating if I've never even heard of him?

This is re the entry

Shkuro, Iuri Ukraine 2828 2017/03

I googled this and apparently Iuri Shkuro is a Ukrainian GM who was involved in some kind of 'farming' in blitz rating. This post is kinda TL;DR. (I tried scanning for instances of 'farm' or anything similar but couldn't find.) NoseKnowsAll actually shares a link to a FIDE webpage re Shkuro, but I still don't see any indication of 'farm' in the page.

Question:

What was going on:

  1. What did Iuri Shkuro do, and

  2. what was wrong with what was done?

Sounds like the guy was playing in tournaments meant (mainly but not only) for 1500-1999 players or something. I mean, if farming 'is not cheating', then why doesn't this apply to Shkuro? Based on another post, it doesn't seem like farming is 'unethical' just 'risky'.

No GM would risk a hefty rating penalty by playing only weak tournaments. Too much risk for very little gains. A single tactical oversight (GM is human too!!) could be deadly.

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  • 1
    People usually rather want to play in higher tournaments to gain ratings even if they lose a lot. I don't think "farming" works with the current rating system (most of the time), as you also quoted, if they even lose once, they lose too much rating. Edit: And there are a lot of lower rated players that are not yet gained their real ratings which makes the risk higher. Edit2: This comment was probably meant to be on the other question you linked but anyways...
    – Minot
    Jan 24, 2022 at 6:44
  • chess.com/blog/cschessnews/killer-bloodgood is another example. I consider it as unethical as sandbagging. If you want to get an inflated rating just for pride, then I'll start a company and "sell" myself djstrd worth billions just to feel rich. Of course, I wouldn't take ethic lessons from an organization which manipulates ratings (en.chessbase.com/post/…) or is involved in the 1984 WCC scandal.
    – Mike Jones
    Jan 24, 2022 at 11:57
  • 1
    Seems like the minimum guaranteed gain for any win does make farming profitable. Jan 27, 2022 at 12:45

2 Answers 2

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https://www.fide.com/news/344

Looks like he is under investigation and under suspicions of cheating. His actual rating has not changed either...

enter image description here

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  • Why cheating? See my answer.
    – BCLC
    Jan 25, 2023 at 16:42
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Got an answer from kitikami from reddit in a post that compares Shkuro with Igors Rausis.

cf Why is there a minimum rating gain when you win?

It appears Shkuro was making tournaments where e'd obviously win where as Rausis was just entering tournaments, of other people, where e's most likely win.


1

Rausis was entering weak open tournaments that no normal GM would have any interest in and beating amateurs in a handful of classical games, but they at least appeared to be legitimate tournaments.

2

Shkuro and Kobylianskyi were organizing and directing their own blitz or rapid tournaments where they would play a bunch of random locals over a day or two and then submit their results to FIDE until it pushed them into the top 10 of the World Blitz/Rapid lists. I think there were even some questions about whether they were playing the events at all due to how obscure, poorly organized, and poorly documented they were, but in any case these events had no discernible purpose other than to inflate the rating of the person organizing the event and did not appear to ever have been presented as a serious competition. FIDE's decision to nullify their ratings was as simple as making all these events unrated (which would not have worked for Rausis since other than him farming, the results of those events had legitimate competitive meaning).

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Rausis' rating was arguably no more legitimate (and his farming was arguably even less ethical since he was ruining real tournaments for his opponents rather than doing his own vanity thing separately), and you could certainly argue his rating deserved to be handled the same way as the other two. What he was doing was on a smaller scale and exploiting existing tournaments available to anyone, though, whereas the other two appeared to be deliberately manufacturing their own personal rating farms.

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Here's a record of a rapid tournament where Kobylianskyi is listed as both Tournament Director and Chief Arbiter and scored 10/10 and a blitz tournament where Shkuro is listed as Tournament Director and scored 33/34.

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FIDE's official decision is here: https://doc.fide.com/docs/DOC/2021%20GA/Annex%203.2.1c%20UKRAINIAN%20PLAYERS.%20Final%20Resolutions.pdf

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The tournaments were originally rated, but FIDE decided after their investigation to rescind the ratings from all their tournaments within the suspicious time periods. While the investigation was ongoing, it looks like FIDE put them both under a sort of probationary period where the Ukrainian Chess Federation had to get FIDE approval for them enter any rated events, but after FIDE released their decision they were free to enter events as normal again.

It looks like the only thing that happened was FIDE reset their ratings and basically told everyone "don't do this again".

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