October 11, 2008

The BanzayFish scandal - Scene III (The avatars of the tortoise)

I borrowed the title after a short essay by the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges about the Zeno’s paradox Achilles and the tortoise. Here in Playchess.de we observe a different kind of paradox that requires our attention. There are handles supposed to belong to strong female Dutch players who show a bad attitude against their opponents. Many years ago these handles belonged to different persons. So they say in their comments that accompany moves played. It is simple logic for me to conclude that some of their confessions are true, some are not, OR all of their confessions are lies. It is not logical to conclude that they always speak the truth. The truth is some times blinding. There are two methods to face a situation like this. Either one tries to figure out what is true and what is a lie, or believes (make-believe) what one likes as true. In other words “So it is (if you think so)” Così è (Se Vi Pare), Luigi Pirandello

If the script is recited in chronological order then Scene III should not follow Scene II. I want to provide some answers following the Blindness test of the previous article. I do not give the links to all of the games, but all underlined text opens a new window with the games's history.

Scene III

You still play the leading role, you play chess in Playchess.de and you read your opponent’s comments. You make a detailed investigation in the games' history of the handles anne_t, BanzayFish and ZorMaster.


This handle was created in March 2001 and joined an A class tournament. Its owner called herself Anne, preferred the French flag instead of the Dutch and gave a lot of information about herself to her opponents.
By September 2001, she moved from Delft to Leiden for medical studies. She wanted to become an orthopedic. From A class, Ann was soon denoted to C class. Suddenly her chess skills improved radically and a speedy race to the top of the charts begun.
Autumn 2002, one of her opponents knew that her real name is Arline.
Spring 2004, the young Ann or Arline, or Arline-Michelle was a 3rd year student in the above university. She informed an opponent that her father was an IM and she is of Russian origin.
January 2005, she said that she is the sister of BanzayFish.
Spring of 2005 a big change occured: Language became aggressive against opponents and identity details were confusing until they finally became clear: The handle user claimed a female FIDE title but you don’t know yet who she is. She preferred to refer to her national rating instead the ELO rating (given here approximately). You think that is logical for young players who play locally but very strange for a supposed WIM. Her name is still Anne but look at this e-mail address! Split personality? I don't think so!
By the end of 2006, there is a game where she claimed to be WIM Elisabeth (this is not the real name of course). The game is heavily commented and to your surprise it has a strange mistake. A part of this game took place during the Hoogeveen Essent open tournament of 2006. WIM Elisabeth (I mean anne_t, sorry) said that she had 1.5 points in 4 games (which is the correct score as of 23Oct2006) and later mentioned that her final score was 6/9 which is not correct. 4/9 is the correct score. Such a bad memory is not a characteristic for WIMs.
BTW, WIM Elisabeth was born in 1984. anne_t repeats so many times (of course before spring 2005) that she was born in 1982.


This handle was created in October 2001. BanzayFish is a killer fish who attacks his opponent and does not care if he dies by this attack. Its owner didn’t like to chat but always replied politely. Here he says that he is “brandnew” in chess. You check the ranking lists of 2001 and discover that WIM Marta (the player that BanzayFish is supposed to be today) had ELO 2193. You quickly discover that this user’s name is Maarten and leaves in Delft or Oegstgeest or Tilburg, but he is a student in Delft University! Airplane constructions!
May 2005, you discover a very instructive game. A member of Playchess.de suspected that BanzayFish, zmaster and anne_t have something in common! October 2005, an opponent complained for being accused for computer usage and mentioned that aadje also accused him.
June 2006, this is the first time that you observe a reference to WIM Marta. But this player here had played before with BanzayFish and remembered Maarten. He was surprised that his old pal is transformed to a WIM. Notice that BanzayFish does not react when called Ma(r)arten, and the opponent checks personal info after move 19!
You ask yourself why a strong chess player use a second hand nickname. Would you accept to play another person's handle. Of course not! She should have created a new account on her own. It’s free anyway! Then you understand that this was the old pal Maarten (if it was Maarten in the first place) who pretended to be WIM Marta.


This handle was created also in October 2001. The user’s name was also Anne.
Six months later, the user’s name was Marlieke.
October 2002, ZorMaster told her opponent that she is “in the Medical faculcy now and in time a Mdr.” You think that the user of this handle has a lot of common things with the user anne_t. But it is no way the well known Dutch player Kerstine who was 13 years old in 2002.
January 2003, you find another game with a lot of information. This time the ZorMaster had not finished school yet (last year though) and expected her university studies next year. You also discover that ZorMaster’s dad was an IM(2312 ELO), zor was a Turkish chess site and she played chess there. Two months later she defined herself among the Dutch top female juniors with 2135 ELO. A month later she became a WIM.
May 2003. She claims 2403 ELO. What a progress indeed! In this game you discover her titles. You check this information with your ChessBase software and you find that the championship references fits to WIM Elisabeth’s junior achievements.
October 2006, this is the first time that ZorMaster uses the real name of Kerstine. She gives a lot of information about herself to her opponents and talks a lot, in contrast of the character of the handle the previous years.
April 2007, and another player confesses to ZorMaster that zmaster accused him of cheating. ZorMaster defends zmaster. (Of course!)
ZorMaster knows everything about Kerstine. Suddenly you discover that she explains how information about Kerstine can be easily found: “google Kerstine and all the info u want to know is there.”

A final comment. There is another member who faced anne_t and suspected that he knows her with another chessname. Bravo PLUTARCO! With a handle like this you sure know all about Vitae Parallelae.

Posted by Michalis Kaloumenos at October 11, 2008 12:03 AM

Interesting! So we have the following:

1: Evidence from many games showing that these players changed their names repeatedly in their profiles.

2: Thomas saying that all these players use the same IP, and moved at the same time (within minutes)

3: many, many instances of these players rudely accusing others of cheating.

I don't know who these players are, but it sounds suspiciously like one very rude person to me.

Okay, mystery solved, back to playing chess!

Posted by: HFlew at October 11, 2008 01:15 AM

Very good investigation and very conclusive!
Next world is yours Mr. devil's advocate and gambit's amateur!

Posted by: RussDude at October 11, 2008 02:14 AM

Not surprising. I find most chess players are not rude people. I have never had any reason to believe that the Dutch are rude people. For so many (alleged) Dutch chessplayers to all exhibit this unusual characteristic always seemed odd to me, and I commented on it several times.

Next question: Why is gambitfan such an avid defender of this person? It would be possible to say they were rude but correct, or justified. But he goes beyond that, and claims they were never rude in spite of the fact that they unquestionably were. Why comment that they were "attractive" as if that had any bearing whatsoever on the issues addressed? Just wondering.

Posted by: Shurlok at October 11, 2008 04:23 AM

Very convincing.

To Shurlok: I agree about your "next question". Why? What is te good explanation?

Posted by: onzedu at October 11, 2008 10:23 AM

I also am on my seat's edge, waiting for why. I have many times sent messages to cheaters; their reasons vary, running the gambit from evil to mistakes( i.e. can not read English is a good one). The one thing that I have noticed is that they are not normal. They almost universality feel they have a right to do what they did, and any one who beats them must cheat.

Posted by: John Woodbury at October 11, 2008 02:48 PM

Yes, indeed, makes sense all over. The one pointing with his indexfinger into your face - pointing with three fingers straight back into his own...
I suggest to just let them have theit wins until they get bored with it and leave us again. Problem will solve just by itself.

Posted by: IRONMAIDEN at October 11, 2008 03:09 PM

Good comment IRONMAIDEN I fully agree. There is no sure (100%) way to tell if someone is cheating in any ONE game. But sometimes they do not get bored.

Posted by: John Woodbury at October 12, 2008 02:08 AM

Now that we know that one guy is responsible for all this, do we know wo he is and can we take steps to that prevent that he will do it again on the internet? Confiscate his computer? What is his address?

Posted by: Reinbo at October 15, 2008 10:01 PM

Very thorough investigation and shame on the person(s), but why give a damn? Isn't the best way just to turn off comments and play on?

Posted by: Göran Gudichsen at October 17, 2008 06:47 PM

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