Umakant Sharma (born in 1982) is an Indian chess player who in 2006 was banned from playing competitive chess for ten years due to cheating. Umakant was caught during the Subroto Mukerjee tournament in India in which he was rated as the top seed.
Umakant Sharma was caught receiving instructions from an accomplice, during the Subroto Mukerjee memorial international rating chess tournament at Subroto Park, using a chess computer via a Bluetooth-enabled device which had been sewn into his cap. The accomplices he had been communicating with were outside the location at which he was playing, and were relaying moves for him to make from a computer simulation. Officials became suspicious after Umakant gained large amounts of rating points in the previous eighteen months, even qualifying for the national championship.
Officials first became suspicious after Umakant began the year with an average rating of 1933, and in 64 games gained over 500 points to give him a rating of 2484. This was a massive jump considering that not even chess great Viswanathan Anand gained rating points at such speed. Officials became more suspicious after receiving multiple complaints in writing alleging that Umakant's moves were in exactly the same sequence suggested by the chess computer Pocket Fritz. In the seventh round, after a body search was suggested, Indian Air Force officials searched the players at the top eight boards with a metal detector, where it was found that Umakant was the only individual who was cheating.
Umakant's ten-year ban from chess was determined by the All India Chess Federation (AICF) after reviewing evidence presented by Umakant himself and the electronic devices seized by the organizers of the tournament. The punishment was considered extremely harsh, especially considering that those in other sports who have been found to be doping and match fixing did not receive such lengthy suspensions. When officials were asked about the suspension they stated, "We wanted to be frank and send a stern message to all players. It is like cheating on exams."
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