Former Buccinasco mayor Loris Cereda playing chess (Scacchierando Blog)
An Italian politician facing charges of corruption has also been found guilty of cheating at chess and become the first member on record to be kicked out of the Italian Chess Federation.
A former mayor of the northern town of Buccinasco, near Milan, Loris Cereda, has been banned for allegedly using dark glasses that had been fitted with a hidden micro camera at three tournament games.
The glasses sent live images of his opponent's moves to a powerful chess software programme that then dictated through a secret earpiece the correct counter-move to make.
Cereda, a member of Berlusconi's People of Freedom Party, was exposed by fellow players who had witnessed a sudden improvement in his game.
Cereda was transformed from a mediocre amateur player into a local Garry Kasparov, they said.
Cereda is facing corruption charges after he was allegedly filmed taking a €10,000 bribe to green-light the construction of a car park next to a shopping centre.
Police said he was also bribed with two Ferraris and a Bentley.
The town of Buccinasco has a reputation for mob infiltration and has been nicknamed the northern Platì, after the Mafia stronghold city in Calabria.
Cereda said: "I've never cheated nor used strange technology during matches.
"There have been tournaments in which I played well but also many others which went badly. Nearly all the tournaments were played in the presence of a referee and a fair number of spectators.
"My mistake has been not to show up in front of the judging panel but I didn't want to fuel controversies that could have damaged the world of chess that is my passion and has been part of my life for 40 years.
"I've never been less than a good sport and as someone who loves this sport, I could not imagine doing such a thing."
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