Pinkerton x World Chess

The oldest detective agency in the world brought in to look after fair play, security and anti-cheating of the World Chess Championship Match in London.

World Chess
Nov 16, 2018 · 3 min read
Fabiano Caruana undergoing metal detector check. Pentagram metal scanning is by far more advanced that standard scans and completely eliminates 3rd party involvement during the game

Cheating in top level events in chess is extremely rare and almost unheard of. A possibility of cheating, however, can mess up the mind of the players. Thinking that their opponent might have an unfair advantage will most certainly cost them a game.

The goal of ant-cheating measures, besides preventing unlikely outright cheating, is to create a peace of mind for the players.

World Chess has partnered with Pinkerton, a name synonymous with security for decades, to help secure the Championship Match and make it as cheating-free as possible.

Magnus undergoing a security check in the playing zone

Security Review

Before starting on the project, Pinkerton conducted an in-depth security review of the event, ranging from vulnerability points to social media coverage to bet-fixing threats, developing a detailed security briefing for top-level chess events. Since Pinkerton is new to chess, they asked questions that chess professionals could almost never think of.


Pinkerton, World Chess and FIDE developed daily security protocols, including electronic-sweeping, checking the players, establishing ways to monitor the audience and other tools that are currently employed to protect the Championship.

Ilya Merenzon, World Chess CEO says: Thanks to Pinkerton, the name that is synonymous with security, the Championship 2018 is the most protected chess event in history, both in regular security and advanced anti-cheating and fair play measures. Pinkerton employs the most advanced technology, but it’s very much warranted given the interest this Match is generating, and increased betting and overall profile of the event.

The Polygraph

Pinkerton team are professionals in using advanced security tools, like the polygraph, or the lie-detector test. Can it be used in chess? It’s never been used before. Pinkerton, however, developed a procedure where the Polygraph might be used with players’ consent: in case one of the players files a complaint against seconds and has suspicions that a preparation to the event was leaked to the other team, the player has a right to ask the second in question to undergo a lie-detector test.

The Most Protected Championship in History

There are over 100 anti-cheating and fair play procedures in the protocol, and based on the experience from the previous championships, it appears to be the most protected event in history of chess, thanks to involvement of Pinkerton.

Perfect Match

Pinkerton Detective Agency was founded in 1850 by Allan Pinkerton. It’s the oldest detective agency in the world, but it uses the most advanced technology available. Chess is similar — the first Championship was just a decade after Mr. Pinkerton established his agency. It was am amazing opportunity to organizers of the World Chess Championship to partner with Pinkerton.

Rory Lamrock, Pinkerton’s United Kingdom Director, explained: “The World Chess Championships is an extremely high-profile event that has a genuinely global following. Any cheating or other related activity could severely damage the brand’s integrity and cause worldwide concern through the competitive chess community. It is our job to ensure that does not happen and I am confident our team is up to the task.”

The FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2018 is taking place at The College, a historic venue in the City of London. The championship will feature a series of 12 rounds between reigning champion Magnus Carlsen, a Norwegian who has held the title since 2013, and American challenger Fabiano Caruana, the first American to contest the title for over 40 years since Bobby Fischer reigned supreme from 1972–75.

If you have any questions, please write to

World Chess

Written by

Organizer of the World Chess Championship cycle events.