Like fishing, chess, poker also see cheating scandals


BRAINERD, MN – JANUARY 26: A volunteer prepares to release a walleye caught at the Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza fishing tournament on Gull Lake January 26, 2008 in Brainerd, Minnesota. All of the fish caught in the tournament are released back into the lake once they are weighed and recorded. The tournament, billed as the world’s largest ice fishing competition, attracted over 10,000 participants who competed for $150,000 in prizes. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(NewsNation) — Emotions ran high in the fishing community after participants at an Ohio tournament caught two competitors inflating the weight of their catch.

Fishing is far from the only sport to see cheating scandals. Axios reports that there have been at least five investigations launched across five different “niche” sports connected to cheating in the last month — some of which have already led to suspensions and disqualifications.

Among them is a professional poker player accused of cheating to win a nearly $270,000 hand, and a report alleging teachers fixed Irish dancing competitions for their students.

A investigation recently found an American chess grandmaster, Hans Moke Niemann, ‘likely cheated’ more than 100 times, despite saying he had only done so twice at 12 and 16 years old, The Wall Street Journal reported. A report viewed by the publication alleges Niemann received illegal assistance in more than 100 online games — including some matches where prize money was on the line.

Niemann has denied that he’s cheated as an adult. When asked about the allegations, he said in part that “Chess speaks for itself.”

So why do people cheat to win, even in local, or what some would call “obscure” competitions?

Eric Bean, a certified mental performance coach and the director of high performance for consulting firm Higher Echelon, said it all comes down to ego.

“For them it really all comes down to winning,” he said. “How did I compare to other people, and did I win?”

As cheating, or even the perception of cheating, becomes more commonplace, some experts fear more and more people will be OK with breaking the rules.

“If there is a culture of cheating, if cheating is seen as widespread, if it’s becoming a norm, then more people are going to do it,” Corey Butler, a psychology professor at Southwest Minnesota State University, said.

As for the fishing scandal, an investigation into accusations against fisherman Jacob Runan and Chase Cominsky is still ongoing.

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