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Stop Cheating Hearts

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Jon Jacobs sends in a link to the online version of an anti-cheating petition he helped organize and send to the USCF. More than anything it's a flare and a call to action regarding the potential for cheating at open events with big prize funds. One incident mentioned in the petition was covered here. (Links to the HB rules were dug up by Duif here.)

Cheating has recently been in the news at the top level as well, when one of the San Luis FIDE WCh players hinted that Topalov might have been aided by a spectator with access to a computer. Kasimdzhanov's similarly themed comments in the latest New In Chess leave seem to finger him as the one involved. His comments in NIC only mention that the conditions in San Luis made such a thing possible, but it's not hard to imagine a listener running such statements into an accusation.

I seriously doubt a pro with much riding on his reputation would risk trying to get assistance, at least not at the top where reputation means invitations. (I'm talking OTB here; even strong GMs have been nabbed listening to Fritzy during online tournaments.) When it comes to amateurs playing for big prizes, that's a different matter, which is why the petition's talk of penalties is so relevant. With consumer electronics getting smaller and faster, having a hall full of players with nothing to lose and thousands of dollars to gain is unattractive.

So far this sort of thing has been left up to the organizers. We know about Ponomariov's cell-phone forfeit, but the same rules aren't universally applied. Having your phone go off shouldn't be treated the same as being caught in the bathroom stall running Fritz. Being caught cheating should result in a serious penalty by the federation, not just the loss of a game. Conclusive evidence will be hard to come by, one of the things that makes it tempting. But a watch list is certainly a good start.

An ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure, we need some ideas about how to control the playing environment without turning the hall into a prison. Checking all electronics at the door is not very practical, unfortunately. Prohibiting spectators is a drag, as is forbidding the players from leaving the hall, or only using one or two authorized restrooms. So deterrence may be the best solution and that means a coherent penalty system that is actually implemented. Are there any federations that have policies about this?


My first post in the http://www.chessninja.com/dailydirt/archives/topalov_accused_of_cheating.htm thread mentions Kasim and New In Chess, so it was probably that my ICC source simply misunderstood.

He says similar things in this interview http://www.64.ru/?/ru/magazine/year=2005&no=12&part=87&article=219 and I hear that www.chesstoday.net has it translated (?) No accusations there either, just saying that it would have been very easy to cheat.

I think the guy is way off base. it is the old one thing happens and someone does not like it so run and make laws against it. that is rediculous. the net result is the huge loss of freedom in America and across the world today.

there is no ability to control other people. reasonable measures can be taken but this is a huge over reaction to a minor problem.

first off the individual was not charged with cheating. HB should have found him and confronted him. they did not do this. so the person is still innocent until proven guilty.

this person entered a different tournament and he wants to disqualify him based on an earlier tournament where no charges were laid. rediculous.

the important thing in the second tournament is the issue of was he playing fair or was he cheating. There is NO statement that he cheated in the 2nd tournament so he should be allowed to win his prize.

Ponomariov cell phone going off was not a case of cheating. it was a simple case of making noise while people are trying to concentrate on their games. the cell phone makes a noise that others can hear and be disturbed. the Ponomariov incident should not even be mentioned in the context of this discussion. it is totally irrelevent.

There are systems legal in other countries but not in usa. where big rooms can have the electronics jammed. cell phones jammed. I think the chess community needs that kind of simple solution. another idea would be to interview all the winners past victims in the tournament and ask if they felt there was anything funny going on during the game.

lets be calm. and not over react. this country over reacted to the 9/11 twin towers. we have destroyed the ideals of america ourself with the Patriot Act doing much more damage than the collapse of 2 towers.

A huge over reaction here can cause a huge decrease in tournament attendence. I dont think there is a real problem. maybe there is one individual out there. but he has been noticed. he is not getting away with things so easy. and will probably not be allowed to enter a big money tournament in the future. so there is no longer a problem with him.


I had a debate going with Jon Jacobs at the chess mind's blog when this first came up there. I was of similar opinion to that Tommy suggested. I had some points that he did not particularly agree with. I would like to see a decrease in class prizes, or at very least an alternation of where the line for class prizes are drawn (i.e. U1800 one tournament then U1900 the next). His claim is that nobody would come to a tournament with smaller entries and smaller prizes, but I think up until this past year when national open was only a few weeks after HB, the national open had a $100 entry and 900 people fairly consistantly as far as I know (I've only been playing chess for 3 years). As for preventing cheating I think Mig is the first person I have seen in favor of this while explicitly stating we shouldn't turn tournament halls into prisons, Bravo Mig! Jon Jacobs does not seem to have any limitation on what he is willing to do to prevent cheating. One very effective method would be to prevent all talking in all tournaments. I certainly see the usefulness of this, but I really think this greatly limits the enjoyment of these tournaments since I have made friends from all over at chess tournaments and it's kind of hard to keep friends when you can't even nod your head at them without someone else accusing you of signaling moves to them. I think some of the most serious issues in terms of cheating is thrown games, however, this discussing probably does not happen during the round but instead before the round which I really don't think can be prevented. Just things to think about.
I would like to point out one thing... This cheater in HB was ONLY 6-2 when he was caught cheating which might still have been a significant improvement over what he could have done without it, but it seems to be not even as good as he did at the World Open and certainly players have scored better than this without using a 2800 computer to cheat. I just think it's important that Jon Jacobs makes a point to protect sponsors interest that prize money is being won by honest players and as far as I know, this still happened at HB.

Cheating in chess is a problem and will continue to be so as long as money is involved. Unfortunately, without offering monetary rewards, especially in the United States, major national and state tournaments would, like nostalgia, become a thing of the past. On the flip side, having "chess police" goose-stepping up and down the isles of every tournament would at best be counter-productive. A dilemma whose answers cannot and will not satisfy all concerned. I apologize for the pessimism, but I don't see this playing out positively in the years to come.

Cheating in chess is a problem and will continue to be so as long as money is involved. Unfortunately, without offering monetary rewards, especially in the United States, major national and state tournaments would, like nostalgia, become a thing of the past. On the flip side, having "chess police" goose-stepping up and down the isles of every tournament would at best be counter-productive. A dilemma whose answers cannot and will not satisfy all concerned. I apologize for the pessimism, but I don't see this playing out positively in the years to come.

I'm not a computer person. Can anyone tell me why after sending a post and getting an error message, when I send a 2nd time both posts are displayed. I really would appreciate an answer.


That error message you get does not seem to mean that the post did not go through, but rather something else. Probably along the lines of "I can't send you the updated page".

So,when you click the second time, it creates the second entry, regardless of if that one errors or not.

Best thing to do is to only click the button once, refresh the page and see if the post got through. If you wrote a long post, it would make sense to copy it to the clipboard before the first Post button click. That way, even if the browser crashed, you can easily paste the content you already wrote


I just got the same error message:

Internal Server Error
The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.
Please contact the server administrator, ninjamig@pair.com and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

I ignored it, hit the back button and saw that my post went through.


Let me pose the question of cheating like this:

Isn't throwing a game just as bad using Fritz?

The difference is that if someone were caught using Fritz on the higher boards of an open he would have a good chance of not making it out of the parking lot.

Throwing games on the other hand is just part of the chess scene. It would be hard to prosecute because there would be too many to prosecute. It's easiar to look the other way.

Take the following recent game as an example which was played for a spot at the upcoming US championship:

[Event "41st American Open"]
[Site "Los Angeles"]
[Date "2005.11.27"]
[Round "8"]
[White "De Guzman, Ricardo"]
[Black "Kreiman, Boris"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D02"]
[PlyCount "64"]
[EventDate "2005.11.11"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. O-O O-O 6. Nbd2 c6 7. c3 Na6 8. e3
Bf5 9. Re1 Qc8 10. Qe2 Re8 11. Nb3 Bg4 12. Bd2 Ne4 13. Rec1 Qf5 14. h3 Bxh3 15.
Bxh3 Qxh3 16. Qf1 Qf5 17. Kg2 Bf6 18. Qh1 h5 19. Be1 c5 20. Qh3 Qxh3+ 21. Kxh3
c4 22. Nbd2 Nd6 23. b3 b5 24. Kg2 Nc7 25. bxc4 bxc4 26. Kf1 e6 27. Rab1 Rab8
28. Ng1 g5 29. f3 g4 30. f4 Be7 31. Ne2 Kg7 32. Rxb8 Rxb8 0-1

experienced players will agree that this game was not thrown. It was hurled. If we found that someone's moves exactly matched the suggestions of Fritz we would do something. But this we seem to tolerate.

I wanted to post about cheating. I just held my first tournament and there was one game in particular that was very strange. The players agreed to a draw in a position where black was a full pawn up, with better piece activity in an endgame?!

This made no financial sense as it was a BAP tournament and if they were colluding to boost prize money winnings, it just set them back 2 pts. Regardless, now that I have mostly solved the premature draw problem, I guess I might need work on an anti-cheating system.

The big problem I see is that it is common for players to walk around when it is their opponents move. They run into a buddy and the conversation goes like this:

M: "How you doing?"
B: "Not great, probably losing"
M: "I remember when I played against so-and-so I felt the same, but you never know what will happen"

Is the above cheating? What if the game with so-and-so had a memorable sacrifice or theme that applies to the current game?

If two players have some sort of agreement that they will always draw against each other (regardless of cost), then there isn't much anybody can do. Is that cheating?

It certainly violates the Slugfest Pledge that I had everyone sign where they pledged to fight for a win every game.

I can see how to write software that would be able to detect deviations from a specific player's normal playing strength, but what if that player's norm is to be cheating?

Computers changed postal chess and now it is assumed that all postal players use computers.

It would seem that we need to make the tournament hall a faraday cage and not allow any electronics of any sort and also prevent any interaction between players, but this is not very practical outside of the biggest venues.

I guess the drug testing analogy might be the most practical. Do our best to identify cheaters and then ban them from events for an increasing amount of time for each infraction. It will be a never ending battle, if the prize money gets big enough.

maybe the only tournaments that should really be big money tournaments should be OTB speed chess tournaments. I don't know of many people who walk around during speed chess games :)

The alternative is to hold OTB tournaments where computers are allowed. Advancing technology changing the culture and all that...


I care about thrown games and especially pre-arranged draws. In the game you posted it does seem might fishy that white played

13. Rec1 after having played 9 Re1
14. h3 might not have been so bad if 15 Nh4 was played but to trade bishops, then put Kg2, instead of Q??

Then actively going to an endgame being a pawn down sure seems to be hard to explain away, regardless of how late he partied the night before. White appears to be playing at about 1600 strength.

Whoa! Is white the same Ricardo Guzman that is rated 2483??

I will do something about this in my own small way. I won't let Guzman play in any of my Slugfest tournaments. this game does not prove anything about black, but he would need to go on a watch list.

If we are to make chess more mainstream, we need to eradicate the complacency toward cheating, not playing out positions, pre-arranged draws, etc. There is no way big money sponsors will ever invest in a corrupt system.


P.S. I can write software that would detect anomalous games like this pretty easily, so we can actually identify ALL that have cheated like this in the past. We have the record of all the games! Yes, that is what we need to do, analyze all the games that have been played, identify the blatant cheaters, to borderline suspects and simply hold events where they are not welcome until they change their ways.

Hi guys!

Let me share a little bit from my experience in Germany.

ONe really huge incidence happened at a tournament (guess it was in 2001) when one guy was blamed to use a pocket Fritz. He was an 1980 player and schieved a 2600 performance with a score of 7.5/9 with only two draws. People became suspicious when he claimed a mate in 8 against a 2600 GM in round 9 in a complicated position. A lot of speculation went about it but no one could prove whether he cheated or not. Later on, he never was able to repeat the performance. So everybody still thinks he cheated. When he played at tournaments later on, he was under close supervision.

From my experience as arbiter at a German tournament with now over 600 players, we had several cheating incidents. By cheating I mean seeking help from outside. First one was a young player in the C-Open (rating below 1400) who sought help from his trainer. His opponent informed us and the young player admitted that he sought help. His game was immediately forfeited. After this, his former opponents came and also informed about incidents (no idea whether it was true or not, we couldn't check and therefore doidn't take any action). By the way, the trainer played in the A-Open, unfortunately he was not playing anymore, otherwise I would have declared his game lost due to improper conduct (any comments on that action would be appreciated). By the way, we informed the chess association of this incident.

Another incident at this tournament (other year) involved the use of computers. We provided an analysis room with computers and one player obviously used this for analysis during his games. He was disqualified and all former opponent received one full point (gave us quite a headache when calculating price money). In the following years, this service was stopped as it proved to difficult to maintain constant supervision of everything.

Lots of talking done, my idea was to give some stories from daily life and what was done. I'm open to ideas.

Basically, as an arbiter, I think that it is best that if a player suspects his opponent is cheating he should immediately inform the arbiter who then has to check (hint: if you think your opponent is cheating, don't tell him but the arbiter and ask the arbiter to have an eye on him, it will be definitely easier to catch him when he is momentarily doing it). Complaining afterwards will do nothing as it will be very difficult to prove.

Looking forward to your comments.


On my blog, I posted the following:

I did not realize the extent that cheating is going on in chess. It is so common place, that players seem to do it without even thinking about it. From casual hallway conversations about the game in progress, to pre-arranged draws, thrown games and I guess using computers in bathrooms?

Chess on TV was DOA until the premature draw was eliminated. We don't have to eliminate draws, this last weekend's Slugfest proved that the BAP system makes every game feel decisive and that is what is needed. If the game is a draw, so be it, as long as there is a winner and a loser for every game, that is what is important. Some of the draws we had were more interesting than the decisive games. I now see why so many on this forum thought I was so misguided with my attempt to eliminate draws. Turns out that BAP didn't even change the draw percentage, but it doesn't have to. We can still have draws and also have exciting last rounds and have every game being played to its logical conclusion, win/loss/draw.

BAP solves enough of the premature draw problem that if it even still exists, it is a small enough problem that it can be ignored for now. Especially in light of the (new to me) cheating issue. There is absolutely no way that chess will succeed on TV, or even get significantly bigger prize funds until cheating is completely eliminated.

In my business experience, I have to deal with hiring people and no matter what system you have in place, if the people you hire are dishonest, they will do dishonest things. It is also much more expensive to run a low trust environment as compared to a high trust environment. The ONLY way that I know of to eliminate dishonesty is to eliminate the dishonest people. Regardless of what percentage of the chess population the dishonest are, they cannot be part of Slugfest until they change their ways.

I will be working on a Code of Ethics for participants in my Slugfest events. Failure to follow them will be cause for forfeiture of any prize money and ineligibility from participation in future events for a time period to be determined on a case by case basis.

Once I get software written to automatically go through PGN databases to identify likely cheaters, I will share that with other TD's, so if you have been throwing games, pre-arranging draws, etc., stop now. Continued cheating will be cause for a permanent ban from Slugfests. If you feel you have been unfairly classified as a cheater, you are welcome to state your position.

Mr. De Guzman, how can you explain the game you played?? Even as a speed chess game it would be embarassing, no? Now you have tarnished your reputation, possibly forever and when I succeed in bringing million dollar prize funds to Slugfest events, you will certainly regret taking whatever you received to throw the game. Tell me I am wrong and that you really played your hardest in that game.


P.S. For now, if you have specific game examples like the De Guzman one, please email them to me at clint@slugfest.org I can at least start a manual list of players ineligible to play in my events. If ALL organizers had a strict policy of no cheaters, that will solve the cheating problem.

I added a "Suspicious Games" section to my site where I will stockpile these De Guzman type of games, with commentary and any response I get from De Guzman.

If we all made a big stink whenever we find such examples, it will either make them stop cheating, or make them a lot more subtle...

The infamous Alexander Mirtchouk (sp?) case is still interesting and I think we'll never know. One thing I do want to point out is that this fellow is clearly a classic sandbagger. In his first tournament in the states he beats some 2400 guy and gets a provisional rating of 2126(only due to the fact that most of the opposition was not so great), a rating he still hasn't seen the light of again because the next tournament he plays USATE(the perfect tournament to tank massively) and goes down to 1500 or so and then conveniently nabs the World Open Under 1600. Thus I am not sure that his results were not just due to the fact that he is a very good player with a low rating. Note that he was playing the rapid schedule at the World Open which makes it unlikely that he could have cheated. I think that what happened was the competition at HB had so many sharks he lost a couple of games, got nervous about not making a prize and then started on the computer path. I have little doubt that he used a computer at HB. Does anyone know when his losses came? It could be interesting if he lost early and went on a run or perhaps he lost the game before he was caught with the computer.

Cheating happens all the time. TD's do very little about it. People whom you would never expect to cheat have cheated in huge money games and admitted it to me for God knows what reason. At least three people have asked me to either throw a game to them or to have them throw the game for a price, and possibly more that I'm forgetting about.

The format of the swiss system encourages cheating as much as possible and in my opinion needs to be greatly re-examined as an appropriate way of holding a tournament. If someone throws a game and does a good job of it, it's impossible to catch them.

I honestly think the swiss system in its current form is simply terrible and it really amazes me that everyone just sits back and watches the same stuff happen over and over. There is cheating, then there is more cheating and more cheating and more cheating. It's an endless cycle and as long as the swiss system is employed regularly, this will continue for the remainder of time.

To have a pairing system where if two players play in the final round and can get 10k combined for one result, and only 2k combined for another, what do you thnik is going to happen? You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out, and any system that allows for such uneven prize distribution based on one game's result, is terribly flawed.

An ideal tournament would have two players paired in the final round, and no matter who wins/loses or draws, both players combined will receive the same amount of prize money. Until someone steps up and finds a way for that to happen, the endless cheating and suspicion of cheating will continue.


How can you tell a player is cheating based on one game?!

Most tournaments I played the Sunday morning game hungover... will I be banned from your tournaments as well?

I think the answer is clear: forget about classical chess. Go for Blitz. This also answers the spectator problem. It's much harder to cheat while playing 5-0 chess. This also starts to answer the popularity issue with a wider audience.

Classical tournaments can still be held, but they will be the equilavent of blindfold chess - something only a few diehards do, for fun, because they are a little strange, etc. Real players feel the need for speed. They must think fast. They bang their moves on the board and hit the clock, they stare at the board and don't move, they sweat, they blunder, they cry. Ah, the emotion!

Put most of your marketing resources into blitz, and you will finally see some interest in chess.


"I seriously doubt a pro with much riding on his reputation would risk trying to get assistance, at least not at the top where reputation means invitations."

--The recent book "Freakonomics" examines pervasive cheating in the honorable sport of Japanese sumo wrestling.

--World-class athletes are routinely caught doping themselves.

--Martha Stewart, and other super-rich folks are routinely caught cheating in the stock market, or on their taxes.

This world is full of people who will cheat and risk their status if they're confident they won't be caught.

"So deterrence may be the best solution and that means a coherent penalty system that is actually implemented."

In Chessbase News, 5/14/04, Ponomariov complained about the penalty system:

"By the way, not so long ago in Linares, Kasparov went out of the playing hall and proceeded to his room before he had finished his game. This fact was confirmed by the woman in press centre, who followed Kasparov from the playing hall. The arbiters saw that he had left and did nothing to stop him. Many people say that Garry Kimovich has done it a number of times. But ''the strongest chess-player'', as Kasparov calls himself, wasn't punished for it. Do you feel the difference between the attitude to me and to him?"

As long as individual players are "bigger" than the organizing bodies and the sponsors, no coherent penalty system will be implemented.

And GMs arrange games and take draws. There is no way to detect this. But I thought we were talking about chess and receiving assistance.

Ponomariov's whining covers up a valid issue. Of course no player should be allowed to wander off unattended, especially not to his room. But before you can enforce them you need a clear set of rules and penalties. Right now everything is left up the arbiter, or even the organizer. The arbiter, in Kasparov's case, could do nothing, warn him, or forfeit him, all up to personal discretion. This is the problem. A player doesn't have to think he's bigger than the rules, only bigger than the poor arbiter.

While some discretion is a good thing on most issues, anything serious needs clear guidelines and penalties. You write them up, you make sure all the players know about them.

I don't know how strong De Guzman is and what his habits are, maybe he was just drunk or something, although there are certainly games that get thrown at high level in this country, including U.S. Championship qualification.

Clint, it is possible to write software to recognize consistently bad play throughout the game, but in a game with just one major blunder, how would you know if it was made intentionally or accidentally?

I think in the big money swisses a clearly stated policy that anyone caught receiving outside assistance (e.g. Pocket Fritz in the bathroom, cellphone messages, etc.) will be prosecuted for fraud would deter all but the most determined cheaters.

Another problem is sandbagging. Bill Goichberg has tried to handle that by several methods, eventually having effectively his own rating list for his big tournaments.

As far as agreeing to a draw in the last round to secure a big prize, I don't consider that cheating. Either player still has the option of going for a bigger payday with a win. That's part of tournament strategy.

As far as illegal assistance in OTB tournaments, I think this is mostly a problem at lower levels right now. As opposed to throwing games, I can't think of a 2200+ player cheating that way that I would know of.

Actually, we were discussing whether a top pro with much riding on his reputation would risk getting assistance. It happens routinely in business, politics, and athletics and there's no reason to think chess is any different.

When confronted with news that Kasparov had visited his hotel room in the middle of one or more games at Linares, Ponomariov whined. More appropriate, perhaps, would have been a demand that Kasparov forfeit the game(s) in question. And if that demand was rejected, maybe Ponomariov, too, could begin visiting his hotel room in mid-game.

The game of golf provides an admirable example of rules and penalties. With good leadership chess could be just as well-disciplined.

But it's been a long time since we've had responsible leadership in chess.

Globular: Well, if a tournament organizer is going to threaten criminal prosecution for fraud, the organizer would probably be well advised to sit down with the state's attorney (government prosecutor) beforehand to make sure that the government will back up the threat.

Anyway, what about the enforcement end? You can say that "anyone caught using Fritz in the bathroom will be punished", but what are we willing to do to actually CATCH the guy using Fritz in the bathroom?

I don't know if I would support putting surveillance cameras in the stalls or timing bathroom breaks, etc., but I think I WOULD support confining contenders for big prizes to an enclosed area, with its own bathrooms, and doing pat-down searches for electronic equipment. Also, are there passive electronic measures that could detect the operation of a computer, radio, or cell phone in a given space, that wouldn't be confused by the digital boards?

Note to Tommy: I am as opposed to the current attacks on civil liberties in the US as anyone, but there is a difference between locking up somebody, denying him/her a lawyer, whisking him/her off to a CIA torture camp, etc., on the one hand, and saying "you can't compete for prizes in this chess tournament unless you agree to these anti-cheating measures" on the other hand.


I would agree that, as opposed to throwing games, top pros would be more likely that average GMs to use computer assistance simply because they have much more to gain. Thus, for top world events, isolating the players from spectators and screening them for electronics would indeed be appropriate.

Top GMs might have more to gain on some occasions (world championship games) but the average guys are the ones playing in giant opens with tens of thousands of dollars on the line in a final game. The top guys are on the gravy train and have a lot to lose. They get appearance fees and exhibitions based on reputation (and elo). They have also got there, presumably without cheating. Of course the KO format creates many must-win situations with big money on the line, unlike a round-robin, increasing the incentive to cheat.

Doing something that cannot be proven (throwing games) is not the same as getting outside assistance. Even if your co-conspirator turns on you later and confesses everything, you can deny it. But being caught getting assistance in a provable way would be devastating, at least I would hope so.

Ponomariov missed the point and Greg has too, if willingly. It's not about Kasparov being this omnipotent boogie-man. It's about there not being a system. Ponomariov should have complained about that, and perhaps something would actually have been done. Making it about one person distracts from the serious issue. Had any other player done the same thing we wouldn't even know about and Ponomariov probably wouldn't have said anything at all.

Of course Kasparov is treated differently when you leave things up to an arbiter's discretion, just like NBA rookies get called for fouls referees would never call on an established star. Facts of life. So on such serious matters such discretion should be removed. Then it becomes "Kasparov left the playing venue without permission and was forfeited according to rule 3.2.5." End of story. Instead, we had an arbiter who didn't think it was a big deal and used his discretion to wave it off.

Top events can and should employ metal detectors, etc. There aren't many players and, unfortunately, not many spectators either! But setting up a bag check for electronics is a hassle few organizers are going to bother with. For official FIDE events they should institute it or something similar.

Clint, Thank you for taking the time to answer my question.

There should be anti cheating measures but dop not go to far or be too quick to accuse. Ruixin Yang accused me of cheating at the VA state Scholastic championships because I was constantly going to the bathroom. If he had merely taken the time to inquire further, instead of just suspecting cheating, he woiuld have found out i had eaten bad sushi for lunch and had food poisoning. I find alot of cheating complaints at the amatuer level to be like this, through some are actual cheating aka pocket fritz in the toilet things.

MD, if you always played with hangovers and you were still rated 2483 and played that badly, then it would look very suspicious.

Stan, certainly one bad move happens, we have all seen even super-GM's drop pieces for nothing, especially under time pressure. Not sure if we have seen masters drop pieces for nothing when there isn't time pressure.

Statistically, blunders happen. If you have a onetime cheater who throws a game with an intentional blunder once, and never does it again, then that would certainly be hard to detect. However, if the blunders happen repeatedly and only when there are money implications, then the sum total would probably add a person to the suspects list.

Mig, BAP virtually eliminates pre-arranged draws. I now realize what you were saying about cheating. As an honest person and chess player, I never imagined that cheating could be so widespread that it was accepted like it was expected.

If prizes are given disproportionately to the winners and you have a group of players that collude together, they can always manage to have one of their members get big money. It sounds like they are actually playing a team game against individuals.

This happens in poker, where you have two or more in a single table that go after a mark. I thought chess was about finding the truth, not in fleecing the mark...

You know, maybe this would make chess a lot more popular on TV. The audience can see how these corrupt players are colluding to illicitly get prize money. It could be like a crime drama.

It sounds like big swiss tournaments are really team competitions. Maybe the solution is to award team prizes only and never pair people from the same team. Individuals would need to be grouped into teams if they did not come as a team, but playing in a swiss on a team actually adds another dimension and should be a bit more fun.

From what people are saying, it is not the rare event that cheating occurs at, but rather that at EVERY event with a major prize, cheating most likely HAS happened.

This HAS to be fixed before chess can go to the next level, unless we make it a Reality Crime Show...

A general remark: I think that the outside-assistance problem and the arranged-result problem are different issues, and that it doesn't help us a lot to lump the two of them together as "the cheating problem".

The outside-assistance problem can be solved. Everyone pretty much agrees that it is cheating to get outside assistance during a game, everyone pretty much agrees on what "outside assistance" is (though Clint at 01:55 manages to come up with a "borderline case"), and depending on what costs (taken various ways) we are willing to bear, we can come as close as we want to eliminating it.

The agreed-result problem is different. There isn't a consensus on what constitutes "cheating", except for maybe naked point-buying. But what if you give someone a point, or half a point, not because of money, but out of friendship or sympathy or national loyalty? Is it "cheating" when some player who has won the first game of a World Cup round agrees to a draw in a probably-won position of the second game? Furthermore results can be arranged at any time before the game, at any level of explicitness. And I don't believe that any scoring system, even the BAP system, pace Clint, can eliminate it.* Outside of the discretion of tournament organizers in who to invite/admit, I don't know what we can do. I was hoping that Greg Shahade would come up with a plan :-)


* Clint's BAP system involves giving Black 3 points for a win and 1 point for a draw, and White 2 points for a win and NO points for a draw. Clint: what happens in the last round of a tournament when Black and White both need three points to be in the money? White clearly can't get in, so why shouldn't he sell the game to Black? I concede that when the draw is the worst collective result there is less temptation to draw, but isn't there more temptation to throw the game?

I'm curious if it was actually Jesse Kraai who posted that game. I saw this game on stage and agree it seems to be incredibly shady, but I would be surprised if Kraai who would be the direct benefitiary if the game were ruled invalid (i.e. he would qualify for the US Championships) would just post it somewhere. Maybe I'm wrong, I woudl just like to know for sure. Maybe Mig can check where the IP came from.

Kraai placed 3rd among qualifiers. Kreiman came in 2nd amongst qualifiers. So, yes, if Kreiman hadn't qualified , Kraai would be next in line.

DGT boards use physical cables to connect to computers. One solution to outside interference would be to have a RF jammer that generated enough noise in all of the frequencies used for cell phones, etc. Then we wouldn't need to ban cellphones, they just wouldn't work at all.

Eliminating computers could be done by generating an EMP pulse of sufficient magnitude, but I think there could be some complaints about that one :)

Alternatively, everyone could be subjected to an electrical field that would zap any electronics item on their person, but not harm them. Something like a Van de Graf generator with the right voltage/current mix. I am actually semi-serious about this one. Athletes do drug testing and have to give urine/blood samples to make sure they are not taking performance enhancing drugs. Since computers can enhance the chess performance of 99.999% of the chess players, it seems that big time chess tournaments should do the equivalent of "computer enhancement testing"

The equipment to do the above shouldn't be that expensive, but would be an additional cost at each site.


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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on December 14, 2005 4:18 PM.

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