Cheating; Holowczak's Chess Article

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IanCalvert
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Cheating; Holowczak's Chess Article

Post by IanCalvert » Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:15 pm

I have just read Alex Holowczak's "Anti-Cheating in Online Chess" . Broadly I think it is a good read and a praiseworthy contribution to an important issue. However my worldview is that of only a player not an arbiter or official in addition.

Among many other matters of interest to others, It raises some important questions about standards of proof; "Comfortable satisfaction" of guilt is problematic for many of us.( Those of us who have done jury service know how easy " beyond reasonable doubt" can be.) I start from a flawed hypothesis that an individual player is not a cheat but that having several model estimated probabilities of computer cheating is the best deterrent we have.

Sadly it gets worse. For the opening (and sometimes into the early middlegame) it is ,in practice, almost impossible to distinguish computer assistance obtained before the game begins (fair play) and the same assistance obtained once the game starts (illegal).

I think the Holowczak piece deserves wide debate hence this comment.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Cheating; Holowczak's Chess Article

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:25 pm

While agreeing that this is an important subject and must be discussed I believe Ian Calvert is referring to an article Alex Holowczak has written for Chess magazine and will be the copyright of that publication (so non Chess subscribers will not have sight of it).
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Matt Bridgeman
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Re: Cheating; Holowczak's Chess Article

Post by Matt Bridgeman » Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:30 pm

I can only speak from our point of view, where we are looking for the type of online long play and rapid play events that will provide some form of replication of over-the-board chess for the next 9-12 months, or however long it takes for over-the-board congresses to start to reappear. And to that end I thoroughly welcome a pruning out of the online cheats who dotted through the Junior 4NCL, Adult 4NCL, 4NCL Congress and into the Glorney Gilbert International Online. The more those players are excluded, the cleaner and more honest the future events will run.
Last edited by Matt Bridgeman on Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Thomas Rendle
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Re: Cheating; Holowczak's Chess Article

Post by Thomas Rendle » Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:32 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:25 pm
While agreeing that this is an important subject and must be discussed I believe Ian Calvert is referring to an article Alex Holowczak has written for Chess magazine and will be the copyright of that publication (so non Chess subscribers will not have sight of it).
It's available on the 4NCL website: http://www.4ncl.co.uk/data/Article_on_Fair_Play.pdf

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Paul Robert Jackson
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Re: Cheating; Holowczak's Chess Article

Post by Paul Robert Jackson » Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:26 pm

Matt Bridgeman wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:30 pm
And to that end I thoroughly welcome a pruning out of the online cheats who dotted through the Junior 4NCL, Adult 4NCL, 4NCL Congress and into the Glorney Gilbert International Online. The more those players are excluded, the cleaner and more honest the future events will run.
I presume the other players have a good idea who these online cheats are?
Even if they are unable to name & shame.

The question that interests me is:
Did these online cheats enter OTB events, & find ways to cheat in them?
Paul Robert Jackson

Wadih Khoury
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Re: Cheating; Holowczak's Chess Article

Post by Wadih Khoury » Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:45 pm

Matt Bridgeman wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:30 pm
..and into the Glorney Gilbert International Online.
There has been allegations even in such an event?

Matt Bridgeman
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Re: Cheating; Holowczak's Chess Article

Post by Matt Bridgeman » Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:50 pm

Yes, well I'm not going to say too much. But yes, there were some high profile 'casualties' from most countries, including England.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Cheating; Holowczak's Chess Article

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:05 pm

Matt Bridgeman wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:50 pm
there were some high profile 'casualties' from most countries, including England.
And the names of at least some of those have been "outed" elsewhere.
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

Tim Harding
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Re: Cheating; Holowczak's Chess Article

Post by Tim Harding » Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:15 pm

Matt Mackenzie wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:05 pm
Matt Bridgeman wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:50 pm
there were some high profile 'casualties' from most countries, including England.
And the names of at least some of those have been "outed" elsewhere.
From the Stokes report on the Irish Chess Union website, from the match Ireland v Netherlands:
On board 6 this evening, making his debut for Ireland, was 9 year old Andrey Ivanov. Andrey had hit a very impressive 2023 Classical Rating on Lichess and was eager to show his playing strength. The game is best described as a game of two halves! Andrey, who outplayed the Dutch player, was clearing winning well into the game after his opponent blundered a piece. With seconds left on the clock, Andrey’s opponent suddenly starting playing blitz, with stockfish accuracy and speed! Was this the same child who put in a weak performance on Sunday evening’s pre tournament blitz?! Andrey had to wait until the following day to receive a point for his win, when sophisticated anti-cheating systems had picked up on the anomaly. Congratulations Andrey on a well deserved win against the Netherlands!
Why not name and shame the English cheat(s?) here?
Tim Harding
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Thomas Rendle
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Re: Cheating; Holowczak's Chess Article

Post by Thomas Rendle » Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:22 pm

Paul Robert Jackson wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:26 pm
Matt Bridgeman wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:30 pm
And to that end I thoroughly welcome a pruning out of the online cheats who dotted through the Junior 4NCL, Adult 4NCL, 4NCL Congress and into the Glorney Gilbert International Online. The more those players are excluded, the cleaner and more honest the future events will run.
I presume the other players have a good idea who these online cheats are?
Even if they are unable to name & shame.

The question that interests me is:
Did these online cheats enter OTB events, & find ways to cheat in them?
To the first question: Yes, generally.

To the second: I've not seen any evidence and personally I think it's unlikely, especially in the more high profile cases. More likely it's the ease of cheating online that led to the temptation.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Cheating; Holowczak's Chess Article

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:23 pm

Paul Robert Jackson wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:26 pm
Did these online cheats enter OTB events, & find ways to cheat in them?
In OTB chess, there are arguably three ways to seek external assistance.

(1) retire someone secluded to consult a device, coach or book.
(2) have someone signal or even tell suggested moves
(3) have a device in some manner concealed about the person.

(1) and (2) should be relatively easy to detect and either prevent or catch in the act.
(3) is rather more difficult with those suspected sometimes self banning before their method is uncovered.

In online chess (1) and (2) would ideally need the presence of an arbiter or neutral steward. In the absence of that, a video and audio record of the playing session may go some way as a deterrent and also give players some possible protection against false accusations.

Tim Spanton
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Re: Cheating; Holowczak's Chess Article

Post by Tim Spanton » Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:23 pm

Tim Harding wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:15 pm
Matt Mackenzie wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:05 pm
Matt Bridgeman wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:50 pm
there were some high profile 'casualties' from most countries, including England.
And the names of at least some of those have been "outed" elsewhere.
From the Stokes report on the Irish Chess Union website, from the match Ireland v Netherlands:
On board 6 this evening, making his debut for Ireland, was 9 year old Andrey Ivanov. Andrey had hit a very impressive 2023 Classical Rating on Lichess and was eager to show his playing strength. The game is best described as a game of two halves! Andrey, who outplayed the Dutch player, was clearing winning well into the game after his opponent blundered a piece. With seconds left on the clock, Andrey’s opponent suddenly starting playing blitz, with stockfish accuracy and speed! Was this the same child who put in a weak performance on Sunday evening’s pre tournament blitz?! Andrey had to wait until the following day to receive a point for his win, when sophisticated anti-cheating systems had picked up on the anomaly. Congratulations Andrey on a well deserved win against the Netherlands!
Why not name and shame the English cheat(s?) here?
You say 'cheats' - some on this forum might say 'honesty-challenged'

Mick Norris
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Re: Cheating; Holowczak's Chess Article

Post by Mick Norris » Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:27 pm

Tim Harding wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:15 pm
Why not name and shame the English cheat(s?) here?
Because Carl has told us not to name anyone :roll:
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Cheating; Holowczak's Chess Article

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:33 pm

IanCalvert wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:15 pm
Sadly it gets worse. For the opening (and sometimes into the early middlegame) it is ,in practice, almost impossible to distinguish computer assistance obtained before the game begins (fair play) and the same assistance obtained once the game starts (illegal).
Notwithstanding what they would have you believe, I don't think the anti-cheating programs know very much about openings. Rather they just ignore moves before an arbitrary cut off. So someone playing something absolutely obscure and using an engine in say the first ten moves is less likely to be flagged with suspicion than someone playing with great accuracy for the first twenty moves or more in the well worn paths of the Sicilian, Spanish, Gruenfeld or Kings Indian.

But rather than opening or early middle game play, perhaps heroic defence of extremely difficult positions is a better indicator for doubt.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Cheating; Holowczak's Chess Article

Post by JustinHorton » Mon Aug 03, 2020 6:40 pm

IanCalvert wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:15 pm
I think the Holowczak piece deserves wide debate hence this comment.
I had some criticisms.

Tim Spanton wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:23 pm
You say 'cheats' - some on this forum might say 'honesty-challenged'
Nobody has, of course, or anything like it
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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