French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

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Alex Holowczak
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Alex Holowczak » Mon Jan 24, 2011 11:43 am

matt_ward wrote:Could this not be described as slander
Pedantry point: No, it'd be libel, because the accusations of Feller were produced in print (i.e. on the French Chess Federation website).

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:23 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:Passing on evaluations from third parties goes back well before the computer age. There was a story that Black's win in the 1970 game Fischer-Kovacevic owed something to a Petrosian suggestion - allegedly communicated through the players' wives
Not to mention, of course, England v Spain at the 1986 Dubai Olympiad!! :twisted:
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Mon Jan 24, 2011 2:58 pm

matt_ward wrote:Well I'm totally with agreement with Andrew Martin I can not comprehend why at GM level players would use chess software or in an other way cheat in such a big event were they're very likely to be caught out.
For the same reason that Olympic 100 metres gold medal winners do? Or Cyclists?

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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by IanDavis » Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:01 pm

Jonathan Bryant wrote:
matt_ward wrote:Well I'm totally with agreement with Andrew Martin I can not comprehend why at GM level players would use chess software or in an other way cheat in such a big event were they're very likely to be caught out.
For the same reason that Olympic 100 metres gold medal winners do? Or Cyclists?
On a pedantry note, Cyclists don't use chess computers to cheat. For Olympic 100 metres, I expect it depends on the event.

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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by LozCooper » Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:27 pm

Jonathan Bryant wrote:
matt_ward wrote:Well I'm totally with agreement with Andrew Martin I can not comprehend why at GM level players would use chess software or in an other way cheat in such a big event were they're very likely to be caught out.
I would like to think that GMs or any other level of player don't use chess software or in any other way cheat not because that they might get caught but because they are honest and the mere idea of any outside assistance is completely wrong and they would want no part of it.

I hope that the allegations are false and no cheating of any kind took place in the Olympiad or anywhere else. Had anyone wanted to do this it would have been very easy to do. A coach/captain can view the game live online, look up the opening or analyse the middle/end game and then communicate to the player. Even if it's only to remind the player what they discussed in their preparation it would be easy to do. Captains could go in and out of the playing area as they wished provided they had their identity badge with them.

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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Alex Holowczak » Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:56 pm

LozCooper wrote:I would like to think that GMs or any other level of player don't use chess software or in any other way cheat not because that they might get caught but because they are honest and the mere idea of any outside assistance is completely wrong and they would want no part of it.
"Any other level of chess player" frequently wants some part of it when they request an adjournment envelope from their captain. :cry:

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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:04 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote: "Any other level of chess player" frequently wants some part of it when they request an adjournment envelope from their captain. :cry:
OK, whoever had Reply #35 in the sweepstake wins the prize. :D Alex, do you have to drag your opinions about adjournments into unrelated discussions?

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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Alex Holowczak » Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:07 pm

IM Jack Rudd wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote: "Any other level of chess player" frequently wants some part of it when they request an adjournment envelope from their captain. :cry:
OK, whoever had Reply #35 in the sweepstake wins the prize. :D Alex, do you have to drag your opinions about adjournments into unrelated discussions?
:lol:

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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Mon Jan 24, 2011 5:28 pm

LozCooper wrote:I would like to think that GMs or any other level of player don't use chess software or in any other way cheat not because that they might get caught but because they are honest and the mere idea of any outside assistance is completely wrong and they would want no part of it.
I would like to think that too, Lawrence, but is it realistic? After all, 'engine banned' correspondence chess as a competitive sport is completely dead now because people will and do use engines precisely because getting yourself caught is hard to achieve.

At a more humble level that Olympiads, it seems it's OK for County captains to be banned from more than one internet chess site without it being considered unacceptable for them to be a captain at County level. That, in any event, is the only conclusion I can draw, from recent personal experience.

If we 'kind of sort of' tolerate cheating on the internet in this way, should we be surprised if some people take it further?

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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Michael Jones » Mon Jan 24, 2011 5:55 pm

Eoin Devane wrote:Evidence of cheating in chess is, of course, much harder to obtain than in cycling
I'm not sure that's true: although athletes and cyclists routinely undergo blood/urine tests to check for the presence of banned substances, a positive test is not absolute proof of wrongdoing; there could have been a lab error, contamination of the sample etc., which is why many people continue to protest their innocence even after a positive test.

In chess, pretty much the only absolute proof of cheating would be the discovery on a player's person of some sort of electronic device which could be used either to consult a computer directly or to communicate with someone else who was (and could not possibly have been there for a legitimate reason) - but, given the checks which are in place at major tournaments nowadays, it would be all but certain that any player who attempted to bring such a device into the playing hall would get caught before he had a chance to use it. So if any cheating did take place, it most likely involved some communication between the captain and the player - but since, as Loz says, such communications were allowed to take place during games, unless someone just 'happened' to have recorded the conversation in question it would be difficult to prove that it concerned anything untoward.

I'm somewhat puzzled that the FFE has taken such action without releasing its evidence, or even stating the precise nature of the alleged cheating. Presumably it would not have made the allegations public if it did not have substantial evidence to back them up, but if it has - where is it?

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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Matthew Turner » Mon Jan 24, 2011 5:58 pm

I find it totally understandable that a strong GM would cheat. I reckon that using Rybka, or the like, once in every game would probably increase your rating 100 points - that is a massive massive difference (bear in mind a strong GM will have a good idea of when the crucial moment in a game arrives - the point at which it is most advantageous to get help). The risk and reward are such that people will be tempted to cheat, if not Feller, then somebody else.
Feller's response to the allegations is interesting and since he is denying any wrongdoing then he should be innocent until proven guilty. However, I find the idea that the French Chess Federation fabricated the charges against him because he supported Ilyumzhinov hard to believe. Just think what this story could mean for the Federation in terms of government funding etc. - would it be worth it?

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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Michael Jones » Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:22 pm

There are certainly some countries where the authorities would take action against someone solely for disagreeing with them, but I'd hope France wouldn't be among them.

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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Eoin Devane » Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:33 pm

Michael Jones wrote:I'm not sure that's true: although athletes and cyclists routinely undergo blood/urine tests to check for the presence of banned substances, a positive test is not absolute proof of wrongdoing; there could have been a lab error, contamination of the sample etc., which is why many people continue to protest their innocence even after a positive test.
But in the majority of cases, a test (in fact two tests, "A" and "B", analysed separately) exceeding the permitted threshold for a banned substance turns out to be sufficient evidence to convict an athlete of doping. In chess, there is simply no retrospective test that can be applied after a competition to determine those players who might have been making use of the sport's primary form of cheating. As you say, the only way to stop a cheat in chess is to catch them in the act of cheating.
Michael Jones wrote:I'm somewhat puzzled that the FFE has taken such action without releasing its evidence, or even stating the precise nature of the alleged cheating. Presumably it would not have made the allegations public if it did not have substantial evidence to back them up, but if it has - where is it?
An alternative possibility is that they may simply have the word of one individual accusing the three players, and wanted to announce the opening of their own investigation before someone else made the allegations public. This way, the federation looks like it is doing all it can to combat malpractice, and avoids any chance of being implicated itself.

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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Alex Holowczak » Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:39 pm

Michael Jones wrote:I'm somewhat puzzled that the FFE has taken such action without releasing its evidence, or even stating the precise nature of the alleged cheating. Presumably it would not have made the allegations public if it did not have substantial evidence to back them up, but if it has - where is it?
Perhaps they're already involved in legal proceedings, and are keeping quiet due to sub judice?

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Re: French Chess Federation investigates cheating players

Post by Matthew Turner » Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:41 pm

Eoin and others, I think it is worth noting that the announcement was made on 21st January, but the Federation initiated disciplinary action on 22 December. This implies that any investigation was well under way, if not completed, before the announcement was made.

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