Player disqualified from German Championships

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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Player disqualified from German Championships

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:41 am

MartinCarpenter wrote:The point is that you track it over time. You've got a few moves each game where someone may or may not have consulted with a computer and a lot of moves where they obviously haven't. Accumulate information over the course of several games and it'll become really obvious if they are in fact doing so, and equally so if not.
That might work for players in a Minor tournament, but at GM level, players are quite capable of finding the same moves as computer engines. In some cases, they have even have used an engine, but before the game, when it is completely legal and part of opening preparation.

MartinCarpenter
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Re: Player disqualified from German Championships

Post by MartinCarpenter » Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:45 pm

Of course they can at times. So you gather the data over multiple games and check to see if there's a non trivial jump in performance in normal play as compared to after the times they've left the hall and come back. If there isn't then any cheating obviously isn't doing anything important anyway :) This would be in terms of establishing rational grounds for suspicion by the way, rather than simply running off behaviour. People are wonderfully good at seeing patterns in that once they get paranoid. (See a bunch of cases in bridge.).

Bindrich say appears to have been basically accused of being away from the playing hall for longish periods. That's actually pretty terrible grounds for an accusation and you can see why he felt rather offended. It isn't even obvious precisely what sort of help he's accused of having got.

From the report the second game seems to have featured two ~15 minute breaks in the first ten theoretical moves. I don't think thats suspicious at all. That can't be checking an engine for moves. It could just about be checking a database but he'll have done that before the game anyway. Double checking his preparation perhaps but that wouldn't take remotely that long.

In fact checking his mobile against that sort of thing is also utterly useless if he's an even halfway competent cheat - you'd simply print it to some sort of plain text/PDF file, scramble the file name(s), encrypt it and not have a chess program on your mobile at all. Goodness you could even stream the file from the cloud so that its not even there on the mobile at all. This is all trivial stuff.

Controlling mobiles totally would I agree be a good idea were it easily possible. For elite events yes, for large more casual ones much less so.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Player disqualified from German Championships

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:12 pm

MartinCarpenter wrote: So you gather the data over multiple games and check to see if there's a non trivial jump in performance in normal play as compared to after the times they've left the hall and come back.
For GM level players, I doubt the credibility of the notion that you can detect computer use by checking whether computer engines come up with the same moves.
MartinCarpenter wrote: Bindrich say appears to have been basically accused of being away from the playing hall for longish periods. That's actually pretty terrible grounds for an accusation and you can see why he felt rather offended. It isn't even obvious precisely what sort of help he's accused of having got.
He was accused of leaving the board when it was hismove. As to what help he got, the suggestion is that he used the software on his phone.

MartinCarpenter wrote: From the report the second game seems to have featured two ~15 minute breaks in the first ten theoretical moves. I don't think thats suspicious at all. That can't be checking an engine for moves. It could just about be checking a database but he'll have done that before the game anyway. Double checking his preparation perhaps but that wouldn't take remotely that long.
On the contrary. If he wasn't totally familiar with the variation which arose, he could easily use half an hour consulting a database and chess engines to get a feel for future positions. This is GM level chess, they aren't going to follow what's regarded as "book" or "theory" if they think they can improve on it.
Last edited by Roger de Coverly on Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

MartinCarpenter
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Re: Player disqualified from German Championships

Post by MartinCarpenter » Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:43 pm

For GM level players, I doubt the credibility of the notion that you can detect computer use by checking whether computer engines come up with the same moves.
Which is good because I think so too :)

This is very different because you've got a hypothesis that a player is periodically (2/3 times a game or whatever) leaving the playing hall and analysing the position on an engine before playing the move. So you track when they've left and (slightly less trivially) which moves they've played subsequently.

The problem then is comparing two sets of moves - those produced when the player was sat at the board the whole time and those produced after going from the playing hall for a bit.

If one set is effectively being produced by a computer and the rest by a human it'll become fairly obvious over time. Yes for stronger players you'll need more moves and thus games etc but you just keep going and the evidence will aggregate. If you can't tell the difference its very strong evidence that they're not cheating.

Bindrich I don't know about but his reaction to the mobile request seems very understandable - he may well have reacted to the whole thing as a personal insult. We'd all be in a much better position to know if they'd bothered to actually track his behaviour and moves over time for a while first.
(Although I grant you that telling the difference between prep before and during a game wouldn't be easy.).

Mick Norris
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Re: Player disqualified from German Championships

Post by Mick Norris » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:06 pm

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: Player disqualified from German Championships

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:20 pm

Mick Norris wrote:More info here;
http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=8586
This gives the moves of the game. It's unexplored territory from about move 9, or at least that's how it appears to someone not an expert in those positions.

Ola Winfridsson
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Re: Player disqualified from German Championships

Post by Ola Winfridsson » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:08 pm

As can be seen from the arbiter's account and Bindrich's own account, the time frames differ quite a lot. The arbiter says twice in just over half an hour (and he'd already been alerted to FB's suspicious behaviour the day before), while FB claims he went a second time after an hour's time.

In any event, FB's behaviour, when confronted by the arbiter was counterproductive to say the least, apart from the fact that he's supposed to have his phone switched off anyway. And if he did get up from the board while he was on the move (can't see it being stated anywhere though) and left the playing area, that is suspicious behaviour, although not illegal (as opposed to leaving the playing hall altogether). Furthermore, he could easily have been communicating with someone else - running Rybka och Houdini on a full strength stationary computer - while in the toilet. His refusal looks like bluster by someone caught in the act.

Another point, FB is a well-known German player, and if he always behaved like this, I'm sure the arbiter would have allayed everyone's suspicions.

MartinCarpenter
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Re: Player disqualified from German Championships

Post by MartinCarpenter » Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:02 am

Well his reaction is (1) to being accused of cheating and (2) to someone asking to look at his mobile which he could well have put his entire life on. I can imagine quite a lot of people getting rather angry in those circumstances :) Maybe rather less so after this incident has publicised the rule.

Its rather less stupid than the Topalov - Kramnik stuff but not entirely disimilar.

The really disturbing thing is that cheating by wandering off to use a smartphone is a long way from what a halfway dedicated cheat would do.

Incredible easy for starters to run the software remotely. E-mail a textual representation of the board position to your home computer for instance and have it respond in the same way. May as well have the messages auto delete/encrypt themselves while you're at it. And/or using a very small/simple hidden dedicated device for it while having a safe 'decoy' smart phone.

Or similar with encrypted, remotely stored text files of preparation etc.

You can do even worse with someone helping. Have them transmit a binary but still very helpful message like whether there's a tactic in the position or not. Stick a receiver for this in say your shoe for a tiny electric shock or heater or something. No need to even leave the board then.

How would you ever detect this sort of thing except by blind luck? l suppose that anything requiring a helper has a major weakness there. Luckily I don't think a pinhole camera and image recognition software would work reliably enough to replace them.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Player disqualified from German Championships

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:27 am

MartinCarpenter wrote: How would you ever detect this sort of thing except by blind luck? l suppose that anything requiring a helper has a major weakness there. Luckily I don't think a pinhole camera and image recognition software would work reliably enough to replace them.
This is similar to the Feller case. It was claimed that moves were transmitted to the player by the low tech approach of having the match captain stand in a particular position as a spectator. The scheme was only detected back in France because the mobile used to transmit the moves to Siberia was a Company one.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Player disqualified from German Championships

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:38 am

The German Federation have suspended Bindrich for two years.

Reported by chessbase.de

http://www.chessbase.de/nachrichten.asp?newsid=13881

Neil Graham
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Re: Player disqualified from German Championships

Post by Neil Graham » Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:06 pm

From today's Independent :-

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 71718.html

No prizes for the "cheque mate" headline.

Ian Kingston
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Re: Player disqualified from German Championships

Post by Ian Kingston » Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:32 pm

The player in question, Loris Cereda, was rated roughly 2025-2050 from 2004 until late 2010, when his rating shot up to 2243 by March 2012. It's since fallen back to 2204. For someone in his late 40s that's an unusual rise, but not ridiculous if he really has been devoting a lot more time to chess.

His most recent tournament is more consistent with his old rating.

Presumably the FSI must have had some hard evidence on which to base their decision.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Player disqualified from German Championships

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:45 pm

Ian Kingston wrote: Presumably the FSI must have had some hard evidence on which to base their decision.
This is a link to their judgement.
http://www.scacchierando.net/dblog/arti ... icolo=2873

Google translate seems to indicate that the case against was based on the evidence of his team mates.

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Paolo Casaschi
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Re: Player disqualified from German Championships

Post by Paolo Casaschi » Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:38 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Ian Kingston wrote: Presumably the FSI must have had some hard evidence on which to base their decision.
This is a link to their judgement.
http://www.scacchierando.net/dblog/arti ... icolo=2873

Google translate seems to indicate that the case against was based on the evidence of his team mates.
I believe Italian chess federation (FSI) has so far only announced the ban of the player, that is already effective. However, the player is asking for a review of the decision, according to the process of the FSI in these cases. This might explain the lack of full details from the FSI at this point. Their communication was in fact aimed to chess arbiters and tournament organizers, for them to be aware of the ban coming into effect for the player.

There's more information on some Italian chess forum, but it's either rumors or speculation, at least I haven't seen any further official notice from the FSI.
The player himself, apparently, made public his document asking for a revision of the decision, including his key arguments.
From those, it seems that the formal complain relates to few games from the Italian team championship (something like the 4NCL, but I believe a not the top division, probably not even FIDE rated, but I'm not sure) and the initial complain was started from his team mates. The hypotheses is about the use of a camera hidden into reading glasses that would have transmitted the moves/positions (there was not live transmission of those games), with someone then sending back suggestions to an earpiece. From what I read, the exact details of the cheating mechanism have not been disclosed (or they are not completely known) and no third party has yet been found guilty of providing the illegal help.
The punishment is a lifetime ban, but it might change at the end of the revision process to something lighter (I don't think there's any harder option than a lifetime ban).

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Paolo Casaschi
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Re: Player disqualified from German Championships

Post by Paolo Casaschi » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:18 am

Paolo Casaschi wrote:I believe Italian chess federation (FSI) has so far only announced the ban of the player, that is already effective. However, the player is asking for a review of the decision, according to the process of the FSI in these cases. This might explain the lack of full details from the FSI at this point. Their communication was in fact aimed to chess arbiters and tournament organizers, for them to be aware of the ban coming into effect for the player.
Correction: I have seen now a lengthier document from FSI explaining the decision, confirming that the facts refer to three games from the Italian team championship and that the investigation was prompted by reports from the player's team mates. It is also assumed that the cheating mechanism included an earplug and "unusual" glasses as seen used by the player during the games.
PS: for people not familiar with lower sections of the Italian team championship, it might be worth noting that no referee is usually present, the two team captains acting as referee; this might explain why no immediate complain with the referee was raised during the games.

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