Cheating in chess

Discuss anything you like about chess related matters in this forum.
David Blower
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Re: Cheating in chess

Post by David Blower » Sun Jan 19, 2020 9:27 pm

I think there are two things with regards cheating

1) Knowing if someone has cheated or not
2) If someone has cheated what measures/sanctions are in place should someone be proved guilty of cheating.

The Wolverhampton Chess League (the local league I play in) discussed anti-cheating measures at the 2019 AGM of the league, after Halesowen (one of the member clubs of the league) had proposed we discussed it. Halesowen were sure that someone was cheating in a game against them (no name was mentioned and I do not know who it was or even which club they play for) but no evidence or smoking gun was ever found.

It is completely understandable that people want a high burden of proof with regards to this, because too low burden of proof could just mean that someone says after a game "you must have been cheating" and a ban is instantly applied! (Maybe not that extreme, but you know what I am getting at.)

NickFaulks
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Re: Cheating in chess

Post by NickFaulks » Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:11 pm

David Blower wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 9:27 pm
but no evidence or smoking gun was ever found.
I know you don't want to say too much, but was the player behaving suspiciously ( leaving the room after every move, wearing headphones etc ) or just playing very good moves?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Cheating in chess

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:25 pm

David Blower wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 9:27 pm
2) If someone has cheated what measures/sanctions are in place should someone be proved guilty of cheating.
In many cases, it might be career ending. That's if clubs declined membership, teams refused selection or tournaments refused to accept entry. That said, "casual" cheating, switching a phone on for a one position peek, or even just seeking advice from a coach might only attract exclusion from the tournament in question.

Most leagues have rules that phones should be switched off. Should they go beyond that and ban the presence of phones in jackets or bags, particularly if said item is removed from the immediate vicinity of the game?

Going tooled up to cheat, in other words turning up with a magic hat, special shoes, concealed earphones, accomplices to run a device and suggest moves etc. should perhaps be treated more harshly than someone carrying out their pre game preparation or post game analysis whilst the game is in progress. Is it more of a deception for someone who really cannot play chess to any standard to pretend they can with outside assistance, or someone who is already quite good to get extra in game training?

David Blower
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Re: Cheating in chess

Post by David Blower » Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:26 pm

Just to be clear I attended the AGM where this was discussed.

I was not in the room when the actual chess game was taking place, so I do not know.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Cheating in chess

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:37 pm

David Blower wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:26 pm
I was not in the room when the actual chess game was taking place, so I do not know.
I assume the alleged cheating was taking the form of consulting a device, rather than conversations with skilled third parties. You need an audit trail. How did the moves get transmitted to the device? How did the device analyse and make suggestions? How were the recommendations communicated back to the player?

Having an accomplice can make it surprisingly low tech. So the accomplice sees the position, analyses it somewhere private and communicates it back with some form of signalling code to indicate the key square or move.

David Blower
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Re: Cheating in chess

Post by David Blower » Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:37 pm

The WDCL has a rule that phones should be switched off, and if it goes off the player should be asked to switch it off and a warning is given. If it rings again the player will then lose the game.

All very well and good, until it is pointed out that actually I am on call for my company 24/7 (the paid job, because most lower level league players play chess as a hobby) and therefore my phone NEEDS to be on, even during chess matches. So I do not really believe that banning phones from bags, coats or the whole room is practical. In any case I could easily put my phone that needs to be on, on the table, and have another phone in my pocket anyway.

Sometimes I have been in the room where a phone has gone off, and I have never seen anyone claim the game. I would not like to win a game like that, although obviously if someone answered it and said "hello I am playing chess," and then started to give details about the game over the phone, then I probably would claim a win.

NickFaulks
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Re: Cheating in chess

Post by NickFaulks » Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:53 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:37 pm
I assume the alleged cheating was taking the form of consulting a device
I'm not assuming anything, and indeed it appears that David does not know. My point is that in any particular case, until some specific form of suspicious behaviour is described, there is nothing to discuss.

It is of course worth discussing ( and then publishing ) what is considered suspicious behaviour. There have been sharp disagreements about that on this forum.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Cheating in chess

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:53 pm

David Blower wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:37 pm

All very well and good, until it is pointed out that actually I am on call for my company 24/7 (the paid job, because most lower level league players play chess as a hobby) and therefore my phone NEEDS to be on, even during chess matches. So I do not really believe that banning phones from bags, coats or the whole room is practical. In any case I could easily put my phone that needs to be on, on the table, and have another phone in my pocket anyway.
If you have a phone that needs to be on, it should be in view of the opponent and remain in view for the whole game. If a League allows concealed phones, as most do, it should insist the phone is switched off and remain off for the whole game.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Cheating in chess

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:11 pm

NickFaulks wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:53 pm
I'm not assuming anything, and indeed it appears that David does not know. My point is that in any particular case, until some specific form of suspicious behaviour is described, there is nothing to discuss.
Leagues write rules about mobile phones, which are usually less rigorous than the FIDE version. Those of us who attend AGMs to discuss such matters need a context. Whilst consulting a stronger player or retiring to somewhere private for an engine consultation has always been a potential issue, it might have been supposed that no-one would bother to be "tooled up" for League play. In other words someone who couldn't really play o a decent standard would attempt to use a computer engine to demonstrate otherwise. I'm now not so confident in that. It's believable in a rating restricted tournament with an attractive prize fund.

Ian Thompson
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Re: Cheating in chess

Post by Ian Thompson » Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:29 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:11 pm
it might have been supposed that no-one would bother to be "tooled up" for League play. In other words someone who couldn't really play o a decent standard would attempt to use a computer engine to demonstrate otherwise. I'm now not so confident in that. It's believable in a rating restricted tournament with an attractive prize fund.
Two reasons why they might in a league:

1. To avoid arousing suspicion from playing much better in tournaments than they do in leagues.
2. To hone their skills in an environment where they're less likely to get caught.

NickFaulks
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Re: Cheating in chess

Post by NickFaulks » Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:54 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:11 pm
Leagues write rules about mobile phones
Yes, but they achieve nothing ( except reducing the number of times the wretched things go off and disturb everyone ) without some understanding of what should be done if they are breached, and how that breach can even be discovered. Otherwise, it's just a box ticking exercise.

It's a bit late to wonder whether anyone would bother to use a computer to cheat in a league match, since there has been at least one establihed case in London. If nothing else, cheaters need to hone their special skills by practice.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Cheating in chess

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Jan 20, 2020 12:31 am

NickFaulks wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:54 pm
It's a bit late to wonder whether anyone would bother to use a computer to cheat in a league match, since there has been at least one establihed case in London. If nothing else, cheaters need to hone their special skills by practice.
Would you be able to divulge details?

I recall a point being made a few years ago by a local official that amateur chess did rely to an extent on honesty and good behaviour. Being able to run matches without a neutral arbiter being an example. Do you think that's now broken?

David Blower
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Re: Cheating in chess

Post by David Blower » Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:16 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 12:31 am
NickFaulks wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:54 pm
It's a bit late to wonder whether anyone would bother to use a computer to cheat in a league match, since there has been at least one establihed case in London. If nothing else, cheaters need to hone their special skills by practice.


I recall a point being made a few years ago by a local official that amateur chess did rely to an extent on honesty and good behaviour. Being able to run matches without a neutral arbiter being an example. Do you think that's now broken?
No I would not say so.

However it does only take one bad apple.

Cheating is very rare but obviously is not good for the game/sport when it happens.

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: Cheating in chess

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Tue Jan 21, 2020 5:40 pm

NickFaulks wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:54 pm
It's a bit late to wonder whether anyone would bother to use a computer to cheat in a league match, since there has been at least one establihed case in London. If nothing else, cheaters need to hone their special skills by practice.
This week on twitter someone was explaining that they had to block someone who was using an engine to solve puzzles he was posting.

Can you imagine doing that? Following a random person on the Internet. Using a computer to get answers to puzzles they posted. Then presenting those answers as your own work. And then lying when you’re asked about why you proposed a given move.

And doing all that over and over again.


If some people are prepared to do that you can be sure some people will be bothered to cheat in league chess

Nick Grey
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Re: Cheating in chess

Post by Nick Grey » Tue Jan 21, 2020 11:10 pm

Nick F perhaps we ought to talk on Saturday as I know there is one recent case between our clubs. A player accessing smartphone in playing area on more than one occasion. We and ECF have lost a player that has not played a game since. That's over a game of league chess. I have no idea what your club player was doing? You were playing in that match and I was not.

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