ECF Fair Play Policy

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
John Swain
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Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2010 10:35 pm
Location: Nottingham

ECF Fair Play Policy

Post by John Swain » Sat May 23, 2020 11:52 pm

I was hoping and expecting to peruse the new ECF Fair Play Policy, which was due to be published today, according to the Ts and Cs of The English Youth Online Championship:

"The English Chess Federation’s Fair Play Policy, due to be published on 23rd May, will apply to this event; and it is a condition of entry that entrants agree to be bound by it."

This is taken from:
https://englishchessonline.org.uk/wp-co ... nships.pdf

Perhaps I'm not looking in the correct place on the website? I did check the documents section, where the anti-cheating policy is to be found, as well as more prominent areas.

I presume that this Fair Play Policy is intended to cover events open to all ages, rather than being junior-specific.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF Fair Play Policy

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun May 24, 2020 1:02 am

John Swain wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 11:52 pm
I presume that this Fair Play Policy is intended to cover events open to all ages, rather than being junior-specific.
There's the Chess Challenge version.
https://www.delanceyukschoolschesschall ... licy-2020/

I do not personally consider it acceptable to delegate decisions on to what constitutes evidence of "cheating" to lichess in view of their ban of a player in the 4NCL competition without published evidence to justify their accusation. But then in the absence of arbiter presence I don't consider online chess suitable for anything beyond casual Blitz or Bullet. If you aren't a television presenter, I don't see that you should need to set up a home video studio.

Paul Habershon
Posts: 163
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2010 5:51 pm

Re: ECF Fair Play Policy

Post by Paul Habershon » Sun May 24, 2020 10:09 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 1:02 am

in the absence of arbiter presence I don't consider online chess suitable for anything beyond casual Blitz or Bullet. If you aren't a television presenter, I don't see that you should need to set up a home video studio.
I absolutely agree with Roger's view of online chess. I have played over 28,000 games on ICC since 2001, almost exclusively 5-minute blitz. If the occasional opponent is cheating, it really doesn't matter to me, and what a boon this continues to be during lockdown.

However, I have declined all recent invitations to play in online teams. How can a winner, whether myself or my opponent, not fall under suspicion? I cannot see any way of foolproof detection without an arbiter physically present. Even if you could prove what is happening on the device in use, there is no guard against a second device in operation. The idea of every player setting up video surveillance is just too fanciful and no guarantee of non-assistance anyway.
.

Roger Lancaster
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Re: ECF Fair Play Policy

Post by Roger Lancaster » Sun May 24, 2020 10:14 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 1:02 am
John Swain wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 11:52 pm
I presume that this Fair Play Policy is intended to cover events open to all ages, rather than being junior-specific.
There's the Chess Challenge version.
https://www.delanceyukschoolschesschall ... licy-2020/

I do not personally consider it acceptable to delegate decisions on to what constitutes evidence of "cheating" to lichess in view of their ban of a player in the 4NCL competition without published evidence to justify their accusation. But then in the absence of arbiter presence I don't consider online chess suitable for anything beyond casual Blitz or Bullet. If you aren't a television presenter, I don't see that you should need to set up a home video studio.
It's hard to assess accurately but my strong impression is that there's a widespread lack of enthusiasm, among contributors to this forum, to the exclusion policies and practices followed by Lichess or, for that matter, Chess.com. If that lack of enthusiasm is shared by those responsible for the governance of English chess then it's not hard to see why they might have found it impossible to agree on a Fair Play Policy by 23 May.

David Sedgwick
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Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:56 pm
Location: Croydon

Re: ECF Fair Play Policy

Post by David Sedgwick » Sun May 24, 2020 10:58 am

John Swain wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 11:52 pm
I was hoping and expecting to peruse the new ECF Fair Play Policy, which was due to be published today, according to the Ts and Cs of The English Youth Online Championship:

"The English Chess Federation’s Fair Play Policy, due to be published on 23rd May, will apply to this event; and it is a condition of entry that entrants agree to be bound by it."

This is taken from:
https://englishchessonline.org.uk/wp-co ... nships.pdf

Perhaps I'm not looking in the correct place on the website? I did check the documents section, where the anti-cheating policy is to be found, as well as more prominent areas.

I presume that this Fair Play Policy is intended to cover events open to all ages, rather than being junior-specific.
Roger Lancaster wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 10:14 am
It's hard to assess accurately but my strong impression is that there's a widespread lack of enthusiasm, among contributors to this forum, to the exclusion policies and practices followed by Lichess or, for that matter, Chess.com. If that lack of enthusiasm is shared by those responsible for the governance of English chess then it's not hard to see why they might have found it impossible to agree on a Fair Play Policy by 23 May.
I understand that the ECF Board Meeting on Friday 22nd May did adopt a new Fair Play Policy, but that there has been a short delay in the drafting of the exact Regulations. These Regulations should still appear before entries close on Thursday 28th May for the English Youth Online Championship. They will also apply to the ECF Online Counties Championship, for which entries close on Sunday 31st May.

I appeal to members of this Forum not to be too harsh in their criticisms. This is a difficult and complex area in relation to which several people have been working extremely hard for the ECF in recent weeks. They are all volunteers and some of them are members of other Federations.

(Edited for the correction of a typo.)
Last edited by David Sedgwick on Mon May 25, 2020 12:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.

John Swain
Posts: 263
Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2010 10:35 pm
Location: Nottingham

Re: ECF Fair Play Policy

Post by John Swain » Sun May 24, 2020 11:12 am

Roger Lancaster wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 10:14 am
Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 1:02 am
John Swain wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 11:52 pm
I presume that this Fair Play Policy is intended to cover events open to all ages, rather than being junior-specific.
There's the Chess Challenge version.
https://www.delanceyukschoolschesschall ... licy-2020/

I do not personally consider it acceptable to delegate decisions on to what constitutes evidence of "cheating" to lichess in view of their ban of a player in the 4NCL competition without published evidence to justify their accusation. But then in the absence of arbiter presence I don't consider online chess suitable for anything beyond casual Blitz or Bullet. If you aren't a television presenter, I don't see that you should need to set up a home video studio.
It's hard to assess accurately but my strong impression is that there's a widespread lack of enthusiasm, among contributors to this forum, to the exclusion policies and practices followed by Lichess or, for that matter, Chess.com. If that lack of enthusiasm is shared by those responsible for the governance of English chess then it's not hard to see why they might have found it impossible to agree on a Fair Play Policy by 23 May.
There is a need for urgency since the closing date for entry to The English Youth Online Championship is fast approaching (Thursday 28 May at 9.00 p.m.)

The Fair Play Policy needs to be exactly that: Fair. I hope it is. Given the criticism about tournaments which pass the buck back to the platform if accusations of cheating are being challenged or which try to make a condition of entry that participants cannot appeal to any court, I can understand some of the difficulties in trying to agree a Fair Play Policy.

Free online Blitz and Bullet can be great fun and I've passed quite a bit of lockdown playing both (Bullet quite badly!) If I suspect someone cheats against me, I can always block them. But tournaments for ordinary players like me with entry fees and substantial prizes (and presumably in due course fees for the organisers and arbiters) and the risk of being unfairly branded as a cheat? No thanks!

David Sedgwick
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Location: Croydon

Re: ECF Fair Play Policy

Post by David Sedgwick » Sun May 24, 2020 11:19 am

John Swain wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 11:12 am
There is a need for urgency since the closing date for entry to The English Youth Online Championship is fast approaching (Thursday 28 May at 9.00 p.m.
I presume that your post crossed with mine above.

John Swain
Posts: 263
Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2010 10:35 pm
Location: Nottingham

Re: ECF Fair Play Policy

Post by John Swain » Sun May 24, 2020 11:24 am

David Sedgwick wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 11:19 am
John Swain wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 11:12 am
There is a need for urgency since the closing date for entry to The English Youth Online Championship is fast approaching (Thursday 28 May at 9.00 p.m.
I presume that your post crossed with mine above.
You are correct about the posts crossing; I didn't have the benefit of reading your comments.

Roger Lancaster
Posts: 934
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 2:44 pm

Re: ECF Fair Play Policy

Post by Roger Lancaster » Sun May 24, 2020 11:33 am

David Sedgwick wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 10:58 am
Roger Lancaster wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 10:14 am
It's hard to assess accurately but my strong impression is that there's a widespread lack of enthusiasm, among contributors to this forum, to the exclusion policies and practices followed by Lichess or, for that matter, Chess.com. If that lack of enthusiasm is shared by those responsible for the governance of English chess then it's not hard to see why they might have found it impossible to agree on a Fair Play Policy by 23 May.
I understand that the ECF Board Meeting on Friday 22nd May did adopt a new Fair Play Policy, but that there has been a short delay in the drafting of the exact Regulations. These Regulatioins should still appear before entries close on Thursday 28th May for the English Youth Online Championship. They will also apply to the ECF Online Counties Championship, for which entries close on Sunday 31st May.

I appeal to members of this Forum not to be too harsh in their criticisms. This is a difficult and complex area in relation to which several people have been working extremely hard for the ECF in recent weeks. They are all volunteers and some of them are members of other Federations.
Although I've been a consistent critic of the two platforms mentioned, the main thrust of my criticism has been over lack of transparency. I can see that organisations such as the 4NCL, ECF and indeed FIDE might have few realistic online alternatives but to work with these platforms and - taking the specific example of the ECF which David mentions - any criticism of mine there is much more restrained. I don't doubt that there are ECF members working hard, and I wish them every success, to try to resolve these issues and my comments are not aimed at them. But none of this alters the fact that there is a widespread belief, which may or may not ultimately proved to be well-founded, that some players are being unfairly branded as cheats.

Li Wu
Posts: 50
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 3:01 pm

Re: ECF Fair Play Policy

Post by Li Wu » Mon May 25, 2020 12:25 pm

Yes I don't envy ECF's position.

I don't envy lichess or chess.com either for deciding their policy on fair play.

David Sedgwick
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Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:56 pm
Location: Croydon

Re: ECF Fair Play Policy

Post by David Sedgwick » Tue May 26, 2020 11:31 pm

Deep in the recesses of the ECF website, I believe that I have found the new and eagerly awaited ECF Fair Play Policy.

https://englishchessonline.org.uk/wp-co ... v2_0-1.pdf

Edit: A revised version has been published at https://englishchessonline.org.uk/wp-co ... ACv2_1.pdf. There is now a link to this on the front page of the ECF website.
Last edited by David Sedgwick on Thu May 28, 2020 10:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 18516
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: ECF Fair Play Policy

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed May 27, 2020 12:39 am

David Sedgwick wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 11:31 pm
Deep in the recesses of the ECF website, I believe that I have found the new and eagerly awaited ECF Fair Play Policy.
If chess.com or lichess decide to ban a player, aren't the ECF just saying "nothing to do with us"?

Roger Lancaster
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Re: ECF Fair Play Policy

Post by Roger Lancaster » Wed May 27, 2020 12:43 am

I'm not so sure about that, David. Not only is it described as "Provisional" but it's undated which is uncharacteristic for the ECF which has a penchant for dating its documents. Anyhow, on a quick reading it doesn't seem as if this document grasps the nettle.

David Sedgwick
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Location: Croydon

Re: ECF Fair Play Policy

Post by David Sedgwick » Wed May 27, 2020 10:16 am

Roger Lancaster wrote:
Wed May 27, 2020 12:43 am
I'm not so sure about that, David. Not only is it described as "Provisional" but it's undated which is uncharacteristic for the ECF which has a penchant for dating its documents. Anyhow, on a quick reading it doesn't seem as if this document grasps the nettle.
I haven't yet had the chance to read the document, so I won't comment on the contents.

However, I have been able to confirm this morning that this is indeed the document originally scheduled for release on Saturday 23rd May.

This is "Provisional V2.0". "Provisional V1", which it replaced, was also undated. That document was published on Monday 8th May.

That both documents are provisional indicates that this is an ongoing process, something which I regard as welcome.

Meanwhile you and other Junior Organisers will have to decide whether or not you are prepared to enter teams in the English Youth Online Championships. The same applies to Counties considering entering teams in the English Online Counties Championships.

Roger Lancaster
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Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 2:44 pm

Re: ECF Fair Play Policy

Post by Roger Lancaster » Wed May 27, 2020 4:27 pm

I've personal experience of a junior who was determined by Lichess to be cheating, something he denies. Neither when making that decision, nor when dealing with the appeal, did Lichess indicate how, where or when the alleged cheating occurred. [I played through some 30 of his games, many of which included crass blunders, and could see no evidence of external assistance]. As a result, ECF barred/suspended him from J4NCL and 4NCL.

He had played only 4 games in ECF-recognised events, drawing one and losing the other three, so I pointed out that it was barely credible that any cheating had occurred there. Some carefully-worded emails followed, as a result of which I inferred that the ECF officer involved accepted that the alleged cheating had not [or, perhaps, had probably not] occurred in ECF-recognised events. Nevertheless, the player remained barred/suspended from J4NCL and 4NCL. I need hardly add that I, and he, were left no wiser by the ECF as to the how, where and when.

No offer of recourse, by way of appeal to the ECF, was offered and it appears that the option of an ECF appeal will apply only when the alleged occurrence[s] was in an ECF-recognised event. As this example suggests, it's not always clear whether that's the case. That's clearly unsatisfactory when the ECF can and does bar/suspend players as a result of something which, if it happened at all, took place in a event not recognised by the ECF.

I'll deal with the wider question of defects in the Lichess and Chess.com mechanisms in a separate post which it will take a little time to put together.

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