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Chess: The Game of Cheats?

[Blog History]

 

   Over the last few years, cheating in the chess world has grown exponentially. Like some monstrous “lifeform,” no one seems to know how to stop it. Can they? Will they?

  

   It came to the forefront during the 2010 Chess Olympiad when 3 french players were accused of cheating. For those who don’t know what resulted from that cheating scandal, this summary will fill you in.

 

   But the French are not the only ones with this problem. Since the 2010 scandal, cheating in chess has been popping up, in interviews, faster than Yankee Stadium popcorn. Articles have been written about cheating in Croatia, Italy, and even the famed Bundesliga was ripped by scandal. In the Dubai Open, won by Wesley So back in 2008, a player from Iran was accused of cheating when SMS messages were sent to his phone! And most people know about Kramnik’s Toiletgate incident. There was also political backlash from that one.

  

   Considering this alarming trend, what should be done?  Should security scanners be set up at all competitive chess matches to reveal the players’ cell phones, tablets and other gizmos in order to confiscate them? Should tournament rules state that no electronics of any kind are permitted in playing halls, with “forfeit” as a penalty? What can kill such a menacing “virus” that continues to spread throughout this classic game?

 

   Some effort needs to take shape; steps need to be set in motion—and soon! There are very big tournaments coming up this year and I’m sure none of us wants to see the integrity of the competitions besmirched by cheaters. Unfortunately, to these few, winning or gaining a few more Elo rating points are more important than ethics and the game will suffer for it, just as in any other sport.

 

   It’s no different here on Chess.com, which is why they have a program to detect cheaters. You may agree, it’s more noticeable than ever. Chess.com has done well in “removing” many of them, but it’s safe to presume there are more out there. What’s unfortunate is, if a good player on the site plays higher than his rating in a game, that player can get trolled by an opponent for cheating, ultimately having Chess.com check the accused member’s playing. Individuals often come out clean, but others don’t.

 

   Do these unscrupulous people believe cheating isn’t wrong? Do they not care if they’re booted from the site? Probably not, figuring they’ll go somewhere else and do it again for as long as they get away with it. It puts a real damper on playing LIVE or turn-based chess, simply because you never know who is doing what on the other end. You must hope your opponents are trustworthy. Chess.com takes the issue of cheating very seriously, so we know we’re in good hands. And on the “Master” front, until FIDE or other national organizations put a stop to cheating in chess, I guess I’ll continue to have plenty of fodder for my blogs, if nothing else.

 

   Thanks for reading everyone and, please, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the “cheating” pandemic! Just please keep your comments nice and respectful. Have a good night. Smile

 

   -Mark

Comments


  • 18 months ago

    Chess4001

    It's sad how people would cheat on internet chess. There is nothing to gain by making others frustrated and feeling unfair. 

  • 18 months ago

    bulletheadbilly

    Don't Let The Riff Raff Keep you Away from Doing your Good Journalism Work Mark. They Win and we all lose if you give in to them. Got to take the Good with the Bad, Cherish the Good, and send the Bad thru the Shredder Machine....

  • 18 months ago

    bulletheadbilly

    Nice Post, and Nice Forum Topic. Keep up the Good Work Mark....

  • 18 months ago

    davidmelbourne

    Good article, except for the reference to Kramnik. Was Topalov's unsubstantiated accusations a form of cheating?

  • 18 months ago

    TokyoCowboy

    People even cheat here on chess.com, where absolutely NOTHING is at stake and the majority of people are playing anonymously.  (Just how pathetic is that, by the way?  Does it really give them an ego boost to "win" when computer software is giving them the moves?  Sad, sad, sad.)  So I'm not at all surprised that it is occuring with some frequency in situations where wins and losses really do matter.

  • 18 months ago

    redbirdpat

    Here is an article on cheating in chess I posted in the forums a couple months ago.  Very interesting article.

    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8362701/the-evolution-cheating-chess

  • 18 months ago

    Frittles

    I wouldn't consider it an alarming trend. Mark referenced half a dozen instances in the last few years of potential cheating, and out of all the players and games played over the last few years, that's a very minute proportion. It's handled well on this site and that's what matters to me.  For over the board games at very high levels, the potential stain on their reputation is enough to keep most people honest, and it'll catch up with the rest, at which point bannings from future tournaments should be in order.

  • 18 months ago

    JHenriqueSilveira

    Nice article, with some effort I can understand a desperate unethical professional doing it but I can't understand why someone wants to cheat here in Chess.com. Where's the fun?  One must enjoy the game and get some fun improving his abilities. In Brazil  we call a guy  like this a "hollow head". Anyways, cheaters must be eliminated from the chess world like a plague they are.

  • 18 months ago

    pingo420

    There was once a suspicion of cheating against topalov in the air, and a few grandmasters expressed their suspicion in private, but nobody spoke in public because there was no concrete proof. 

  • 18 months ago

    diagonal

    It was informative to read the comments about this subject.

  • 18 months ago

    UncleKolaYams

    This is why I almost exclusively play 3 minute chess on this site--the speed of the game makes it impossible to cheat. Anything from 10 minutes up is a problem. On another site I played a long game with a fellow in the Czech Republic. He played a French immaculately and won. I chanced upon the same person in a random 3 minute game and he lost the same variation in 13 moves. How can this be? He has never lost a long game, many wins and some draws. Another guy here played a Petrov, achieved a winning position, and offered me a draw. Later I looked up his moves and they were identical to a game played by Shamkovich. This guy had also disabled his chat, probably to avoid accusations of cheating. I like correspondence chess where you are allowed to use reference books, but this computer cheating ruins the fun of playing on-line.   

  • 18 months ago

    XavierPadilla

    I feel sorry for cheaters because hey miss what is great about chess. I would not like to face them in tournaments with money prizes, but here on Chess.com, I do not care much if I lose a game to a computer or to a human being: I can still learn from it no matter who played the moves.

  • 18 months ago

    Prodiashvili

    im hate cheaters ,my last online games im lost because evrybody use cheat

  • 18 months ago

    magiking333

    I would never cheat at chess. Unless I was losing. If I can win on my own I would do so.

  • 18 months ago

    dokter_nee

    Good article (although also I don't think Kramnik should be mentionned there).

    I think no electric devices for players allowed to have with you while playing is really a good idea.  That, and a 20 minute delay of any live transmission of games, would really eliminate a huge amount of possibilities for cheaters. And these 2 rules actually seem very realistic as well. 

  • 18 months ago

    SonofPearl

    I think cheating at chess using computer assistance is still rare, but FIDE and national federations need to have firm rules and penalties to get it properly under control. it's the culture of suspicion that it engenders that could really harm the game.

  • 18 months ago

    anerom

    wat im saying is just a suspicion, What a coincidence that i had read 2011-2012 articles before about kramnik going to CR often times in that  year 2011-2012 tournament and when i saw in this blog that he has past accusations in going often to CR year 2006 kramnik-topalov match, my doubt/suspicion is somewhat supplemented...(bec twice now that i read him going to CR few times). But im not saying he definitely cheats bec of no evidence of course. It is just the doubts why it happened twice. Got it. 

  • 18 months ago

    ChessMarkstheSpot

       I personally am a big fan of Kramnik, depsite "allegations" of cheating. I merely mentioned "Toiletgate" because it was a huge "to-do" concerning him, Topalov and Danailov. I ever mentioned anything in depth about it, I am just re-aiming the reader to one instance of possible cheating that was never proven. It was and still is, hanging over Kramnik's head. I want to show the effects of it and how it affected him. I'm not executing Kramnik at all, just pointing something out that I believe fits in this entry. It's something that happened in chess, involved a big name player, and deserves to be mentioned here, whether true or not. That's what opinions and blogs are all about.

       -Mark

  • 18 months ago

    Shodogger

    No electronic devises should be allowed. Cheaters and thieves suck period. They're losers and that that.

  • 18 months ago

    anerom

    Good topic indeed. There was a standard tournament around 2011-2012 (i forgot the specific date) where Kramnik went to the CR few times and yet his time is less than 10 minutes to his clock (considering its a long game). I was suspicious about it but just let go, but when i read your blog that he was involved in a cheating scandal 2006 ago (same going to the CR), then, i would say my suspicion is about 60% confirmed.

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