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Tournaments on chess.com are rife with cheats, it’s incredibly hard to do well in them.

Over time I’ve realised that by playing slowly, and hopefully detecting any cheats in my group, I can score points against the banned player where other players take a beating from a super-strength engine.

A bit underhand some of you may think, but I’m fed up with tournaments being ruined by cheats, why should I suffer too?

Anyway, there have been numerous cheat incidents that have helped me come to my decision. The allowance of chinchin120 to come back as Dexter_BCE, after he was caught cheating. He admitted he cheated, but still fought to clear his name. A curious position to hold. He said he used an app (but didn’t say which) that he thought was giving him opening moves, but it instead was giving him “super GM moves”. Remember, this guy was playing from an online rating of 2300+, he ought to know whether moves are opening moves or not.  His comments have been removed from the post made by Team Nigeria admin because of his account being closed. I think my comments in the Cheating Forum made my feelings clear on this.

His new account lasted just 3 weeks after he opened it.

So, what do we do about cheats? Report them, of course. For any of you who wanted to report someone for cheating, but didn’t know how to, go here

Save it to your bookmarks, you’ll probably need it again.

I have reported many cheats, some have been banned, some haven’t. Some just come back with a new username and start the process all over again. There was one guy using various subtly different variations of the username Frankenstein, he has been booted at least half a dozen times that I know of, and despite being reported yet again, is still here:-

Then there’s the case of akolb1, a member of a group called “Advanced Theoretical Discussion Group-Where Strong Players go to become Stronger”. For those of you who do not know, advanced chess (some call it “Centaur Chess”) is a form of chess where the players compete against each other, both using chess engines for assistance. I have nothing against advanced chess, but it is not compatible with the rules of chess.com

I reported him for cheating months ago, one of the most blatant I have seen. He has an online rating in excess of 2300, and an engine match up rate of 75.1%/89.6%/93.9%/96.4%/97.8%, for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th choice engine moves respectively. Those figures aren’t just made up from a few games, it is from a 50 game sample, with a total of 772 analysed moves. In those 50 games he managed to find no fewer than 13 #1 novelties, another sure sign of engine use. Just in case anyone questions my analysis, or fancies managing down the figures, be my guest.

The final straw for me, playing in the 22nd Chess.com tournament for 1801-2000 players, I qualified from round 1 with just 6 points from a possible 10, when only 1 player qualifies from each group. This is because I was on to a cheat in my group after he hammered everyone else in the group. I reported him and he was banned before my 2nd game had finished, so I was the only one who gained any points from him. There was also another cheat in my group who was banned, but I hadn’t seen that one coming.

So to round 2, I made a comment in the tournament comments page about the number of people in the tournament who had been booted for cheating. This guy replied with a comment that implied that I too could be cheating. I looked at a few of his games, and discovered that he too was hammering everyone else.  He started the tournament with a rating of 1868 and had been a member of chess.com since March 2012, so a sudden rating increase was not likely. Or so I thought. His stats will have changed a little by the time this is published, but at the time of making the report he was unbeaten in 52 games. I did analysis on his games to find an engine match-up rate of 59.5%/75.1%/82.8%/87.4%/90.4%. I reported him too for cheating, although his first choice moves aren’t particularly high, the rest of his figures are certainly up there. Both my games against him were still in progress, I got an advantage from the opening in both, but was now starting to feel the squeeze from a far superior player. If he got banned now, the 2 points gained from those games would take to the same score as the 2nd placed player, who had finished all his games, leaving me needing just a draw from 1 of my 2 remaining games where I also got a good advantage from the opening. I could qualify for round 3!

Two weeks later, a bit miffed that he hadn’t yet been banned I started to look a little deeper into his account, only to find that he has 2 accounts. I reported him again for having 2 accounts, he still wasn’t banned. Neither said at the time, but do say now that he is a Live Chess moderator. Digging a little deeper, I find that if he is who I think he is, he is an accomplished OTB player, but not a titled player, with a FIDE rating of 2372. If this is the case, why are chess.com allowing staff with a rating well in excess of the permitted rating range to play in such a tournament? But more to the point, him implying that I might be a cheat I find completely unacceptable.

I have copied the chat here before it is removed from the page, remember it is in reverse order:-

·         4 weeks ago · Edit · Delete

gambit-man  

I resent that statement.

I was talking about people who had been removed from the competition after they had been banned because of cheating. I was not making accusations of anyone who is left in the tournament

·         5 weeks ago

Omid  

Every player may cheat even a gambit-man, lol, so do not talk about cheating and just continue your games, every one can report a suspect cheater.

·         5 months ago · Edit · Delete

gambit-man  

Now up to 24 banned for cheating, including Mammad_master. Did he find out who the TD was before he got banned? LOL

These chess.com tourneys sure do bring out the worst in the cheats, think this'll be my last one

·         6 months ago · Edit · Delete

gambit-man  

and 16 banned for cheating so far! Fortunately for me, one of this won my group, so i think my 2nd place might qualify me too

 

 

Chess.com’s policy on cheats and cheating is bad enough, but if staff are making defamatory statements like this, I cannot continue playing here.

King_nothing1 got it right when he posted his Adios forum topic, then closed his account. I said then that I didn’t think I’ll be far behind him. And I won’t. As soon as I’ve finished all my commitments, I will be leaving. It seems even staff no longer play in the spirit of the game.

I apologise to all my friends and all my colleagues at Badgers Brook Chess Club, we use the site as a place to discuss upcoming and completed OTB matches, as well as posting some of our games.

I also apologise to Team Scotland, who made me a group admin a few months ago, and then, after I had made my decision to leave, a super admin. With hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have accepted the super admin post, but I wasn’t yet ready to tell anyone of me leaving. I apologise once again to Team Scotland for this.

 

I had considered staying on as an admin without playing, but I wouldn’t be able to fulfil my duties without paying a premium membership. And I don’t feel I can fund an organisation which makes defamatory comments towards me.

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