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Chess.com FAQs and Discussion on Cheating


  • 6 years ago · #1

    erik

    Cheating in chess is an issue that Chess.com takes seriously. That said, it has minimal impact on the site and shouldn't be a concern for 99.9% of players. Unfortunately, there is much more paranoia about the topic than it actually deserves. In an effort to give more transparency to our anti-cheating measures, but to also curb the negative effects of continuously discussing cheating, we are instituting 2 new policies:

    #1 - Keep cheating discussions limited to this one thread - We have posted FAQs below that should address most questions on the topic. We also provide tools to report cheating to our staff. But having several constant and redundant threads on the topic that circulate with the same questions and comments over and over again isn't helpful, and instead causes people to worry more than they need to. If you want to discuss cheating, please do it in this thread (or via private messages).

    #2 - We are now going to post the names of players caught cheating. We are doing this for two reasons: transparency and social shame. We want you to know that we are constantly working to keep chess clean. And for those who cheat, we want everyone to know that you were a trying to ruin chess for others on the site. See this post for the continuously updated list of cheaters -> http://www.chess.com/forum/view/community/chesscom---list-of-caught-cheaters .

    Below are the main questions and answers we get about cheating.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    What is are the rules about cheating?
    You can NEVER use chess programs or engines (Chessmaster, Fritz, etc) to analyze current ongoing games unless specifically permitted (such as a computer tournament, agreed upon unrated game, etc). The only type of computer assistance allowed is games databases for opening lines in Turn-based Correspondence-style Chess and Vote Chess, Chess.com Opening Explorer, chess books, and an analysis board. You cannot use ANY outside assistance on Live Chess games.Fixing games results (through intentional loss or multiple accounts) is also cheating.

    How do I report someone I think is cheating?
    If you are suspicious about somebody cheating, please use the Report Abuse link found at the bottom of any Chess.com page and include all relevant info (name, reason for suspicion, etc). We investigate all reports and keep them confidential. Do not discuss possible cheaters in the forums - just submit their names to Chess.com for analysis.

    How does Chess.com detect cheating?
    One part of our analysis involves comparing human moves to computer moves and looking at statistical significance. The other parts are not public knowledge. We will never disclose our exact methods for catching cheaters (to prevent cheaters from adapting their methods), but it involves both cutting-edge technology and human judgment.

    How often does Chess.com catch cheaters?
    In the past we did not make huge public statements about catching cheaters even though we close many accounts for cheating. Now we are going to start listing cheaters that we catch in this forum. See the next post for a list of known cheaters. We close many accounts each week for cheating, including accounts for paying Premium Members who are cheating. We are constantly going through our top players and submitting them to our cheat detection process. Still, very few people cheat. Most people are good people here to enjoy the game. If you are playing people rated under 2200 it is extremely unlikely that you are playing someone who is cheating - if they were they would be rated much higher. If you are playing someone higher rated then the chances are slightly higher, but there are only a few hundred players on the site in that category and out of those we know that the vast majority are playing legitimate chess without computer help.

    What happens to a player who is found to be cheating on Chess.com?
    We close the account and add a cheater icon that will appear next to their name. We also post an explanatory notice is posted on their homepage. Finally, we add them to the list in this forum. Any pending games of cheaters will eventually timeout and result in a loss. But we cannot roll back results of games or tournaments, nor do we restore ratings. Ratings are not cumulative, they are a reflection of chess ability, so losing a few points to a cheater does not impact your rating whatsoever in the long-term. Don't worry - just keep on playing!

    How long does someone cheat before chess.com finds out?
    It depends. But unfortunately it generally takes a little time to build up history to be submitted to the detection process.

    What should I do if my opponent accuses me of cheating?
    If your opponent accuses you then you can just disable chat and continue your game with a clear conscience (assuming you are not cheating!). Don't worry about accusations, just play your game. If you want you can add them to your blocked player list so they cannot contact you again.

    If I reported someone for cheating, why hasn't their account been closed?
    We appreciate you reporting the suspected cheating, but ultimately we will decide on if they were cheating or not. If we have not closed their account then the evidence was not conclusive.

    You closed the account of someone I know - I'm sure they weren't cheating!
    Sorry that you are upset. Unfortunately, people do cheat - sometimes even really nice people. Again, we only close accounts when we are absolutely certain, not because of suspicion.

    Can someone appeal if their account is closed?
    Sure, we're happy to listen to anyone. But it's generally the same old story: "I didn't cheat! Prove it to me!!" to which we respond: "You did. But we can't tell you exactly how we know, but we know." Generally cheaters who are caught make threats because they are embarrassed and upset they were caught. But we don't mind - we're here to protect players, not cheaters.

    Why do people cheat?
    It's not our specialty to psychoanalyze people and their reasons for cheating, but people like to win, want to feel important, and occasionally disregard the thoughts and feelings of others. Cheaters aren't necessarily horrible people - maybe just someone with low self-esteem who doesn't think that winning a game unfairly is a big deal (even though it is to the person being cheated).

    What does Chess.com think about cheating?
    We think cheating is a terrible disease in online chess in general (on all sites). We have a very strict no-cheating policy and we enforce it with maximum effect whenever we are confident we have found cheating. We feel that we are extremely effective in identifying and dealing with most cheaters.

    What do we recommend that you do/think about cheating?
    Forget about it! We are here to worry about the issue for you so that you can focus on enjoying chess. If you are under 2200 then you should never even think about it - it shouldn't affect you. If you are a top player then you should know that we are constantly checking top players, always getting better at detection, are always responsive to your reports, and are closing accounts daily. In general, life is too short to worry about what a very small number of people are doing. There are bad people in all areas of life and that shouldn't stop you from enjoying life. We are here deal with them so you don't have to.

    The main point is,

    Get out there and enjoy your chess!  

    If you have any questions or comments please contact us!

  • 6 years ago · #2

    erik

    we've opened up the topic for discussion here. but please, do NOT accuse people publicly. and please read the FAQs before you post so you don't look silly. :)

  • 6 years ago · #3

    Koming_Soon

    This is great news!

    Slightly worrying that 0.1% of the membership are cheating of course, so that's like around 550 ? And that its extremely likely that they're all rated 2200 or above, so that's like all of the players rated 2200 and above and then some!

    OK, so your methods are super-secret, but are they any more reliable than the simple statistics you give here and my human judgement of them ?

    ;-)

  • 6 years ago · #4

    Baseballfan

    Koming_Soon wrote:

    This is great news!

    Slightly worrying that 0.1% of the membership are cheating of course, so that's like around 550 ? And that its extremely likely that they're all rated 2200 or above, so that's like all of the players rated 2200 and above and then some!

    OK, so your methods are super-secret, but are they any more reliable than the simple statistics you give here and my human judgement of them ?

    ;-)


    Yes, I promise you that they are much more reliable than that. :-)

  • 6 years ago · #5

    Jasn

    rybka3 and deeprybka3 were using computers? I'm shocked, shockedTongue out

    Note to cheaters: it's stupid to try. It's stupider still to name your account after a frigging chess engine!

  • 6 years ago · #6

    RC_Woods

    The only thing that would bother me is an unjust accusation. What if Capablanca or Kramnik would come play on Chess.com (they are notorious for their computer-like accuracy) - would they get kicked for cheating?

    If so I should watch out that I do not improve too much :P.

  • 6 years ago · #7

    likesforests

    RC_Woods> What if Capablanca or Kramnik would come play on Chess.com...

    Capablanca is dead. If someone claiming to be Kramnik (or another master) came to this site, Erik would ask to see his credentials as he typically already does.

    Alas, we're too old to ever get strong enough to compete with Kramnik. Tongue out

  • 6 years ago · #8

    richie_and_oprah

    0.1% is very low. 

    If it really was this low it would not really be an issue as one would encounter a "cheater" only 1 game out of every 1,000.  There would be no reason to do anything to squelch the problem, as the problem is basically statiscally insignificant, certainly as far as ratings are concerened.  It might still be a "PR" issue, but even that is making a problem out of one that does not really exist.

    I fear reality is far different than most here have been arguing, with exception of user Costelus, who has presented a most reasonable explanation (in another thread re: Comouter analysis) to support the hypothesis he suggested. Even conservative use of Occam's razor lends one to logically conclude there must some real issue here, underneath it all.

    I am not into "reporting" people, nor am I into having someone else deal with "bad people" for me so I "don't have to." 

    There are several reasons why I think along these lines:

    1. Cheating makes someone a cheater, not a "bad person" that I need to avoid.

    2. There is a deep irony here, but I leave it to those reading this to find it for themselves.

    3. I think culturally, different people have different perspectives on just exactly what "cheating" is.  Some people, form some cultures, do not even view engine us as Cheating.  I am hesitant to call them "bad people", but also hesitant to play them a game of chess!  So it's a rather complex issue, really.

    4. I have lost games to people that are 600 points below me and afterward engine analysis showed they played better than Capablanca.  What does this mean?  I do not know.  I do not think it means they "cheated", but it could very well be part of the evidence that they did!  Why do I need concern myself with this and report everyone that I then "suspect?"   I would then begin to suspect everyone all the time, if I lose to them and they are lower rated.  It is a slippery slope argument, and a fallacious one at that really, but that is how I am, and I suspect some other human beings may be as well.

    5. I play some people here that do not know that I know them in the real world where they are, well let's just say, significantly less strong than myself, and can never beat me.  Here they play like masters, make no mistakes, and have ratings in the "expert" range.  I can barely manage to hold the game against them when we play online, despite the fact that otb I am alomost 900 point higher than they are.  I suspect this makes them feel good, so I let them have this little "bone". 

     

        When it comes to winning in real tournaments (in the real world where we can see each other), the efforts and results of engine users will be less than they had been hoping for and these people will never see any real improvement of their game or develop better understanding of it. 

    To me, that is punishment enough.

    For the site, I suggest just slapping a tag on them and letting them play anyway with all users knowing that they are suspected engine users. 

    Why lose the revenue?

     

    Sincerely,

    ~ richie_and_oprah

  • 6 years ago · #9

    Baseballfan

    RC_Woods wrote:

    The only thing that would bother me is an unjust accusation. What if Capablanca or Kramnik would come play on Chess.com (they are notorious for their computer-like accuracy) - would they get kicked for cheating?

    If so I should watch out that I do not improve too much :P.


    They would not, unless they were cheating. :-) 

  • 6 years ago · #10

    Loomis

    richie_and_oprah wrote:

    0.1% is very low. 

    If it really was this low it would not really be an issue as one would encounter a "cheater" only 1 game out of every 1,000.


    You would only encounter a cheater 1 in 1000 games if you played against all players at random. But good players play more often against higher rated opponents and cheaters tend to be higher rated. So, good players face cheaters at a much higher rate.

  • 6 years ago · #11

    TonicoTinoco

    If someone have a way of bringing Capablanca to play on this site, please let me know! I'd love to see that! Cool 

  • 6 years ago · #12

    broze

    If I found out the person I had played had been cheating I would honestly not give a hoot!  Both their and my ratings would still be accurate and the only person that loses out is them having not gained the experience from the match that I had.

  • 6 years ago · #13

    richie_and_oprah

    Loomis wrote:
    richie_and_oprah wrote:

    0.1% is very low. 

    If it really was this low it would not really be an issue as one would encounter a "cheater" only 1 game out of every 1,000.


    You would only encounter a cheater 1 in 1000 games if you played against all players at random. But good players play more often against higher rated opponents and cheaters tend to be higher rated. So, good players face cheaters at a much higher rate.


    I concur on one facet but not on another!

    I feel it's actually been closer to 12% for me.

     

    But again, I hesitate to use the term "cheater" and prefer to use the more lugubrious:  "Engine Assisted Chess Playing Human Interface."  Smile

  • 6 years ago · #14

    ADK

    It's kind of ironic how "Account_Closed" got his account closed!

    ADK

  • 6 years ago · #15

    bondiggity


    RC_Woods wrote:

    The only thing that would bother me is an unjust accusation. What if Capablanca or Kramnik would come play on Chess.com (they are notorious for their computer-like accuracy) - would they get kicked for cheating?

    If so I should watch out that I do not improve too much :P.


    All the world champions had only a engine correlation between 50 - 60%. I'm sure chess.com uses a much higher threshold engine correlation percent than this (for obvious reasons such as it isn't that hard to play a near perfect game when your opponent plays terribly)  And across multiple games. If you are not cheating, you have nothing to fear. 

  • 6 years ago · #16

    likesforests

    richie_and_oprah> But again, I hesitate to use the term "cheater" and prefer to use the more lugubrious:  "Engine Assisted Chess Playing Human Interface."

    Since one agrees to the chess.com sites rules upon signing up, any "Engine Assisted Chess Playing Human Interface" playing a rated game here is by definition cheating and usually also lying, although I agree they may otherwise be nice people.

    But I like the name! The next time I suspect someone... I should say, the first time I encounter someone I suspect here... I'm going to yell "Eacphi!!!" at them. Tongue out

  • 6 years ago · #17

    invaderX17

    I heard when you cheat your account gets closed, but it is kept visible.

  • 6 years ago · #18

    uneeb123

    I know a couple of players and I am damn sure they are cheating. the problem is they are below 2200. they dont cheat all the time. its understandable: too much a hassle.

  • 6 years ago · #19

    TheGrobe

    Just an FYI that there is something malformed in Erik's second post in this topic that is preventing the first page from being properly rendered in IE:

    http://www.chess.com/forum/view/help-support/cant-view-cheating-faq-thread

    (I had to wait until the comments rolled onto the second page to even post here).  If that post can be edited to correct the problem it should unlock the first page for IE users.

  • 6 years ago · #20

    invaderX17

    Why did some members call their membername "cheater"? I'm getting suspicious


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