Confessions of a Computer Cheat

Feb 16, 2014, 2:57 AM |

There seems to be a reasonable level of interest in why someone would cheat at internet chess using a computer. To hopefully throw some light on the subject and, perhaps in part, to atone for my sins I'll confess my cheating and shed some light on why I did it. I'd like to state for the record that I do have another (premium) account on but have never used a computer on this site; this tale relates to actions on another internet chess site. For obvious reasons I'll still be keeping myself anonymous.

So, why did I start using a computer? Well, I think it started with the constant pain of getting into winning positions and then losing through a stupid blunder - something I tended to do a lot when I was around 1300 level. I first started using a computer as a sanity check on my moves to avoid such blunders, not relying on the computer for moves but just making sure its evaluation didn't suddenly jump from +1 to -5 on a move.

Naturally, doing that in tricky positions meant I won a lot more games, but it's the start of a slipperly slope. Once I started doing that I quickly became lazy - why spend ages looking at the board and finding a good move when a quick check on the computer would tell me if the moves I was looking at were good? Not surprisingly my ability to find good moves by myself was suffering and my actual chess ability was going down rather than up thanks to increasing reliance on a computer. All this meant my enthusiasm for the game was suffering too and I couldn't be bothered a lot of the time to think of moves at all and started just using whatever the computer suggested.

Of course, that sort of play isn't much fun - basically I had ended up as an unpaid data entry clerk. It wasn't that long before I got bored with chess altogether and gave up. It was a number of years before I started playing again and this time round I vowed not to use a computer at all, and I enjoy the game a lot more for it. Of course, I did and still do lose a lot of games through stupid blunders, but I'm learning to treasure them as learning experiences, and my playing strength has increased considerably.

I'm sure a combination of laziness and loss avoidence is not the only reason people cheat with computers and there are other causes, but this is my story. Of course, I feel ashamed that I cheated in this way and sorry to those who I cheated out of the games they should have had. I hope posting this might deter others who would rely on computers because at the end of the day the one who suffers most is yourself as your playing ability declines and any love of the game is soured.