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.