Beating the Unmateable Player: cheater_1 Revisited

Beating the Unmateable Player: cheater_1 Revisited

May 31, 2010, 4:47 PM |

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Some of you older members may remember cheater_1, the biggest troll in history. November 25, 2007, cheater_1 tells his life story:

“Hello all. Not sure how I'll be treated here, but just thought I needed to spill my guts after over a decade of pulling the wool over many people's eyes, and why I did it. I'll detail my obsession with cheating at chess from its online infancy in the early to mid 90s, to cheating some real life GMs, to actually cheating at OTB tourneys and getting away with it. It all started in 1995................ When I first discovered online chess (maybe 1995?) I played for real. Cheating never entered my mind. I played legitimately for a few months until I started to lose on a regular basis. I then discovered a great chess site on Excite called Classic Games by TEN. It had nice graphics (for the time) and a handful of players. I had a chess game for the Gameboy called The Chessmaster that I played regularly and got the bright idea to see if I could switch back and forth from the internet to the Gameboy--waiting until the person made their move, inputting that into Gameboy, and then making that "perfect" move back on the internet. It was time consuming and required a great deal of dexterity, so I couldn't play quick games. But, seeing that internet chess was new and cheating was unheard of, cheating was never brought up. And so it went for months, me and my Chessmaster on Gameboy winning game after game. In fact, in the 1000s of games I played in the early days, I NEVER LOST ONCE. I felt like Bobby Fischer. I was addicted......... As the mid 90s wore on, I had dozens of screen names, and yes, I actually played FOR REAL using several names and got a quite decent rating. I have been playing REAL chess since a was 10.....I'm in my early 40s now. I belonged to the USCF and know how to play chess. I wanted to expand my experience. I love role playing and "adopted" several real-life GMs as who I was when playing online chess. In the early days, hundreds of people thought they were actually playing a real live GM when they played Gameboy Chessmaster. I actually BECAME them, learned about their personal lives, their professional lives, etc. Then I created the screen name cheater_1 and  decided to let the cat out of the bag. I was growing bored winning game after game so I let the general public know how to cheat and pad their scores. Cheater_1 (the nastiest, most vile player ever to play chess. I said many things which I now regret--sorry people out there) was atop the TEN leader board with a rating of 5000 and no one was close for the last year, but not for long. Almost overnight I (gameboy) began losing games. Months later I was losing more than I was winning and people had padded their scores (having many accounts and transferring points to the main one by resigning) way beyond mine. Cheating had taken hold. I smiled to myself. Intent on winning again, I set my sights on purchasing Chessmaster 6000........... As the 90s came to a close, I was thoroughly addicted to cheating at chess, as well as playing legit games. I had spent thousands on upgrading my computer and owned the most recent version of Chessmaster--but as you will see--even Chessmaster needed to be upgraded to compete with the rampant cheating. There are days where I would wake up before the sun rose, logged onto the internet, played hundreds of games (some legit, some not) and logged off as the sun rose on a new day. I even recruited friends to purposely lose to me in one minute games to prove that I was really a GM who didn't need to cheat to win. I was always one step  ahead of the competition, and probably didn't get mated more than 10 times in a 1000. But I turned my attention to One minute games to address that I was NOT phoney (I was). Working in the IT field, I know many computer savvy people who can write a program for just about anything (that's not my forte). I NEEDED an auto232 program that would play one minute chess games for you, moving the pieces for you as you sit and watched. The popular one minute autoprogram that is used today CHESSBUDDY was born from the early code that myself and my friends wrote back in the day. I created a new name MOCRATES and set about conquering the one minute arena. I did. In two years and tens of thousands of one minute games, I was never mated once. Oh I did lose many games due to glitches, but never a checkmate. My pride and joy was to masquerade as a GM on ICC (internet chess club) for nearly a year WITHOUT being labeled as a CHEAT. I beat some very prominent GMs. Gms are surprisingly weak at games under 10 minutes....just as Maurice Ashley....oops...i didn't say that. Next was my grand plan to cheat at an OTB game. I had some serious work to do.......................... Anyway, as the 20th century came to a close, I was quite an infamous person on POGO and Yahoo, but I was growing bored. I felt that I summited Everest. No one presented a challenge to my screen names, I padded one name to 9999 before it got deleted (REDPANDA),and I was thinking of calling it quits. I had kept detailed records of the hundreds of screen names and their respective personalities, records, etc. I had amassed over 150,000 games with fewer than 400 losses. I had the latest dual processor comp, a recoded Chessmaster for one minute auto games, Junior, Fritz, HIARCS, Rebel Tiger--I had it all. But I had no life. I had thousands of enemies who swore they would hunt me down and kill me. I actually set up meetings to meet these people in public places, but I'm still here. And I made dozens of close internet friends who played prog vs. prog into the wee hours of the night with me, tweaking and tuning them. I miss them. But now it was time to retire. cheater_1 would go out with a BANG...........Well, there is NO point whatsoever to this story. NO moral. Nothing. I have no real reason as to why I'm wasting my time telling this,other than it's better than sitting on a chess site for 6 hours cheating. Consider it a memoir of an egotistical and arrogant  midwestern USA man who was never as good as he wanted to be at chess--and found that he COULD be if he went to the dark side. Story continues.....I announced to my online chess comrades that the day before Christmas in 2003 I was going to have a Farewell match with who was then regarded as POGO's best player, a certified real life GM who shall remain nameless. I thought I of course was POGO's best player, but it didn't matter, I was also the man behind the certified real life GM. I WAS BOTH PLAYERS. I hijacked a real life USCF GM's persona and knew all there was to know that was publically available about him. People bought it. I hyped this Farewell match months before it happened (by the way, I also crave attention). On Xmas Eve of '03 I had my cheater_1 account using Internet Explorer and my "GM" account using Netscape Navigator at a table in clockwork orange. What the dopes on POGO thought was that they were going to see a real Man vs. Machine match. I also had a move list of a 1997 New York City match between Deep Blue and Kasparov. Deep Blue forced Kasparov to resign in humiliating fashion after 45 moves. Old Blue would later determine it was a draw game, crushing Kasparov's ego all the more. With a packed house of 100 people watching me put on this one man show, I played it to perfection. Cheater_1 trash talked the GM mercilessly and made moves fairly quickly. When it was the GM's turn, I went and made a sandwich to give the illusion of the GM thoughtfully considering his move. I drew it out for a few hours to make it look good and actually got a lot of work done around the house. Ah the gullible pinheads. After the GM resigned and paid his respects and left, one of the 100 spectators actually called the game for what it was. Someone in the crowd ACTUALLY knew this was a Kasparov vs. Deep Blue game based on those 45 moves. I was BLOWN AWAY! There are people out there online that really, truly are students of the game and not just 15 year old punks playing instead of doing homeowork. I of course denied that this was a replay of ANY game and denounced him and called him some horrible name or another. At that point I said my goodbyes and dropped out of online chess completely--only playing a handful of games since. I still loved chess and loved a good scam so the persona of cheater_1 still lived. I was at the time nearing completion of my OTB cheating scam which had proved nearly flawless in tests. It involved a van, a laptop with Fritz, a wireless camera, and a wireless earpiece..................... Well, there you have it, a decade in the life of a chess cheater. All true. You know, I've come to the conclusion that the reason people hate me is because they are jealous. Really. It's natural to have disdain for someone who always beats you at golf, or always gets the good looking guy because she has implants or is genetically superior. Doesn't matter how that person got to be better, whether it be cheating or luck or plastic surgery, we all have a deep seated jealousy for those better than ourselves. Remember, hypocrites, we're talking bout the internet. The internet is ONE BIG SCAM. Everyone on a dating site is 36-24-36 size 3. All the pop ups that say you are the one millionth visitor and won a 56" lcd tv are 100% TRUE. Everyone playing chess is a USCF Master. Everyone in a chat room is NOT a BOT and no one ever tries to direct you to their paysite. WAKE UP YOU FREAKS!!!!  I'm sure you all guessed that I'm a frustrated chessplayer who never got to be as good as he wished. And this is the perfect medium to express my love/ hate affair with chess. I honestly derive great satisfaction knowing that I checkmated little 10 year old Johnny in 15 moves and sent him crying to his momma. It gets me aroused knowing that I cheated some 80 year old guy who has played chess all his life--probably master level--and he his having fits cuz he just got whooped by an 11 year old girl from Des Moines game after game. I'm sure there are people out there to this very day who think of at least one of my 100s of names with anger. I got pleasure from ruining their days. I ask you dopes, what the heck is wrong with escaping reality and pretending to be a GM and cheating others. Big deal. No one gets hurt--no blood is shed. Boo Hoo Hoo, you can't take it. Go cry to momma. You can't stand to lose.....and that is PRECISELY why I became a cheater. Trust me, you wouldn't hate me if I was an inept cheater and lost every game I cheated. You hate me because I took a shortcut, and with the click of a button I became the world's best chess player. Poof. If you imbeciles get angry cuz I mated you in 15 moves and you just lost 30 points and went from purple to orange, then it is YOU who are the pathetic waste of a chessplayer. If you play internet chess...EXPECT to get comes with the territory. And I take great pride in KNOWING THAT I MAY INDEED BE THE FIRST PERSON ON THE INTERNET TO EVER CHEAT AT CHESS and may be personally responsible for the rampant spread of program use and ruining the ENTIRE ONLINE CHESS EXPERIENCE. Live with it. My work is done.”

cheater_1 got more and more attention and he thought he was Kasparov. He demanded that he get to play in a vote chess game: “Have you FLAMERS ever heard of a correspondence chess match called Kasparov vs. the world? 

  I participated in this match nearly a decade ago. People all over the world submitted what they thought was the best 1st move in a chess game, and the one with the most popular votes was actually made. Mr. Kasparov then made his response. The world then voted on the second move, the most popular getting made. Garry then made a move responding to that. Etc., etc., etc. It was one of the most intriguing chess concepts I have ever participated in. Garry beat the world, of course, even with my Chessmaster thinking about the best moves for HOURS made no difference.

I WISH it could be arranged whereby I would use my SECRET UNMATEABLE program on a high end supercomputer to take on all you wannabes. I'd start out with a move and you'd all get to vote on your 1st move and the most popular one would be made. Just as Garry beat the world, I'd wager some cash that I could singlehandedly CHECKMATE the ENTIRE pool of users. The logistics of organizing a stunt like this would prohibit it from ever occurring, but I'd make a serious wager that I'd win.”

Erik relented and the vote chess game was created. There were no rules, any help was allowed. Of course cheater_1 had a really powerful computer and was running it 24/7. had several engines to aid it and also some anti-computer strategists. The result was the game of the century...(ok slight exaggeration I admit it)

Well, the self proclaimed chess god lost so had to come up with a pathetic excuse:

“This is gonna be a long one. I know that no one here trusts a word I say, so I know all this typing I do will be dismissed by you all with comments like, "BS" or "its all lies", etc. You know me, I dont care about anything, and actually like the confrontation, so believe me or not, I care not. What follows is the truth.

I have been called out by the team leader, WEBGOGS, to reveal myself (like I'm someone important). I feel I owe it to you all, and your captain, to at least let you into what this was all about. Oddly enough, my defeat speech is pretty darn close to what my victory speech was going to be. Oh, I was going to gloat for weeks upon weeks, so I expect you to all do the same, but I was also going to let you all in on something. It would have been much sweeter if I would have won, but it makes no difference now. This will be like taking the mask off Darth Vader and seeing nothing but a pathetic man underneath. It will be a letdown and anti-climactic for a lot of you.

This was an experiment. I'm sorry to say that you all were my guinea pigs, but it was a 2 part experiment. Part 1 was an experiment in control and manipulation and acting. Part 2 was an experiment in technology. You may ask why I chose do even do all this...well......boredom is a good answer.

EXPERIMENT #1 Most of what I have said about myself earlier is true. I am a man in my early 40's from Wisconsin, USA. I have been playing chess for over 30 years. I am truly and utterly bored with it, much as the late Bobby Fischer had become. I hit a ceiling of about 1900 USCF. I have played in USCF tourneys, but no longer do. In the late 80's I became frustrated with my lack of progress and got sort of a bad-boy reputation in the local chess scene. I gave up chess for 5 years or so, and with the advent of internet chess, got back into it. I played legit for a short while, and started getting hammered routinely. I then got the bright idea to use my gameboy chessmaster to play a game for me, then graduated to CM5000, etc. etc. I found it entertaining to assume the A**hole personality instead of the nice guy personality. Much more attention is paid to the jerk than the good guy.

Once I discovered this site, I ressurected my cheater_1 personality, put back on the costume, and decided to see how far I could take it before something happened. This persona is actually an extension of my real life personality. I really am not a nice guy. Other than my close friends (2 or 3) and my family, I really wouldnt care if everyone got cancer and died tomorrow. Harsh, I know, but that's who I am. I am a misanthrope..I hate people. I really enjoy ticking people off, getting under their skin and seeing if I can get them to do things that they normally wouldnt do. I brought out the worst in a lot of people here. An acquaintance of mine once told me I could get the Pope to take the Lord's name in vain in about 5 minutes. Other's told me I should get a radio talk show.

I am fascinated by characters like Hannibal Lector and Anthony Hopkins who played him. The evil genius who manilpulates people to his own ways. Combine all that with chess, and you get cheater_1. But, as you have seen, as you have demonstrated, good always triumphs over evil in the end.

EXPERIMENT #2 This is the most important of my experiments. Technology. I lied to you all (surprise!) You were not playing Chessmaster and Fritz and Rebel Tiger. Raise your hands if you all believed you were. 93% eh? Good. Well, as I said earlier, I work in the Information Technology field. I absolutely love chess programs...more so than the game of chess. I remember playing Sargon vs some other generic chess program in the early 80's and got hooked on chess programs. A few of my coworkers also love chess and computers and we decided to write a chess program of our own. Over the last 5 years or so, we continually reworked and retested our engine in order to make it better. The program that you played, and beat, was called Cannibal 36.

 Cannibal 36 is the 36th version of a program that we built. Now there is a need for version 37 it seems. Oh, I could have just loaded Rybka 2.3 and played you all, but I had other reasons. Priority 1 was to test my chess program and priority 2 was to win. I'm not downplaying my loss.....I'm mad as Hell!! I wanted to test my program against a wide array of people and would say whatever it took to do so. That's why I got upset when only several people decided on the move to be made and the rest of you followed mindlessly.

Cannibal 36 is my little pet project spanning many years and is not available as freeware or shareware, etc. The name originated because It was constructed by cannibalizing many different program codes (it is not built from scratch) and it likes to eat material. It is a monsterous program consisting of 4 cd's of info.....mostly databases. The engine is part Fruit, part Hiarcs, part Fritz, part Chessmaster, and part Rebel.

In our little vote chess game, I basically played the Fritz opening book with Millions upon millions of learned saved games. That's why I went up a pawn so early..the book is set up to sacrifice position for material. For the record, Cannibal 36 has beaten every single program out there at least once. Yes, it has beaten Rybka 2.3 and it has beaten Deep Fritz and the highest ranking USCF player it has ever beaten was rated over 2500. It's problem is that it is not consistent. In 10 games with those powerhouses, it might win 3, lose 5, and draw 2. I was banking on it beating handily. The engine is a modified version of Fruit 2.3.1 with the aggressive, material gobbling traits of Rebel thrown in. Basically, it does a brute force deep search, disregarding many moves and frequently hitting ply 25 quite easily. That's the "selectivity" function you see on many programs. I was hoping it would make it a little farther to take advantage of the huge endgame databases, but it was not to be.

Let's talk about move 35 Bxh3. Once it made that move, I gasped. An average player can see the consequences of move 36 G4, trapping the bishop. I never once second guessed my program but I did now. I adjusted a few settings and let it rethink for a few hours....35 BxH3 again. For the one and only time, I booted up Rybka and Fritz to get a second opinion. 35 Kh6 is what I got on both. I debated for a long time on this but decided to let my program play it out, hoping that it saw some miraculous line that neither me nor the other progs saw. It didn't. It was a blunder, pure and simple. A pure garbage move.

Indeed, I now fully acknowledge that this game was lost for me after move 35. I played it out with Rybka as black and my prog as white and vice versa and black lost far more times than even ERIK suggested.

This is an ongoing process for me. I have no hopes of ever creating the next Rybka, but it is a fun pasttime for me...far more fun than straining my brain for 4 hours over the board. Please dont ask me to help you write a chess program or give you advice. It really isnt that hard, but it requires some computer knowledge. I even took the easy way out on that part by cannibalizing existing programs. Do a google search on "free uci engines" or go to and you'll see an entire world exists out there devoted to chess engines and programming and prog vs prog play.

Sometime in the coming months Cannibal 37 will be complete. Perhaps we can have another game team But now you know where I stand. Maybe all the allure of who I am is now gone. Once again, I don't care. But I hope to elevate my 30% win ratio with Rybka to at least 40% with the 37th version.

Thanks to for letting me play this game, even though I carefully plotted and schemed to get it to happen. Thanks to all the guinea pigs who played. You played well.”