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There have been a few posts lately that have come up about cheating and I want to set the record straight and give the official Chess.com position on the topic. Hopefully we can put this issue away and focus on what really matters - playing and enjoying chess without the paranoia of cheating.
What is are the rules about cheating?
You can NEVER use chess programs (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. You cannot receive ANY outside assistance on Live Chess games.
In the future we may create a designation for people who want to play computer-assisted chess (called Advanced Chess, Centaur Chess, etc), but we currently do not.
How often do people cheat? How many people are cheating?
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 (I would say less than 0.1%) 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 200-300 players on the site in that category and out of those we feel that the vast majority are playing legitimate chess without computer help.
How does Chess.com detect cheating?
We won't disclose our exact methods for catching cheaters (to prevent cheaters from adapting their methods), but it involves cutting-edge technology and human judgement.
How often does Chess.com catch cheaters?
We don't make huge public statements about catching cheaters, but we close many accounts each week for cheating, including accounts for Premium Members who are cheating. We are constantly going through our top players and submitting them to our cheat detection process. When we find a cheater we close their account permanently and put a notice on their homepage. We only close accounts when we are absolutely sure of cheating.
How do I report someone I think is cheating?
If you are suspicious about somebody cheating, please use the Report Abuse link and include all relevant information. We investigate all reports.
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 doesn'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!
(PS - If you have any questions or comments on the topic please Contact us!)