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suzyfromflorida 198 ( +1 | -1 )
New Cheating Scandal New Cheating Scandal
By Dylan Loeb McClain


Chess Vibes, an Internet chess news Web site, has reported that a player in the Dutch chess league has been banned from playing until the end of the 2009-10 season for using PocketFritz, a hand-held version of the popular computer program Fritz, which is made by Chessbase.
This is the latest example of cheating, or apparent cheating, that has cropped up in recent years. Last year, two players were suspected of cheating at the World Open in Philadelphia. One was expelled from the tournament, the other was thoroughly searched before his remaining games and could not repeat his performances from earlier rounds.
In India, a player who had a string of remarkable performances over many tournaments, and who always wore a cap during games, was given a 10-year ban from competition after a bluetooth device was finally found in the cap. An article about this incident and other rumors of cheating can be found here.
Cheating is, unfortunately, not a new problem in chess. For example, for years Bobby Fischer accused Soviet players of colluding during the candidates tournaments to insure that one of them would become the challenger for the title. Subsequent information that came out after the fall of the Soviet Union seemed to support his contentions. It was only after the World Chess Federation went to a system of matches, where collusion was no longer possible, that Fischer managed to break through and win the title.
Using electronic aides (correction, aids) is of a whole different nature, but given how powerful, and small, computers have become, it could potentially be a real problem. What, other than being more vigilent (correction, vigilant), can be done?
chessnovice 19 ( +1 | -1 )
Aides is an accepted spelling, I believe.

I'm interested in getting pocket Fritz. Could be fun while on the road. It's sad that people are willing to risk their reputation with it, though.
bucklehead 125 ( +1 | -1 )
At everyday tournaments... ...probably nothing more can be done at present. At Elista, Kramnik and Topalov were searched daily before entering the playing area, but it's unlikely that the basic, local tournament organizer will want to spend precious resources on metal detectors, extra staff, or whatever it takes to weed out all cheating of this type. Vigilance by staff and an "honor code" type system among chessplayers (where we commit to turning fellow players in as well as foreswearing computers ourselves) is probably the best for the moment.

I myself have a second-tier chess program called ChessTiger on my Palm, and I bring that everywhere. It's fairly strong (manufacturer suggests 2200+ on my machine) and has good levels for sparring. The guy's excuse in the above case, by the way, was that he wanted to create a database of his OTB games...really, about the lamest excuse you could imagine, since I have to believe that he was also required to submit a scoresheet when the game was over, and he could easily have put it in then.

PS: An "aide" is specifically a personal assistant, as in "The Senator's aide briefed the press on the incident in the bathroom." A device that renders help or assistance is an "aid." Your correction was sound, Suzy.
More: Chess
sf115 14 ( +1 | -1 )
I think that metal detectors are a good idea which should be used i top tournaments. What's the problem with that?
ionadowman 21 ( +1 | -1 )
The problem is... ... that such things have become necessary at all. As time goes by the more I reckon chess is dying as a competitive sport...
I'd close with my usual "cheers", but it don't seem appropriate somehow...
suzyfromflorida 34 ( +1 | -1 )
Can someone please explain.. exactly what Fritz is and how it works? I'm confused as to how someone can cheat in a tournament. Aren't the players being watched at all times? In order to cheat, wouldn't a player either have to look at a hand-held computer or leave the room? And if they leave the room, are they not monitored in some way? Please explain. Thanks!
apastpawn 78 ( +1 | -1 )
please explain... Fritz is software that plays chess well 2200 plus ELO.
To use it one needs a second person outside the tourney to relay moves in. The player also has to relay moves out to his second. Thus the blue tooth/cell phone device.
You can leave the game at anytime to go to the restroom etc. Usually you must ask permission to get some fresh air and leave the building. In the above case the person was followed outside and the pocket Fritz was seen being used. They don't have to follow you out but it may become routine in the future. Unpractical to go outside after each move and would be very suspicious also. The cheats probably leave when at a critical point in the game or when there are many complicated exchanges possible (where software excels).

suzyfromflorida 29 ( +1 | -1 )
Okay, thanks apastpawn for explaining this. So, it seems to me, that it would be quite easy to prevent cheating simply by banning blue tooth/cell phones and monitoring each player. Of course, if there are 100 people in a tournament, then it wouldn't be so easy I suppose.
kewms 45 ( +1 | -1 )
Cell phone jamming devices exist, although they are illegal in the US. Jamming signals in the tournament room would certainly make cheating more difficult.

Still, before good computers were portable, and before cell phones were common, you still had people hiding in the restrooms with opening and ending books. Some fraction of people have always been willing to cheat.

heinzkat 16 ( +1 | -1 )
1) You can place metal detectors on the entrance, hire a lot of arbiters, etc. etc.
2) Or you could just trust that everybody just comes to enjoy the game of chess.
ironbutterfly 105 ( +1 | -1 )
an ongoing problem .... Twenty years ago I was playing in the US Amateur Team West, and after three rounds both my team and I were 3-0. In the 4th round I got into the black side of the Milner-Barry Gambit in the French Advance variation. About a dozen moves in my opponent looked very confused, and suddenly got up and left the room. He returned after about 20 minutes, and then rattled off half a dozen moves while I analyzed hard. He then got up and left the room again. I was suspicious, and followed him at a distance. He went into his hotel room (I assume), and didn't return to the board for another 15 minutes, when he then played half a dozen moves very quickly. I made a mistake and he won. He seemed embarrassed when I congratulated him. Was he cheating? I can't prove it, but I believe so. Later in the tournament another of his opponents came up to me and said he thought the same thing while watching his behavior during my game. So - if he was - as kewms says, cheating has been going on since well before there was the current crop of electronic aids.
ccmcacollister 69 ( +1 | -1 )
YOu could sweep players during the round with a handheld metal detector. Of course the guy like me with a pack of smokes, Lifesavers and reinforced soles is gonna set it off everytime! (Not to mention anyone with the fish filleting belt buckles) You can also scramble their cellphones or blue tooth but I dunno how that might effect pacemakers }8-p
I think there will always be a way to cheat and a way to beat the system. But also a way to catch anyone if you want it bad enough :) The thing is, once someone is ID's as cheating they should be blacklisted permenently. And I don't think such a mechanism exists universally. Tho hopefull FIDE will ban them from their Intl Events.
ccmcacollister 70 ( +1 | -1 )
ironbutterfly ... Yes it sounds very suspicious. Especially in a gambit, even if he was just setting up his board there to analyse; significant unfair advantage from it. (ON the otherhand, I walk-about ALL the TIME when offmove, especially with no smoking now. And once got locked out of the site for 25 minutes, another time stopped by the undercover cop at the YMCA .... I was "seen" mixing my Fruitopia with my Sprite. oh my. So they did an alcohol test(negative, duh), didnt tell me they put it into the drink directly, I drank it, THEN after 10 mins in a seixury daze, blackedout ... and somehow managed to lose that game. sheesh After being defending Champion. Hey aint Chess sacrifice? Chess is tough, :)
ccmcacollister 12 ( +1 | -1 )
PS ... Kramnick has still not answered my al-leg-ation(That it Could be Possible!?) .... doe s he have the entire Petroff var tatooed on his left leg or not!? :)
menchess 9 ( +1 | -1 )
cheating Some peaple over1800 use a computer.It's a problem! play 70 games for exemple.IT's not vey serious
ironbutterfly 13 ( +1 | -1 )
cheers, Craig! That's a pretty funny story, though I'm sure it wasn't funny at the time!
And what exactly is a seixury daze?
levellerlevvie 46 ( +1 | -1 )
Menchess Such a remark can only be seen as being very jealous or very unsporting

Would you dare to say that our top-ace Cyrano, who's at a rating of 2400+ for the last 2 years and is having 75+ games at once for as long as I can remember, uses a computer to achieve that rating?

I'm not saying that some might use the help of computer-programs like Fritz but I like to think that most don't ... no matter how much games they play at once
kansaspatzer 14 ( +1 | -1 )
In small tournaments, I'd like to think that for the vast majority of players, the glory of the game preserves integrity. I sure hope so.
alice02 41 ( +1 | -1 )
tournaments/electronic boards I have never seen a top level chess tournament. I always thought that while it was OTB - it was played on an electronic keyboard so that all moves were electronically transmitted to the judges' computers and they were also analysed for conformity to the players known style of play and any other indicator for cheating. Not that the analysis would be definite proof.

Are tournaments played on electronic boards?
ironbutterfly 21 ( +1 | -1 )
electronic keyboards? I've played in quite a few US Opens and US Senior Opens, but nothing outside
the US, or at an international level. Never seen any electronic keyboards,
though that's an interesting idea. Anyone been to big international tourneys?
apastpawn 33 ( +1 | -1 )
electronic keyboards Have read somewhere that one does exist. You enter your moves in a small PDA device and its transmitted to the officials and can be displayed on the monitors overhead.

No, pace makers are not effected by radio waves or scrabblers as they are hard wired from the implanted device (size of snuff can) to the Sinoaterial node in the heart.
dullmove 24 ( +1 | -1 )
...analysed for conformity to players known style Would that be possible or even feasible in a tournament where, say, a hundred are playing? Or when the real pros are going full blast? I mean, how many can analyse a Kasparov vs Anand as it happens?

New here so apologies for any gaffe ...
steverand67 10 ( +1 | -1 )
The more sophisticated the prevention gets... the more sophisticated the cheaters become. We can try to prevent cheating, but in the end it comes down to the individual players.
sorceress_queen 94 ( +1 | -1 )
DGT electronic board

No, there's no arbiter to judge a player move done in an electronic board. An arbiter never must judge a move, the commentators on live broadcast does.

The board just store & send the moves played on it in real-time. Just only this.

And yes, everyday they're more events that use this kind of devices, usually to broadcast the top games on the Internet and in big screens on the game room (for the spectators).

Another device (FIDE approved) is the Monroi Chess Manager this device must replace in a short time the score-sheets...
tugger 90 ( +1 | -1 )
cheating in the future it's a matter of time before someone can have a microchip put in their ear or something similar for the purpose of cheating. in terms of tournament, i fear chess is fatally flawed. eventually technology will be too good, tablebases will be progressively more extensive, and finally complete.

i guess the only way i can think to defend this is mind reading technology... a player's thought process could be analysed while thinking, i would imagine the readings would be different if a person was deep in thought, as opposed to panic or communication.

as for having a game otb in clubs or against friends, as long as people want to play chess, i think the vast majority will not cheat. and those who do, who cares? if they give me a better game, then i at least gain something from it. all they are doing is effectively taking the role of arbiter, entering moves as they are made.
yanm 33 ( +1 | -1 )
I was wondering This is maybe off topic but anyway. Is there some efforts at finding chess variants that are difficult for computers to play well? For example, Go is very difficult for a computer because the horizon is so much farther away than for chess... Is there some chess variants with the same feature?
kewms 61 ( +1 | -1 )
I suspect Fischer Random would be very difficult for computers. They don't calculate openings well in standard chess, but depend on their books. Take the book away, and you've handicapped them substantially.

Go is also difficult because evaluating a position is much harder. In chess, capturing material is almost always good, and the situations where it is bad are usually within the computer's horizon. In go, capturing stones is often bad. Not only do the consequences lie outside the horizon, but without material as a gauge it's harder to compare candidate moves.

(Disclaimer: I'm so bad at go that even computers can beat me.)

bogg 50 ( +1 | -1 )
Branching factor for go is much higher than chess. There are about 16,700,000,000 possible permutations for the first 4 moves in go as compared to about 2,560,000 for chess. And as was stated/implied heuristics for go are nearly useless. go programs select a list of candidates for each ply rather than doing full width searches, frequently missing the correct move as a candidate. a go program's evaluation will frequently change drastically after it sees your move, just like the old, pre-pentium days for computer chess.