May 05, 2008

Cheating in

Computer assistance is not allowed in HCL games. For those who didn’t notice, there is an easy to understand sign with a tag “Chess engines are NOT allowed in this game”. However, a lot of members of this site have found a message accompanying their opponent’s move that addresses a cheating accusation. “It's a bit sad ..... it is quite obvious you are using a chess engine to evaluate and choose your moves. You are only fooling yourself my friend.” I have also been accused and as I result I withdrew from for almost a year.

Under my previous blog message, John Findley posted a comment full of complain, anger and this bitter feeling of injustice. After cheating suspicion is thrown over the board both players share a psychological disadvantage. The accuser is unwilling to continue the game: “what’s the use of trying, if I am going to loose anyway?” The accused player falls into discredit sometimes without any proof and certainly in most cases without a chance to defend himself.

In the famous Elista World Championship match Kramnik vs Topalov, the Appeals Committee decided to lock Kramnik’s toilet, a decision that launched one of the most annoying scandals in modern chess history. To my opinion, they did not want to accept that a player of Kramnik kudos could cheat his opponent. They locked the toilet in order to eliminate suspicion and they started a dangerous chain reaction. I must also remind you of a more recent case (here is the chessvibes article) which I have in mind while writing down these lines.

Let’s face the “cheating” problem with maturity. This article does not allow any user comments because a public discussion upon the subject fits better to the forum. There are two topics available and everybody is invited to post his opinion.

The first one (published here) uses John Findley’s comment as a starting point. You are expected to join in and share your point of view about cheating, cheating accusations, psychology of the chess player and the temptation of a chess engine which is just a click away. It is also important to determine the moment that a player feels cheated, which kind of moves look so unrealistic and why.

The second topic goes a step further. It is published here. It proposes a formal procedure regarding how to handle a cheating suspicion. Thomas has already read my proposal and replied with doubt and disagreement in certain points. This is the reason why such a proposal belongs to the forum section and must be discussed in detail with all of members, in order to find (or decide not to find) a proper “cheating accusation” procedure with respect to “fair play”, with respect to both players, without embarrassing comments for anyone (accusers and cheaters).

I must repeat that: Please, post your comments but avoid mentioning any real name or alias of members. We don’t want to discriminate people here. We want to evaluate the “cheating” threat and its consequences.

Posted by Michalis Kaloumenos at May 5, 2008 12:45 PM

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