Anti-cheating measures

A few things to consider:

A friend pointed out that a Grandmaster’s three norms were evident results of cheating. He showed me the games and I was rather convinced I have to say. But who should make the complaint? Neither my friend nor I wanted to be involved in this issue. Especially I could see no upside in being involved in what was someone else’s life and livelihood. Is it double standards and selfishness not wanting to be involved in making other people’s life difficult, even if they have done something I consider abhorrent?

Another case. I was training a young man around 2100 and he was really doing the work needed. After a few months he went to a weekend tournament and scored 5/5 against 2200s as the lowest seed. His games were clearly not computer games. We had changed his style to a more technical style and his openings were more in line with his quiet character. He ground people down in tense struggles. At the end of the tournament everyone agreed that he was cheating and there were boos when he collected his prize.

In the Women’s European Championship a strong WGM, Sandu from Romania, was accused of cheating, at least indirectly. Some people were entirely outraged. One opponent (victim!) came to her defence.

My personal view is that the whole thing is complex and that the main problem is that anti-cheating measures are not already up and running. One side of the story is told here.

My question for this week is if Sandu – presumed innocent till proven otherwise – should have taken the anti-cheating measures as personally as she apparently did? Is leading with 6/7 at the European Championship not already a pressure situation? And if you over-perform as much as she did – should you really take it personally that people want to make sure that you are playing your moves without help?

As I do not have a coherent view, but think it is all very complicated, I will leave it for you to decide and to debate it. And as this includes a real human being, please keep it hypothetical.

The result of last week’s poll was:


67 thoughts on “Anti-cheating measures”

  1. I think it is so easy to cheat in chess that you should expect people is going to complain if you overperform.

    I have never seen a single anticheat mesure in the tournaments I have played and that is a major flaw. There should be metal detectors on the playing hall and players should go outside it only rarely and scorted by an arbiter.

    I guess that in the women european championship there were tight anticheat mesures, but if there was that much paranoia, maybe something was not done correctly. Anyway nowadays checking for cheating should be expected, same as it is the urine control after an athletic competition.

    I should poing something out, though:

    If I were to cheat, I would not copy blindly the analysis of the computer, and I would neither try to win everygame. I would allow myself some draws here and there against strong oposition, and I would rarely go for tactical positions.

    When you have a multivariation analysis that goes like this:

    +0.98 Nd5
    +0.43 Rfd1
    +0.38 Rad1
    +0.28 Qc2

    There is no need to go for the killing Nd5. Instead, Rfd1 or even Rad1 would be enough to win on the long run. Nowadays top engines can outplay humans in purely positional terms. At least 2600 humans.

    So when people say: We checked his games with the engine and the moves don’t correlate well, that does not mean he was not cheating. He may have been cheating, only smartly, choosing only normal moves, avoiding tactical struggles. To know if someone is cheating you need…

  2. This is a tough issue. I have looked at the games played by Sandhu for instance and the number of errors clearly don’t suggest computer cheating. It is very dangerous to suggest from results alone that somebody is a cheat. Statistically a good result or evena string of such results will happen from time to time or players may simply improve as in your example.
    The only proper approach must be to look at the games played. If real doubts then exist the physical search approach has to be accepted by players. It is regrettable but seems to be the world we live in.

  3. @mike twyble

    If cheaters do it correctly, there will be no hint in the game. They just have to select subpar moves when they are not that bad, even a miniblunder here and there to spice things up. The cheater does not need to win every game to win the tournament, and if he is smart, he will first get his rating up so people would believe in his results.

    I would go to the length of proposing that there should be at least one full body check each round for the winners of tables 1 to 10 in opens. The body check can go random.

  4. The problem to me is that anti-cheating measures are not routinely in place even for major events like the European Championship. This would all become a little bit less of an issue, if some (admittedly expensive) measures were routinely taken for this type of event such as delayed transmission, metal-detector when entering playing area, whole playing area (including toilets, smoking area etc.) secured so nobody can smuggle something in and limiting the ability of spectators from communicating with players. Obviously, that’s impractical for many amateur events, but for major events I would imagine this should be doable (okay, perhaps the walled off stage they have in the Wch matches is impractical for most other events). Unless that is done, it is understandable that players are sometimes a bit overly paranoid, which then creates unpleasant situations for everyone (people being wrongly accused, those worrying about a cheater getting nervous about playing against a computer etc.). It is truly bizarre what effort is spent on anti-doping rules, when there is a much more obvious “doping” issue that should be addressed.

  5. Amateur Events: Innocent until proven guilty! Stop the paranoia!

    Professional Events: Players should have to sign a contract that forces them to analyse their game with their opponent in a press conference. Opportunity for publicity+internet audience+the best anti-cheating measure I can imagine.

    Personal: Note. If I had the flawed character required to cheat, no engine correlation feature + expert human analysis could catch me. I could win the World Championship. You may not believe this, but I’m almost certain of it.

  6. 1. some anti wifi measures should be done, installing devices which shut down mobile and wifi signal, all mobile devices should be left outside of playing hall, like guns in wild west movies 🙂
    2. checking all players before the round start
    3. checking all rooms where the play is going on and all toillets, close the windows on toillets,…

  7. 2. Checking all players? Please elaborate on that. 1 is easy, though I disagree with such a measure introduced in amateur tournaments. Here where I play we have doctors that have to be available for emergencies.

  8. I got bored and could only read half of the article, but from what I’ve gathered, the method it uses to detect cheaters is to see the difference in evaluation between his moves and the ones from the machine. If the difference is too low for his elo, he is a cheater.

    Of course, there are ways to circumvent this for a good cheater:

    1. Don’t go too aggressive with your cheating. Allow for your elo to climb, say 200 points before you are 2400, then 100 elo each year. In some years you’ll be 2600 and you will have more room for good moves without anybody suspecting.

    2. Go for quiet positions. There normally is a lot more good/normal moves than in tactical positions. It is not that difficult to find good moves. I have had games where I almost always chose a move with an evaluation less than 0.1 from that of the machine.

    3. Allow for some mistakes, some lost games, some won games that go drawn.

    Following this ‘advice’, that program won’t detect you.

    As I said, it should be prescriptive to search for one of the winners in the top 10 boards each round, apart from the metal detector, the communications jam, etc.

    The correlation program described may be good to detter some cheaters, but can only be used as a warning flag.

  9. @trandism

    Yes, security check from security personel. Like supporters going to the stadium.

    Sorry, but mobile phones arent must have at a tournament. Leave it in car. 50 years ago, there were no mobile phones or beepers and doctors played tournaments :).

  10. Sorry, but I never take “50 years ago”-type of arguments seriously. And since you’re obviously advocating body-control checking by security personnel (private police) to chessplayers, we are obviously on totally opposite opinions on the subject.

  11. Doctors where I play give their mobiles to the arbiters and the arbiters keep them informed of any patient calls. For this to happen mobile signals need to be available on the building. It’s normal, it’s logical, it’s humane.

  12. There are people playing with sick parents at home. They are people that other people depend on them. And don’t tell me that 50 years ago this was the case too. Because 50 years ago people were living in a different way and not isolated in their apartments without having relations with neighbours as is the case today.

  13. Wasn’t there a time when some Russians were notorious for discussing games in progress with each other?

  14. @trandism You asked, I answered. 🙂 Thats my opinion, I dont agree with You, You dont agree with me. End of story, its not like You or me are decision makers on this subject .

  15. I don’t have a dog in this fight, since I don’t play in tournaments, but…

    Anti-cheating measures, whatever they are, should be applied objectively to all, not to specific individuals once somebody is “over-performing”.

    Some people learn differently than others. Some plateau for long periods, and then suddenly make a quantum leap to another level. This learning style should not be punished.

  16. We lack anti-cheating mesures, especially in pro tournaments, so people become paranoid because cheating is more and more common.

    FIDE should take measures (detectors, collect mobile phones, prevent people from walking away, delays, various statistical analysis performed in the background, random physical search…) to show the problem is adressed.

  17. Soviet School

    Dear Jacob
    Who is the GM that you think was cheating to obtain their 3 Norms? If players don’t voice their opinions it is not a victimless crime it is approving othe players being robbed of points , titles and prize money.

    If you do not want to risk accusing how about challenging them to a match with searching before hand.
    I personally can think of at least one GM who probably used the more subtle methods outlined by Gollum and Trandism.

  18. I may be in a minority here, but I think that the ease of cheating is one reason to embrace the continued raising of importance of faster controls. It’s much more difficult for someone to successfully cheat in over the board rapid or blitz play.

    These time controls have become important at high levels as tie breakers for candidates matches and large tournament prizes, so we can no longer make the argument that they aren’t “serious”. Fast games may have more errors, but chess is always imperfect when played as a sport. I’d prefer a game with an honest error than a cheating perfection.

  19. Kostas Oreopoulos

    If i do a result with a performance of lets say +300 points of my ELO, i would expect people to be suspicious because cheating IS possible AND i would have NO PROBLEM of being searched MULTIPLE TIMES.

    I actually thing the following. Since searching a players triggers to most minds “hey he is a cheater” and this is embarrasing to many i would SUGGEST a very simple FIDE rule

    “EVERY player that has a performance that is +N from his rating SHOULD be searched”

    Yes its witch hunting, but it will be the same to everyone and everyone that goes very well in a tournament would know that.

    There is no other solution. I am pretty sure in few years even that would not be a good measure to stop cheating.

  20. It is much better to formulate a rule like Kostas says, so that anyone knows it beforehand than doing it ad hoc after someone performs unexpectedly.

    But I stand in my opinion that the problem is not so widespread as people think it is.

  21. Jamming mobile phones is actually illegal in many countries, including, as far as I know, the US. So that isn’t really an option.

    If you only search people who overperform by x, cheaters will just take care to only overperform by x-50. I think searching randomly picked winners from the first 10 boards may be a good idea. In case of a concrete suspicion the organisers might just pick not so randomly … without invoking a witch hunt immediately.

    But if some loser has to use an engine against me in a little open … I don’t know, I really can’t get too excited about that. After all, what is the point? Winning 100 euro rating prize? And I do think this happens much more rarely than some people seem to believe. I don’t remember a single game in which I had this kind of suspicion.

    And on the other hand I had a lot of games in which I played the first line of the engine for very long stretches. And with an Elo of 2140 I had several 2300+ performances. So personally I’m actually more wary of the rampant suspicion than of my opponents cheating.

    The only real problem would be a 2700 player who decides that he won’t make the next 120+ Elo on talent alone.

  22. @Kostas Oreopoulos

    I think it is better to randomly search one of the top 10 boards on any serious open. That way:

    a) It is normal to be searched.
    b) Detters possible cheaters.

    I agree it is an invasion of privacy, but this is like dopping and athletism. You have to watch other guy pee in front of you, in chess you have to check really good the ears and a simple metal detector. It is way less invasive.

    Obviously there will be some cheaters here and there which will be able to avoid being caught. It happens in athletism too. Cheaters always are a step ahead.

  23. How about a contrarian view: be ecstatic that you out-performed so well that people will want to search you. Look at it as a desirable accomplishment.

  24. @ GM Aagaard,

    Your post seems rather unfair if the particular circumstances of why someone might have felt isolated after being accosted and then, supposedly, effectively ‘sent to Coventry’ are not taken into account? The details are widely documented online.

    In the specific example you have used , the accused ,WGM Sandu (who has been officially exonerated) was reported by witnesses to have been accosted by either GM Zhukova & or IM Gaponenko, to be told ” she was too old to playing like that, therefore she must be cheating”.

    An incident which required an intervention by WGM Atalik , according to the report at europe-echecs.

    In addition, the furore was already underway before she made 5/5, let alone 6/7. The russian and romanian news forums were already discussing accusations of cheating being levelled at her before 6/7. So, that is a slight inaccuracy in the picture you’ve painted.

    The upshot is that anybody might, understandably, have good reasons to take what was taking place ‘personally’ if those details are taken into account.

    An idea given credence by the choice for some of the 15 accusers in the second personal letter, to remove their names from the document.As reported by GM Rogers in his article, some of those accusers expressed regret to him, for their part in what transpired at the tournament.

    I think if you chose, as you have done, to use a specific example, it is only reasonable you give the particular circumstances that might be…

  25. ….influencing the accused’s interpretation of events. Not just a link to the chief accuser’s all too brief explanation of their reasoning.

    Otherwise one might get a false impression of the accused person’s reasons for feeling aggrieved. And as you noted, there is an individual at the centre of all this, by default.

  26. Jacob Aagaard

    I did not claim to have any authority or detailed insights. I am not sure I accept your criticism, as the idea that I had such insight is not in what I wrote at all and we all know the World is more complex than any argument.

    Your elaborations are very welcome. However, I think the more principled debate is more interesting. How do we deal with this new issue?

  27. @Jacob Aagaard,

    Thank you,I appreciate that.Yes, I understood you were not claiming any authority and understood your intention was not about insight.My observation was quite separate from that, so I’ll stand by it, since it is not an unreasonable thing to notice. Your point is understood, of course.

    To contribute to your question,I would have to start by asking the experts and competitors a question in turn, because there doesn’t seem to be a clear target, or targets in terms of cheating?

    I have yet to read a clear definition of what the different levels of competitors are actually up against. The explanations I’ve heard make it sound as if any competitor could be ‘smart cheating’ at any time and nobody would be any the wiser.

    Which descriptions are actually believed by the experts to be feasible ways of cheating?
    Is there a consensus among experts about smart cheating and what form it takes?

  28. I don’t see how you can accuse someone of cheating unless you have the proof. There was a case not long where Gaoiz Nigalidze was using the restroom every turn, and was eventually caught (

    In the United States, the CCA has a director monitor the bathroom entrance, and you can’t take phones in, but I pointed out at the Chicago Open to the chief TD that the assigned TD was reading a book, not paying attention at all to the people going in and out.

    That said, I don’t think you can do anything until you have the proof. Using an engine is an invalid way to verify. I am rated 2105 USCF. Would I be 2105 if I never found the “best move” in a complicated, tactical position? I might find a whole series of moves in a row and play a brilliant game (I’ve done so before!). What says I can’t do it 6 games in a row?

    To me, all you can do is check what is on them like they do at airports, and observe who is leaving the tournament hall very frequently. Follow where they are going. That’s all you can do!

  29. Jacob Aagaard

    At a high level it would be enough to be told that you have a winning move to make a big difference over a tournament. This was the accusation (entirely baseless as far as I am concerned) that was raised against Topalov in San Luis 2005. No algorithm would detect this.

    The difference between me as a tennis player and those that are in the first team in my club is that I make more mistakes. Over a full match in tennis, it always end in the same result. Chess is more brutal, the games are shorter, but essentially, over a tournament, you will see the same. The reason you are not more than 2100 is because you cannot do it six games in a row.

    Could you improve? Yes. I have seen it many times. Also at 38 and 2300. Why not? But how should opponents and organisers react to this, as there is an obvious fear of cheating as well? It seems a majority thinks that keeping the integrity of the results is more important than hurting people’s feelings.

    Personally I have known on occasions that people have been cheating. Our opponents tonight had dodgy line calls! I usually choose to just play on and not let myself be sidelined by it :-), but I am not sure this is dealing with the issue at all!

  30. I am a journalist, will write an article about cheaters and would love to interview one that has confessed. Could even pay for the “work” required to answer the questions.

    (My personal attitude: the opportunity creates the thief – it would be best if the anti-cheating measures were so efficient that it simply wasn’t possible to come away with it. I think cheaters should be given a second chance. If I find one to interview, I will give the option to make it anonymous. And as a journalist, I am restricted by my country’s law to not reveal my sources.)

    However, I don’t know any cheater that has confessed and thought that this forum may be a good place to ask. Do you have any ideas? (to keep things hidden, this is not my normal e-mail)

  31. How about using phone jammers in the playing halls? There is theater I go to that has “Dead Zones” for cell phones. One can’t get a signal while in the Movie theater and I think it is fantastic.

  32. As a starting point: the harder an offense is to detect, the harsher the punishment should be when the offender is caught. This suggests that recognized cheaters should automatically be life-banned from chess (in practice, this would probably mean life-banned from FIDE competitions). This should create enough dis-incentive, at least for GM+ players.
    As for detection itself, I would guess metal detectors + right for organizers to search players. I would probably add to this an instant game forfeit for players found carrying a pre-defined set (all?) electronic equipment.

  33. As any serious criminologist would say to most of you guys, harsh punishments do not reduce crime. Nor does making everyone suspect by definition. As any serious sociologist would say to you, only educating the population can bring results. Convince people to see the joys of a fair game of chess. You will call me a dreamer and what I say, utopian, but the same is true for what you also propose. You cannot stop cheating with phone jummers and those kind of measures as you cannot stop computer viruses wih antivirus software. Those strict measures will just alienate players like myself who does not want to be treated like criminals.

  34. Regarding top-level events, one confirmed case of computer-assisted play in a closed invitational super-elite tournament will financially destroy elite tournaments for ever. This will not happen. I can assure you.

  35. Phone-jumming in an open amateur event will get legally interesting when someone dies because his phone-call didn’t get through to a relative

  36. @trandism
    The difference between the criminologist’s world and ours is that death penalty in chess does not include murder, but just that people have to do something else. A life time ban is not different from police officers being unable to do that job again, because they take £100 from a dead drug dealers wallet or similar.

    Death penalty does reduce crime for sure. Dead criminals have their careers behind them. But it does indeed not work as a deterrent.

  37. @Thomas

    Actually, I don’t use one, but your argument is not related to our conversation here I’m afraid. Unless your aim is to sell phone jummers.


    I was not referring necessarily to the death penalty. Take the three-shot system in anti-drug law in the US for example which can lead to a life sentence for pot-smokers. It didn’t reduce drug use at all.


    I don’t claim to have a solution to our collective problems. I’m completely sure though that your proposals does not constitute one. Moreover, cheating paranoia is becoming a serious issue nowadays. We might be creating more serious problems for chess without solving the source problem.

  38. trandism. The comparison to crime is fairly useless, for so many reasons.

    With regards to crime, let’s take murder as an illustration.

    Some portion of the population will be insensitive to the economics offered to them (psychos / idiots / people in the “desperation zone” of the utility curve / some special “impulse” profiles…). Not much you can do there I guess.

    Another portion of the population is more “rational”, and is not super keen to spend life in prison. Changing the sentence from life in prison to death penalty thus has little (or zero?) impact.

    For smaller offences, you need to make sure punishment is high enough to deter the economically rational portion of the population. As an example, in my dear home country of France, you pay about 10x the metro fare when caught without a ticket. Given that you would only get caugt about 1 time in a 100, many otherwise honest people would not pay the fare.

    [interestingly France is commiting the same mistakes with regards to cheating at chess. ’nuff said i guess].

    Since you like comparisons, I would say cheating at chess is closer to the “avoid the fare” example than the murder one (though some readers might object 🙂 ). Hence my suggestion of a life-ban.

    On the phone-jamming idea… i don’t really see the point. As you mention there might be legal issues with this, and searches for devices seems easier to implement.

  39. I have returned from a tournament in Sardinia that co-hosted a FIDE anti-cheating commission session.

    At the tournament, almost all participants were scanned at some point and randomly people were asked to disclose the contents of their pockets. Everybody accepted these measures with good grace on the basis that it was a minor inconvenience and that it would prevent most forms of cheating. It seems to me that most international opens/championships simply have to adopt these measures.

    One of the biggest problems is the idea that all cheats are doing so in every game to obtain prizes and norms. Most of my colleagues agree that risk against reward will deter almost everybody from such practices. I am more concerned about the potential for one-off cheating during a key last-round game (even if it involves consulting an engine a handful of times during the game). Some people believe this is actually goes on quite a lot.

    In the case of Sandhu, I think her colleagues should simply asked the organisers to check her games rather than come out and directly accuse her. As a result it is their integrity rather than Sandhu’s that has been damaged. The instance of two people who signed the accusatory letter later wishing to withdraw their accusations was particularly farcical.

  40. I’m thinking of this more at the club level where metal detectors and jammers are not quite the norm. I think the nearest comparison would be to drink driving. here in the UK you lose your licence for a fixed period of time (12 months) minimum.
    There has been a steady decline in deaths even though there has been much more aggressive targeting of drivers by the police which presumably means there have been less people trying to ‘cheat’ (if we are using an analogy to chess) and that the deterrents are working and/or it is not seen as socially acceptable just as I hope that trying to win using Komodo is equally frowned upon.
    Extrapolating to club chess I would suggest that there should be more spot checks in all areas (eg amateur games as well as GM level- one member of each team could be searched by random to keep all honest) and high levels of relevant punishment eg banned from local area chess league to keep things fair, naming and shaming on relevant local chess websites etc. For those who refuse to comply the ban should be the same (just as in drink driving- you get an identical ban for refusing to give a sample). This should be the default position and written into the rules of the local league (the cellphone rule is in operation already in the Edinburgh league here)- if both teams agree it is not necessary then there is nothing to complain about but if one team wants to have anti cheating measures it that should be the norm and the other team default if they are…

  41. not willing to comply.
    I understand that at an amatuer level searches are a minefield even if it is just agreeing to empty pockets/handbags but here has to be some chance of being caught to act as a deterrent.
    there can be a range of punishments- forgetting to switch off phone loses the game annuls the whole season’s results for that player or even a whole team match is lost (to cover ‘forgetfulness/laziness’ (we can all forget time controls eh Magnus?) and encourage team captains to monitor their team) to bans when running chess software is found

  42. trandism :
    Convince people to see the joys of a fair game of chess.

    You’re right, that’s utopian. As long as money is involved, some people will cheat. Look at sports and steroids.

    Either you have to: 1) accept cheating, 2) put anti-cheating measures in place, or 3) eliminate the incentive for cheating (money). Doing 1) will make the game a bad joke. Doing 3) will reduce chess to the level of a game like checkers, i.e. almost non-existent. That leaves 2).

  43. Shurlock Ventriloquist

    Organizers are not going to be willing to spend the type of money required to do this properly and/or it will be cost prohibitive.

    Chess will soon be going the way of Bowling, which 100 years ago, was the most popular participation sport in the USA, with thousands of structure built just to play it. If something as large a cultural institution such as Bowling can die off in less than two generations, then chess has no real chances.

    Anyone care for a game of pool? Oh right, that died a generation ago also.

    Enjoy the games left as the whole thing makes its slide into irrelevancy — a slide started the day Kasparov lost to Deep Blue.

  44. A phone going off annuls the results for the whole season?
    I’m sorry but I cannot follow this type of discussion. This is pure madness.

    Generally I’m quite shocked by what you’re proposing here. I must live in another planet. Because where I play, there’s been no cheating and no suspicions so far and all these things you write read like a nightmare.

  45. Shurlock Ventriloquist :
    Organizers are not going to be willing to spend the type of money required to do this properly and/or it will be cost prohibitive.

    In the tournament I played in the organisers had 2 hand-held Garrett scanners which retail for £100 each.

  46. Decreasing time for thinking doesnt change anything.

    How many times did you see on several blitz servers that somebody was banned because he/she was using comp assistance.

    If somebody will cheat playing against me and it will be proved, I will hire a lawyer and go on court.

    Guys who are cheating should be punished financially.

  47. I taught at two universities where toilet cubicles had phone jammers. Very localised, and to be fair, quite annoyingly effective. To encourage faster…usage. Cos heated seats too, assorted spray functions, one can get rather comfy in there.
    Teacher in US recently got busted for one that was too powerful.
    Tricky to find a jammer that has the right ‘reach’.
    In addition to jamming, I suggest chess should be a naked pursuit henceforth. No hidden devices.
    Personally, I would love to be accused of cheating. Would mean I was actually playing quite well….

  48. I remember the game Feller -Howell , some moves were incredible . Then came the Feller/Marzolo/Hauchard affair . But many GM were already highly suspicious over his games …

  49. @k.r. My point about shorter time controls was with regards to over the board play (rather than online). If the time control is short enough that players can be reasonably required never to leave the table then the easy cheating opportunities are removed.

  50. @d.

    d. :
    @k.r. My point about shorter time controls was with regards to over the board play (rather than online). If the time control is short enough that players can be reasonably required never to leave the table then the easy cheating opportunities are removed.

    Maybe but some of us actually want to play longer time controls not shorter
    We still believe chess is a game where you are allowed time to think!

  51. @d You can buy glasses with tiny wifi cameras. Cheaters can be always step ahead. I really dont understand why would be diturbing cell phones and wifi wrong. If doctors, policeman, firemans should be reached than they would live phone number to organisation director. In school where i work we banned use of cell phones.

  52. Soviet School

    I am sorry Rob but if want to play slow chess then you will have to accept it can’t be for a significant amount of money or kudos. It is now so easy to cheat at slow chess the slow version of the game is in real trouble. Only something like the system of screens used in Bridge can save it. But blitz chess still has a chance.
    @GM Rob

  53. Jacob Aagaard

    I lost to him when he was a fat kid rated 2100. I was almost a GM. I did not find anything suspicious about his play, but quite a lot about my own ;-).

  54. If I wanted to play purely for profit then I would play poker.
    There have always been people who have tried to cheat in life and always will be.
    I have to disagree that the slow game is in trouble there are simple precautions that can be implemented to deter most wannabe cheats.

  55. Wallace Howard

    Broadcast delays, metal detectors, and significant bans will deter most cheating.
    However, I like the idea that a cheater should be fined and not just banned. Right now if you get caught cheating, you simply can’t try again for a while. Why not charge them a fine (e.g. 5 times the entry fee) and put that money into the prize fund. That way it’s a bigger financial risk than the current “heads you win, tails you get nothing”. Just a thought.
    Personally, I think anyone caught red-handed (beyond any doubt) should immediately be banned for life. Let’s get draconian on these bastards!

  56. frenchamateur

    30 years ago, I was 25, I went to one of the strongest chess tournament in Paris at Christmas. It was organized by the club of Caissa. I was rated in the 1800’s and I won the tournament with 6 wins and 1 draw, beating players in the 2300’s, quite strong in those days. When I look at thoses games, even now, I don’t understand, I was sacrificing pawns or pieces, mating everyone. Nice games. Never happened again.
    My only explanation is that I had fallen in love 2 weeks ago before the tournament and was like “walking on the clouds”. Full of positive energy.
    No computer in those days and noone accused me. But presently, I’m very cautious about those accusations. Chess is complex but life also.

  57. An Ordinary Chessplayer

    I second what frenchamateur says, anybody can have an amazing tournament (9 rounds or less). You can google Alan Trefler, legendary where I grew up (I played against his brother Leon back in the day). Another example: As a young boy at a local one-day tournament, I listened to one of the top-board players discussing his games with his friends between rounds, as he smoked a cigarette and I ate my lunch. Every suggestion they made he had a variation or an assessment … he was _clearly_ a strong master. I was impressed. Then I went inside and looked up his rating, about 1800. What?! Not that much stronger than me! Funny, he never had as good a tournament again, that I am aware of. Somehow he was just on fire that day.

  58. Hey, frenchamateur,
    Falling in love? Now, that is cheating coming from a chessplayer!
    Trying to simplify things a bit:
    drinks should be banned and going to the toilet restricted to before or after the games, isn’t that what usually happens at university exams, etc.?
    also, ban walking about and chatting with other players.
    This may seem as harsh as body searches, etc., but it would start by “fighting” “traditional cheating”! And it would, too, restrict competitive chess to people that are “fit”, contributing to the “chess as sport” image that is so dear to many (an idea that I do not share)…

  59. Pawn Dillinger

    Anyone can remember 5 moves. Someone leaves their boards and goes to their I phone. Cheat. End of story. So the goal, thanks to the shameless cheaters, is to eliminate the presence of technology. Can’t have it on them. Bathroom searches in case someone hides their phone. Player-only areas. Time for electronic detectors before entering the playing area. Searches with them in the bathroom in case they are stashed. One strike and you are out. Tough, but it’s the only way. People pay too much money to enter these tournaments. Don’t blame the TDs and organizers. Blame the cheaters. is full of them. And especially with kids at tournaments, they cheat like hell. Enough!

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