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Old 07-13-2019, 02:25 PM
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Why is it hard to eliminate cheating in professional chess?


https://www.espn.com/espn/story/_/id...cheated-toilet

The comment at the end surprised me. Surely you can separate players from certain types of technology during a game, right?
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Old 07-13-2019, 02:35 PM
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Surely you can separate players from certain types of technology during a game, right?
It becomes harder every year.
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Old 07-13-2019, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Jackknifed Juggernaut View Post
https://www.espn.com/espn/story/_/id...cheated-toilet

The comment at the end surprised me. Surely you can separate players from certain types of technology during a game, right?
At what level do you think they should start using strip searches and metal detectors? County, state, nationals?

How high should the penalties be for functionaries who conspire with a player?
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Old 07-13-2019, 03:12 PM
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At what level do you think they should start using strip searches and metal detectors? County, state, nationals?
Do they have county or state chess championships? I'm pretty sure they didn't when I was still playing rated chess, but that was a long time ago.

At any rate, metal detectors aren't exactly invasive: those could certainly be used at any level where it was worth the hassle of renting and using one. Certainly for grandmaster play, and national championships.
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How high should the penalties be for functionaries who conspire with a player?
Expulsion from rated chess seems appropriate.
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Old 07-14-2019, 02:07 PM
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How about keeping the game room (and any necessary adjunct rooms, like the bathroom) shielded against radio signals? Though I suppose that'd still leave it possible to have a portable computer running some suitably powerful engine.
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Old 07-14-2019, 02:15 PM
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How about keeping the game room (and any necessary adjunct rooms, like the bathroom) shielded against radio signals? Though I suppose that'd still leave it possible to have a portable computer running some suitably powerful engine.
Body cavity search.
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Old 07-14-2019, 02:28 PM
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How about keeping the game room (and any necessary adjunct rooms, like the bathroom) shielded against radio signals? Though I suppose that'd still leave it possible to have a portable computer running some suitably powerful engine.
Isn't it illegal to purposefully block cell phone signals?
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Old 07-14-2019, 02:36 PM
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It's illegal to jam them, to have a device that's creating its own noisy "signal" that drowns out the real cell signal. But there's nothing at all wrong with just blocking them. At most, I think that you might be required to notify patrons of a public building that you're doing so, but I'm not sure there's even that requirement.
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Old 07-14-2019, 02:38 PM
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I’d love to see chess competitions in a Faraday cage Thunderdome.
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Old 07-14-2019, 04:16 PM
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Technology has completely ruined online chess. It is completely impossible to tell if someone is using a computer to do their moves.

This has both the problem that if you lose, you don't know if you lost to a person or a computer, and if you win, they may very well think that you cheated. My guess is is that most online chess is done by bots against bots these days, but I haven't played in a good while.

that it has become such a problem in real life chess surprised me for a moment, but then, knowing how hard people will work in order to look like they worked hard at something, it really should not have.

However, since we obviously cannot effectively compete against computers at chess anymore, can we build bots to compete with each other, and take credit for that?

Bot vs bot seems pretty silly, until you realize that it is actually bot programmer vs bot programmer, until of course, the programming is automated.

Maybe eventually we just see which one of us can give more juice to the matrix.
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Old 07-14-2019, 05:10 PM
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Technology has completely ruined online chess.
I hear you.


But it has also given us a bunch of chess24 "Banter Blitz" videos. In these, Magnus Carlsen plays online blitz games against challengers of various skill levels. And he gives running commentary on his thought process - as he handily defeats most (but not all) of them.

Even brief insights into the workings of one of the greatest chess minds of all time* are really something amazing.


* Some would omit "one of"
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Old 07-14-2019, 05:31 PM
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The programming sort of is automated: Google's AlphaChess, which absolutely curbstomped the previous best program, was never actually programmed to play chess. It was just programmed with the rules, and then learned how to play well by playing against copies of itself a bazillion times.

Of course, that just makes the programming even more impressive, because the Google programmers were able to create a program capable of that level of self-learning.
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Old 07-14-2019, 07:54 PM
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How about if someone wears a hearing aid in everyday life? Is the Federation going to demand tournament players remove their hearing aids because they could also be Bluetooth receivers? What if the player has a cochlear implant?
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Old 07-15-2019, 12:44 PM
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Many of the ones I have read about involve players leaving for bathroom breaks. The local jail can monitor you to ensure you don't have a whizzinator, surely they can have an attentive bathroom attendant?

Last edited by Helmut Doork; 07-15-2019 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 07-15-2019, 12:59 PM
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How about if someone wears a hearing aid in everyday life? Is the Federation going to demand tournament players remove their hearing aids because they could also be Bluetooth receivers? What if the player has a cochlear implant?
Why would a legitimate hearing aid be required for a game of chess?
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Old 07-15-2019, 01:27 PM
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The programming sort of is automated: Google's AlphaChess, which absolutely curbstomped the previous best program, was never actually programmed to play chess. It was just programmed with the rules, and then learned how to play well by playing against copies of itself a bazillion times.

Of course, that just makes the programming even more impressive, because the Google programmers were able to create a program capable of that level of self-learning.
And this is how we get Skynet
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Old 07-15-2019, 02:43 PM
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Why would a legitimate hearing aid be required for a game of chess?
Hearing the roar of the crowd after a particularly devious Knight fork of the King and Queen?
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Old 07-16-2019, 04:13 PM
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I feel like the balance of problem vs. solution is evolving appropriately, at least over the board (i.e., in real life chess; online has different challenges).

Sure, you could turn a chess tournament into a locked-down totalitarian environment, but the solution would become worse than the problem. To achieve 0% cheating, you'd need to have dress codes, pat-downs (pats-down?) at the restrooms, separate facilities specifically for the players vs. civilians, a prohibition on spectators, a limit on medical devices, and more... all to stop the rare cheater that will get caught eventually anyway. For this recent case, everyone knew he was cheating. It was just a matter of catching him in the act so that the case would be open-and-shut.

Side question: After a few days of reporting that Rausis was caught using his phone, news outlets started reporting that Rausis admitted to cheating, but I have not seen the actual admission. The quoted text always refers to his admitting that he used his phone (which is disallowed), but not that he used it for chess. Is this a case of one journalist misinterpreting the quote and then others picking it up? Or has Rausis admitted that he was cheating (which he clearly was)?
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Old 07-16-2019, 06:56 PM
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However, since we obviously cannot effectively compete against computers at chess anymore, can we build bots to compete with each other, and take credit for that?
We've had technology-based sports for years. Motor racing is a good example.
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Old 07-18-2019, 05:46 AM
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I'm glad you posted this story. Makes me wonder, why some people just can't find other ways of cheating? I mean, it's a chess tournament, and you need work hard on your skills so that's an absurd to even consider letting a machine do their thinking for them. It seems when money is involved in the game as prizes, problems tend to multiply - ruining the game in the result. So why do we need so-called professional players at all in the game of chess? (that's a rhetorical question)
Guess the best solution should be a lifetime ban from the professional game for a cheating player, since if someone wants to cheat, well, - he/she will.
And even if you're going to check players for electronic devices each time they enter the toilets, they will find a way.
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Old 07-18-2019, 02:17 PM
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Chalk me up as one who didn't really know there WAS cheating in chess, let alone that it's a widespread problem.

I'm absolutely floored by it. I never even considered people cheating in chess.
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Old 07-18-2019, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
Technology has completely ruined online chess. It is completely impossible to tell if someone is using a computer to do their moves.

This has both the problem that if you lose, you don't know if you lost to a person or a computer, and if you win, they may very well think that you cheated. My guess is is that most online chess is done by bots against bots these days, but I haven't played in a good while.
Cheating is at least fairly common in online chess, and I agree that for amateurs, the main problem is this psychological one where any good play is suspicious. I'm a decent player, but there are certainly many stronger players around who can beat me unaided. Still, when I lose online games I do often have the suspicion in the back of my mind, even if there aren't the telltale signs.

One thing that's happening in chess generally is a move towards faster time controls, both online and over-the-board. I'm not sure whether this is a direct reaction to cheating issues, but it does provide some defense against it. Playing something like a 10-minute game online makes rudimentary cheating trivial - you could just have an engine running and manually copy moves back and forth. Playing fast blitz or bullet doesn't give enough time for this.

Similarly for over-the-board chess, classical games last for a few hours, so it's common for players to use the washroom or wander around the playing hall. But in rapid games players will usually stay at the board, so someone running off every game to the washroom would be obvious.

Last edited by borschevsky; 07-18-2019 at 03:20 PM.
  #23  
Old 07-18-2019, 05:29 PM
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Side question: After a few days of reporting that Rausis was caught using his phone, news outlets started reporting that Rausis admitted to cheating, but I have not seen the actual admission.
Phone use of any sort in the playing area is already cheating.

Use is already banned in the playing area. Use during a match, even during a bathroom break, is even worse.

At best, any devices have to be completely switched off. It's better to hand it to someone for safe keeping. Using it at all during a break while the match was ongoing would be beyond the pale, as it means he had to deliberately turn it on or have smuggled it in beforehand to evade any checks.
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Old 07-18-2019, 09:14 PM
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Eh, it wouldn't be that hard to write a program to directly interface with the chess website, so you could just start up your blitz game, turn on your engine, and come back five minutes later when it's won.
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Old 07-18-2019, 09:46 PM
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I'm absolutely floored by it. I never even considered people cheating in chess.
I think it would be hard to name a competitive activity humans engage in but never cheat at.
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Old 07-18-2019, 10:59 PM
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Eh, it wouldn't be that hard to write a program to directly interface with the chess website, so you could just start up your blitz game, turn on your engine, and come back five minutes later when it's won.
Yes thatís true, but I think the majority of cheaters wouldnít put that amount of effort into it. And there are further detection methods possible as well.

The banter blitz events on Chess24 were mentioned above. Those are just casual games, but for some similar events there are now webcams on the players, so that provides defence against cheating as well.
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Old 07-19-2019, 03:02 AM
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I think it would be hard to name a competitive activity humans engage in but never cheat at.
I think this deserves a thread of its own.
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Old 07-19-2019, 04:15 AM
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And this is how we get Skynet

And that one won't ever learn that the only winning move is not to play !!!

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Old 07-19-2019, 10:40 AM
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I think it would be hard to name a competitive activity humans engage in but never cheat at.
Tic-tac-toe. But only because itís pretty hard to.
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Old 07-19-2019, 11:40 AM
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Sorry, I hadn’t seen this thread which was meant to prevent a hijack:
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=879002
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Old 07-19-2019, 02:27 PM
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Phone use of any sort in the playing area is already cheating.
Phone use isn't cheating. Phone use is against the rules, but not everything that is against the rules should be called cheating, lest that word lose any sense of meaning.

The headlines suggest that he admitted to using his phone for chess purposes, but I've only seen him admit to using his phone, full stop. I was curious if he went beyond that or if he is trying to maintain that he was say, looking at stock prices. During his game.
In the bathroom. Fully clothed.
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Old 07-19-2019, 02:34 PM
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Eh, it wouldn't be that hard to write a program to directly interface with the chess website, so you could just start up your blitz game, turn on your engine, and come back five minutes later when it's won.
Screen-scraping engines are readily available, under the stated purpose of adding value when watching chess videos/streams. Even in bullet time controls, that should be plenty fast enough to use even without interfacing back into a game's controls, especially in sharp positions. For blitz, there's no question.
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Old 07-19-2019, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Jackknifed Juggernaut View Post
https://www.espn.com/espn/story/_/id...cheated-toilet

The comment at the end surprised me. Surely you can separate players from certain types of technology during a game, right?
I've played in a lot of international chess tournaments.

Firstly I don't think there's a lot of cheating in chess.
The main ways I can think of would be:

- bribing your opponent
- using computer access to get the best moves
- arranging a whole fake tournament

1. Bribery can be hard to keep secret (and how do the participants trust each other?)
I remember playing one Grandmaster who had an alleged reputation for bribery ... I drew with the stronger player (and the subject never came up.)

2. Computers can certainly help beat any human player. However a player will probably need to use the computer regularly during a single game.
So it's possible to take one 'toilet break' and thus get one top-class move (though cheats have been caught doing that), but not to play a whole game live using a computer. (It also looks incredibly suspicious to leave the board when it's your move.)
(There have been a few instances of players using a 'hearing aid'.)

3. There were rumours of a couple of events that were organised to accept a large payment from one player to get a fantastic result for themself.
Of course any player who has a giant leap in rating after one event, but then struggles to maintain that also comes under suspicion (and could easily lose the rating points back.)

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Iíd love to see chess competitions in a Faraday cage Thunderdome.
This has been done. Not a full Faraday Cage, but the players were under constant observation and there was no distracting noise from spectators.

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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
Technology has completely ruined online chess. It is completely impossible to tell if someone is using a computer to do their moves.
Yes correspondence chess (formerly played by snail mail, recently by e-mail) is particularly vulnerable to computer cheating.
One 'defence' would be to examine all the moves in a game and see how closely they correspond to the moves a program would recommend.
That would be time-consuming (and a player could 'throw in' a few moves of his own.)
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Old 07-19-2019, 05:17 PM
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Phone use isn't cheating. Phone use is against the rules, but not everything that is against the rules should be called cheating, lest that word lose any sense of meaning.
You need to concentrate hard during international chess. Using a phone for fun during a game is a silly idea.
In any case, getting computer assistance from a phone is trivial, which is why it's against the rules.
So any phone use should definitely be called cheating.

I've seen players defaulted just for having their phone ring during the British Chess Championship, let alone using it.

If you are expecting an urgent phone call, then leave your phone with the arbiter (=referee) and let them witness the entire call.
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Old 07-19-2019, 05:29 PM
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Just to cheer up the honest folk, here's two anecdotes:

a) I was playing in the British Chess Championship and during the game, I held a door open to let Grandmaster Speelman enter.
I'd known him for decades (ever since we'd played alongside each other for our Junior County side.)
So I muttered "Hello" to him.
He ignored me completely!

After our separate games finished, he quickly came up to me and explained that he couldn't be seen talking to me during the play.
I thought he meant that he would be considered guilty of giving me advice (since he was the much higher rated player.)
He actually said "I can't have any conversation with you, since you might be giving me advice!"
Well he's always been a gentleman - and it made my day.

b) later in the same event, my parents made a surprise visit to watch me play.
I actually walked straight past them.
It wasn't that they could give me advice (neither of them played chess), but that i was calculating variations in my head....
  #36  
Old 07-19-2019, 06:58 PM
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You need to concentrate hard during international chess. Using a phone for fun during a game is a silly idea.
Agreed. But I don't know why you would call that cheating. Yes, it is a cheating-level infraction to use a phone for any purpose because you could be cheating trivially if you are using a phone. But my question was whether Rausis admitted to using his phone for chess purposes. (His statement that I've seen is a bit incongruous with an admission of cheating, hence my question.)

Quote:
In any case, getting computer assistance from a phone is trivial, which is why it's against the rules. So any phone use should definitely be called cheating.
Yes, any phone use should be considered sufficient evidence of cheating (even if one isn't cheating). These semantics are irrelevant to my question about Rausis.
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Old 07-20-2019, 02:19 AM
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Agreed. But I don't know why you would call that cheating. Yes, it is a cheating-level infraction to use a phone for any purpose because you could be cheating trivially if you are using a phone. But my question was whether Rausis admitted to using his phone for chess purposes. (His statement that I've seen is a bit incongruous with an admission of cheating, hence my question.)
OK, if you're not satisfied that being caught even having a phone automatically disqualifies you (and GM Rausis undoubtedly knows that) as a case of cheating, then here's some more evidence.

From this article:

- Rausis had been under investigation for years (after his rating increased dramatically, despite him being in his fifties)

- Rausis said "I simply lost my mind yesterday. Ö At least what I committed yesterday is a good lesson, not for meóI played my last game of chess already."

- Rausis left the tournament after the phone was discovered

So technically, Rausis has not admitted using the phone to analyse.
On the other hand, he left the tournament, claims to have given up chess and (as a GM) would have been stupid using the phone just for distracting fun...
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Old 07-20-2019, 06:54 PM
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I presume that a skilled chess player, illegally using the phone during a bathroom break, is going to get a lot more than one great move out of it. He's going to be looking at likely opponent responses to that move, and the best moves against each of them, and so on, such that for at least a few moves after the cheat, he'll be "on book".
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Old 07-21-2019, 11:33 AM
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Tic-tac-toe. But only because itís pretty hard to.
I was once playing tic-tac-toe with my granddaughter, who was about 5 years old at the time. She had an X in the center square and an X in the square immediately above it. She made her next move ABOVE that one, outside the playing area, and claimed that she'd won with 3 in a row. I objected that her last move wasn't in a square. She then dutifully drew a square around her last move. At that point I had to admit that she had indeed won.
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Old 07-21-2019, 04:25 PM
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I suspect a future lawyer.
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Old 07-25-2019, 01:11 AM
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It has always been possible to cheat playing chess. Back when I played in tournaments in the Bay Area, I recall players who admitted to me after the fact that, when presented with a particularly difficult opening line they didn't know, would go out to the merchandise area and see if they could peruse a book on the opening. Part of why I quit playing tournaments back in the mid-80s was I could see where things were headed with computers getting smaller and smaller.

The problem is only going to get worse with time. We are already in an era where your glasses can be linked to a computer, and not so far away from being able to do the same with contact lenses. Implanted microphones and speakers would let a player give or receive information without anyone seeing that there was a device involved.

The good news is that I suspect that, just as most golfers refuse to cheat even when they could, most chess players refuse to cheat as well. I've never understood the point of cheating, but then, for me, winning has never been "everything."
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Old 07-25-2019, 01:47 PM
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If there's enough money in it, people will find ways to cheat, especially as technology advances. I'm convinced that the reason Wizards of the Coast has constantly pared back Magic: The Gathering professional level play in favor of more lower stakes tournaments is that they are extremely worried about cheating that is very difficult to detect if done with enough skill. I think they are also transitioning to online play which eliminates the sleight of hand and such that consists of much of the possible cheating. They want people to be able to play for rewards, but if those rewards are high enough they will get people that specifically will try as hard as they can to cheat in whatever way possible. It's been a problem for the entire history of the professional game. By making events larger with lower stakes, they make it harder for cheating to be cost effective; making up the travel costs to an event outside of your home area requires you to do extremely well, and there's plenty of areas of luck in the game that you can't guarantee any particular result using any method of cheating that can't be detected easily. The people that want to make a living at the game have really complained a lot from what I can tell, and one would think that with ever-increasing numbers of players that it would be trivial to add more of a prize pool, but as much as some of their reluctance might be because it wouldn't increase sales by that much, I think most of it is to not have it become a cesspit of cheating.
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Old 07-27-2019, 04:52 PM
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When I want to cheat at chess, I point behind my opponent and shout, "Hey, wow, it's Alexander Alekhine!" And while they're distracted by the idea of being the presence of such a legendary, if unfortunately long-dead, player, I sneak a few extra pieces on the board that I had cleverly hidden in one of my socks. Then I watch them wither in the face of my patented "Hey, How'd You Suddenly Get Nine Bishops Ö Is That Even Legal?" attack. I would go with extra queens, but I decided that that might be a little suspicious.
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Old 07-27-2019, 08:38 PM
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Just make sure that your nine bishops are all on different colors.
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Old 07-29-2019, 03:37 AM
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In the 1978 world chess championship held in the Philippines that pitted Karpov with Korchnoi, there was enough maneuvering on both sides to certainly affected the game of one or both players. All in all, there was enough drama to fill a three-part movie series. Though I don't believe the Soviets committed that much cheating outright, the game they played with Dr. Zukhar, the expulsion of Korchnoi's yogi pals from the venue, and all other moves must have rattled Korchnoi enough for Karpov to take the final match.
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Old 07-29-2019, 10:15 AM
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And I'm reminded of another thread I posted, wherein there was some discussion of a game that really did have a whole bunch of bishops.
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Old 08-02-2019, 09:02 PM
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It would be easy to eliminate cheating.

Make the players strip naked and forbid them to leave the table, for any reason, until the game is completed.
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Old 08-07-2019, 01:10 AM
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Excellent idea.
The arbiter should be naked too.

Last edited by Guest-starring: Id!; 08-07-2019 at 01:10 AM.
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Old 08-23-2019, 12:43 PM
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An interview with Rausis about the incident:
https://en.chessbase.com/post/how-to...ss-in-one-move

In answering my own question from upthread, it indeed looks like he has not admitted to using the phone to cheat at chess, just to using the phone. I can't make heads or tails of his stated motivations for using the phone, though. And he reiterates that his rapid improvement since 2013 is entirely from focus and hard work.
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Old 08-23-2019, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Peyote_Coyote View Post
It would be easy to eliminate cheating.

Make the players strip naked and forbid them to leave the table, for any reason, until the game is completed.
"Bloody hell...there's nothing in the rule-book that says someone who has been 'puppet mastered' cannot play."
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