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Playing Blitz Chess Online & All the Computer Cheats

User Rating: / 41
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 27 November 2013
By GM Daniel Gormally, England, FIDE 2504

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The future of chess - robot trashes man

The other day I was playing on, against some guy whose name I won't mention here.

Anyway the guy is trouncing me, and during the middle of the game, a pop-up message appears, from an admin called Eric.

He asks me "do you find something suspicious about your opponent?" to which I replied, "yeah he's obviously a computer"

I mean this was 12 at night and it had been a long day, so I was probably easy to smash me up in any case.. but it was fairly obvious from the way he was playing that he was using a computer.

It wasn't so much that he was playing well, it was more a case of the way he was playing. There's a noticeable difference between the way a computer plays and a human, not just in strength but in the type of moves they tend to play. I've played against engines a great deal so I find these kind of cheats easy to spot. They play inhuman moves. Anyway I looked this guy up on FIDE and not only did he not have a title, he didn't even have a rating. I'm not saying I'm some sort of blitz genius, I'm an O.K. player for my rating, nothing more, but very few unrated players would be able to win a game against me, let alone beat me game after game.

Of course I could be accused of sour grapes here, because of course I was losing, if it wasn't for the fact that this admin guy Eric also was very suspicious of him and told me he was compiling a report against this account, with a view to banning him entirely from

On players who cheat are apparently "branded" with a big C next to their account. However this has backfired somewhat on this website has been dragged into a cheating scandal by a chess teacher who has objected to this slur against his name. More details of this can be found here.

Obviously I don't want to go much into the details of this case as there is a potential court case pending and I don't want to be dragged into it myself. I have enough problems on my plate without being sued for huge amounts of money  Personally I think it's a mistake for to name those who they suspect of cheating. Just close the account quietly, otherwise you leave yourself open to a expensive lawsuit.

What all this tells me though, is that this is quite a serious problem with alleged cheats on chess-playing sites. Because there are so many cheats online, it's easy to be accused whether you are guilty or not. I myself have been accused of using a chess computer and most of my friends have at some points, mostly by disgruntled opponents.

I don't really understand though what the incentive is to cheat... there's no money involved playing blitz online. If you wanted to cheat on a poker site, (and I'm sure people do) while it would be an immoral thing to do, the motive would at least be more easy to understand as you could gain something financial from it. Those who cheat at chess online have little to gain while everything to lose.

Cheating in real-life tournaments is a different issue. We've already seen the miserable case of Borislav Ivanov, and his alleged cheating. As I've already indicated on this blog I believe more radical steps must be taken by FIDE to stamp out any future cheating in tournaments, especially as computer technology is becoming more and more sophisticated, and more difficult to detect. FIDE are banning mobiles phones from even being taken to the venue from next year, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. The real problem will be when you'll be able to put a computer on your contact lens, which should be available in a few years, and other such advances in technology.

While there may not be much incentive to cheat online, that isn't the case with tournaments. Most of the time there are cash prizes available, rating points to gain and so on. You could also make the argument that you make yourself more attractive to potential chess students if you have a higher rating. An existential argument perhaps, but still possibly valid.

Going back to playing chess online, it really is a pointless exercise and rather bad for your chess as well. If you play too much blitz you start to think very superficially. It's not the same as playing classical chess at all. There's an entirely different rhythm.

I try to quit but it's very addictive. The other day I even asked for them to close my account, because I didn't want to spend all day playing chess online. I once spoke to one of the owners of the ICC and he said this is a regular thing, that people ask for their accounts to be closed because they have exams coming up and can't stop playing. Sad.

Sometimes you play for so long that your eyes burn and your head throbs from staring at the screen so long... you start at midday and a whole day goes by which is completely wasted because you just can't stop yourself from playing... by the end your standard goes down so much that your play is entirely feeble and you're easy to push over.

Blitz chess online- it should come with a health warning.

Originally published in GM Danny Gormally's blog

Other posts by GM Danny Gormally:
Anand-Carlsen borefest continues
Magnus, is this all he has?
A clash of kings
Do we overrate ourselves?
Computers and their all-pervading influence on modern chess
From Russia with love
The England Chess Team & Jack Wilshire
Should the grandmaster title be scrapped?
ECF Book of the Year?
Is being a chess pro worth it - continued?
Is being a chess pro worth it?
An Elitist Game?
Does hard work in chess pay off?
World Cup Final preview
World Chess Cup Semi-Final preview
World Chess Cup Quarter-Final preview
World Chess Cup 1/8-final preview
Why are Russians so good at chess?
British Champs-2013
Ghent and now the British
I'll never be fat again!
Lessons learnt!
The sad case of Borislav Ivanov: Part II
Does Anyone Have a Cure for Anger Problems?
The Depth of Chess
Fundraising in chess
Nurturing a Chess Prodigy
The Sad Case of Borislav Ivanov
4NCL Impressions: no country for old men - Part II
4NCL Impressions: no country for old men
One move, one line - Part II
One move, one line
Candidates Final Review & Preview of Upcoming World Championship Match
Would Carlsen have beaten Capablanca?

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Comments (2)
1. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 15:16 27 2013 .
No Title
GM Gormally made some valid points in this article. Personally, I don't think online chess should be viewed as a legitimate way to advance as a chess player, because there are so many ways to cheat. 
I'm a poor chess player. I'm 30 years old and have played less than 500 games in my life. I have played some games at, Yahoo games, and on ICC when Blitzn was used. With all of the various attempts I made to play chess online, I found it rather dull. So, I didn't experience the same level of addiction that Gormally writes about.
2. Written by 0_x on 17:45 27 2013 .
No Title
One good reason not to use real name if ure gonna cheat! Ahahaa 
I tend to go with There's no point in cheating, in life. 
relationships, Especially...! :eek! LoL  
...its been a while. 
Once I was accused of cheating there too. Then i stopped playing. i got nothing to lose. I never take things like this seriously. There's always a way to login with new acc. If u want.. :p 
I remember when i posted online cheating lessons there- like when to make mistakes, how to pass z-score comparisons & T(n) tests...etc lma0! :p 
hope they didnt take it seriously, cz i wasnt serious. I was just soo00O00o bored. . 

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