Monday, January 23, 2012

Moral aspects and future plans. Misinterpretations, Questions and Answers about this blog.

Visitors come around and express their negative opinions about this blog, stating how it is libellous, immoral, sick, full of hatred, repulsive etc. and hurting towards people who are either completely innocent or committed only little mischief, i.e. they cheated at some casual chess site in a few insignificant chess games where nothing was at the stake. Sometimes they even dispute decisions of or conclusions of other analysts, claiming the methodology has been flawed, analysts were biased, control data were obsolete etc. Sometimes they are quite arrogant making inappropriate demands ("Prove It!").

In my opinion, these visitors don't understand the seriousness of the problem and mission of this blog. Well, to clear the confusion, I have decided to adress several common misinterpretations and questions.

1. This blog is libellous
No, it isn't. Libels are always associated with untrue statements and claims. This is not the case here. People depicted here are cheaters and they were either banned from chess site for cheating, or their cheating has been confirmed by trustworthy analysis beyond any reasonable doubt.

2. Blog owner is sick person full of hatred
Let me answer this with counter-question: Were Jan Mydlar or Charles Henri Sanson sick and cruel persons full of hatred? I suppose they weren't. They were executing their chosen job. Villains committed violence and had to pay for it. The same goes here only with much less cruel methods (although I have both my own sharp medieval sword and fantasy dwarven double-edged axe ready). Important thing to remember: cheaters committed sick acts full of hatred, lacking respect for chess and opponents. I can't understand it. It is hard for me to look upon notorious cheaters as humans and not as morally bankrupted subhuman creatures.

3. This is disgusting
I agree. The whole topic of cheating in online chess is disgusting and it was a taboo for a long time. Unfortunately, it is about time to reveal it and it is fair. I am also sad how many people devoted themselves into cheating, how they underwent internal rationalization and how they often continue lying and being arrogant. Look, there are other controversial topics, e.g. abortions. Would it be disgusting to post names and photos of physicians who perform it? Yes. But it would be completely fair too.

4. Computers are allowed in modern correspondence/online chess
No, they aren't. Only a minority of servers/organisations permit computer assistance in games in progress, unfortunately ICCF is among them and this may create confusion. Two major online sites for correspondence-tempo chess ( and prohibit them. Internal habits and rules of ICCF do not matter outside. In fact, ICCF lost all credibility among real chess players with such lazy approach.

5. Cheating at free chess sites is only little mischief, because games shouldn't be taken too seriously there when nothing is at the stake
It depends, but in principle I disagree here. You can never tell how seriously your opponent takes it, so you must consider the possibility he/she takes it seriously and cheating would create big offense: the seriousness of online chess is completely subjective. In some cases, cheating may be considered only mistake or little mischief, when offender quickly realizes his/her misconception and leaves quickly without major damage. However many cheaters cheat in online tournament play, team matches and vote games for long time, in many games and deliberately. Cheaters depicted here belong to this category.
Not everyone plays for free, at least internet connection must be paid. Some members subscribe and become premium members and they are entitled to demand protection against cheaters. Playing a game against cheater or in a tournament with cheater(s) is usually waste of effort and time, it equals money too. Moreover, the whole future of internet correspondence chess is at the stake. More cheaters - it means less true strong honest chessplayers.

6. Cheating can't be proven (aka strong humans and computers aren't distinguishable)
This belief is widespread, but it has been refuted. Humans and computers do play differently: computers often make moves humans don't like and vice versa. This leads into positivity in top3 method. The difference between any two computers is almost always less significant than between any computer and any human. When ICCF decided not to ban computers in 1992 to keep the play fair, no top3 method was known and the statement was true. However things have made huge progress until then, mainly thanks to RedHotPawn's game moderators. Unfortunately, ICCF doesn't reflect that and still hesitates to introduce serious computer-free events.

7. The blog owner never posted any relevant data to support his claims
First, the output data sets are huge and the place is limited. Second, the format isn't suitable for reading without proper software. Of course, I store both output files and calculated results, so I am ready to prove my claims in court, if necessary.

8. Control data (CC-championships from 60' to 80') are obsolete, because human play evolves
Really? I answer: Nonsense! Opening moves are discarded and outside of theory such trend wasn't observed. The most computer-like player was Jose Raoul Capablanca, who had died 6 years before Alan Turing started writing first chess algorithm.
In fact, this is the most common lame excuse used by cheaters to dispute detection and clear suspicion. Of course, games from current correspondence and online chess must not be used as control data, because we can't assume unassisted play took place everytime. But the fact OTB play doesn't show such trend towards computers is enough to draw the same conclusion for unassisted human CC play.
I have observed would-be-clever cheaters, who tried hard to play like "human masters" by choosing "little inferior" computer moves and when they lost their games and were caught cheating as well, they defended themselves claiming they were in fact "more evolved" modern masters and victims of both, others true cheaters and "bugs" in cheat detection, coming from "obsolete" control data.

What are my future plans?

a) I am planning to upgrade my method of detection. The new method should be much quicker, less data-intensive and more entitled to use the binomial distribution approximation. The details I will post separately.

b) I have found the current approach 1 cheater = 1 page quite ineffective. Executed villains usually don't have gravestone monuments each, mass graves are more suitable for them. So I am going to delete most of pages devoted to individual cheaters and create a few constantly updated pages with more names and short infos. At least two pages will remain however: Wikström and Dembo, because they are quite exceptional.

c) And finally, maybe (just maybe) I will open another blog(s) some day devoted to real chess and other interests, not idiotic cheaters.

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