I live a block away from the chess complex that was the scene of a major incident last month. This is when world chess champion Magnus Carlsen (at left) literally walked off a match that he was losing to Hans Neimann, claiming Neimann was cheating with a remote computer. This week, Neimann is back in town for another chess match. This analysis by chess.com is interesting, and while you can’t prove anything conclusively, the report says they don’t think he cheated in the game last month. He did admit to cheating at a few online games previously, however the pattern of his wins is suspicious, and the report says he probably cheated in more than a few games.
One of the things I have seen with cheaters is that they can’t just cheat a little, so this makes sense to me. If you have seen any of the various documentary films or read any of the books about Lance Armstrong’s cycling career (one of them is available here), you will likely have picked this up. Armstrong still maintains the “everyone is doing it” strategy,
Reading the chess.com report though is interesting, because I learned a couple of things. First, the latest generation of chess computers can easily beat the best grandmasters, and this is the case for mobile-based chess software over the past few years. This means that a cheater doesn’t need access to a roomful of gear, just a remote connection to someone offsite who can track the game’s play online. Remember when Garry Kasparov lost to IBM’s Deep Blue back in 1997? Garry is a fellow blogger at Avast, and you might be interested in his latest post where he analyzes the Ukraine war. Another tidbit: cheaters just need a few moves in a game to win. And most chess grandmasters have already risen to that level in their mid-teens.
The chess matches happening this week down the street here in St. Louis have taken steps to make it more difficult for the cheaters — they put in a 30-minute delay in the online matches, and only allow spectators for the beginning of each game. But as I said, cheaters will find a way around these strictures eventually. It is the same cat-and-mouse game that cyber attackers play.
If you want an even better illustration of how the cheating game is played, I would recommend watching Icarus, an amazing documentary about the Olympics-based doping efforts, from the point of view of someone who actually managed the Russian’s team cheating. The Russians constructed a blood testing lab that had cutout befitting the KGB, so that someone’s sample was surreptitiously switched with a clean one to pass the tests. Like I said, cheaters gonna cheat. What was sad was how the consequences for these team-wide cheating were minimal.
It is sad that so much effort has gone into cheating. It really diminished my interest in professional cycling (back several years ago when this all came out) and it now diminishes my interest in chess, despite having a near-front-row seat in the neighborhood. BTW, if you do come and visit me, one incentive would be this fascinating exhibit at the World Chess Hall of Fame Museum on the historic 1972 match between Fischer and Spassky. You’ve got until next April to see it.
Society has cycled to the “me” that means the individual does what they want to do which is seen mostly in driving behavior, cheating to various degrees & Russia’s desire to restore the Soviet Union.