2020 European Online Chess Championships

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Roger de Coverly
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Re: 2020 European Online Chess Championships

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue May 19, 2020 9:27 am

MartinCarpenter wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 9:15 am

I’d have thought that getting a computer to play <2000 in remotely realistic manner was very hard, but maybe they’ve got that ‘better’....
An obvious solution for a determined cheat in a rating restricted tournament would be to power up a 1980s or early 1990s stand alone machine. Admittedly that would be difficult to use at Blitz pace. But why do chess servers make it easy for those who might be tempted by making available real time analysis of games in progress?

Alex McFarlane
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Re: 2020 European Online Chess Championships

Post by Alex McFarlane » Tue May 19, 2020 9:46 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 9:27 am
But why do chess servers make it easy for those who might be tempted by making available real time analysis of games in progress?
A recent Blitz was broadcast with a 2 second delay. I've no idea if this is standard but even such a small delay impacts significantly on the possibility of getting illegal assistance in that way.

Ian Thompson
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Re: 2020 European Online Chess Championships

Post by Ian Thompson » Wed May 20, 2020 11:49 pm

7 out of the top 20 banned for cheating in the 1400 - 1700 preliminary section (and 19 players out of 901 banned in total).

5 out of the top 6 banned for cheating in the 1400 - 1700 section final (and 10 players out of 254 banned in total).

As with the U1400 section, the obvious question is whether the players had just started cheating for this event, or they've been wrongly accused of cheating, or, for the long-standing accounts, they've been getting away with cheating for a long time. Did those banned for cheating in the final get away with cheating in the preliminary section? Why would someone cheat in the final, but not the preliminary?

Andy Stoker
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Re: 2020 European Online Chess Championships

Post by Andy Stoker » Thu May 21, 2020 8:33 am

Interested to see at least two FMs in this <1700 group.
Clear that there is not a consistent correlation between national (ECF) grades and the FIDE grade. My standard and rapidplay grades are both ~175 yet my FIDE grade is 1723 - no problem in this case. A quick glance at some of the other UK players indicates at least one >210 - which the "standard" correlation would put at >2275, I believe. Not a criticism - what else could they do? Just an observation. I'm looking forward to the experience though expecting to get kicked about a bit

Matthew Turner
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Re: 2020 European Online Chess Championships

Post by Matthew Turner » Thu May 21, 2020 9:05 am

Ian Thompson wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 11:49 pm
7 out of the top 20 banned for cheating in the 1400 - 1700 preliminary section (and 19 players out of 901 banned in total).

5 out of the top 6 banned for cheating in the 1400 - 1700 section final (and 10 players out of 254 banned in total).

As with the U1400 section, the obvious question is whether the players had just started cheating for this event, or they've been wrongly accused of cheating, or, for the long-standing accounts, they've been getting away with cheating for a long time. Did those banned for cheating in the final get away with cheating in the preliminary section? Why would someone cheat in the final, but not the preliminary?
It is a shame that runner up got it expelled from the tournament. It would perhaps have been more fitting had he been robbed of victory by this effort.

https://www.chess.com/live/game/4883494 ... =valdomiro

Ian Thompson
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Re: 2020 European Online Chess Championships

Post by Ian Thompson » Thu May 21, 2020 9:51 am

Matthew Turner wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 9:05 am
It is a shame that runner up got it expelled from the tournament. It would perhaps have been more fitting had he been robbed of victory by this effort.

https://www.chess.com/live/game/4883494 ... =valdomiro
This is a curious one. He's had an account for over 9 years and played almost 7,000 games. Only now does he get banned for cheating.

I assume that game was "loss by pre-move".

MartinCarpenter
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Re: 2020 European Online Chess Championships

Post by MartinCarpenter » Thu May 21, 2020 9:53 am

Its a bit worse than the two FM's - the entire first two pages of people don't have a single marked rating under 1700. Seems thoroughly broken before they started?

Not that using online ratings would have been that perfect either but you could easily have had an 1800 cut off or something.

Is it possible they were scanning the games for the play expected of people in the given rating brackets and no one near the top was anywhere near actually belonging in there?

Andy Stoker
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Re: 2020 European Online Chess Championships

Post by Andy Stoker » Thu May 21, 2020 9:59 am

I assumed the Rc7 loss was a mouse error (Rd7 intended?)

I had thought the initial ratings shown were tournament performances - apparently not.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: 2020 European Online Chess Championships

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu May 21, 2020 10:19 am

MartinCarpenter wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 9:53 am
Not that using online ratings would have been that perfect either but you could easily have had an 1800 cut off or something.
Given that OTB FIDE Rapid ratings are only as accurate as the frequency of events permits, it would have made sense to include the OTB standard play rating or title as part of the eligibility. Server ratings strike me as far too easy to manipulate in anticipation of a particular event. An unlucky series of mouse slips for example.
MartinCarpenter wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 9:53 am
Is it possible they were scanning the games for the play expected of people in the given rating brackets and no one near the top was anywhere near actually belonging in there?
You would hope not, but their secretive methods do not inspire confidence.

Matthew Turner
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Re: 2020 European Online Chess Championships

Post by Matthew Turner » Thu May 21, 2020 10:28 am

MartinCarpenter wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 9:53 am
Its a bit worse than the two FM's - the entire first two pages of people don't have a single marked rating under 1700. Seems thoroughly broken before they started?
I think this is a bit unfair because given a tournament of this length, a winning player is likely to see their rating rise substantially, so it is not surprising that a lot of the winners’ rating are higher than the initial rating band.

Chris Rice
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Re: 2020 European Online Chess Championships

Post by Chris Rice » Thu May 21, 2020 1:52 pm

Sutovsky started a FB thread with

"Chess.com bans 5 out of 6 winners for the European Online Championship (1400-1700 stage). This is gonna be enduring fight..."

then someone asked him what FIDE was going to do about it and he responded

"Just doing it. A huge and very difficult topic that I spend dozens of hours on every week. And yes, I can write a lot of smart thoughts on FB, but it's different in life. First, we will work out the question for official tournament and competitions... in the summer, I hope we will start the machine."

So I'm guessing FIDE really doesn't know how to tackle this issue yet but that under the current conditions it has become a much more pressing one to find a solution for.

NickFaulks
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Re: 2020 European Online Chess Championships

Post by NickFaulks » Thu May 21, 2020 2:27 pm

The Decisions from the recent FIDE Council meeting include

"The Council agreed that FIDE needs a massive anti-cheating work before proceeding with official FIDE online events. FIDE is ready to fight it in cooperation with major chess online platforms."

This doesn't say much, but I was encouraged by the degree of realism shown. They are not just saying that whatever is good enough for [ name your favourite platform ] is good enough for us.
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.

Chris Rice
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Re: 2020 European Online Chess Championships

Post by Chris Rice » Fri May 22, 2020 9:10 am

That seems fair comment. I can accept that Chess.com and Lichess are well meaning in their wish to stop online cheating, that they have software to catch cheaters and there is a process to verify this which leads to a ban. However, as discussed in loads of threads on this Forum, the lack of transparency on how the software is triggered, how the process is verified and the lack of due process when it comes to challenging their decisions essentially has led to a lack of trust that they are getting it right. Understandably these sites are vulnerable to getting sued and as a result they seem to contort the procedures to make the system work.

A good example of this has happened in the last 24 hours, it wasn't in this tournament but could have been as it was chess.com that ran it. This was on an anti-cheating FB thread and essentially I think the outcome will be who you choose to believe which isn't the sort of robust system FIDE will want to have in place though I'm not pretending a solution to this is easy:

"My name is Harut Barseghyan, IM, ELO 2463 (born 1998). I am writing to you because I had some unpleasant experience lately with your anti-cheating team and as a result my account was closed.

May, 12 I played in Titled Tuesday and won first three games against weaker players. Then when I was playing my 4th game with a weaker player as well in the middle of the game when I had about 1 minutes someone from Chess.com started to write in English but I understand very poorly as my English is bad and this situation was very strange. But I realized that I need to open something I opened the link and it was visible the blue screen the board was not visible. I was stressed because there it was difficult game and there was little time and it all interfered with me I just closed the window and finished my game (won).

Then after the game there was still time in between I opened the link someone started talking with me, asked what language I want to speak and we started speaking French. He asked to show my screen with Zoom, show the room. I showed everything and he checked everything without a problem and everything was fine then I said that all Titled Tuesday should be hosted with Zoom on to prevent cheating but he did not answer.

Then I played with a strong Russian GM Linchevsky. I played this game with Zoom with my computer screen demo and it was a very difficult game - I was objectively lost but I won and after the game he said that I had to show everything again. Then he played with a very strong GM Van Foreest I played white and was won completely but I made a draw and even where I agreed to a draw I had a win. I was very upset that I didn’t see a win and again they asked me to show the whole apartment and it really bothered me to concentrate on the game (before the game against Van Forest I was late for about 10 seconds because I was showing my apartment).

And then I played the game against Bortnik and lost - the same thing happened after - I was showing my space. As a result in the 9th round in the opening I received a notification that I violated the rules of the community and can't play for 60 minutes. Then I explained the whole situation to my coach Pavel Eljanov (coach of Carlsen and Gelfand among others) he told me that he also didn't understand the reasons for the suspicions of cheating. A week later (May 19th) I was getting ready to play for the next Titled Tuesday, played some training games and received an email that my account was closed and I could not play further.

I respect and appreciate the work of Chess.com to capture cheaters but I ask you to explain your decision and am ready to answer any questions. I really look forward to your early reply and return of my account. I do not consider any acknowledgments in cheating since I played absolutely fair. I consider such a sanctions not fair to me since this jeopardizes my career in view of the inability to play tournaments under quarantine. "

Then his coach, Pavel Eljanov, commented:

"After analysing his games in Titled Tuesday I don't see any hints or proof that he was cheating. For instance in his game against Van Foreest he knew an opening line very well as we analysed it together. He was clearly better throughout the game and missed the win in time troubles. Being a constant user and official streamer in Chess.com I like platform very much and welcome your profound efforts to catch cheaters. Although I believe there are still happens some false accusations and anti-cheating algorithms will be constantly improving."

So then we had a response from Gerard Le-Marechal, the Head of Fair Play at Chess.com:

"Titled player cases receive extensive review by our entire team, every member of the team (3 analysts, 3 titled players and our tech team) needs to sign off on the case in order to make the decision. We reviewed both with our statistical algorithms and manually with the opinions of our titled players, and unanimously made the decision to close.

We collect more data about cases than is available to the public and therefore it could be difficult to understand why something was or wasn't cheating from an outside perspective.

We understand that false accusations should be a serious concern which is why we always take the path of titled closures being private to avoid reputation damage, and why we have such a rigorous process for these players in particular.

For this case in particular, we recommend Mr Barseghyan to deal with his fair play issues in the email thread we have ongoing with him."

So there we are. Chess.com's Fair Play procedures operate largely on a need to know basis and perhaps if you shout loud enough and long enough about injustice they might just let you off if they choose to believe you. This is essentially what FIDE are going to have to put a structure around. Running important online tournaments and then continually disqualifying most of the winners for alleged cheating isn't a good look for online chess at the moment.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: 2020 European Online Chess Championships

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri May 22, 2020 9:24 am

some chess.com guy posted by Chris Rice wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 9:10 am
We collect more data about cases than is available to the public and therefore it could be difficult to understand why something was or wasn't cheating from an outside perspective.
The attitude that the definition of cheating is "hard to understand" needs challenging. Over the Board chess is and always has been quite clear on the issue. It isn't allowed to have external assistance whilst playing. If you have a live electronic device and it's detected, you will forfeit the game in most competitions. You aren't allowed to annoy or distract the opponent. That's rather more subjective but an arbiter would likely warn a player if they read a book whilst not their move.

If chess.com and other servers are going into partnership with FIDE and national Federations, they should be firmly told that undocumented additions to the Laws of Chess really are not acceptable.

Matthew Turner
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Re: 2020 European Online Chess Championships

Post by Matthew Turner » Fri May 22, 2020 9:44 am

The players account appears to still be active
https://www.chess.com/member/harut-1998

I played through his game against Van Foreest
https://www.chess.com/live/game/4846815 ... me=joppie2

It is an interesting game. It perhaps demonstrates nothing more acutely than that fair play is a complex area.

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