Captain Chess
Original Articles for Club Players

3 Reasons to Stop Complaining about Cheating in Online Chess

August 23rd, 2018
Yamil Duba

All of us have gone through that miserable experience of smelling the odor of fraud after being crushed by a much weaker opponent. None can blame you, the knight was moving as if it were on Carlsen’s hand. True, but the reality is that we’ll never be one hundred percent sure about who is cheating in online chess.

All major sites constantly claim that sophisticated software is running through their systems to effectively detect tricksters. I have played at PlayChess for many years before moving to LiChess, where I spent about six months before landing at Chess.com. None of this companies has the panacea against deceivers.

On the contrary, wherever you go you’ll find more and more people complaining about cheating in online chess. Even conceding that some of those protests can sometimes sound unfunded I think we could agree that the problem has been here for a long time and perhaps getting bigger.

As I said, you never know, but the smell is in there. Let’s assume you have a reasonable doubt. What’s the benefit of unfolding that amount of anger against the opponent and wasting time and energy writing big words on his or her chess profile? The plain answer is ‘absolutely nothing’. Instead, try to get at least something constructive from a bad experience.

Enjoy your session of Catharsis, courtesy of Dr Post-Mortem

Psychologists refer to catharsis as a process by which a person expurgates strong emotions to restore their psyche’s equilibrium. This mental purification can sometimes be achieved through art, and you’re my new enemy whether you think chess isn’t a wonderful expression of it. So why not analyzing our defeat against the ‘Super Grandmaster’ in order to recognize our mistakes and learn something new?

The irritation before a possible fraud won’t let you think clearly. Avoid playing another game instantly. A neat five-minutes analysis has enough power to order your thoughts and restore your level of adrenaline. That would be a round of three major benefits in one: let off some steam, learn a bit about chess and prepare for the next game.

Forget about Justice, deceivers are ubiquitous

At PlayChess there used to be a public chat room where admins could notify the community about news and stuff. I remember endless notifications of banned users for ‘the illegal use of computer assistance’ or something of the sort. Things weren’t much different at LiChess: at least once a week I was refunded Elo points lost against a cheater. In the same line, you won’t visit many Chess.com profiles until finding the mob throwing stones at the guy.

Cheating in online chess has become routinary.

I’m aware this is a controversial statement but it’s been part of my experience. Many chess players would agree (and many won’t!). The point is that no matter how loud you yell at the community, you won’t solve the problem either by spitting your anger through the chat nor by exposing your fine prose on your opponent’s profile.

Instead, befriend as many people as you can to whom you enjoy playing with. In this way every time you go online you will find some correct opponent for an interesting game of chess.

Put the whole stuff into Perspective

Definitely, you care about those beloved Elo points. I do! Every chess player wants a higher online rating even though not many want to assume it. Still, losing some points against cheaters isn’t the end of the road. Being defeated unfairly shouldn’t alter your energy and concentration. It’s not a big deal.

Block the user if you want —another want will take his/her seat, analyze your game, learn from your mistakes and then move on to the next battle. There are thousands of great chess players on the web waiting to play against you. Don’t allow that cheating in online chess take even a minute of your precious time.

Companies are fully aware of the problem and surely better control measures are on the way. Perhaps some coins for the site you spend time in won’t hole your pocket and could help a lot to the cause. I’m of the opinion that nothing should be totally free. But this last point is stuff for another article.

Next time you stumble upon a trickster be sure to get something positive from the occasion and don’t let it mess with your leisure time. Play on!

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