Years ago, I wrote an article about whether or not technology is actually ruining chess. The advent of engines and other software has turned wood and clocks to the electronic age. While computers have greatly accelerated the ability to study the game, it has also facilitated dishonest play to the point it’s becoming a big problem.
Most chess players are already aware that online cheating is an epidemic, but in recent years it has also crept into OTB play, which is something far more serious. With big money and actual titles at stake, cheating at chess has entered the realm of criminal.
There have been several terrible instances of OTB tournament cheating that have stirred the chess media, and for good reason: it’s no joke. Some of the entry fees and prize funds at chess tournaments are quite sizable; the last thing our game needs is people running to the bathroom to analyze positions on chess software or receiving moves through ear buds.
In the author’s opinion, there is almost nothing lower than a thief or a cheat. Many chess players share my opinion, but our feelings toward them is far removed from the actual issue, which is nothing short of larceny. If a player uses assistance to win games for money, that player is stealing, plain and simple.
Besides being removed from the organization entirely and a receiving a lifetime tournament ban, I feel these cheaters should (and very well may, in the future) be charged criminally. Taking someone’s hard-earned online rating points is unfair, but taking someone’s points and their money should be actionable in a court of law.
A recent ChessBase article cited yet another case of cheating at an OTB chess tournament. These cases are becoming more and more common, and they are causing trepidation and paranoia right up to the world championship level. If something isn’t done definitively and soon, chess as we all know it will be tarnished forever.
ChessBase article: http://www.chessbase.com/Home/TabId/211/PostId/4009877/chess-magazine-cheats-are-prospering-220513.aspx
If you suspect someone is cheating at a tournament, do not hesitate to let the directors know. Honest players far outnumber those who steal, so it is up to us to curb this cheating phenomenon before it snowballs out of control. We must do everything we can to quell the electronic giant that has its talons pressed deeply into our sacred game. It’s up to each one of us to preserve the integrity of chess.