Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Kibitzer Catches a #Chess Cheater at ICCF

Dr. Tim Harding writes in his Chess Cafe column that he has caught what appears to be a correspondence chess cheater on the ICCF server: 
During the search for unwanted duplicate games, one of the things I do is to check identical games where player names differ. The ones of more than trivial length are examined individually. One name figured prominently in this "clip database".
Let us call him Mr. Fifty Percent, because of the effect of his practices, which I shall shortly explain: they guarantee a fifty percent result in all games where he does this. Of course you cannot win tournaments by scoring fifty percent but you can increase your rating if the opponents are higher rated than you, and that seems to be the main point of the exercise.
I leave it to you to decide whether what he did is cheating. It is actually amusing in a way - though some of his opponents may well not agree.


Say you are rated 2200 and in a tournament you have opponents A and B, rated 2340 and 2350. Against one you have white and the other black. You may be happy to score fifty percent against them. You could think that you might well do worse and fifty percent guarantees a rating improvement.
So when A opens 1 d4, say, you open with that move against B. You don't reply to A until you get B's move back. Say he replies 1...Nf6.
So you play 1...Nf6 against A and when he answers 2 c4 you play that against B and wait for his reply, and so on.
By proceeding in this way, you effectively do not have to pit your brains against either A or B. Instead, without knowing it, they play each other and you end up with either two draws or a win and a loss. 


  1. I bet that trick is as old as chess-by-mail. I recall reading about it in the 70s.

    And yeah, I'd call it cheating.

  2. there is a magician with no chess knowledge who used this trick to finish 50% against a grandmaster. I cannot remember which magician.....will google it now. Ah British Magician Derren Brown did the trick. Someone is said to have done a similar trick to Alekhine and one of his contemporaries as well.


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