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AI Games

How Do You Detect Cheating In Chess? Watch the Computer 328

First time accepted submitter Shaterri writes "Which is more likely: that a low-ranked player could play through a high-level tournament at grandmaster level, or that they were getting undetected assistance from a computer? How about when that player is nearly strip-searched with no devices found? How about when their moves correlate too well with independent computer calculations? Ken Regan has a fascinating article on one of the most complex (potential) cheating cases to come along in recent memory."
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How Do You Detect Cheating In Chess? Watch the Computer

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  • by Luthair ( 847766 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @09:54AM (#42590567)
  • Re:Simply put.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zero__Kelvin ( 151819 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @10:09AM (#42590665) Homepage
    So what is your excuse then?
  • by DickBreath ( 207180 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @10:09AM (#42590669) Homepage
    Cheating at chess requires two-way transmission of information.

    Your suggested wireless enabled anal probe allows transmission of coded data to the chess player who is cheating. But how does the remote computer know what move the cheater's opponent made? You must also describe a mechanism whereby the cheating chess player is able to transmit the opponent's move back to the remote computer.

    It is possible there could be an accomplice. Or a hidden camera.
  • by pellik ( 193063 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @10:16AM (#42590719)
    While there may come a day when this is necessary, we're far from that point now.

    The man suspected of cheating in the article was relying on analysis being performed somewhere outside of the tournament hall, which was then broadcast to him. This was enabled by having the moves of all the games broadcast live over the internet (which normal for tournaments like this). When they suspected him of cheating they disabled the broadcast, and he blundered predictably. It seems that all they need to stop this kind of cheating is a simple one or two move delay on the broadcast of games.

    The economics of chess mean there isn't enough prize money to cover the cost of very sophisticated methods of cheating at the rank-and-file tournaments. There is money for the top 10 players in the world, so if cheating spreads that far maybe a faraday cage will show practical application.
  • Re:Simply put.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vlm ( 69642 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @10:18AM (#42590745)

    I thought it was more if you win playing the same moves that a computer would make you are cheating.

    In the old days, beyond student level, you had to play against tough human opponents to grind out experience, slowly learn to play like your human opponents, and with any luck you'd advance beyond your human trainers.

    In the new day, because the computers are the strongest players and always available etc, you'll grind your experience out against a computer, slowly learn to play like your computer opponents, and with any luck you'll advance beyond the programmers of your computer trainers.

    It seems inevitable that in a couple generations human chess will look "computer" to a current player.

  • by dissy ( 172727 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @10:24AM (#42590787)

    What if they are not cheating? Some possibilities:

    But they pretty much know he was by the evidence, it's only _how_ that is unknown.

    He was playing much much higher than his ranking should normally permit. They suspected the internet broadcast of the game was being analyzed and moves sent back to him somehow.
    So, they disabled the internet broadcast. From that point forward, he made mistakes over and over, much more in line with his ranking.

    It wasn't just his unexpected high performance, but also the expected drop in performance once the internet broadcast of the game was disabled.

  • Re:Simply put.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @10:27AM (#42590805) Journal

    It is mathematically proven to be unsolveable within finite time, as the problem is in class NP.

    No. No it is not. I am not sure where you got this, but chess is easily solvable in finite time. It is a simple tree search but incredibly massive. My desktop, given enough time and a massive increase in memory, could solve chess. Granted the memory would take up a planet the size of Saturn and the time would run into issues with the heat death of the universe, but this is much different than being "unsolvable within finite time".

  • Re:Simply put.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Vlad_the_Inhaler ( 32958 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @11:43AM (#42591623) Homepage

    Not any more.
    Garry Kasparov lost a match to a program several years ago - back when he was the world champion. Nowadays it is taken as a given that a top program on adequate hardware will overwhelm any human player. The human may win the odd game but most of the time he will be steamrollered.

  • Re:Simply put.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Isaac Remuant ( 1891806 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @11:53AM (#42591783)

    correct me if I'm wrong but the states of the game would be finite even if turns can go on forever.

  • by niado ( 1650369 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @12:08PM (#42591999)

    they have some vague idea that the wins are statistically unlikely

    I wouldn't call it a 'vague idea'. Ivanov, while being a very good player at a 2227 'master' rating, was playing at an estimated level of over 3000 over the course of an entire tournament (until they cut the internet feed). This would make him the best player in the world by far [], and also the greatest player the world has ever seen.

    This would be like a college basketball small forward chosen number 10 or so in the NBA draft beating Lebron James 1on1 9 times in a row. To quote the article:


    1 Borislav Ivanov is probably the first adult (as opposed to a junior talent) with a confirmed low rating ever to achieve a 2600+ GM norm performance in an event of nine rounds or more or

    2 [He] is the first player ever to successfully cheat at a major tournament over multiple rounds without the cheating mechanism being detected.

  • Re:Simply put.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by niado ( 1650369 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @12:12PM (#42592067)

    Also, these moves, which can be equated to "experience", is often fed to the computer by a human.

    Modern techniques often uses a mix of random chance, adaption, human fed experience, statistical experience etc.

    Hence it'll play "humanly", it'll play "ruley", it'll play "alien"... Maybe that can be concidered "computery". But there is overlaps with humans in the "humanly" department, and if humans study statistically proven moves, then there's more... Etc.

    It's not "moves" that can be memorized that would distinguish a computer from a human player. It is when the player makes entire series of moves that make no sense until you can see 14 moves ahead.

  • Re:Simply put.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brkello ( 642429 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @12:26PM (#42592319)

    You told him to go die in a fire. You are the last person who should be telling someone the appropriate way to behave.

  • Re:Simply put.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @03:18PM (#42595111)

    Sorry, that is not the way it works. Humans playing computers rather learn to play "anti computer" chess. You cannot learn to do the dumb calculation of all variants to depth >20 ply by playing a computer, even though the computer will do this. It just does not work that way. The human advantage is about "understanding" positions, and if you do not use this ability you will not get very good.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @04:04PM (#42595735)

    I have some bad news for you; none of your opponents are computers, and your "test" is silly. Computers play chess well; if you are playing the sort of opponents who will stick around after you drop a fools mate, then you are very low rated, maybe 1100. None of your opponents will be computers because computers will all earn ratings well over 2000, and the people who are cheating won't waste their time playing you--they are cheating because they want rating points, and they won't get those from playing an 1100 player. They're all playing the high-rated opponents.

    The only way you will ever face a computer is if you are rated over 2000. And since no 2000+ player would waste their time playing someone who would drop two fools mates in a row, you are clearly not that high rated.

    It is entirely possible that none of your opponents has ever cheated. You are probably just a paranoid sore loser.

  • by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @07:20PM (#42597831)

    The man suspected of cheating in the article was relying on analysis being performed somewhere outside of the tournament hall, which was then broadcast to him.

    While that's a fine assumption, there's not a single bit of physical proof to back that up. That's the basis of this whole "conundrum". The entire body of evidence they have against the guy is purely statistical. It would be interesting to sponsor a challenge or competition to try and reproduce how he would have done this, starting with the participants being searched. Even so, without any proof we can't really accuse him of cheating. He can always just use the "put up or shut up" defense.

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