Friday, 23 September 2011

Accused of Cheating

Let me start off with a transcription of the chat window which took place after I won the game:

"Anonymous: resigns
Unrated game, no ratings changed
Anonymous: proggy 
latmat: Proggy? Sorry, don’t know that one 
Anonymous: chess engine
Anonymous: cheater/abuser of system
latmat: No just lucky on that
Anonymous: no
latmat: I screwed up bad and you did too 
latmat requests another game
Anonymous: too long
Your opponent has left"

I have been accused of cheating while playing on Chess Cube few times now and every time it is quite unsettling. Let be clear I do not cheat. I do however study (memorize or learn) opening lines and a bit of end game theory from chess books, videos and my own computer assisted analysis.

Grandmaster opening preparation goes deep; up till even the 30th move! Now this preparation is done with computer assisted analysis in our day and age. Are they cheating? No they are simply using their gifted and developed memories. Now just because I am not a grandmaster does not preclude myself from preparation. So if a player plays lines I know well, I will give them a strong performance.

Now it is also possible to be taken out of the "book" so to speak when less common moves are made. This is an example of what happened in my game posted here. I made a mistake, taking us both out of the main lines.  Now just because I play a strange line and end up being able to win the game does not mean I am cheating!

In this instance my opponent forgets that he too also makes mistakes! Going out of the "book" creates an atmosphere where creativity and not memory is key, mistakes are more likely to occur. The more creative player with a stronger intuition and tactical eye will often have the advantage in such a position!

So in this instance I was more creative and had a sharper tactical eye. I found myself a chance to win which he did not see. In another game the outcome may be different but in this instance I won. If you look at the computer annotation included in the pgn above, my opponent was far better off than I. His blunder on move twelve gave the advantage back to me! There was no cheating here, only a bruised ego who couldn't believe he could have lost such a position!

Chess Players have good and bad days, have different knowledge; needless to say the reasons one player wins and the other loses is very complex. Let's please keep the accusations of cheating to an intelligent minimum!

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