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 Post subject: online cheating in chess article
Post #1 Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:33 am 
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Interesting article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/ ... he-culture

The first paragraph alone makes this worth the read. :-)

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 Post subject: Re: online cheating in chess article
Post #2 Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 12:01 pm 
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Two sentences leapt out at me:

1. Petrosian attributed his play to the gin he sipped during the game.

So why doesn't he drink gin in all his normal games? If he's not allowed to do that, then he presumably shouldn't have been doing it in this game. I.e. he cheated in a different way.

2. The cheating was blatant, she said, with mediocre preteens at the level of the world champion, Magnus Carlsen.

This sort of remark (by a former British ladies' champion) is rather common. As impressive as being a ladies' champion is, it's a long way down from being a multiple world champion. So how does she know it was at the level of Carlsen. A computer wouldn't tell her - it would be too good even for Carlsen.

But these fripperies and their hyperboles aside, I am convinced cheating is rife and that it is uncontrollable - it is part of the DNA of too many people. It may be a stage in our evolution. Survival of the cheatingest, and all that.

I also expect it to have a big R number in go. I'm already convinced AI has heavily dented interest in the game, even at pro level. The (temporary?) enthusiasm of a few doesn't make up for lost numbers. If (or rather when) you add go cheating to the mix, more will be driven away. Go itself will survive, but in diluted or corrupted forms.

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 Post subject: Re: online cheating in chess article
Post #3 Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:31 pm 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
So how does she know it was at the level of Carlsen. A computer wouldn't tell her


A computer can tell the percentage of moves that matches the computer's moves. And even without computer, she is certainly able to see that the "mediocre preteen" played at a level much higher than hers.

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 Post subject: Re: online cheating in chess article
Post #4 Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:33 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
If (or rather when) you add go cheating to the mix, more will be driven away.
Over the last few weeks, I've had quite few bad experiences, i. e. games where I was utterly crushed by an opponent of the same rank. Running the game through Lizzie shows the other player is playing AI's top choice(s) most of the time, no matter the situation (non-obvious tenukis, complex life-and-death,...).
Being crushed convincingly once in a while? Sure!
Being left with the feeling that I played someone 5 stones stronger, several times a week? That makes me very suspicious.
The pace of the game was also a telling sign, with many of these opponents never answering a move immediately, but also never thinking too long, mostly answering after something like 10 seconds. That also feels very different from playing a human.

So, what to do and where to go?
IGS? They have no interest in catching obvious cheaters, so I don't think we can count on them to do anything against more subtle cheating cases.
KGS? It's mostly people playing against computers at my level, so it's not easy to find a game.
Tygem? Given the amount of people trying to trick you during the counting phase, it seems likely people there are cheating with AI all the time.
Fox? I never played there, but maybe they're doing things better?

And even if go servers develop a real anti-cheating policy, will that be enough? I think I read about chess players being refunded the ranking points they lost when the system detected their opponent had cheated. That's all well and good but, in the end, you've still spent your time playing against bots, and I have zero interest in doing that.

So, I guess we're left with blitz games. I'm not very familiar with chess, but isn't it the case that most online chess games are rapid/blitz/bullet games precisely because of cheating?

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Post #5 Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 4:21 am 
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We should be careful and remember that Chess.com has wrongly blocked players in the past with regard to cheating.

Of course, people will cheat, they don't need financial gain to do so. But when money is at stake, then perhaps it becomes rather a more important issue. Real checks and balances are needed, not just summary justice.

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 Post subject: Re: online cheating in chess article
Post #6 Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 4:46 am 
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Shenoute wrote:
KGS? It's mostly people playing against computers at my level


Not in a single game (except for the few explicitly paired against a declared bot) I would have been sure to have played against AI. In some games, it felt like "might have been AI or my opponent punished my mistake(s) convincingly". What I am sure has changed is many players' playing styles: they have adopted AI-like openings, josekis, aggressiveness in fighting. It is a challenge to catch up with all that but that's just my duty as a player.

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 Post subject: Re: online cheating in chess article
Post #7 Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:06 am 
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Just to be clear: the remark you quoted about KGS wasn't about players cheating, it was about players choosing to play against bots in the Computer Room instead of playing against humans. There are not a lot of dans players on KGS and the Computer Room makes it even harder to find a human opponent (for instance, there are 12 human-vs.-bot games out of the 15 top games on KGS right now).

About cheating, I'm glad you didn't have this feeling. But, as I said, I noticed that the amount of games where, for instance, I have three weaks groups on move 100 and my opponents never leave any weakness has gone up in the last few months (and my rank/level seems to be stable overall, so it's not me suddenly playing worse). Coupled with the fact the 99% of their moves match Leela's and the even response time (and other factors), I'm pretty confident bots were used.

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 Post subject: Re: online cheating in chess article
Post #8 Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 6:14 am 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
Not in a single game (except for the few explicitly paired against a declared bot) I would have been sure to have played against AI. In some games, it felt like "might have been AI or my opponent punished my mistake(s) convincingly".


When I play against an AI, it isn't obvious at all to me that I'm being punished for a mistake. More likely is there will be a ten move sequence where I think I am doing fine, but after the fact I learn that in those ten moves, AI reduced my evaluation by 40 percentage points.

I don't know how our cheater detection views in Go translate to chess.

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 Post subject: Re: online cheating in chess article
Post #9 Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:31 am 
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https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/oct/16/chesss-cheating-crisis-paranoia-has-become-the-culture wrote:
Chess.com, the world’s biggest site for online play, said it had seen 12 million new users this year, against 6.5 million last year. The cheating rate has jumped from between 5,000 and 6,000 players banned each month last year to a high of almost 17,000 in August.


Not really concerned in light of these numbers. If we accept 17.000 banned players each month, we ban 204.000 players a year. That's below 2% of all new players, so the chance of me running into an account which might get banned is miniscule.

On lichess I have around a thousand games played and once was refunded points due to a banned account. And even in this instance I didn't get suspicious in the game so I personally never felt cheated.

Regarding the paranoia, it's real, yes. In my country we think about organising an online qualification tournament for the national championship in go. It's a small country. The player base is... assessable. All the strong players know each other personally. There is no prize-money involed. Still, most likely players will need to record themselves, too.

I'm optimistic though that this will all blow over. As long as go servers adapt to the new age... and there goes my optimism : D

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 Post subject: Re: online cheating in chess article
Post #10 Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 9:06 am 
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It's interesting to me that the replies so far focus on playing online. For me the real concern is not that, and not even cheating at all.

Where I think the danger lies is in AI making pro games less and less interesting for many of us humans. I'm not at all convinced that the analogies of chess or athletics (e.g. cheetahs can run faster than humans but we still watch the Olympics) apply here.

For example, go in the Far East is heavily bound up with tradition. Japanese newspapers have long supported pro go simply because it is part of tradition and most Japanese newspapers expect to sell newspapers on the basis of their Japaneseness. In its simplest form this is like the Oxbridge Advertiser which has a splash headline: "Titanic sinks. Oxbridge man dies." It's bad enough that Japanese players can't give Koreans and Chinese a run for their money at the moment, but when the world's best player is both streets ahead and invisible, and has nothing to do with Japan, who - apart from the nerds - is going to care that little Sumire is good enough to take six stones from DeepViolet? Most commercial companies, i.e. sponsors, don't target their products specifically at nerds.

Even on this forum we now see virtually no posts about humans.


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 Post subject: Re: online cheating in chess article
Post #11 Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 9:39 am 
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There has been perhaps zero interest shown in the Online European Championship https://eurogofed.org/egc/2020.html
It is almost at the quarter final stage now.

I think that I have less affinity with computer go games now than I did before. Which machine would make the last mistake. How well would they be able to play. Would they miss a ladder or a geta in a hilarious fashion.

Watching humans play is still what I enjoy the most, but I do need to feel some sense of affinity with their games. If I don't know any of the back story, any of the history, the event is always much less interesting. Frankly, these days I don't get to read much about who is at the top. There is still no real journalistic coverage of go in Europe / NA. Sinan Dejpov's book on SEYGO was quite interesting to flick through, but it wasn't at all slick in terms of presentation.

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 Post subject: Re: online cheating in chess article
Post #12 Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 10:07 am 
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Two points intertwined.

1)
It is my understanding that there are only a few posts about human go players here because, foremost, the western pro go players are pretty much concerned with their own interests and have - in my eyes - no strategy to actually promote go, let alone produce aspiring content. And secondly because the majority of us has no real insight in asian pro go player lifes and their doing due to the lack of (readily available) enlgish news (see your own characterisation of the Japanese newspapers' aim).

On a side note, and this is just me, but in terms of likes your posts about the asian go scene are very well received. There are only few replys, true. But again, I think that's due to the lack of any substantial input we can give. We don't really have a big picture to talk about when it comes to the asian go scene - and when I say "we" I generalise my own lack of understanding to not feel left out.

2)
In my opinion, the influence of the asian go scene on the western go scene has already heavily dwindled. Firstly, there are a bunch of strong asian go players in Europe alone, actively teaching and promoting go. Secondly, we still talk about and consult the same (asian) books the generation before us has talked about and consulted. I have the feeling there are now more new english go books published by western players than there are translated ones. There are - of course - some exceptions: Yeonwoo's and Redmond's appearances on YouTube are very interesting and deliver an "asian" view on go. But only Yeonwoo produces content - sometimes - where you can get a glimpse into a (korean) go player's life. To be a bit harsh to Redmond, but in my eyes a lot of his content is neither novel nor requieres a pro go player to produce.

So, what I want to to say: Western go players are - primarily - not the ones to marvel at the game. "We" like to play, we like to be able to play. "Our" main concern is a dwindling (online) player base. Maybe due to dwindling interest in go (but the bots have no fault in that since the decline is not at all recent), maybe due to having only really bad western go servers to play on (ie no online community). That's why I guess (online) cheating is more of a first hand issue for most.

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Post #13 Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 10:56 am 
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Javaness2 wrote:
There has been perhaps zero interest shown in the Online European Championship


I used to be very interested in watching European Go Championship games and it was straightforward when part of congresses.

The first hurdle in some years has become that top boards were played in an extra room with prohibited entry for kibitzes. Live TV in the bar of board 1 is dull, IMO.

The next hurdle has been the detachment of European pro players from ordinary players. Instead of playing in the same, continuous tournament, there is now the completely separate European Pro Championship.

The third hurdle is its weak announcement. One has to actively search for the event in time to schedule one's kibitz time appropriately. Not impossible but each additional hurdle reduces chances that I do kibitz live.

Finally, reports are not spread well. It is mostly a tournament for the sake of its own webpage, or maybe the EGF webpages, but hardly spread beyond this tight scope.

Do European Pros have other activities? I hardly know. Sometimes they seem to play in international tournaments, a few books have appeared but what else? Do they teach or spread the word of Go? I don't know. Mostly, they seem to live in an enclave. Maybe my impression is wrong but then why don't they reach me (or the go community) better?


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 Post subject: Re: online cheating in chess article
Post #14 Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:49 am 
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Javaness2 wrote:
There has been perhaps zero interest shown in the Online European Championship https://eurogofed.org/egc/2020.html
It is almost at the quarter final stage now.


Lack of interest in L19 doesn't mean lack of interest everywhere. There are many venues of online Go activity these days:
- here
- several Facebook groups
- Reddit r/baduk
- server chat rooms
- server game chat
- twitch streams
- YouTube streams
- discord
- others
The kibitz on OGS has been pretty lively (remarkable for a usually kibitzless server). The publication of when the games will be could be improved, but for the last few weekends I've logged in and there's often a game to watch with top Europeans kibitzing.

RobertJasiek wrote:
Do European Pros have other activities? I hardly know.


Regarding the lack of visibility of EGF pros I'd have agreed 6 months ago, but I thought the European pro League was a great success, both for alleviating the boredom of covid lockdown weekends and getting the pros better known to lots more people. https://www.eurogofed.org/ has improved at posting news.

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 Post subject: Re: online cheating in chess article
Post #15 Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 3:00 am 
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Uberdude wrote:
The kibitz on OGS has been pretty lively


I watched a couple of matches yesterday, there were about 250 viewers at any time, which is not bad IMO. But communication could be improved (advertisement of the event, live streaming...).

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Post #16 Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 5:15 am 
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Uberdude wrote:
Lack of interest in L19 doesn't mean lack of interest everywhere. There are many venues of online Go activity these days:
...
The kibitz on OGS has been pretty lively (remarkable for a usually kibitzless server). The publication of when the games will be could be improved, but for the last few weekends I've logged in and there's often a game to watch with top Europeans kibitzing.
...


Indeed there are plenty of other places were you will see some discussion, but not here. 260 Observers is a bit lower than I was expecting, I'd have thought with Covid-19 locking people in that they'd have punched above that number. Maybe the viewing figures have to be adjusted if there are those who prefer to watch just on Twitch and not on OGS.

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Post #17 Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 5:50 am 
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From https://eurogofed.org/egc/2020.html

October 18th 6:00pm CEST (exception to the schedule): Ali Jabarin (6) vs Lukas Kraemer (22) (lukas.kramer.739)

October 19th 10:00am CEST: Artem Kachanovskyi 2p (2) vs Tanguy Le Calvé 1p (10)
October 19th 4:00pm CEST: Mateusz Surma 1p (5) vs Anton Chernykh 7d (13)

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