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 Post subject: Chess Cheaters Get Exposed
Post #1 Posted: Sun Jan 17, 2021 5:20 pm 
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That is the title of a recent YouTube video by YouTuber and chess IM GothamChess.

Video is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5MD6hn5PgI

Watching this has left me convinced that cheater identification in chess is more straightforward than in Go.

- Nonhuman moves in the middle game seem especially easy to spot.
- The time limits in online Chess (super blitzy) lead cheaters to simultaneously:
-- find unthinkably great moves in a few seconds, and
-- waste an important few seconds waiting for AI's feedback from the AI on trivial moves.

I'm not a chess player, but their action always seems interesting.


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 Post subject: Re: Chess Cheaters Get Exposed
Post #2 Posted: Sun Jan 17, 2021 6:18 pm 
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easy to have a bot or Ai open on another machine while playing online. So,easy, in fact, folks don’t consider it cheating so much as just having some help. Changing values.

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 Post subject: Re: Chess Cheaters Get Exposed
Post #3 Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2021 3:29 am 
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Even in go, it seems to me, "Seek and ye shall find" applies. All these budding Poirots in chess and go should surely be playing Cluedo instead?

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 Post subject: Re: Chess Cheaters Get Exposed
Post #4 Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2021 7:07 am 
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mhlepore wrote:
Watching this has left me convinced that cheater identification in chess is more straightforward than in Go.


I think most of it is that they've had to deal with it for much longer so detection techniques both statistical and human have had time to develop and the culture around professional chess has adapted to the reality that cheating is not only going to work but also too easy to do to expect to not require alterations about how games are done, e.g. a sealed move for the next day is a very different thing if bots stronger than GMs exist. E.g. I remember a GM recently commenting that when they played online tournaments recently they would have a webcam looking at them and a webcam set up behind them that could clearly see them and all their screens and so on on top of having all their games being analysed for engine moves and similar and they were all fine with this and though it necessary. For mere mortals playing chess, iirc chess.com and other sites would routinely pick games from players and analyse them trying to find people using bots to pick their moves, the stronger you were and/or the more quickly you were advancing/out performing your ELO the more likely your games were to be picked iirc. I imagine Tygem and similar will start doing such for their 8d/9d games? It'll just take time for detection to catch up in go, but I don't see why they won't. Suddenly finding yourself playing against a bot rather than a human midgame is universally disliked and I can't imagine major go servers being any less keen to stamp it out if they think it's causing their players/customers to avoid playing.

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 Post subject: Re: Chess Cheaters Get Exposed
Post #5 Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2021 8:41 am 
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I suppose that using Stockfish, say, to choose your moves is some sort of sandbagging. What kind of motive would some mid-kyu level player have to use Lizzie or katago to cheat? The cheater would know that any rating obtained that way would not be real, thus providing no ego satisfaction? Or does this kind of cheating indicate a mental problem? Anyhow it would be a lot easier to cheat in "correspondance" games.

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 Post subject: Re: Chess Cheaters Get Exposed
Post #6 Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2021 8:54 am 
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Maybe it's even more pertinent to consider it from the other angle. If you're not seen to be playing honestly, and you then get hit by an accusation, well then that's your reputation gone forever.
I don't think Go has anything particularly slick and reliable in terms of cheating detection yet. If you want to get caught, you can, and if you don't want to get caught I'd imagine that life is still pretty easy.

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 Post subject: Re: Chess Cheaters Get Exposed
Post #7 Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2021 9:00 am 
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I've been playing chess a fair bit this past year. I'm ok at go, not strong, but in Chess, I'm simply bad. Nonetheless, I got notified by chess.com that my rating went up, as they'd found that one of my opponents was using a bot. So there's not just detection, but widespread detection.

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 Post subject: Re: Chess Cheaters Get Exposed
Post #8 Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2021 9:21 am 
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Javaness2 wrote:
Maybe it's even more pertinent to consider it from the other angle. If you're not seen to be playing honestly, and you then get hit by an accusation, well then that's your reputation gone forever.
I don't think Go has anything particularly slick and reliable in terms of cheating detection yet. If you want to get caught, you can, and if you don't want to get caught I'd imagine that life is still pretty easy.


I've seen in chess it being discussed from a repercussions angle. For top pros being caught cheating usually outweighs the advantages using a bot would bring, they'd at minimum lose their livelihood for a few years on top of the reputation damage. The issue was more in "just under pro level" and with younger players who had realistically options other than chess to make their living. And then for amateurs outside of formal competition? It doesn't really matter whether their ratings are real or not if they're not faking pro level ability.

Personally, in casual online go games, I don't really care much what aids my opponents use or don't use. Similar to how I won't get bothered over someone getting a tip from a stronger player on a game or something. In tournaments though this does need to be considered extremely carefully since playing on even footing is central to the whole idea.

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 Post subject: Re: Chess Cheaters Get Exposed
Post #9 Posted: Tue Jan 19, 2021 8:24 am 
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bogiesan wrote:
easy to have a bot or Ai open on another machine while playing online. So,easy, in fact, folks don’t consider it cheating so much as just having some help. Changing values.

I don't know any chess players who consider that to be "just having some help" rather than cheating, and this sort of behavior gets one banned from chess servers, so I don't think values in general have totally changed just yet.


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 Post subject: Re: Chess Cheaters Get Exposed
Post #10 Posted: Tue Jan 19, 2021 11:30 am 
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dfan wrote:
bogiesan wrote:
easy to have a bot or Ai open on another machine while playing online. So,easy, in fact, folks don’t consider it cheating so much as just having some help. Changing values.

I don't know any chess players who consider that to be "just having some help" rather than cheating, and this sort of behavior gets one banned from chess servers, so I don't think values in general have totally changed just yet.


As for the US, the TV show Have Gun, Will Travel provides a good window on US values in the mid-20th century. Every episode is a morality play. The hero, Paladin, played by Richard Boone, is a hired gunman who lives in San Francisco and has a business card saying, Have Gun, Will Travel. The name, Paladin, comes from the fictional knights of Charlemagne's court in medieval literature, akin to the knights of King Arthur's round table. The theme song calls him "a knight without armor in a savage land." Despite the title, there is little gunplay in the show. Typically Paladin is hired by one party in a potentially deadly dispute, which he attempts to resolve. Usually any violence comes about because the other side refuses to negotiate. Today we might say that Paladin practices alternative dispute resolution. :cool: :lol:

Yes, Paladin is definitely cool. He is wealthy, cultured, and attractive to women, traits which he shares with Bruce Wayne/Batman, who this site , https://economicsociology.org/2021/01/1 ... s-messiah/ , claims is the quintessential American hero.

Edit: Currently the H and I network is showing Paladin reruns. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Chess Cheaters Get Exposed
Post #11 Posted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 4:35 am 
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dfan wrote:
bogiesan wrote:
easy to have a bot or Ai open on another machine while playing online. So,easy, in fact, folks don’t consider it cheating so much as just having some help. Changing values.

I don't know any chess players who consider that to be "just having some help" rather than cheating, and this sort of behavior gets one banned from chess servers, so I don't think values in general have totally changed just yet.


Players who use bots and cheats are rarely welcomed. As a rule, dishonest players who make progress not on their own, but with the help of software, are punished either by the seizure of dishonestly earned money or by blocking the account.

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 Post subject: Re: Chess Cheaters Get Exposed
Post #12 Posted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:27 am 
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dfan wrote:
bogiesan wrote:
easy to have a bot or Ai open on another machine while playing online. So,easy, in fact, folks don’t consider it cheating so much as just having some help. Changing values.

I don't know any chess players who consider that to be "just having some help" rather than cheating, and this sort of behavior gets one banned from chess servers, so I don't think values in general have totally changed just yet.


Just noting the conversations I've been monitoring. Values I'm talking about are held by individual players, not the larger community. New go players, coming from gaming systems where running machine assistance is not seen as cheating so much as gaming the system and getting away with something, are going to bring their questionable behavior to go. For example, online tarot card readers do not use a real tarot deck in these days of automation and AI-assistance. Are those people cheating? Well, if you're stupid enough to pay money for an online tarot card reading it doesn't matter much! These conversations also suggest cheating is getting more difficult to detect with certainty as the perps continue to try to figure out how to remain undetected for as long as possible. The possibility of false positives also runs high. How does a legitimately rapidly advancing newbie defend against such an accusation?

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 Post subject: Re: Chess Cheaters Get Exposed
Post #13 Posted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 3:48 pm 
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How many people on L19 think that the score estimator is a convenience rather than a cheat?

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 Post subject: Re: Chess Cheaters Get Exposed
Post #14 Posted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 3:50 pm 
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To which score estimator are you referring?

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Post #15 Posted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 3:57 pm 
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I am not sure since I don't play online these days. I vaguely remember someone recently posting, wanting to get set up on Fox (?) at least partly because Tygem (?) had started charging their coins for the use of the score estimator, where it was free in the past.

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 Post subject: Re: Chess Cheaters Get Exposed
Post #16 Posted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 5:24 pm 
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I don't think it is a cheat (ok, maybe in blitz games it's a bit much but longer games you are just saving a little effort really compared to counting regularly in your opponent's time). I think you can have a very purist outlook on this and think anything other than the board, stones and clock is too much and not be wrong but for me personally I am far more concerned with whether the game is enjoyable for me win or lose than I am if my opponent is using any aids or not. One of the key issues with Go AIs now and Chess AIs for years is that it does not feel like you're playing a human, the occasional artificially perfect moves punishing small mistakes by you is unsettling. Someone using a score estimator is not going to give you anything like this feeling.

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 Post subject: Re: Chess Cheaters Get Exposed
Post #17 Posted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:25 pm 
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Fox has a score estimator that is available to all players as a convenience. I don't see how using a feature openly provided by the site can be considered cheating. People who don't like playing against players who use it should play on a site that doesn't have that feature - there are plenty of them.

If I were playing against someone on a site without a score estimator feature and they made a copy of their game and ran a score estimator on it, I would indeed consider that cheating.


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 Post subject: Re: Chess Cheaters Get Exposed
Post #18 Posted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:08 am 
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bogiesan wrote:
Just noting the conversations I've been monitoring. Values I'm talking about are held by individual players, not the larger community. New go players, coming from gaming systems where running machine assistance is not seen as cheating so much as gaming the system and getting away with something, are going to bring their questionable behavior to go.


O tempora, o mores! :sad:

dfan wrote:
Fox has a score estimator that is available to all players as a convenience. I don't see how using a feature openly provided by the site can be considered cheating. People who don't like playing against players who use it should play on a site that doesn't have that feature - there are plenty of them.

If I were playing against someone on a site without a score estimator feature and they made a copy of their game and ran a score estimator on it, I would indeed consider that cheating.


Me too. :)

Boidhre wrote:
I don't think it is a cheat (ok, maybe in blitz games it's a bit much but longer games you are just saving a little effort really compared to counting regularly in your opponent's time).


If your score estimator gives the same results as human counting, it sucks the big one.

Pre-AI books on positional evaluation focused on counting secure territory. That can be useful information, because it indicates how much territory you need to make in less well defined areas of the board. :) But it is not really score estimation. For real score estimation you want KataGo or the like.

To me, positional evaluation is an important skill to develop, and involves rather more than counting. In a casual game it should take a couple of minutes. IMO, following Znosko-Borovsky's chess advice, it should be done, as a preliminary to making a plan, only a few times in a game. That may not be so easy with common online time controls. {shrug} Regular counting during a game is a waste of time.

On the one hand, using an accurate score estimator is a crutch, which can hamper development, if you rely upon it rather than developing your own skills. And, OC, using a sucky score estimator sucks. :lol:

But thinking about it now, if I were to host an go server, I think that I would offer an accurate score estimator to the bottom half of users, maybe to the bottom two thirds. Instead of thinking of it as a crutch, I would think of it as a learning aid. We don't expect secondary school students to figure out everything for themselves. They get to look things up.

Here is how you might use an accurate score estimator as a learning device. At certain points in the game, estimate the score yourself, and then check your estimation against that of the score estimator. Then, following Znosko-Borovsky, make a plan. Later you can check to see how well you are doing, and maybe make a new plan. This way you get to practice both score estimation and planning, and you get real time feedback on how well you are doing. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Chess Cheaters Get Exposed
Post #19 Posted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:59 am 
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Boidhre wrote:
I don't think it is a cheat (ok, maybe in blitz games it's a bit much but longer games you are just saving a little effort really compared to counting regularly in your opponent's time). I think you can have a very purist outlook on this and think anything other than the board, stones and clock is too much and not be wrong but for me personally I am far more concerned with whether the game is enjoyable for me win or lose than I am if my opponent is using any aids or not. One of the key issues with Go AIs now and Chess AIs for years is that it does not feel like you're playing a human, the occasional artificially perfect moves punishing small mistakes by you is unsettling. Someone using a score estimator is not going to give you anything like this feeling.


It all depends on the type of software and what kind of advantage this software gives when playing against a person. In an AI game, using cheats is one thing. But an unfair advantage over a person is another question.

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Post #20 Posted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:12 am 
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Bill Spight wrote:
Boidhre wrote:
I don't think it is a cheat (ok, maybe in blitz games it's a bit much but longer games you are just saving a little effort really compared to counting regularly in your opponent's time).


If your score estimator gives the same results as human counting, it sucks the big one.

Pre-AI books on positional evaluation focused on counting secure territory. That can be useful information, because it indicates how much territory you need to make in less well defined areas of the board. :) But it is not really score estimation. For real score estimation you want KataGo or the like.

To me, positional evaluation is an important skill to develop, and involves rather more than counting. In a casual game it should take a couple of minutes. IMO, following Znosko-Borovsky's chess advice, it should be done, as a preliminary to making a plan, only a few times in a game. That may not be so easy with common online time controls. {shrug} Regular counting during a game is a waste of time.

On the one hand, using an accurate score estimator is a crutch, which can hamper development, if you rely upon it rather than developing your own skills. And, OC, using a sucky score estimator sucks. :lol:

But thinking about it now, if I were to host an go server, I think that I would offer an accurate score estimator to the bottom half of users, maybe to the bottom two thirds. Instead of thinking of it as a crutch, I would think of it as a learning aid. We don't expect secondary school students to figure out everything for themselves. They get to look things up.

Here is how you might use an accurate score estimator as a learning device. At certain points in the game, estimate the score yourself, and then check your estimation against that of the score estimator. Then, following Znosko-Borovsky, make a plan. Later you can check to see how well you are doing, and maybe make a new plan. This way you get to practice both score estimation and planning, and you get real time feedback on how well you are doing. :)


From what I saw of the score estimators, they were not accurate enough until the very late game for you not to have to use your own counting skills to compensate for it. Maybe score estimators available on go servers are that accurate enough now to not require this in the middle game? I don't know.

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