Cheaters & Cheating: What you Need to Know

What are the rules?

  • No chess programs or engines (e.g. Chessmaster, Fritz, Houdini, Stockfish, Chessbase with any active UCI engine, etc.) can be used to analyse positions in ongoing games.  
  • In turn-based chess, you may consult books or databases (including the Explorer) for opening moves.  "Tablebases," which are specialized databases of particular endgame positions, may NOT be used.  
  • In Live Chess, no outside assistance OF ANY KIND is permitted.
  • Fixing game results by playing with multiple accounts or losing intentionally is also considered cheating

How do I report someone I think is cheating?

  • If you have reason to believe someone is cheating, please report it here and include all relevant info (username, reason for suspicion, etc). We investigate all reports and keep them confidential. 
  • Please do not discuss your suspicions in the forums!

How does detect cheating?

  • Part of our analysis involves comparing human moves to computer moves and looking at statistical significance. 
  • To remain effective, other aspects of our detection methods are confidential.

How often does catch cheaters?

  • We are constantly going through our top players and submitting them to our cheat-detection process.  We close many accounts each week (including those of premium members).

What happens to a player who is found to be cheating on

  • We close their account immediately; all games in progress are awarded to their opponents
  • We do not and can not "restore" other users' ratings to what they would be in an alternate dimension where the cheater never existed!  (Don't worry - just keep playing; encountering a cheater in your chess career won't make any difference in the long run.)

How long does someone cheat before finds out?

  • We need a certain amount of game-data before we can make an informed & accurate judgement about a member.  It varies.

What should I do if my opponent accuses me of cheating?

  • Assuming that you are NOT actually cheating, our advice is to simply disable chat and continue your game.  Your opponent may be frustrated, bewildered by your superior skills, or just trying to rattle you! 
  • If you want, you can also add the accuser to your blocked-player list so they cannot contact you again.

If I reported someone for cheating, why hasn't their account been closed?

  • We appreciate you reporting the suspected cheating, but ultimately we will decide on if they were cheating or not. If we have not closed their account then the evidence is not conclusive.

You closed the account of someone I know - I'm sure they weren't cheating!

  • Sorry that you are upset. Unfortunately, people do cheat - sometimes even really nice people. Again, we only close accounts when we are absolutely certain, not because of suspicion.

Can someone appeal if their account is closed?

  • We are happy to listen, but generally speaking, appeals are unsuccessful
  • The usual pattern is that the member denies cheating and demands proof, and then we maintain that they were indeed cheating and we're not at liberty to disclose how we proved it: Pretty futile.

Why do people cheat?

  • Our best guess is a lack of respect for their opponents and for the game - often combined with low self-esteem.

What does think about cheating?

  • Cheating is a terrible disease all over the world of online chess.
  • Our policies are clear & strict; they are also faithfully enforced.
  • We feel we are extremely effective in identifying and dealing with most cheaters.

What does recommend that we do/think about cheating?

  • Forget about it!
  • If you are rated below 2000, you are NOT going to encounter a lot of cheaters
  • If you are rated above 2000, rest assured that we are always checking top players and evolving our detection methods
  • Enjoy your chess, tell us if you have concerns about a given member, and let US worry about the cheaters!


Note also that, to keep our regular forums free of a subject that tends to cause unnecessary anxiety, we have created a special group forum for discussions of cheating in online chess.  Please restrict your comments on the subject to that group forum. Thank you! 

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