Cheating Chess and does it apply to online Go as well?

Very interesting article, read it here

Since I don’t own a smartphone, I was wondering, do these apps or programs already exist for Go? And the paranoia in online championships?

“At the heart of the problem are programs or apps that can rapidly calculate near-perfect moves in any situation. To counter these engines, players in more and more top matches must agree to be recorded by multiple cameras, be available on Zoom or WhatsApp at any time, and grant remote access to their computers. They may not be allowed to leave their screens, even for toilet breaks. In some cases they must have a “proctor” or invigilator search their room and then sit with them throughout a match.”

Your thoughts, please.

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Clearly written by someone who doesn’t play much chess (“Fide” [sic]), but otherwise I can believe it. Did I read the article correctly that Tigran Petrosian cheated? That’s insane if true, since he’s a famous enough chess player that even I recognize the name.

Tigran L. Petrosian is a strong armenian grandmaster (and cheater), but he is not the same as the legendary world champion Tigran V. Petrosian. The former’s father, a chess enthusiast, gave him his name in reference to the latter. Still a huge scandal.

We had a situation two years back where an Italian go player playing for the European (Go) Team Championship was accused of cheating. He was penalised and the penalty was overturned, but the situation remained unclear. Scroll to May 2018:

PS: As for my opinion, I follow chess news (and play chess a bit), and the Guardian’s article looked fine to me - I didn’t find any serious inaccuracies.


Ahh, that makes sense. I think it’s time we started giving children two middle names. :smiley: Or just using them.

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These programs exist. The problem is real and with us today in Go. Like our chess colleagues, we work on ways to detect it that "detect[s] cheating as the deviation from the proclivities of an honest human player”.

It’s probably an opportune time to note that if you suspect someone of using AI in your OGS game, please don’t raise it with them. Continue playing, and raise it with us by reporting the game.
Accusing your opponent of “botting” can’t possibly achieve anything (do you think they are going to admit it?) and just serves to alert them that they are under suspicion.


I had an opponent accuse me of cheating. I politely suggested in pm that reporting cheating is the correct course of action of you suspect it. :smile: I wonder what he thought of that response. :rofl:


Yes, go AIs surpassed humans long time ago (like a few years). They’re somewhat more computationally costly but you can already see pros losing to their smartphones.

It sometimes happens in offline tournaments but rarely (or maybe rarely get caught). In April 2018 in Chinese amateur tournament a player was caught. And a more known case of cheating in Korean pro qualification tournament this year. After this metal detectors and TSA-like searches were introduced.

Cheating online from the comfort of your own home is much easier. Suspicion of online tournaments was getting higher and higher. For example, in 2018 one of the players was accused of cheating in online pandanet competition. Or more recent 2 year disqualification of a player by RGF again in pandanet competition. It really felt like online tournaments were going to be dead soon, at least in my view. Because it’s easier to not play online than solve cheating problem. And most serious tournaments are offline anyway.

Fortunately, we got really lucky with coronavirus. Go organizations had to think about online solutions. Serious online tournaments now use video cameras around the players, and you connect through skype or similar to your opponent and a referee. Sometimes proctors are also present.

Casual online play is filled with cheaters on top levels. Ilya Shikshin says that even pros cheat online. So it’s better to never get good.


That’s a dramatic topic even if it’s more a problem between strong players.

My two concerns:

OGS seems more vulnerable as a kind of more slow time settings server as others.

Then I’m as afraid of opponents using bots as to be falsely accused to use one myself.

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How do you recognise a game in which the opponent is using AI?
What are the symptoms?

I do remember one case on OGS (but presume there have been more).
Happened to watch a game in which a kyu player was about 100 points ahead (according to the score estimator) and the dan player lost three or four groups already.
My sentiment went from enormous surprise to unbelievable to cheating (btw this took a while). The dan player reported it to the moderator who confirmed in chat after the game that the result was annulled and the kyu player would be warned or banned.
In this case it was clear that an AI was used.

But if a cheater is smart and only uses it sparingly in game (say only when in trouble and not against opponents that are significantly stronger), then using AI would be much harder to detect.



Maybe they used a bot to write it :slight_smile: Only a few centipawn losses here and there.

Antti Tormanen has had some interesting blog posts over he last few months.




Might be worth a read. There’s links to further discussions and comments within too.


As always happens when nobody is able to provide proof either way.

Those were times where no anti-cheating measures were taken. It could have been the first case of international relevance and it served to highlight the issue.

As an italian go player, I can only say that our community is very small, everybody knows that player and everyone is sure that he wasn’t cheating… but that’s just opinion, no proof.


Best thing to do if you suspect them just report.

Here’s the L19 Link

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