How do you cheat at chess? Artificial Intelligence and Morse Code | So Good News
This is the event that shook chess.
Someone is talking about the cheating scandal engulfing the sport involving five-time world champion Magnus Carlsen.
In a lengthy Twitter post on Monday, Carlsen publicly accused fellow grandmaster and rival Hans Niemann of cheating for the first time.
The allegation comes weeks after the Norwegian lost unexpectedly to the American at the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis, Missouri, on September 19.
“When Nieman was invited to the 2022 Sinquefield Cup at the last minute, I decided to attend before the event. Finally, I decided to play,” Carlsen wrote.
“I’m sure Niemann has cheated more than he’s publicly admitting. His behavior at the table was unusual, and during our game in the Sinquefield Cup, I had the impression that he was not tense, even in critical positions, completely focused on the game, while also giving me the impression that he was black. A handful of players can.
“This game helped change my perspective.”
Niemann, for his part, admitted to cheating at ages 12 and 16 and was banned from competing on Chess.com.
The website said in a 72-page report that the teenage grandmaster “cheated” in more than 100 online matches, including prize money matches.
And Niemann said in an interview with the St. Louis Chess Club that he never cheated in off-board games.
And for a game that seems so simple in structure—one chessboard, two players, 32 pieces in total, and a lot of creativity in theory—many people are asking, “How does someone cheat at chess? ?”
Despite being an ancient sport, chess has been brought into modern times in recent years.
Computers and the internet have made competition around the world accessible and connected to players, and artificial intelligence now gives players the tools to plan their moves before a match begins.
It all started in 1996 when Grandmaster Garry Kasparov, one of the greatest players in history, faced IBM’s supercomputer Deep Blue in a series of matches.
Although Kasparov won the first match, Deep Blue won both games, becoming the first computer program to defeat a world champion in a classic tournament game.
A year later, the two faced off against Deep Blue, defeating Kasparov to become the first computer program to defeat a world champion in a full match.
Although Kasparov’s play against Deep Blue has been reevaluated over time, the significance of the results cannot be overstated. It was a totemic moment in the advancement of technology’s ability to play a “perfect” chess match and signaled the increasing impact of artificial intelligence on chess.
Since then, with advances in computer hardware and software, chess engines have helped transform the sport into a 21st century game.
As defined by Chess.com, a chess engine is software that “analyzes chess positions and returns what it considers to be the best possible move options.”
Chess engines have become much more powerful than humans in recent years, with many exceeding 3,000 Elo ratings – the Elo rating system that measures a chess player’s strength relative to their opponents. For context, Carlsen holds the record for highest Elo rating by a human player in 2014 when he reached 2,882.
Stockfish is one of the most advanced chess engines with a rating of over 3500, meaning it has a 98% chance of beating Carlsen in a match and a 2% chance of drawing the five-time world champion, which Carlsen showed. victory is impossible.
While chess engines help players improve their skills – practicing against ideal moves to prepare themselves for any situation – they also make it easier for some players to cheat.
As a result, online chess sites such as Chess.com have developed anti-cheat technology to detect when players are using external computer software during games in order to curb fraudulent play.
Despite improvements in anti-cheating technology, FIDE’s chief chess officer Emil Sutovsky says chess needs to develop a “social contract” with online players to stop cheating.
“Now, what used to be, the culture of online cheating, if you tried to cheat on the board was seen as much less of a crime,” Sutovsky said – online chess cheating is a “massive” problem,” CNN Sport reported. “You’re a computer game, online game, it’s like you’re playing online chess, so it’s not that important.
“Many players suspected that other players were cheating, and they naturally sought to test themselves. This is something that doesn’t exist on a chessboard. Now, this culture or legacy really needs to change and people need to realize that whether it’s online scams or blackboard scams, it’s a scam.
“Especially now when the situation has changed, there are serious prizes, tours like Magnus. [Carlsen who] conducted his tour, so this whole perception should naturally be replaced by the realization that online fraud is a very serious sin and the punishment for it should be very severe.
As FIDE struggles to combat online cheating, there is the purity of off-the-board chess that proves cheating is much more difficult.
Referee and FIDE Fair Play Commission member Andy Howie outlined the measures in place to prevent overboard fraud such as metal detectors, signal scanners, non-linear scanners and thermal imaging.
However, security measures have not stopped people from trying to cheat, and the history of the game is full of scandals.
Allegations of cheating and foul play continued to fly at the 1978 World Chess Championship final, with one grandmaster present calling it “the strangest and dirtiest World Championship match in the history of chess”.
At one time, Anatoly Karpov, the young champion of the USSR, said that Viktor Korchnoi, who was in Russian exile, was trying to blind him with mirrored glasses, reports El País.
Later, the waiters served Karpov blueberry yogurt, and Korchnoi suggested that he use it for the coded communications of his rival’s analysts.
In 2021, Karpov won the match, which was recreated in the Russian film “World Champion”.
FIDE recently stripped Georgia’s Gayoz Nigalidze of his grandmaster title and banned him from competitive chess for three years in 2015 after checking his phone mid-game to find the best move.
Also in 2015, an arbiter caught Italian amateur Arcangelo Ricciardi cheating in a competition using Morse code and a camera.
According to information, Ricciardi was hiding a video camera in a pendant around his neck, wires on his body and a small box under his arm.
“I kept looking at him. “He was always sitting, never standing,” head referee Jean Coquero told La Stampa. “It’s amazing, we’re talking hours and hours of playing. Above all, he always folded his arms and carried his thumbs under his armpits. He never released it.
“Then he blinked, as if his unnatural eyes were fixed on the board, but lost in some other thought. Then I realized: he was deciphering Morse code signals. Point line. That’s it.”
Riccardi denied cheating.
It is unclear whether Niemann actually cheated on Carlsen – an allegation the American vehemently denies.
In any case, theoretically, if someone were to input Carlsen’s moves into a chess engine like Stockfish, for example, they could beat or draw Carlsen with almost 100% probability.
There is no clear evidence either way, but the five-time world champion appears to have been convinced of a rough performance in the Sinquefield Cup.
It’s a lot harder to cheat when you’re sitting across from your opponent with their eyes on you and an official over your shoulder, but that hasn’t stopped players throughout history from trying.
According to Howie, top players who rely on their chess careers are less likely to cheat when they lose on the line.
“You have someone like Hikaru Nakamura or Magnus Carlsen or Levon Aronian or Ian Nepomniatchi. If they were caught cheating, it would be devastating for them, for their careers,” he told CNN Sport. “This is their career. They cannot do this because it would be very destructive for them.
“They would lose all trust, all sponsorship. They have too much to lose. Now that doesn’t mean we treat it like they never cheat. When we’re dealing with their tournaments, we’re really, really strict, just to make sure there’s nothing… I don’t think I’ll ever find any scams like that.
“I’d be really surprised if I saw one of these guys cheat. But when you get down the ladder, you’ll see people cheating on your weaker players. People who see this, it doesn’t matter to them, they will be banned for a year or two. ‘Then what? I will come and play in a couple of years. I’m not too worried about it.’ It doesn’t affect the best players. This is not their livelihood.’
And as the Carlsen-Niemann feud continues to dominate the sport, who knows what truth the stories will bring.