“The Integrity of the Game is at Stake”

The question is no longer, “Is there cheating in Chess tournaments?” After reading the comments left at the USCF website in response to the happenings in Atlanta, Georgia, at the Junior High School Nationals the question is now, “How rampant is the cheating in Junior Chess?”

There is an article on the USCF website, 1100 Players Battling in Atlanta For Junior High School Nationals, By Vanessa Sun|April 7, 2018. (https://new.uschess.org/news/1100-players-atlanta-junior-high-school-nationals/)

The comments in response to the article are frightening.

Gang | April 8, 2018 at 1:19 pm

The live broadcasts were bad. Hope next time will be better.
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john doe | April 9, 2018 at 1:19 am

there needs to be a two move delay or min o 5 minutes for broadcasts. too easy for people to cheat. the way the maryland chess association does it is the best. they don’t even show the first move for white until black plays. that makes sense and is most fari (sic)
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Tang | April 9, 2018 at 9:59 am

Can’t agree more. There are kids cheating in every tournaments, even in nationals. If there is no delay for broadcasts, it would hurt top seeds if some kids find it too easy to bring a phone to the restroom.
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john doe | April 9, 2018 at 4:18 pm

it’s not even the player having a phone. do you know how many parents/ teammates have these games in stockfish on their phone while watching. I walked around the room and i hear people talking about the best move or engine recommendation for some of the top boards. they all know the best engine move. the player doesn’t even need to punch the position into their phones. a player can overhead a conversation about their game or a well meaning parent can just say rook to e8 in passing. i mean this is pretty ridiculous. Everyone is a grandmaster due to stockfish. The temptation is just too great. Moves must be on a move and time delay. the integrity of the game is at stake.
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john doe | April 9, 2018 at 4:22 pm

Basically you are having a kid take a test and every spectator knows the answer due to stockfish, and you expect everyone to abide by the honor system and not spill the beans? can you imagine if the SATs were given in this manner. Parents and friends 20 feet away with all the answers to the questions and no one policing this, can you expect no one to say anything? it’s a bit of a stretch. This can be easily fixed. delay the moves.

John Doe | April 9, 2018 at 8:14 pm

The combination of the live broadcast updating in real-time, and with players having to leave playing hall and walk through parent/spectator waiting area to use the bathroom, is what made this bad.

I also saw players already done with their games going back into playing hall – hopefully just out of innocent curiosity.

There were many upsets on the top boards in this tournament, we’d rather believe these were all clean games indicative of the deep talent pool in USA scholastic chess, versus believe the alternatives.

I like what they did at world youth – live broadcasts are delayed – and the venue set up to prevent any opportunity interaction even for things like bathroom breaks. DGT systems support delayed updates, not sure why this wasn’t done here.

john doe | April 9, 2018 at 11:52 pm

agree players should be completely segregated from people with access to engines. or just don’t broadcast the top games especially in the last few rounds. broadcast other games where the stakes are not as high.

“too easy for people to cheat.”

“There are kids cheating in every tournaments, even in nationals.”

Everyone is a grandmaster due to stockfish. The temptation is just too great. Moves must be on a move and time delay. the integrity of the game is at stake.”

I did not attend the Junior Nationals, and know nothing other than what was read at the USCF website. After reading the comments I had to question whether, if I were a parent, I would want my child to participate in such an event. The answer is a resounding, “No!”

The possibility of cheating has been with Chess for some time now. It would seem those in positions of power would have taken measures to preclude the possibility of cheating. Evidently, such is not the case. It is sad to see. Cheating is killing the game.