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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dirty, Rotten Cheaters

They’re at it again on another forum. Some guy thinks when you are playing correspondence chess (a generic term these days for postal, e-mail and servers) that it’s cheating to use books and databases!

It’s like those idiots who whine that people who use engines are “only hurting themselves because when you use an engine you don’t learn anything.”

Come on! Concerning the issue of playing engine generated moves, people who do that are not playing chess so they can learn anything. Also, not everybody who plays CC is trying to learn anything. Some people are just playing for enjoyment. Whatever psychological reasons people have for using engines, their objective is to win and they will use any means, legal or not, to accomplish their objective.

They aren’t hurting me. If I lose to an engine user, so what? At worst I lose a few rating points. With my Queen Alice, Chessworld or CCLA ratings I can get a cup of coffee at McDonald’s for $0.99. If I prefer to quote the clerk my Plasticbiship rating (about 1250) I still have to pay $0.99. Makes me think my rating doesn’t mean anything!

Going back to the days of CC played via post card the rules were that you could not consult other players but books were allowed. Back in those days there weren’t any resources to consult except books. Even if stronger players were available most of them wouldn’t give you the time of day.

Nowadays with engines, databases and tablebases it’s easier to get outside help. But the point is all “CC” sites have rules similar to the following:

"You cannot use a computer program to evaluate or analyze a game. However, you may use computers for record keeping. You are also allowed to consult chess books and opening databases." Therefore it is asinine to claim use of databases and books constitute cheating. It isn't…the rules say it isn't. End of argument.

For people who chose not to use available help because they “want to practice thinking on their own to sharpen their OTB play” then that is their reason for not consulting books or db’s. As for those who just think it’s somehow wrong, then they should either avoid CC play or shut up. They knew the rules when they signed up to play on whatever site it is they are playing on.

It’s like those guys who whine about losing on time. Even in OTB games if you exceed the T/L you lose…providing your opponent claims the win. If he’s a really nice guy (and I never met an opponent that nice) and doesn’t claim the win, that’s his choice. If he does claim the win, what can you say? You exceeded the T/L. Why should CC be any different? When somebody exceeds the T/L, and they knew what it was when they accepted the game, what makes them think their opponent is wrong for claiming the win?

I’ve met some really nice people playing CC on various server sites, but I think former USCC Champion Edward Duliba may have been right when he said server chess contains the dregs of the chess world and he will never play on a server. They are out their waiting for you to pull out your copy of MCO-14, consult your db or claim the win when they fail to move on time. When you do they’ll start screaming, “Cheater! Cheater!” They’re the same guys who will subject every game they lose to analysis by their free Crafty engine and if they find two match ups start screaming, “Engine user!”

Yep! There’s some weird people out there.

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