Cheating in Chess: a Different Perspective

This is going to be a long post. I will not mention the names of any other online Chess Sites; I do not know if Lichess wants them mentioned. If I find out later that Lichess does allow that then I will be happy to name them. In particular the subject of my essay below.

I have not played any chess for four years; four years ago I was so fed up with chess that I never wanted to see a chessboard again. Why? I was accused of engine use despite there being no evidence whatsoever. Some facts:
[1.] I was only playing correspondence chess.
[2.] I was losing games.
[3.] I checked all my games afterwards with Fritz; EVERY game that I played had NO resemblance to engine moves. Even the wins.
[4.] I was a premium member of this chess site. Yes, I was paying THEM real money! That went well. Not.
[5.] I had no problems up to that point. I was getting on well with admins and other players. I had not got any warning from the site for doing anything wrong.
[6.] I had been a team classical chess player in other sites' leagues, and a low level league admin on one. Both playing and being an admin involved ALL of my games being scanned for engine use. If I had been into cheating I would have been found out long ago. I left that site because I was too busy to play 45 45 chess; I went to another site to play correspondence chess. It was there that these baseless accusations occurred.

Timeline of events. I still have the emails from August 2015 and am looking at them.
- August 2015, suddenly I cannot log into my account. So I contact the site and ask why.
- About two weeks pass before they email me saying that I am accused of cheating on the site. No examples are given. No games where they accuse me. No base whatsoever to support their claim. I ask them for evidence.
- they reply with a boilerplate stonewall email saying that they don't discuss cheating because it would help people to cheat.
- I ask again.
- same boilerplate letter.
- By this time I am entitled to be mad. I send them the most abusive email that I can. This is beyond ridiculous. I am happy to explain any of my games and moves if I am shown the games.
- This is where things get even wackier. You ain't seen nothin yet. Because I had a paid membership that was auto renewed
the renewal date arrives. I am charged for another year of membership!! Even though I have been excluded for cheating! I cannot get back into the chess site to cancel my membership payment!!! I just want out!
- I send another email. Every word from me is a swearword combined with what they were doing: fraud!
- I have to contact Paypal to cancel my renewal. They cancel it. Because the chess site is useless.

Holy moly Holy Toledo armpit of an Egyptian camel driver. I have seen some incompetence in chess since I taught myself from a Reinfeld book in 1983. But that is the most fraudulent, incompetent bunch of bungling amateurs that I have come across; I would recommend NOBODY play at that chess site or give them ANY money. I repeat, this is a high profile mainstream online chess site with heaps of grandmasters and videos. I am NOT talking about some backwater site like MSN chess. I thought to hell with Chess; I took up music composing. I've composed music for four years. I still feel that way; I don't know how much more chess, if any, I will play here. To do that the chess site that accused me had no system; it put a blindfold on a guy and threw a dart at a board. Somehow I was bullseye.

This didn't just harm me. I was in a few lengthy correspondence chess semi-final leagues with a lot of players. I would have liked to have logged back in to explain to them. So I cannot see even in the site's OWN interests why the hell they did this; it made other customers unhappy when giving me a chance to explain any games would have harmed nobody else. Those players probably still think that I was a cheat when of course I was not.

My perspective is obviously that false accusations can cause a LOT of damage. Of course cheats exist; I remember the British Chess Magazine article in the 90's where a guy put cans on his head hidden by long hair. He called himself John Von Neumann and in the Open section drew with GM Helgi Olaffson. Despite knowing no chess moves and receiving moves from a helper through his cans. Yeah I know. I am not an Easter bunny. As people said at the time: what was the engine? Draws with a GM. It's worth having lol.

I don't want Lichess to use methods that allow jealousy and subjective factors to accuse somebody. You need empirical evidence. Ideally the accused player should be given a chance to explain the games and moves. That said, silence from the accused player should not be held against them. They could speak a different language and not know any English. That's the issue of possible discrimination against such people.

Glad that I got this off my mind. I was in two minds if I wanted to post it. Thank you.

Play chess anyways - it supersedes ratings - enjoy the logic and sport of the game. Enjoy your music - that is a great move.

I still have the first music score that I composed; I was teaching myself music from scratch without knowing what a note was.

It's a fairly normal thing that they do not go into details about evidence or the decision making process. Why? Because doing so would make it easier to avoid detection in the future, and will be an invitation to unproductive debates.

It doesn't matter whether you (not referring to you personally) can explain the moves, I mean you can hire a GM to write the explanation for all it matters. You could have gotten flagged by some statistical methods that they use where any types of explanations would be pointless.

The only thing you can do in cases like yours is to politely ask them to review your case again, and that's basically it.

PS: Since you mentioned correspondence, I will remind everyone reading this that this isn't ICCF and use of engines in correspondence games is not allowed. Also, do not use Analysis board under Tools menu when you have ongoing games, use

It will bring up an analysis board without the engine option, that is safe to use during the game. Contrary to where there is an engine available and one could be flagged for cheating if the engine is on.

Lichess should implement a feature that automatically deletes any thread with the word cheating in its title. It is absurd the way it dominates conversation.

Go to hell dude. You don't like this topic? Get lost! I make no apology for discussing this.

Since there doesn't seem to be any quote tool for this forum I am going to have to refer in general to previous posts. Whoever asserted that getting told the games that you are accused of helps cheaters, was a fool. That doesn't help anyone to cheat. Surely someone has a right and need to know! Great Judge Dredd universe you live in: the chess site is 100% right all the time and makes no mistakes???????

By the way I cannot play bullet chess. That means that I must be a cheat. That is absolute damning evidence against me. No bullet. Has to be an engine user! I also don't play games with no added time like 10 mins each flat. That again is damning. I must be guilty.

Yes, we MUST talk about cheating. What if Lance Armstrong or some swimmer or weightlifter or runner or whatever had his friend tell everyone they cannot talk about cheating??? lol. No, this is more than an elephant in the room, and it's probably why I'll never pay an online chess site. If you are good, you play OTB. Winning online doesn't get my respect, at all, but they don't care about what I think. If you are legit, you get a title. it's really that simple. If you are 2500 and without a title, it should raise questions. People cheated in online poker, online trading, everything. When it's talked about a lot, you don't ignore it. If there is some world travesty going on and the news keeps covering it, do you really say, "talk about someone else." if you love chess, you want every thread to be on cheating until someone figures out the master program that scares everyone. now that i think about it, ratings are really pointless. no title, rating of 0. or maybe a more comical rating of like "pawn, knight, rook, etc...." because people get too worried about the worthless difference between 1809 and 1799, or 1699.

Thanks God, there is a world outside the internet where there has never been any cheating in chess, poker, other sports, trading, or everything!

@Vegemite_Fighter Instead of quote tools we refer to a previous post by its number, or to a specific user using the syntax I just used.

Lichess does not care if you mention other online chess sites, so do please tell us which site it was that abused you.

I do agree with #4 that no site could release details on how it was determined someone is cheating. This would just help cheaters avoid being caught. I think some very rare false positives (never heard of a case like yours on Lichess by the way) would be a fair price to pay if it is in the name of battling cheats. If my account was banned for cheating I would take it as the ultimate badge of honor (not that it's even remotely possible given the quality of my games, even correspondence...)

The fact that they locked you out of your account and still renewed your membership goes to show that whatever site you were using does not give a hoot about its customers. Furthermore, I bet they did not inform you beforehand that your account could be banned without warning and no explanations. The word "fraud" perfectly summarizes their activity.