International Chess Federation
Friday, 21 Aug 2020 15:10
FIDE President address on anti-cheating policies

Dear chess friends, 

I believe there is a consensus that computer-assisted cheating is a real plague of contemporary chess. 

We have already taken strong steps to enhance our efficiency in fighting it, including strengthening analytical tools, using detectors and scanners in all official FIDE events, training arbiters, finding a right legal basis, and having a dedicated team working on these matters. 

The online chess boom brought new challenges, and although the number of suspicious cases is fairly low, FIDE must act vigorously, sending a clear message to potential violators in order to create a secure environment in our competitions. 

We work together with the leading online chess platforms. We have adjusted the algorithms used for online play. Having a lot of data, we sharpened our statistical methods – and in these regards, I’d like to thank Professor Ken Regan, who keeps improving his algorithm – and those who think his method does not work against the so-called smart cheaters, they will be surprised. 

We must act, and I want to emphasize that FIDE will be ready for the ensuing legal challenges. 

However, I feel that we need a broad consensus on the measures applied. Below are the main questions we would like to have your opinion on: 

1. Our methods of detection, although very advanced and ever-improving, can't provide a 100% confirmation. In many cases, the probability estimated is higher than the one for DNA tests. Do you believe a statistical algorithm (or a combination of those) giving close to 100% probability of cheating could stand as sufficient grounds for banning a player? If yes - what odds would you find sufficient? 

2. Shall FIDE apply sanctions for alleged online violations to over-the-board-play (and vice versa)? 

3. Shall we apply sanctions for alleged violations at platforms’ own events, and other unofficial online events, to official FIDE online events (and vice versa)? 

4. Shall we publish the names of alleged violators after the very first conviction? 

5. Shall the violators be punished retroactively, with their prize money, rating and titles been revoked for some period preceding the verdict? And, if yes, how far back should these actions go? 

6. What would you consider a reasonable banning period for first-time violators, and for repeat offenders? How strict should be the measures in youth competitions? 

There are many questions and some of them are related to the moral and legal aspects of the subject. Having a fair and transparent system will require a trusted framework. The worst thing to do would be to ban an innocent player. 

Likewise, the reputation of chess and our global chess family could suffer tremendous damage if a tsunami of scandals and court procedures starts to overshadow the exciting environment of international chess competitions.  

We must be strict, but responsible. Firm, but accountable. And before approving a general policy, we would like to hear your opinions. You may answer the questions raised in this communication or simply submit your proposals to the following email: 

It is going to be a long battle, but I am sure we will succeed.