Wednesday, February 2, 2011

How to cheat at chess (freeware version)

  • Load the open source program Stockfish on your quad core at home; you now have a beast that will beat any human.
  • Install GlaurungServer on the same machine.
  • Download the Stockfish for iPhone app.
  • Configure your app to talk to your home computer with Stockfish's "remote engine" interface.
  • At your next tournament, use the toilet strategically.
And even if the connection with your home computer were to go down, there are several native iPhone apps (tChess and Shredder are both excellent alternatives to Stockfish) that offer master-level tactical advice.

Human nature being what it is, I would wager that a handful of unethical players are already doing this.  (Something similar may have been committed by a member of the 2010 French Olympiad team and two accomplices: bravo to the French Chess Federation for commencing a painful investigation.)  This is one reason for FIDE's cell phone ban.  If you know a tournament director who has worked major national events (we are fortunate to have more than our share of these good folk in Illinois), he or she may share some horror stories with you.  And these are the bad guys who were caught, bad guys using yesterday's technology.

So could someone please explain to me the wisdom of continuing to have big entry fee, big money class events for amateur players?  Amateurs include masters, too; most of us with ratings below USCF 2450 or so play for the love of the game.  I don't think this is as big an issue at higher levels, as strong players have an idea of what other strong players are (and aren't) capable of.

I should add that Stockfish is an amazing engine and that GlaurungServer (which I haven't bothered to test-drive) looks like it could be incredibly useful for serious (and ethical!) players (amateur and pro) who want to consult it during kibitzing sessions..

1 comment:

Frederick Rhine said...

See also