by ChessBase
10/16/2001 – The Internet section of the FIDE world championship qualifier has run into technical problems. In the privacy of their homes players do not always stick to the highest ethical standards. They use computers, playing in effect a form of Advanced Chess (human + computer). One participants notched up an incredible 4000 wins and 0 losses in the playing zone. more

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FIDE has been staging a giant Internet qualification tournament for the next world championship. Eight of the 128 places will be determined by the outcome of this online competition.

But such mammoth competitions on the Internet have their own special problems. In the privacy of their homes players do not always stick to the highest ethical standards. "How can I tell if someone uses a computer for cheating?" asked one dispairing player on the FIDE dicussion forum. Another visitor replied: "If people are undefeated, with no verified GM title, and are the most powerful player. Its obvious if they are using a chess program when they have a 2800+ rating. I have seen a player with a 4000+ rating with 4000 wins 0 losses!"

Now FIDE has decided to replay of some semi-final games, and have in fact introduced an on-line appeal form. This has apparently been used vigorously, as Mark Crowther reports in THE WEEK IN CHESS 362 (15th October 2001):

FIDE Internet Qualifiers The FIDE Internet qualifiers are coming to a conclusion. There are eight places for the FIDE Chess Championships available. Quite who takes the final places could be very interesting. However I'm getting more and more complaints about the organisation of the event following on from the complaints of Epishin last week. One GM ended his E-Mail by saying "I tried all I could do to qualify without cheating and I'm not interested (this time at least!) in playing advanced chess. I now will stop playing because it makes no sense."

Another competitor outlined the problems starting his E-Mail by saying "The world's first ever advanced chess swiss system tournament. Horrible horrible stuff."

He continued "At least 90% of the participants are cheating, using computers, or teams of GMs . Everyone's using a computer. However, FIDE hasn't forfeited a soul for computer cheating. Practically all of my 15 opponents so far used computers." This in spite of assurances that there would be anti-computer controls at the later stages.

He added the $39 entry fee which you pay by credit card was accepted in Zambia.

"The format is absurd. Play in a playing zone, play in a 102 player 9 round swiss, then a 64 player 8 round swiss? What sense is that?? To boot, FIDE kept changing it's own rules, adding players to the swiss. The pairings were usually wrong, and there were many server problems."

In addition players have been defaulted without playing a move unable to connect to the server. There are all sorts of bugs with the software one player losing a game on time in spite of the board having King vs. King. The time control is 25 minutes + 15 seconds per move which is practically a cheaters charter. One added "You can't have an increment greater than 5 seconds in an online prize tournament. It's too easy to use a computer in that time frame."


  • FIDE web site – with details of the FIDE qualifier
  • Latest issue of TWIC – Issue 362 of Oct. 15, 2001
    If you are using ChessBase 8 you can download the latest issues of TWIC each week with a single mouse click ("Help – Get new games").

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