With technology’s advancements, we’ve also found new ways and platforms to enjoy chess. Conveniently, you can play with other players around the world using computers.
That said, as much as perks, the digital age brought new challenges to modern chess fans. One such issue is the new methods by which dishonest players cheat during a chess match.
Software to analyze games, such as Stockfish, is now rampantly used to cheat on online chess platforms like chess.com. It can be an annoying thought: dishonest players beating you at the sport you invested so much time to master!
If you’ve ever been cheated on a match, you might be asking, “Can chess.com detect Stockfish?” So, keep reading, and let’s discuss chess.com and chess engines.
Stockfish in Chess
Stockfish is a chess engine for analyzing chess matches. The software was first developed from the open-source chess engine created by Tord Romstad in 2004 called Glaurung.
In 2008, Marco Costalba picked up Glaurung and improved its features. The current Stockfish version, however, is the result of years of contribution from countless open-source developers.
Many consider Stockfish the most powerful chess engine to date. Its calculating prowess has been proven to dominate other top chess engines.
Since its release, Stockfish has won several major chess engine tournaments. In fact, it won seven out of nine Top Chess Engine Championships (TCEC) from 2017 to 2020.
Cheating Using Stockfish
Stockfish is an extremely potent engine with a rating of more than 3500. For reference, the current world champion, Magnus Carlsen, has a rating of 2852.
This characteristic makes defeating Stockfish almost impossible. Only the highest-rated human chess players have a chance (albeit minimal) to defeat it in a match.
This chess engine can deeply analyze and detect the best moves possible. This feature makes it an excellent tool for postgame reviews.
However, while chess players typically utilize Stockfish to hone their craft, some are tempted to use it to boost their ratings on chess platforms.
What makes this possible is the open-source nature of Stockfish’s software. Because it’s accessible to the public, shady developers can easily exploit it for dishonest intentions.
Chess players succumbing to temptation can effortlessly install the software on their phones or computers. They use these Stockfish programs to simulate the game during a match and play the moves suggested by the AI.
Can chess.com Detect Stockfish Cheating?
Chess.com established fair-play rules and regulations to keep its platform free from cheaters using engines. They use detection systems to analyze matches and identify suspicious players.
Any form of chess program or engine isn’t allowed in ongoing matches. This restriction includes Stockfish, Houdini, Komodo, Chessmaster, and Chessbase.
That said, one way their system detects chess engines is through comparison. They contrast the player’s moves with computer moves and judge based on their similarities and differences.
Severe penalties are enforced against accounts found using Stockfish to cheat in a chess match. Once detected, your account can get banned or closed for good.
Now, there are instances when both players are aware and are deliberately using Stockfish for match experimentations. Chess.com dissuades such scenarios as they can still trip the system.
Nevertheless, chess.com ensures they’re actively improving and enhancing their cheating prevention measures. Here are some crucial points to remember to avoid getting banned on chess.com:
- Do not use any kind of chess engine or chess-assisting program during a rated game.
- In daily chess matches (a chess set-up where players move every few days), chess.com allows consulting in chess materials other than chess engines.
- During real-time chess, outside assistance is strictly forbidden.
- Aside from chess engines, using chess books or notes to decide your moves during a live match can get your account banned.
- Never let anyone else play in your place during a match.
How to Spot if Your Opponent Is Using Stockfish?
Chess players who aren’t confident in their skills are the ones who usually fall to the lures of chess engines. The idea of reaching high positions with less effort does sound inviting.
Nevertheless, cheating in a fair game always leaves a sour taste. Besides, winning by deceit won’t improve your chess skills more than riding a bike in a foot race!
That said, learning about how chess engine users operate can be an effective way to spot these cheaters. So, here are some tips to know if you’re opponent is using Stockfish:
- Players who use chess engines follow Stockfish suggestions, which means they play more quickly than the average chess player.
- Take note of the accuracy rate of your opponent—players using chess engines will have an abnormally high accuracy rate.
- Compare the player rating with their performance rating, as a mismatch between these two points usually happens when using Stockfish.
- An abnormally long winning streak on the player’s record can also mean they’re using a chess-assisting program.
- You can also analyze your match using chess.com’s Analysis Boardand compare your opponent’s moves with the computer’s.
Chess.com: How Can You Report Someone for Cheating?
If you find all of these signs positive on your opponent, there’s a high chance you’re dealing with a cheater. In such cases, chess.com recommends reporting them.
Here’s how to report a user on chess.com:
- Locate and click the username of the player you suspect of cheating.
- Find the “more” button on the player’s profile, then click it.
- Several options will appear, including block and report.
- Choose the report button and fill in the necessary information.
- Finally, click the report option to submit.
In the final step of reporting, the system will ask you to select several reasons for your report. During this stage, you can include screenshots as evidence of your claim.
Chess is an ancient board game that millions of people around the world enjoy. It’s a classic strategy sport that has enchanted children and adults for centuries.
That said, we must all strive to create a fair field for all chess players. Avoid and report underhanded strategies, such as using Stockfish, and maintain good sportsmanship.