A slightly different post today, and certainly not my usual style. Opinion pieces are not usually my thing, but today I played a chess game that made me stop and think about the current chess scene allegations.
Above is a game of chess that I played online today. It was a good game for me, as you can see from the moves and board. Granted, my opponent was 130 points lower in ELO rating than myself, so I was expected to win the game. But that’s not why I’m bringing this game forward.
Currently, the entire professional chess world is split over whether Hans cheated during a tournament game against the world chess champion. Perhaps he did, or perhaps he didn’t. I still see no evidence of *how* he cheated, since it was a live game, with a real board, and officials and spectators. As of today, the only reason cheating is suspected is because he did so well, when he statistically shouldn’t have.
However, I’d liked to present three thoughts for you about players who happen to do better statistically then they should:
- Players who unexpectedly do well in tournaments are often accused of cheating.
In December of 2007, Anna Rudolf was accused of cheating when she beat the top seed player at a tournament. Allegedly, her lip balm was supposed to be a radio that received the best moves from the internet. Three prominent members of the tournament refused to shake her hand during the games and called on officials to have Anna removed from the tournament.
They inspected her lip balm and found no evidence to support this claim. To the best of my knowledge, there has never been any evidence of her cheating, yet the stigma sticks.
2. Often throughout history, you will find tournaments where one player beat the champion, while loosing to all the other players.
It was often said of tournaments with Rashid Gibiatovich Nezhmetdinov that Tal would beat everyone except Nezhmetdinov, and Nezhmetdinov would lose to everyone, but beat Tal. There are other examples of this, but this is one that stands out in my mind.
3. Sometimes people can play a “perfect” game. That’s why I brought up my game. Win or lose, it is unusual for a human player to play the best computer decided moves. Often, after a game, it can be evaluated by a computer, and given an accuracy score. This score represents how closely your moves matched the computer’s preferred moves.
Today, despite being a player below 2000 ELO rating, I played a “near perfect” game. Per the computer, I made no mistakes, no blunders, and had an accuracy score of 96%. This is, more or less, what I understand Hans to be accused of. So, by that reasoning, I must also be accused of cheating, even though I did not.
I honesty don’t know if Hans cheated or not. I do wonder though, if there is no evidence, why is it that a lot of the top players are convinced that he did? Perhaps I don’t see it because I am too lowly rated to understand their point of view. Just a few honest thoughts from a guy watching from the sidelines. Take it with a grain of salt.
Linux – keep it simple.