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    Monday
    Apr072014

    FIDE's Latest Effort To Ruin Ratings

    FIDE is introducing online rated play, which is a fantastic idea because no one would ever cheat in an online game, right? Great. I wonder how long it will be before some unknown player reaches 3000.

    (HT: Ross Hytnen)

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    Reader Comments (16)

    I think I'm old or something, but part of the fun of chess for me is physically meeting people, and actually touching pieces and hitting buttons on clocks! Anyone else feel the same way?

    [DM: I like that too, but as it isn't easy for most of us to get in FIDE-rated games this is a great idea in principle. When I've played in norm events it has meant missing a week's work, paying for a week's hotel bill, traveling a few hundred miles, etc. If I could get norms in this way, without uprooting my life and my budget, it would be terrific. But here I can neither trust that my opponents are on the up-and-up, nor would any title I obtained in this way be free from suspicion.]

    April 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFranklin Chen

    If there weren't such things as chess computers, I'd think this was a decent idea. As it is, it is incomprehensible.

    April 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMikeO

    I don't think norms via internet aren't the issue, yet.
    The bigger question is whether one integrated rating for blitz, rapid and tournament games is a good idea. I tend to think: No.
    The internet rating stuff is only one aspect of this question and I doubt that long games over the net will ever be rated.

    Phille

    April 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPhille

    If proof were needed that FIDE does not understand the realities of chess (on whatever level), this should suffice.

    April 8, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercmling

    This is just FIDE jumping on the online bandwagon. How many online arenas do we really need? We've got PlayChess.com, chess.com, chess24.com, ICC, the USCF's proposed site, Yahoo and all the other third-tier online parlors, FICS, and I'm probably missing a few. As far as them policing online cheating, that claim is [baloney]. Ken Regan and the joint FIDE-ACP anti-cheating committee has not gotten their protocol finalized yet and probably will not for another six months. And who knows how long it will take to apply this protocol to online games? (Regan is meeting with the committee, in Buffalo, this month.) I don't think Mr. Chen is old. OTB is the only real sporting chess. That live tension goes missing online.

    FIDE is just trying to use its name and authority to bring in members. Why would its online community be any different than the others mentioned above? Why would the ratings be any more authoritative than those at, say, ICC?

    Regan's Intrinsic Performance Rating (IPR) will eventually make make FIDE ratings obsolete. IPR will eventually be able to normalize any one online site's or federation's rating system to any other. In other words, as long as we can be pretty sure that no cheating is in play, we'll soon have an accurate way to compare one rating to another, and FIDE's monopoly on prestige will get tossed. If, for example, I know that my Chess.com blitz rating equals FIDE's online rating minus 204.7, using, say, a system that keeps these comparisons accurate in real-time, then what's the difference if I play at the FIDE site, the chess.com site, or OTB in Russia or the USA?

    [DM: I don't see why IPRs would render FIDE ratings obsolete. It's an interactive battle between two players, not a competition to see who scores best on the test. If my IPR is 100 points lower than yours but I make my games so complex that my opponents' average IPR is 200 points lower than your opponents, chances are I'm probably a better player than you are. Or let's suppose I'm a better positional player than you are and that fattens up my IPRs, but have a bad habit of blundering. Maybe I'm only making one mistake a game and my IPR is much better than yours, but you're the better player because you're more tactically reliable than I am.]

    BTW, keep an eye out for my profile of Ken Regan in the June Chess Life.

    Howard

    April 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHoward Goldowsky

    I clicked the link to see if the obligatory picture of Kirsan, with practically every Fide announcement, was present. I was not disappointed.

    April 8, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterlwolf

    I'm not proposing that we substitute online or OTB ratings with IPR. What I'm proposing is that Ken's algorithms will eventually analyze, say, 500,000 games of chess.com players rated 2000 +/- 10. The aggregate IPR for this huge "big data" set might be, say, 2104. Regan's algorithms then can run on 500,000 blitz games of FIDE players rated 2000 +/-10, with an aggregate IPR of 2044. From this we can conclude that chess.com + 60 = FIDE. Right now FIDE has a reputation as being the "most reliable rating." But if we can get an objective way to normalize the different rating systems of the world, then FIDE's monopoly on "the most reliable rating" might not seem so important anymore. I agree with you when you imply any individual 2000-rated FIDE player might perform wildly wrt IPR. Ken's work can merely provide statistical relationships between rating systems. But once those relationships exist, no one rating system will appear more objective than any other, as long as those ratings are calculated by some well established procedure like Elo's or Glickman's. Perhaps some systems or servers will have a larger variance or fluctuation than others, but if somehow, some day, we can get these comparisons running in real-time (think 2700chess.com which produces "live" FIDE ratings), then we will live in a new chess world. Hg

    April 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHoward Goldowsky

    I concur it is a bad idea but don't we have correspondence chess which is pretty similar? I never really understood how cheating can really be eliminated from CC.

    [DM: While USCF still officially forbids the use of computer engines in correspondence play, ICCF does not. Like it or not, it isn't cheating. Here computer use certainly would be.]

    April 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSS

    I am afraid that internet chess has a major subculture of dishonesty, cheating, and abuse.
    Some chess websites apparently don't even try to enforce their own rules for members.
    I know that some people create multiple accounts and, by playing themselves, use them
    to manipulate the ratings and cheat. Some people also create multiple accounts for trolling
    or being abusive in communicating with other members. I know that some people who
    act this way in online chess also are generally respected players OTB.

    I have met some people who boast of intentionally breaking the rules of these websites
    and lying about it. Even worse, some other people have said they admire them for doing it.
    Such lying and cheating seems widely condoned. When I tried to convince people that it's
    wrong to break the rules on purpose and lie about it, I was shouted down by some of the
    liars, cheaters, and their friends.

    So I have much less respect for some OTB players because I know how badly they have
    acted when they assumed that no one else would know. I doubt that matters will improve.
    Indeed, I would think twice about inroducing a child to internet chess because I expect it
    would expose him or her to a major subculture of dishonesty, cheating, and abuse.

    April 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrno

    Brno, I can't understand the REASON for cheating in online chess. I know there are some tournaments for money, but mostly it is for fun. I can understand why someone might cheat when money or titles are on the line. I don't condone it, and it is one of the reasons that when I was still playing in live tournaments I preferred small club events. (If someone wanted to cheat there it would be more obvious and there would be less at stake. Thus I didn't stress myself out worrying about it.) But why cheat at online blitz? As Cindy Lauper once said, "The mind simply boggles!"

    April 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterIcepick

    Yes, Icepic. Why cheating if nothing is at stake?´Thats an interesting question.
    Surprsingly even in private jogging groups many people take unhealthy drugs.
    Is it just to impress their peers? Are humans able to believe their own lies? In my own experience, for little childrens it seems very natural to ly and cheat. Education may help a bit. Cheating - is it just a part of the human nature, to try if you ge taway with it?

    There we are at FIDE. In my opinion, for Kirsan it doesn't matter wether a fair and honest online rating can ever be established. Its just an attemt to earn money with online chess, steeling customers from established online chess servers with unfair means, using the FIDE title royalty for promotion.

    April 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRalph

    @Icepick

    "I can't understand the REASON for cheating in online chess."

    Complexes, overambitious parents, simple inability to deal with defeat, things like that.

    April 13, 2014 | Unregistered Commentervoyteck

    Icepick, I suspect that many people cheat and act abusively in internet chess
    because they believe they never will be held accountable for their actions.
    I often have been called names in internet chess that no one has ever called me
    in OTB chess. True character is revealed when there's no fear of punishment.

    I also have noticed that a disproportionately high number of internet chess players
    are endowed, to put it mildly, with swaggering arrogance. I routinely encounter
    players who lack any sense of objectivity about their games. I routinely encounter
    players who disconnect rather than resign in losing positions. I suspect there
    could be something about chess that attracts a disproportionately high number
    of people with a personality disorder. I have to say that I am rather surprised to
    find the courtesy in internet chess that's normally expected in OTB chess.

    If someone behaved as badly in OTB chess as many players do in internet chess,
    then I suspect there might be some physical consequences.

    April 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrno

    So why do people cheat at online chess? If you play online nowadays it appears everyone is a natural born cheater. How can this be??The answer probably is that those who do not get trounced by chess engines. Since most players have average chess ability a 3000 rated Houndini will demolish anyone how doesn't cheat. therefore it is natural selection of the cheaters, but if you could wave a magic wand where non-cheaters only played non-cheaters you would probably get many non-cheaters to keep playing.

    April 27, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbroom hilbert

    "I am afraid that internet chess has a major subculture of dishonesty, cheating, and abuse"

    You have no idea how bad it really is,

    85-90% of players online are running bots and chess engines while a much smaller percentage of players are on the up and up and the problem is not limited to chess 350,000-980,000 people get banned on popular gaming servers for all kinds of abuse when the servers clean house every now and then.

    [DM: I play on various chess servers with some regularity, and while every now and then I wonder about an opponent there is absolutely no way that the percentages are anywhere near what you're suggesting. (Which is a good thing - if the numbers were even in that ballpark it would be pretty depressing!)]

    If that many people are trying to screw honest players and bend the rules it paints an ugly picture of where people's morality is at.

    June 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMack

    It seems that will at least can agree on the fact that OTB and online is different. And if we do I don't see the problem with people cheating online. I try to handle it by playing blitz, but when I encounter someone who seems to play above their rating. I just think that they have a good day, which occasionally happens to myself. And to avoid the cussing and idiots claiming that I cheat, I've just eliminated the ability to chat on chess.com.

    June 29, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMattias

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