Chess.com, the world’s biggest site for online play, said it had seen 12 million new users this year, against 6.5 million last year.
Huge win for the nerds, right? Everyone has to stay inside, so everyone has started playing chess. 2x the amount of new users. The world may be falling apart, but the game is growing. You could argue that the pandemic is one of the greatest things to ever happen to the game of chess. The International Governor is probably loving this, right? WRONG.
The cheating rate has jumped from between 5,000 and 6,000 players banned each month last year to a high of almost 17,000 in August.
NOOOOOOO! The once honorable sport of chess, a game in which two men sat toe to toe, looked each other in the eye, and made their moves has seen a 300% increase in cheating behind the keyboard. Using calculators and computers to help them make their moves. Uhhh, first of all, no duh? And I guess that does suck for the people that take it seriously, but these stories are hilarious:
In one chess tournament, five of the top six were disqualified for cheating.
Could you imagine? The top 5 seeds in a tennis tournament booted for cheating. The top 5 golfers in a tour event kicked out for cheating. The Lakers, Bucks, Clippers, Celtics, and Raptors…..disqualified for cheating. If chess was any cool whatsoever, this would be quite the story. But instead I saw it buried deep on Twitter while taking a shit this afternoon.
In another, the doting parents of 10-year-old competitors furiously rejected evidence that their darlings were playing at the level of the world No 1.
10 year olds achieving the level of a world #1. Sounds like the 4th grade state science fair. A bunch of overactive parents dominating the kids.
And in a third, an Armenian grandmaster booted out for suspicious play accused his opponent of “doing pipi in his Pampers”.
I mean this is gold right here. An old dude in Armenia that has been dominating the competition for years is now so pissed about getting beat during online play that he's pulling out the worst of the worst from his Armenian book of insults. But he doesn't know if he's losing a step or if the kid across the pond is cheating. Paranoia has taken over the industry.
Folks, this is BAD. One expert is even going as far as using the big C word.
One leading ‘chess detective’ said that the pandemic was “without doubt creating a crisis”
Wow -- a leading chess detective? As opposed to your average to above average chess detective? Not to be confused with your middle of the pack and sub-par chess detectives. But all jokes aside, these chess guys are pretty pissed with all of this online cheating….
“The pandemic has brought me as much work in a single day as I have had in a year previously,” said Prof Kenneth Regan, an international chess master and computer scientist whose model is relied on by the sport’s governing body, Fide, to detect suspicious patterns of play. “It has ruined my sabbatical.”
I gotta say, this is the part that made me laugh. First of all, does that say SPORT? And second, it appears the coronavirus has ruined Professor Kenneth Regan's sabbatical. Not because March Madness wasn't played. Not because there's barely any fans in the stands and no tailgating. Not because our traditional way of life has been turned upside down. Nope, it's because the suspicious patterns of cheating during chess tournaments has skyrocketed due to the shift to online play. I'm sorry Professor Regan. I really hope the pandemic ends soon so we can get back to some face to face chess.