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Old July 19th 17, 02:58 AM posted to
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Default Hardwa how does spyware work? At a chess board?

Reposting this from a forum on computer hardware to see if anybody here has an answer. -RL

Hardwa how does spyware work? At a chess board?

The scenario is this: chess player uses some hardware to transmit moves during real time to cheat. See this for background:

Here are my questions:

1/ how? First generation chess cheaters used two people: one to record moves at the board, the second, away from the board, analyzed the chess position, then relayed the moves back to the player. Some variants actually used the internet to get the current position, until organizers started delaying the transmission of the moves (to prevent this obvious type cheating), and the moves were texted to players to their smart phones. Nowadays smart phones are prohibited during chess tournaments. My question goes to how more sophisticated versions, that don't require two people work, or, if they require two people, how instantaneous transmission of moves might work? Some tournaments say they will employ RF jamming to prevent live instant transmission of moves from board to off-site and back again.

2/ How can a 'single-person' hardware work? Transducer that records moves, the feedback from engine to operator? Do such miniature transducers exist? Here is one scenario just to make this more clear: operator enters chess moves played in algebraic notation, say 1.e2-e4. All engines can be programmed--with the right interface--if the transducer is set up right, to accept these moves. Say the transducer is in the right foot for letter, "e" and the left foot for number, "2". So five taps by right foot is "e" and two taps by left foot for "2", for the origination square, then again for the destination square, "e" and "4". From the initial board setup you don't even have to know what pieces is moving (the computer knows this). This is in fact how old chess playing computers work (you simply tap the origination square and then the destination square, such as the Novag computer from the early 1990s, and the PC knows what piece you are moving). I understand this in principle but chess cheaters like Borislav Ivanov above were able to move, people say, rather quickly, within five seconds. If moving within five or ten seconds you must be doing something faster than using right and left feet, since the chess playing computer needs a few seconds to give an answer. Can perhaps a transducer that depends on body twitches work? Can you squeeze your right fist five times for "e" and your left fist two times for "2"? Body capacitance? And have some sort of transducer pick up the twitches? Still too slow? Is Ivanov using a spotter? But he seems like a loner (one person operation). Very strange. One cheater way back when used a special heavy set of glasses, that may have been a video transceiver: moves relayed offsite by the camera, then the answer -like Google Glasses--relayed to the player (this was in the late 1980s). This will work, but it requires off-site help. Can you modify Google Glasses (GG)? Is GG open source so anybody can figure out how the API works and write some program to integrate it with a chess engine? But Ivanov never wore glasses. Apparently Ivanov used a contraption in his shoe and on his back (see link above). And what transducer do you use to get the winning move relayed from computer to the operator? Is it a tiny voice that whispers the move into an earpiece? Or does the computer buzz the operator's skin in a Morse code (like e2-e4)?

3/ Another guy that suspiciously gained massive Elo rating in Florida, along with the rest of his family, was in his day job a retail seller of "spy hardware" to the public: secret recording pens and the like. Is it possible he miniaturized some hardware and somehow integrated it with a chess playing engine? Can you silently 'mouth' the moves inside your mouth, and have a tiny receiver pick up your words, and a tiny speaker in your ear, from a friend off-site, whisper you the move to make? Seems to slow. Ivanov also at times had technical glitches that somehow (some say it was a power failure, which implies a battery) made Ivanov become "weak" suddenly and play like the relatively weak chess player that he was, rather than the grandmaster (and nearly perfect grandmaster at that) that he played like when cheating. So whatever system he used was prone to an occasional hardware glitch.

Any speculation appreciated. Feel free to generalize about a non-chess playing scenario, as that might also shed light on this topic. I'm mainly curious about non-military stuff. We know that the Russians and the Americans developed laser interferometers that could sense vibrations on glass windows and deduce speech, or even keyboard sounds and deduce what letter you are pressing on a keyboard, but I would imagine this is not 'off-the-shelf' hardware anybody can easily buy. Nor is it miniature that you can hide on your back or in your shoe.

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