ICC and Cheating
On Monday, June 24, 2002 at 10:08:03 AM UTC-5, Woodshifter wrote:
I belong to a small club within ICC and one of our members had this to
report Sunday night or Monday morning:
'I wanted to warn everyone about something that snagged me recently on ICC.
I was running Fritz on my PC to have it analyze a database of correspondence
games I'd recently finished. As there were about 30 games to analyze and I
wanted good analysis, it was taking a long time. I passed some time by going
into ICC and playing some 5 minute games. Over 2 days I played 12 games. My
record was 5-7 against an average rating of 1527. As my own 5 minute rating
is 1504, the results are as expected (of course I'd have liked doing
'Well, earlier today I get an email from JimmyS that says I've been
suspended while they investigate a "strong suspicion of computer assistance"
during my games. I immediately contacted an admin on ICC and was told that
if I would just agree to never use computer assistance the matter would be
closed. I said "That's not a problem since I do not use computer
assistance...never have and never will." So they agree to clear me and
reinstate my ability to
play rated games. I then received an email telling me that I had to place
the following in my finger notes for 60 days:
'"While playing on ICC, I used a computer chess program to assist my play..
This is against ICC rules. I apologize for this and promise not to use
assistance of any kind in the future."
'I went back and found the admin. I explained for the second time that Fritz
was running in the background. I explained that I had not used Fritz to play
my games. I was told "OK, let speedtrap analyze the games and we'll
get back to you." Well, they sent me yet another email telling me that they
had determined I had definitely used computer assistance (!) and I would be
added to the (C) list UNLESS I added the above note to my finger notes and
left it there for 60 days. Furthermore, they said if I removed it prior to
60 days I'd be added to the (C) list.'
To which I responded:
'I'm very suspicious about this "analysis" to determine whether someone is
using a computer. Ultimately nothing can be proved, and it's our word
against theirs. What can they do if you deny it?
'Basically, they can tell you're using one from seeing if your computer is
using other applications. But what sort of applications? If you're using a
chess program, it could be for analysis of other games, as happened to you.
Another method they use is too look at the time taken for every move. They
assume that a human is going to move right away for an obvious move like
grabbing a queen. If the same amount of time is taken for every move,
difficult or obvious, then they suspect computer use. But still, this
doesn't "prove" anything if you're cautious and like to time yourself. I
think you could fight them on this.
'Another thought: they compel you to write that statement in your profile..
Can they prevent you from writing anything else? Why not write afterwards
YOUR explanation for what really happened? Are they going to censor you?
Prevent you from telling people what really happened? If so, maybe it's time
for you (and us?) to go elsewhere.'
The first poster wrote back:
'They could ban you from ICC and keep your money I suppose. I found it
interesting that the admin suggested that I could agree that I would never
use a computer for my games and they would clear me. He was basically
saying "agree not to cheat and we'll forget about investigating you."
'I wonder about the "analysis" they do as well. I'm very active in
correspondence chess and there have been times where I've analysed a game
after the fact with Fritz only to discover that for periods of 10 to 15
moves both my opponent and I played moves that Fritz would have played had
"he" been playing the game. Does that mean my opponent and I were using
Fritz? Certainly not! It simply means the position called for those moves..
'I agree with you [about waiting to grab pieces]. There are times when
grabbing the hanging piece right away isn't the strongest move on the board.
Some positions call for an interim threat that strengthens your position
prior to grabbing the hanging piece.
'I plan to add that statement. I already made a simple statement but I plan
to add in a more detailed comment later tonight.
'If they attempt to censor me I'll leave.'
The moderator of the Yahoo Group for our club added to the thread:
'I just have Fritz since 3 weeks. I never used it simultanously with ICC.
Now I just started doing Mate problems with Fritz and having games analysed,
before I tried to do this with a running ICC I asked an admin and he said it
is perfectly ok to have Fritz with ICC at the same time unless you are
playing games on ICC. Chatting and Observing should be fine.
'So running Fritz and ICC at the same time should be ok, unless you are also
playing games on ICC.
'I think their problem is simply that they can't track what you are doing
with Fritz. You play a game on ICC they see what other software you have
running, then they decide you are cheating as you played a game on ICC and
had Fritz open whatever you did with Fritz.
'For me the whole cheating thing is bollock/useless/stupid.
If I would like to cheat I just take another PC/Notebook etc, which is not
online and there you have it !
'That's another reason for our club, I trust you guys.
'In my humble opinion just let them have their fun (at least it is a nice
try, from keeping people off cheating). If they censor you, you can forward
to my finger notes in your finger notes and I will have your statement up..'
The first poster, who is having problems with ICC administration, wrote one
'I added the following to my finger notes:
'8: Note 1 -- I was using Fritz in the background to analyze a database
of correspondence games. I was "caught" by speedtrap and informed that if I
agreed to put the above note they would not label me with a (C). I never
actually used the program to play my games, but agreed to the note to
'9: My record during the 12 games in which I was accused of computer
cheating was 5 wins and 7 losses to an average rating of 1508. If I was
using Fritz to play those games I'm certain the results would have been
'I did this about 2 hours ago. Upon logging back in I find that I have a (C)
next to my handle. I got in touch with the same admin. Here is what he had
'****** tells you: for starters, you removed the apology from note #1
'****** tells you: secondly, we are not forcing you to add that note
'****** tells you: we consider it a second chance to play fair
'****** tells you: and if you do add it, we will not permit you to add other
notes contradicting it
'****** tells you: otherwise, please remove the note
'****** tells you: The (C) will remain until you have satisfied what I have
'****** tells you: I'm not going to discuss this any more tonight. If you
want a second chance to play fair on this club, remove those contradicting
notes and message me tomorrow.
'Thus, the moral of this story is that they will arbitrarily determine that
you've "cheated" and then they'll censor you so that you cannot give your
side of the story.
'I asked this admin why I could not give my part of the story in the finger
notes. His comment was that I was contradicting the apology by doing that..
After his last comment I removed the "contradictory" notes and sent him a
tell. He ignored me completely. I've gone ahead and messaged him as he
requested and will now wait and see if the (C) gets removed. If it does not
I will forever leave ICC and I will make sure that everyone I know via the
net understands that ICC is like this and that they should not play there..
'Actually, depending upon how I feel when I wake in the morning I may leave
This is something I have imagined happening. Someone at ICC accuses a player
of using a computer, the player is power to deny it or to defend himself.
Since ICC insists on keeping its methods secret, they won't give any details
in the case against you.
Their methods, however, are not infallible. DrUnclear, at the following site
gives evidence of admins using computers and turning a blind eye to such
The ICC has embed code that allows it to actually SEE what's on your computer screen. I ran months of tests to prove this. I had two laptop computers. One was running Houdini and the other, just the ICC interface. Not ONCE did I ever get caught for cheating, even though my ICC rating was VERY high. Then, I ran Houdini and the ICC interface on the SAME laptop, split screen. Immediately after the game, the dooshbag Freebird asked me if I was using Houdini to help me in my games. It proved right on the spot that when you agree to their terms of play for the website, you agree to allow them to install code that lets them see what's on your screen. If you want to be a creep and cheat, make sure you are running your cheating engine on a completely different computer than the ICC interface.