15 June 2015

How to Circumvent Regan's Method

Dmitry Kryakvin discusses the sword of Damocles over women’s chess.

The chess world needs reforms to be protected from threats of the 21st century. These reforms should be wise, competent and thought out. And certainly it needs reformers. Otherwise every chess competition, every feast of our game will be shadowed by scandals and trouble situations. The sad fact is, lately these troubles keep coming one after another. 

In Khanty-Mansyisk Russian chess fans (who have privilege to see the work of Arbiter Qualification Commission of RCF in carrying out arbiter seminars) together with Karjakin saw that not in all countries arbiters are taught to count to three. I am afraid this situation took a lot of Sergey's physical and mental energy. On the next day he lost a game and missed his chances of qualifying from the Grand Prix series. Frankly speaking, it is very strange that we never heard any details of the situation from third parties. Even the reporters, who are reputed for their utter integrity, refused to discuss what happened. 

As for the Women's European Championship, first and foremost I would like to congratulate Alina Kashlinskaya, who got a medal in the main event, and Alexandra Kosteniuk and Valentina Gunina, who showed brilliant results at  the European-ACP Women’s Rapid Championship! At the same time battles in Chakvi were marked with a tremendous scandal, which is uncommon for women's chess. The situation was also sharpened by the organizers. First they secretly excluded Batsiashvili-Sandu from live broadcast, and then acted a bit strange, receiving a similar request from Antoaneta Stefanova. By doing this they moved participants to build one army and sign a joint letters. 

By the bay, recently I got an email from one cheating detection specialist who presented his quite tragic observations concerning cheating perspectives in women's chess. Let me quote it. 

Dear Dmitry, 

I think nowadays in women's chess there is a good opportunity not only to cheat, but to do it successfully, using old chess engines. For example, Shredder, Fritz 5.32 or Fritz 7, and dozens of other programs, which we are familiar with from the 90s. Such engines will make mostly not so strong moves, and their recommendations in most cases will differ from the best lines of Houdini, Stockfish and Komodo. 

There would be positional mistakes, strategical faults, leading to uncomfortable positions, but in the key moment, when calculating comes to the fore, the engine would be playing very tough, finding mighty tactical opportunities. Regan's method won't be working here, for it checks only strong engines. It would be difficult to detect the exact outdated engine and check the game for it, because there were so many of them that people don't even remember some of their names. 

This approach hardly allows to earn more or less decent money in a serious men's competition with strong opponents, but when we speak about cheating in women's events, this is just a gold mine!  One can easily find an engine with the playing strength of approximately 2600. Just imagine a 2600 player in women's chess who doesn't blunder! One can easy reach the match with Hou Yifan, and make some extra cash. 

So the situation is very serious. I can't imagine body searches at women's events, as international organizations protecting women rights would immediately step in. Should we wait for wave suppression devices?.. 

The conflict in Chakvi was many times discussed on the internet and there is no need to hurt Romanian player once again pointing out her 6 wins (where no tactical mistakes were found) with timely live broadcast and 5 defeats with delayed broadcast. Of course, Mihaela has not had an easy time. All this could be just a coincidence. But as you can see, the problem is really very serious. We can only hope for experience, energy and attainments of ACP Anti-Cheating Commission remembering that only together we can defeat the cheating problem.  

Then it would be no need to tell fairy tales about beating Rybka ten times in a row.