Cheating in Chess is Widespread: Viswanathan Anand



Indian chess legend Viswanathan Anand, who is now vice-president of FIDE, feels cheating in his sport is “not rampant” and is limited to only “online” tournaments.

World champion Magnus Carlsen stirred up a storm this September when he filed cheating accusations against American teenager Hans Niemann, following his stunning defeat in the third round of the Sinquefield Cup.

“It’s a new area. Yes, of course we know the possibility (of cheating) exists and should concern you, but I don’t think it’s rampant,” Anand told PTI in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of Tata Steel Chess. India that start on Tuesday.

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“At least (cheating) is not offline. Online, I don’t know what percentage but it’s not rampant. There are millions of games being played online. But still, it’s better to address the problem early than leave it too late.” “.

However, the five-time world champion Indian feels that the problem of (online) cheating can never be solved because technology will continue to advance.

“I don’t think we can ever solve this because the technology is constantly evolving, so you have to keep adapting to it. You have the framework, that’s very important.”

To some extent, he said, combating chess cheating is an arms race.

“As technology gets better and better, you have to keep adapting,” he said.

“To some extent, what we rely on now is data analysis, through statistical analysis we are seeing a large number of moves to see if there is an association.”

Carlsen-Niemann’s story is now under investigation by the FIDE’s Fair Play Committee, as the Norwegian world champion risks ban for making an allegation without evidence.

The US grandmaster, who has filed a US$100 million lawsuit against Carlsen, could face consequences if enough evidence of cheating is found.

We have a committee looking into it. First of all, it’s figuring out what can be done and then how it can be implemented across thousands of leagues because you want some standardization, and that’s also important because you don’t want the security checks to become too onerous for the players,” Anand said.

The Indian magician, who also runs the Westbridge Anand Chess Academy (WACA), hopes to become the next world champion among the teenage trio of D Gukesh, Arjun Erigaisi and R Praggnanandhaa.

“The path is fairly clear for them, you have to keep growing as a chess player. You try to understand chess better, you look at your game and what goes wrong. We have a real chance of qualifying for the candidates in the next tournament.

“I am glad that we at WACA support them. We try to find out what they are developing and keep in touch with them. The idea is to be there and support them.”

Anand is happy that India has a deep talent for chess.

“For many years I was the only player in the top 100. But now maybe six or seven. It’s good to know we’re in a strong position.

“But, modern chess is so unpredictable, there are so many players fighting for so few points that it comes down to the wire. The United States and Uzbekistan are very strong opponents.”

He said tournaments like Tata Steel would allow Indian players to measure themselves against the best in the world.

“You need one marquee event happening in the country.”

Anand said he is enjoying every bit of his new role as an administrator.

“I’ve enjoyed it so far, it will be a learning experience. There will be a lot of travel commitments next year due to the World Championships, the Olympics. It will be a busy schedule. I’m looking forward to trying and contributing.”

“I still play occasionally. If an event comes up, I’m open to playing, but not as often as before,”

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