The problem with cheating Reversi forum

11 replies. Last post: 2009-08-27

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The problem with cheating
  • quartastella at 2009-08-26

    Hello all.

    My nick is quartastella. I've been playing Reversi/Othello for a total of about 18-20 months and I really enjoy the game. My ratings in both 8x8 and 10x10 are in the 1700's and likely to stay there. I don't spend much time thinking about each move and I'm very inconsistent. I started playing at Little Golem a few months ago and I love the format with monthly cups and championships. The championship idea is fantastic. Whoever came up with it and organizes it deserves a lot of credit for it. I was thinking to become a member or at least a supporter but …

    Unfortunately I also became aware of the problem with cheating. I wanted to start a separate thread because I'm interested in knowing what everyone thinks. Cheating is, of course, a major problem with Reversi/Othello at any site because even the top players in the world can't beat average computer programs. Below are a few questions to start the discussion. I answered the questions with my opinions but I'd love to hear what everyone thinks. If you have more to add, please do so.

    What represents cheating?

    In my opinion clicking on a move, seeing what changes on the board, and maybe cancel it, is not cheating for the simple reason that it is an option made available to all by the site. Certainly it doesn't match on-the-board Othello but this is a little different. I also don't think setting up a board to study the moves should be considered cheating. It just shows that one is passionate about the game and wants to master it. I'm simply way too lazy for that. What certainly is cheating is using a computer program to guide one's moves during a game, even if the cheater alternates between great moves and poor ones yet always staying on the winning side. I also consider cheating playing in the same tournament under more than one nick as this gives an enormous advantage to the cheater.

    Why would someone cheat?

    I really can't answer this question. I understand (but don't condone) an athlete who takes steroids to win a million dollar endorsement, but here what is the purpose? Setting up a bunch of computer games to win them all must require a lot of time. Wouldn't this time be better spent learning the game?

    Who cheats and how do we know it?

    I think we would all agree that guahong is a cheater. He doesn't even argue against it. I'm also fairly certain that there are at least three or more cheaters, but I'm also convinced that they are just aliases for guahong himself. Is the cheating extended to only one sick individual or is it widespread? The repetition of computer generated moves is unmistakable. So are the always up chart rating and the almost perfect scores.

    Is cheating extended to other games?

    While checking some cheaters' scores I noticed that some have perfect records in other games as well. Is cheating also extended to other games?

    What can we do?

    It's hard to see a solution. If one or more individuals are so determined to win by cheating, there is very little to do, I'm afraid. I've been informed that several players are refusing to play these cheaters resigning as soon as a game starts. This really saddens me. Why should a top player - someone who has played in an Othello World Championship (and there a few here) - have to resign a game against some little punk who feels important transcribing computer made moves? I'm playing in a low championship, but I already know I can't advance further because there are two cheaters (almost certainly the same person) in it. How does that help me establish my real strength in the game? Doesn't this just kill the best feature at Little Golem?

    Thank you for your attention and I'd love to hear your input.


  • MarleysGhost ★ at 2009-08-26

    Well, you could play a game where the humans can still beat the computers, such as Hex, Go or Havannah. And if you're of a mind to cheat in those games and write a program that beats good humans, your accomplishment would be publishable in the academic world.

  • Marius Halsor at 2009-08-27

    What represents cheating?

    I agree with you on this one. I think you'll find that this view is shared by the majority of players, although I know that some people disagree, and think playing out moves on a board is unfair.

    Why would someone cheat?

    There are always some who finds pleasure in such things, I suppose.

    Who cheats and how do we know it?

    There is a separate thread about this. Perhaps a new one should be opened, where simply the player number (NOT alias, as that can be changed) of known players are published? And there are certainly more than one cheater, I'm afraid.

    Is cheating extended to other games?

    Yes. It's most obvious in Reversi, but it also occurs in other games, like chess, 4ir and dots, at least. Check out Jamaicas profile - that's a player who most likely cheats in several games.

    What can we do?

    I think Marleys suggestion is unsatisfactory, although I obviously encourage everyone to play Hex :-) However, the real answer is “not much”. You can resign known cheaters on move 1. If enough players do this, they won't increase their rating any more, but they will still block championships and MCs. You can play in private tourneys, where you invite only players you know are not cheaters. The best thing would be if they were banned from this site (or hunted down and… oh well), but unfortunately it seems very likely that this will happen. However, there HAVE been some changes to this site recently, so perhaps we could convince Richard that this really is a good idea. Richard, please?

  • SanskritFritz at 2009-08-27

    There is absolutely NOTHING we can do against cheaters. But experience tells me, that cheating is no done in the long run, they get bored after a while. On the other hand it happened to me several times, that I first thought about someone that (s)he is a cheater, but then it turned out, that I just met an exceptionally good player. Those who play here on a regular basis are not cheaters, and that is a good thing. Sometimes some cheaters mix in, but they get bored soon. I dont know about guahong, is he really a cheater? I dont think so, with win/lost = 113/187 even I beat him several times, and I'm just an average player: I think he is a good player, thats all.

  • SanskritFritz at 2009-08-27

    Ah I just checked the games I linked, bad examples :p

  • Black Sea Red at 2009-08-27

    PC Tournaments at LittleGolem (Person+Computer)

    The will always be players that use programs so why not let then play each other in (I've seen a Othello site which has a Zerba Cove)

  • Black Sea Red at 2009-08-27

    Guahong's rating chart at reversi appears human up to May 2009 then goes up like a computer, if not a computer then I would be very interested in their new understanding of the game

  • MichaeI X at 2009-08-27

    There are games where computer programs participate very successfully. Some even play autonomously, without the need of a human slave to enter their moves manually. (Human slaves just have to setup the environment and pay for power supply)

    A part of cheating is hiding the nature of that player (by choosing a “human” name, suboptimal moves sometimes, etc.) Or is this the unacceptable cheating itself???

    IMO, identifying a cheater is the first thing to do, anyway. If you then have the admin ban such an id, or just ignore it (my opinion), is only second important. This implies to eventually leave championship level 1 to the cheaters, however. If you rather prefer to compete with (real) people of about your strength, you should not care.

    Besides being ignored by all but the most brave or innocent, more cooperation by the cheater is required: Not sign up for too many MC first rounds, for example. (I see the flaws of my proposal already)

    And of course it's difficult to claim “I'm the best human reversi player on LG, only 150 points below WZebra (used by xyz)“. But that would perhaps make the reversi forum more interesting again ;)

  • pitirre at 2009-08-27

    i remember when chess grandmaster propose the use of chess programs in top matches (i think even in champisonship). for me the idea was ridiculous, what is the point?

    i started to play othello with real interest a week ago and i notice in all othello forums this preocupation. i guess this kind of cheating happens in any game (not likely in GO) but in othello is persistent…


    maybe those cheaters are like me, many times i wanted to be good in this game but couldnt visualize the moves. in frustration i left this game many times … maybe those persons want to feel “good” and cheat. is the only explanation because in essence it is stupid.

  • pitirre at 2009-08-27

    kasparov was that grandmaster

  • quartastella at 2009-08-27

    I think there is very little doubt that guahong cheats. I'm also 99% sure he goes by other aliases such as jamaica, ab_cd, mk5, and maybe others I don't know.

    I'm convinced that if this problem is not taken care of the championships system will collapse. Some top players seem to already have given up on it.

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