Player banned after online cheating probe

A Shropshire chess player has been banned for the rest of the season after an anti-cheating probe found that he had been playing better than many grandmasters. Suspicions were aroused by his stellar performance in this month’s Shropshire online team quickplay competition in which his spectacular run included beating much stronger local players. An investigation by online chess platform Lichess into those games and several others played online – a total of 13 – detected the hand of computer assistance and Lichess suspended his account.

Now a special committee of Shropshire Chess Association officials has invoked the local rule that any player whose account is suspended by Lichess will be banned from online chess for the rest of the season and all games already played will be counted as losses. The player, who has not been named, is maintaining his innocence and has a right of appeal.

With the pandemic ruling out face-to-face chess, all competitive chess is now being played over the internet, which is inherently more difficult to police, but special software can catch out offenders who consistently play with “inhuman” levels of accuracy.

In a statement, association president Matthew Clark said: “Shropshire Chess Association reminds all players that use of electronic assistance in any online competitive match is unacceptable and that strong measures are in place to deter such a breach of the rules. The rules will be rigorously applied in the event of any further incidents.”


Division One – Oswestry A 1.5, Newport A 2.5: B Whyte 0, N Rutter 1; M Altinsoy 0, G Cooper 1; T McMahon 1, N Clarke 0; L Cox 0.5, C Lewis 0.5.
Shrewsbury A 0.5, Telepost A 3.5: F Best 0, N Paul 1; M Smith 0, P Zabrocki 1; D Lockett 0, R Archer 1; J Wilkinson 0, M Clark 0.5.

Division Two – Telepost B 0.5, Telford A 2.5: K Walker 0, G Kolbusz 1; J Westhead 0, J Pico Ruiz 1; K Tabner 0.5, R Thompson 0.5.
Wellington A 1, Newport B 2: A Grillage 0, D Hilditch-Love 1; T Faustino 0, S Greenwood 1; M Podlesak 1, A Jones 0.
Oswestry B 2.5, Telepost C 0.5: C Lowick Higgie 1, R Nield 0; P Lovatt 1, N Holmes 0; P Fisher 0.5, D Bonner 0.5.