This is the stuff of spy movies. Chess grandmaster Igors Rausis fessed up to cheating and has “retired” from chess after being caught cheating. Apparently he was confronted with a grainy photo showing him sitting fully clothed on a toilet with a phone during a match. A phone was then found in the stall. Rausis later confessed. The articles I read did not suggest how the photo was taken. Did somebody sneak into the bathroom and snap a photo over the wall of the stall? Or perhaps there was a hidden camera in the ceiling. It seems the chess mandarins were suspicious and had been on the case.
Suspicion was aroused because Rausis had a remarkable record for a player his age – 58. He became the oldest player to rank his way into an elite club – the top 100 players in the world. Super high-level chess (and the same goes for the game of Go) has been a young person’s game.
I suppose the temptation can exist due to the strength of robot or computer players. In chess and in Go as well, the strongest AI players regularly beat the best humans. I haven’t played any chess in many years and I was never very strong at it, but I am an avid Go player (I’m puny and weak in the scheme of things, but I love the game). It’s now possible to have a crazy-strong AI in chess without having a super-computer.
In Go, I know it is possible to run an AI on a phone or iPad simultaneous to a human game. I wonder how much cheating goes on during online Go play? It would not surprise me at all to learn that there are people out there who cheat simply to look like winners. I know there are sandbaggers out there, people who pretend they are lower level players in order to win games.
It seems crazy that people would do such a thing. There have been cheaters in many sports, even at the highest levels, and in other games as well, such as bridge and also in video games. For some people the game is all about being the victor at all costs. The human condition is very strange indeed.