I play a bit of on-line chess at play.chesskids.com.au and its great fun …. but there is a problem.   Sometimes players seem to improve rapidly out of the blue and start beating everyone.   The suspicion of course is that they are using a chess computer to help them, but how do we catch them out?   We can put the moves of the game through our own chess engine afterwards and see if they are the same, but chess is such a complicated game that even chess computers don’t always agree on what is the best move.   And what if our sneaky opponent is only using the computer at the critical part of the game?

I recently had a complaint from several players that a certain “J-Rules” was cheating.   I played through a lot of his games and certainly he went from being an average player to winning 42 out of his last 45 games, some against very strong opposition.  The fact the he generally played 15 minute games (instead of a faster game where there is less time to consult a computer) was suspicious.  The clincher for me however was the following position.  J-Rules, playing White, is winning easily.  Black is attacking the N on f3 but White has several promising lines to choose from.   My candidate moves would be 1.Qxe6+, 1.dxe6, 1.Bg5 or 1.Nd4 all of which look good.   The line played by White won quickly and was quite pretty, but could an average junior playing a relatively fast game have found such a nice variation?   I doubt it.   Have a look at the position yourself a decide what you would play and compare that with the actual line played.   And, of course, NO CHEATING, or you may end up in my next blog.

[fen caption=”White to play and win.” ]r2qkb2/pbp3r1/1p1pp2Q/3P4/2P3p1/2N1BN2/PP3PPP/R4RK1 w q – 0 16[/fen]


There is not much between the 4 lines, but my computer has a slight preference for 1.dxe6.   There followed 1…gxf3 2.Qh5+ Ke7 3.Bg5+ Rxg5? 4.Qf7#.  Very nice, but probably too clever for most humans to spot.   So what of our friend “J-Rules”?   I think he’s finding it a little hard to find people willing to play him anymore.   Most of the kids on the Chess Kids site are pretty bright and soon spot what their opponents are up to,  and they don’t like losing rating points this way.

One Response to “Jammo’s Chess Puzzle #119”

  1. March 21, 2012 at 3:59 pm, J-rules said:

    I used the chessmaster engine for this. It really annoys me that i play far worse on a computer than in real life.