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Thread: 5A1. Chess in a COVID-19 Environment

  1. #1
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    Default 5A1. Chess in a COVID-19 Environment

    This has been a big item both in chess internationally and in society generally. I look forward to your feedback

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    Over the board chess activity has come to a grinding halt because of a pandemic that ultimately came from a cave in China. Small world with big consequences.

    We hope that there is a vaccine on the way but there is nothing that is certain at the moment. If the pandemic continues and persists for more than a few more months it could have some long-lasting effects. The first priority has to be safety and good hygiene. We don't want to lose any chess players of any age but especially at risk are the older ones and the ones who have underlying conditions. We have to wear masks and refrain from customs like shaking hands that were once a central feature of the chess ritual. We are in a good position financially because we were fiscally prudent when things were going well for us. We have moved to online CFC rated play and we have created a path to rating gains through online play but the first steps have been fraught with some challenges including some cheating scandals. We are on it but when we start dealing with that we must tread carefully as careless actions can lead to needless legal expenses.

    In a financial crisis we need to understand as our governments do that the financial equations at least temporarily change. We need to pay closer attention to our financials but not our net income which is a bit of an accounting fiction. For instance we lowered net income by moving more money from that number into a reserve to pay for the Olympiad. The key thing which is important is our cash position which we will need to continue to operate with much less money coming in. The greatest sin in such a turnaround situation is to run out of cash.

    Before covid we were talking about moving money from our current accounts and into the foundation because we have about $90,000 (or did at the end of the last fiscal year) in our accounts. If covid continues for eight months and disappears we will burn through much of this cash because there are still expenses and Bob Gillanders has to eat and we have to pay him. We can use this time to prepare for when OTB chess reopens and we can get ready and build infrastructure. If the crisis persists much beyond this we will have additional problems to solve but we are in a battle for survival here and we need to win.

    We should be able to secure some money from the government which will help in the form of a $10,000 grant and a $30,000 loan and there is $45,000 or so held in trust in the foundation and administered by the foundation trustees. We might need to access this if the situation drags on but if we are contemplating that we will probably need to take some more drastic actions at that point. If we pay the loan back on time we get to keep $10,000 which will cover about one month and a half maybe in expenses. We should apply for the loan even if we intend to repay it immediately.
    Last edited by Vladimir Drkulec; 08-16-2020 at 01:17 PM.

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    Can you elaborate a little on the cheating scandals or direct me to where information exists about it?

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    We can't elaborate too much for legal reasons. I am aware of three or four situations mostly involving young children. Two admitted their cheating when confronted. One situation is ongoing and I believe there is one new situation which was dealt with by the policy which we have developed. Also the online chess servers have been suspending players when cheating is detected. In some cases there is some doubt about their criteria but in other cases the cheating is a bit obvious like someone who is a 1000 rated player losing pieces left and right and not taking pieces when the opponent blunders and that player suddenly playing at master level. While there is a possibility of rapid improvement with the right training it is not likely to happen that someone goes from blundering every other move to beating a master or expert in the course of a week.
    Last edited by Vladimir Drkulec; 08-16-2020 at 12:53 PM.

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    The following thread on the CFC forum deals with this online cheating topic. The first post is quoted here.

    http://www.chesscanada.info/forum/sh...FC-rated-games

    The CFC is continuing to work on details of Online Chess regulations. Especially troubling are the allegations of cheating. The following is our current policy.

    Any player found guilty of violating a site's Fair-Play policy during a CFC Rated tournament is subject to the following standard suspension from CFC rated online play.
    Age under 12 = 4 months

    Age under 16 = 8 months
    Others = 12 months
    Some organizers may have a Fair-Play Committee consisting of strong players to assess games in place of or in addition to the above (relying on a site's policy). Any players found to have received outside assistance by such a Committee will also be subjected to the same penalties.


    Any player who has their account closed for a fair-play violation will not be able to play in CFC tournaments in the future on that site, by simply creating a new account, without permission of the site.
    There is an Appeals process. The appeals fee is $100 to be paid to the CFC Business Office, and will be refunded if the appeal is successful. Exact details will be determined case by case but will involve the game(s) being re-evaluated using anti-cheating software and expert opinion. The player may be asked to play supervised games to evaluate his ability, and assess his claims of innocence. Any additional costs involved in the appeal will be the responsibility of the player and are non-refundable.

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    Regarding cheating - I would suggest that chess.com can be trusted to catch the obvious cheaters with their program. lichess - not so much. CFC should also have a team of volunteer experts that can be asked to look and analyze the games to see if cheating is a possibility. "Some organizers may have a Fair-Play Committee consisting of strong players" is not good enough - how strong and experienced with computer cheating are those strong players exactly? I would argue that ~2000 CFC is not enough.

    Re what the CFC is doing/not doing... CFC could certainly organize, lets say - online Canadian blitz championship, other events. Why not?

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    Okay, thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikolay Noritsyn View Post
    Regarding cheating - I would suggest that chess.com can be trusted to catch the obvious cheaters with their program. lichess - not so much. CFC should also have a team of volunteer experts that can be asked to look and analyze the games to see if cheating is a possibility. "Some organizers may have a Fair-Play Committee consisting of strong players" is not good enough - how strong and experienced with computer cheating are those strong players exactly? I would argue that ~2000 CFC is not enough.

    Re what the CFC is doing/not doing... CFC could certainly organize, lets say - online Canadian blitz championship, other events. Why not?
    We could but it might be hard in the middle of this 8 day long meeting. There are projects being discussed and that have been approved which will be announced shortly.

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    I don't know about Lichess but we have been getting a lot of possible false positives on chess.com though having nothing to do with CFC events so not in our wheelhouse.

    If you are volunteering for such an assignment we'd love to have you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladimir Drkulec View Post
    I don't know about Lichess but we have been getting a lot of possible false positives on chess.com though having nothing to do with CFC events so not in our wheelhouse.

    If you are volunteering for such an assignment we'd love to have you.
    If you are able to set up a system of clear rules on what happens when "Any player found guilty" but where the player does not concede that he has indeed cheated - I will gladly volunteer to analyze games and give my opinion on possible cheating. Until then, I don't feel comfortable of being responsible for someone who is possibly not guilty being banned.

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