Monday, October 17, 2005

Cheating at chess

I recently got into a lively discussion with someone on a chess web page about the art of cheating. Because winding people up is one of my hobbies I, naturally, attempted to persuade him that cheating in chess is not only OK, but part of the game. While he seemed to persist in taking me seriously – which made it all the more fun – I developed a number of strategies 'to get him started'. And they were so creative, I thought, they could be useful for a number of situations, not just chess:


  • A desperate situation in a doctoral Viva

  • a blind date that turns up looking like Wurzel Gummidge

  • when playing poker

  • and, of course, while playing tournament chess

In answer to my debating partners comment ("Herr Tilling, No serious chess player is a cheat - only the ones who are afraid to address their own shortcomings.") I wrote:
Dear Mr X,

No serious chess player is a cheat?

You know, you really ought to give William Hartson's How to Cheat at Chess, especially chapter 7, a read. He will tell you of a number of very serious players who used their creative ability to find all sorts of clever ways of cheating. Funniest of all is the brilliance displayed by one of your fellow country men on p.44 ff....

- only the ones who are afraid to address their own shortcomings.

Amazing! How did you know? "Terrified of facing my shortcomings" is more like it though. And so the thought of e.g. managing to smuggle some laxative into your opponents tea while playing a long-time control game is not only a great relief, but makes for hours of tournament fun. Here are some ideas for you to get going on:

  • Shamelessly fart. Loudly. Laugh about it. Talk about the smell with the opponent.
  • Twitch
  • Complain about 'dust' on the board while your opponent is thinking
  • Snigger when he makes a move. Look stunned and shake head so as to give the impression the move is an obvious blunder
  • STARE at the opponent, don't blink – especially when your opponent is thinking
  • Regularly scratch your tackle. Mutter something about a bacterial infection getting under your finger nails
  • Keep adjusting his pieces, but be sure to say 'J'adoube'
  • Wear a wizard's hat and mutter various curses and spells against him under your breath while he is thinking - loud enough for him to just hear it. When he looks up, stop and grin inanely.
  • Write down on your score sheet, instead of his name something else like: 'Ugliest frigging chess player I've ever seen', or 'Armpit of Hades' – but so that he can see it. If he doesn't look, then show him - with a serious a face
  • If the opponent gets up to call the arbiter, DENY EVERYTHING.

Hope that helps,

In desperate response, a friend of his joined in: "I would gain no satisfaction in the slightest if I were to win a Chess game by cheating. I applaud those players who win on the board, not those who would consider the foulness of "How to Cheat"."

Another stone thrower rejoined: "I hold myself to higher standards than to attempt that. I like even fights and if my opponent wants to play dirty, it just makes me play that much more seriously."

Yea yea. But if you're on the loo for most of the game because of 'lax-spiked tea', your serious play might not be good enough …


At 10/19/2005 12:49 AM, Blogger Scarletizm said...

^ wow.

I enjoy messing with people at times. It's just hilarious to see that they are just so oblivious to the fact that you're not even serious. They get all worked up and try to discuss the right and wrong of things. It's aggravating but yet entertaining. I must say I sorta understand and enjoy your humor.

At 7/31/2006 6:27 AM, Blogger byron said...

This post has made my day. Or at least my hour.

At 12/13/2006 4:26 AM, Blogger byron said...

Just as good 2nd time round 4.5 months later.


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