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ICC Help: SpeedTrap

The ICC is committed to the principle that an ICC member has the right to know if he/she is playing against a computer program or someone who is using computer assistance in their ICC games. All such accounts must be listed on the computer list unless you are logged in with the anonymous feature (help anonymous). To fulfill this goal, the ICC spends hundreds of hours analyzing, issuing warnings, and assigning accounts to the computer list each month.

Speedtrap is the account used by the group of ICC experts that detects computer cheating on ICC to issue warnings and to assign accounts to the computer list. Computer cheating is the use of any chess software such as chess databases (e.g. Chessbase) or chess programs (e.g. Crafty, Fritz, Chessmaster) to help you decide on any of the moves during any game played on ICC, if you are playing on an account that is not labeled as a computer with the (C) label or logged in with the anonymous feature help anonymous.

The ICC group of computer detectives has years of experience and has developed many methods to detect the use of programs during ICC games. Hundreds of accounts have been assigned the computer label (C) as a result of the work of this group. Due to our efforts, the chance of playing against an unlabelled computer is significantly smaller than on other chess sites.

Questions and Answers:

1) How do you decide if someone is using computer assistance?

The methods we use are confidential, because describing them in detail would allow cheaters to cheat more intelligently. However, we can clear up some common misconceptions by listing some things that do NOT cause us to put someone on the computer list:

- You will never be labelled a computer just because someone complains.
- Beating an IM or GM will not get you labelled a computer.
- Circumstantial evidence such as a high rating, or "smooth" move times, or good tactical skill, or longer time controls will not get you labelled a computer.

These items may make us suspicious and cause us to investigate, but they are NEVER used by themselves to make a decision on a case.

The ICC never labels someone as a computer unless there is overwhelming evidence of computer assistance. And never without first giving a private warning and a chance to stop. It would not make any sense for ICC to offend members and damage its reputation by harassing members with little or no reason.

2) I want to use computer assistance in my ICC games. What do I do? Is that cheating?

No, it is not cheating if your account is on the computer list or if you are logged in with the anonymous feature. To be put on the list, --> "message Speedtrap I am using a computer" To use the anonymous feature, see help anonymous.

3) What if I suspect someone is using a computer?

Send a message to the Speedtrap account giving the username that you suspect, and the reasons you suspect computer use.

4) What do you guys do after someone messages you?

The computer detection team will investigate the situation, using a number of confidential methods to determine if the person has been using computer assistance. Due to the number of messages we receive this may take days or even weeks in some cases. If the investigation suggests no computer-use, or is inconclusive, the suspect will not be bothered. If the investigation reveals computer use, the suspect will be warned privately and given a chance to stop. More details in #6.

5) I sent a message about a suspect weeks ago. Has anything been done?

We can't send personal replies about the results of an investigation (we get a lot of messages!) But we will do the investigation and if the person is found to have used computer assistance, they will either stop cheating or they will be put on the computer list. We prioritize the investigations based on how much "damage" the person may be doing, such as winning prizes in tournaments, etc.

6) What if I am accused of cheating?

First of all check who is accusing you. If it is not an ICC administrator, you can ignore it.

For first-time cheaters, you will be officially warned, and you will get an email letter from ICC describing the warning, and an ICC message alerting you that you have email. If you respond to the warning by saying you understand the policy, and won't use computer assistance in the future, you won't be bothered again (unless you continue to use assistance).

If you still continue to use assistance after the official warning has been issued, you will be placed on the computer list. You will be sent an email letter from ICC describing your options, and an ICC message alerting you that the email has been sent. Your options include living with the (C) on your account, getting the (C) removed by placing an apology note in your finger notes, or leaving the ICC for good with a refund. Note that nobody is forced to put up the apology note. It is one of three choices.

People who cheat again after putting up an apology note, or by creating another account and cheating on that account, will be banned from ICC with no refund.

See also: computers, abuse, agreement, anonymous


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