In this hyper-connected age, we don’t need to visit the club to play a game of chess. Thousands of chess players are waiting for opponents to crush them! But wait a minute. What if some players are challenging us with a chess engine? How you can be sure your opponent’s cheating? What details should I look for before reporting the cheat?

I’ll provide you with four techniques that I use to see if my opponent is a human being or a chess engine.

1. He uses a wide opening repertoire:

Every game, the computer chooses a random opening. If you challenge your opponent game after game, you will see that he is a great theoretician. A chess engine won’t wait for the middle of the game to take an advantage; it will outplay you right in the beginning. The time of thinking is short because the engine doesn’t calculate until it is out of the book.

2. He takes the same amount of time to play a move:

When there is contact between pieces, we normally enter the calculation stage which is time-consuming. Sometimes there is a position when the move is evident or simply we should play intuitively; in this case, we don’t take much time. The chess engine doesn’t respect this pattern. It literally uses the same amount of time for every type of position.

3. Its statics is weird:

You can easily find a cheater by looking at his statics. If we see an abnormal curve like a drop of 150 points in a couple of days then there is something wrong. Fortunately, the majority of sites give you access to the history of your opponent. You can investigate your opponent’s progression and draw a conclusion about the use of an engine.

4. His moves are tactically flawless:

A chess engine calculates very accurately, even in the mega-complex position. At this point, the chess engine is far beyond human capabilities. How can you be sure that your opponent precisely plays every move? It’s very simple; just analyze the game with a chess engine. It will evaluate every move. If you find a perfect play you can ask your opponent which chess engine he is currently using.

Final thoughts

Cheating online is a huge problem. Chess is fun, and playing it by yourself is a lot of fun. A message for cheaters: Playing online chess is a way to practice and improve your level. Losing a game is more instructive than winning a game using a computer. So turn off your chess engine and switch on your brain.