This question* asks how to avoid detection when a human player uses an engine to gain advantage against another human. What's the community consensus as to whether such questions are allowed or should be banned?

(Sorry if this has already been discussed. I did a search and - surprising to me - didn't find a previous meta discussion specific to this topic.)

*Since the question has been deleted, it won't be available to everyone. Here is its text:

Of course cheating is wrong and should be discouraged. But I think it's worth talking about scenarios like this.

Let's say a GM had unlimited access to engine analysis in all subsequent tournaments and wanted to do somewhat better than he would by playing ethically. What strategy for choosing the moves would avoid a guilty verdict from cheat detection? What would that look like?

If someone were to plan on cheating, they'd have to be dumb not to cover their bases i.e. in case they get suspected and the Chess.com team or Ken Regan is called up to look over the games.

  • Would you allow the question "What techniques do people use to cheat with an engine and avoid being detected? As a tournament director, what should I be on the lookout for?". Just playing devil's advocate here. Aug 24, 2023 at 17:12
  • @FedericoPoloni: My original point of this question was to bring up the topic for discussion, hopefully leading to a community consensus; i.e. it's not about what I would allow, but what the community allows. Nonetheless, I'll say that personally, that's closer to acceptable, but not quite there. Limiting questions to methods of catching cheaters would be better.
    – GreenMatt
    Aug 24, 2023 at 21:25

3 Answers 3


Brian's answer makes good points, and if that's how the community wants to go, I am okay with it. However, I am posting an alternative to allow folks to vote a different way if that's what they want.

Under normal circumstances (and we're very unlikely to ever see a Deep Blue vs. Kasparov type match again) using an engine when playing human vs. human chess is forbidden in the rules of over the board tournament and match play as well as online. Thus we should not allow questions which will aid such efforts.


Cheating at online chess, which is what the question referred to, is not against the law in any country. Hence I think such questions are allowed by SE.

In such cases where the community has strong negative feelings this is likely going to be reflected by a flurry of down votes. This is what happened in the case you refer to and the question was deleted by the author.

This seems to me to be a good outcome and I don't see any need to add legislative weight.

  • 3
    While there was a reference to chess.com, my reading of the question was that it wasn't specific to online chess. Also, I wouldn't call 2 downvotes (including mine) "a flurry".
    – GreenMatt
    Aug 9, 2023 at 12:08
  • I'm not necessarily taking position on this matter but -1 for suggesting that whether something's not illegal has any bearing on what SE's policy should be. Aug 15, 2023 at 16:03
  • I cant see anything that would go against StackExchanges policies, t&c , etc. Though I think it is ethically wrong to cheat , even in online chess, it appears to be within the realm of "acceptable" questions. Unless the community develops a specific standard / expectations specifically citing something against this style of question, I cannot see how we can reasonably reject it. On a note of legality, it is important to note that laws differ between states , not to mention countries. I can drive 15 minutes do something that would get me a custodial sentence if done near home.
    – Dheebs
    Aug 24, 2023 at 12:00

The question, hyperlinked in the original question, is inaccessible to me. It stands probably removed.

However, relating to what I have understood in this matter, cheating using an engine, such as a stockfish defeats the purpose of the game, ruins the integrity and gentlemanliness of the players, and must be discouraged.

However, there is more to it than what meets the eye. At times, out of greed, foolishness, or lack of knowledge leads one to resort to such malpractices. What I suggest is that those who have resorted to such malpractices must not be banned perpetually, but only defined time-bound restrictions should be imposed.

  • 2
    Yes, the question was deleted. Perhaps I'm not understanding what you are discussing in the 2nd paragraph. It seems you're discussing the banning of players for cheating. That is not what I was meaning - I just want to know if QUESTIONS about how to cheat should be allowed on the main site. Banning players is - I think - outside our scope.
    – GreenMatt
    Aug 14, 2023 at 14:46

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