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The Boston Globe

Lifestyle

Chess Notes

The swift calculation of computers cannot be matched by human beings. The computer is now a silent coach for anyone with grandmaster ambitions. In addition, it can be a silent kibitzer and, while sitting on the sidelines, a threat to honest chess. A small percentage of chess players are willing to cheat for money or phony honors. They are a constant problem for tournament directors who often lack the resources to guard against them. They are a problem for honest competitors who have a pride in mental accomplishments and adoration of the game.

Cheating is a problem in virtually all sports. Before the computer, cheating was a minor inconvenience. It mostly consisted of harboring prepared openings, which could be written on one’s sleeve. The great player Reuben Fine was discovered as a youngster consulting a book in the men’s room, but was forgiven.

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