I play correspondence since many years ago. I have been playing in lichess for years having a rating ~1900-2000. I recently open a premium account in chess.com and I started to play 50 simultaneous games. I couldn't pass throw 1500 rating while my tactics trainer rating is 2600 and I returned to play in lichess.

I know there are some reasons why chess.com has stronger players with the same rating than lichess ones, but analyzing the games I faced players that do have plus than 95 of accurancy in complicated games, so I think the reason may be those player use engines at least when the move is complicated, as they are rated 1500 and not making blunders. This is not what I found in lichess where profiting of blunders allow me to beat easily 1500 or even 1700 players.

I read a post of Erick, the owner of chess.com saying cheating happens at a +2300 level. But my concern is, at a lower level and in correspondence, I miss blunders in chess.com. In lichess I have not troubles to reach 1900-2000 rating beating easily the 1500 players. I think those users are using engines when the position is complicated but playing a fair game the rest of the game. That might evitate them to be catched and allow them to play at a 1500 level while they are poor players that should have a rating <1500. I have seen other users that have a curve of rating that grows and decreases. I think when they loose rating they start to use the engine so they can mantain a rating and play the games they want to play with overrated players than them.

chess.com is a big entreprise, they should have programmers versed in machine learning techniques to detect cheaters. Are lichess programmers better than chess.com and succeded to send cheaters away from his correspondence rooms even at low rating levels while chess.com programmers not? Do they use similar technics or lichess ones are more sofisticated?

Or it is just a matter about rating strenghts and I am being paranoic? It might be just 1500 rated players make blunders in lichess while chess.com 1500 rated players not?

  • 7
    the answer is no in my opinion. But both sites are filled with chess players suspicious of their opponents of cheating. Commented May 27, 2021 at 13:31
  • I've played "correspondence" for years on chess.com and never felt that anyone cheated. I did get some rating points back when someone I played was later banned. Commented May 27, 2021 at 20:52
  • From my experience in Lichess correspondence, below 2000 it's mostly "simultaneous bullet", with blunders all over the place. At around 2000, people suddenly start to get serious and you see almost no blunders anymore. If that threshold is lower on chess.com (and it probably is, as they start with lower numbers), that easily explains why your experience is so much different on both sites, while playing at roughly the same numbers (1500). Got to compare chess.com ~1500 with Lichess ~2000.
    – Annatar
    Commented May 28, 2021 at 11:28
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    If someone is cheating but has a rating of 1500, they must not be very efficient in their cheating. I am skeptical that someone could have that rating without making a fair number of blunders. Perhaps at that level they are 2-move blunders rather than 1-move blunders, but the blunders should be there. Your question might be helped if you give an example of a game that strikes you as being a likely case of cheating. Commented May 28, 2021 at 11:40
  • I am also 2000 lichess and 1500 chess.com, that's just how it is. lichess also starts you off at 1500 provisional whereas chess.com starts you off as 1200. Commented Dec 30, 2021 at 21:38

5 Answers 5


Chess.com is a for-profit business, so they have more incentive to be sure that a player is cheating before banning a potentially paying customer. Since lichess is fully free, there's less cost associated with a false positive ban. Thus it would make sense for chess.com to have a higher threshold of confidence for banning cheaters, but I can't say whether this motivation does actually impact their choices or not.

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    And for that reason players using engines prefer not to play at lichess
    – user27142
    Commented May 27, 2021 at 19:17
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    Do you have any statistics to back up the claim that lichess hands bans more often than chess.com under the same circumstances?
    – David
    Commented May 27, 2021 at 20:05
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    Strongly disagree. First, I have never heard anyone complaining about being falsely banned on lichess, while there is a lot of such people wrt chesscom. Second, chesscom officials claiming they ban a gazillion "cheaters" per week just do not sound very convincing. Most probably they just run a script blindly, and they don't care much about false bans of customers who did not pay for the subscription. Since lichess is free, they do not make this distinction and do not have this issue.
    – sleepy
    Commented May 27, 2021 at 21:24
  • Lichess dissuades cheaters by inflating all ratings and thus their egos, giving them a sense of accomplishment. It also helps they do not make anyone feel negatively about their personal finances. /s
    – pkr
    Commented Jun 25, 2021 at 13:42

Different sites have different rating systems and player pools. They're not directly comparable. Lichess ratings tend to be higher than chess.com ratings for the same reaosn a person's weight tends to be higher than his height

  • 1
    What you're saying is correct but there is no reason to expect one site to be better at catching cheaters than the other. Did you get any notifications of rating points being awarded back to you after a cheater was caught?
    – David
    Commented May 27, 2021 at 8:04
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    The main reason why lichess does not have many cheaters is because they have a really powerful cheat detection/anti-cheat system. For eg. If you are playing a game and you are taking some assistance from a software(for eg. stockfish) then lichess will automatically detect that you are cheating. How they detect? If you are playing moves really slowly and playing the best moves, then a message will appear "Cheat detected. White/black is victorious" Whereas chess.com takes much more games to find out whether you are cheating or not
    – p_square
    Commented May 27, 2021 at 10:11
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    @Universal_learner it's perfectly reasonable for a 1600 to solve highly rated "puzzles" in correspondence games. When you have unlimited time and you're allowed to move pieces on an auxiliary board, the strength of a player can improve significantly. Unless there's a good amount of evidence supporting otherwise, I'd stay with my "null hypothesis".
    – David
    Commented May 27, 2021 at 11:11
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    @algebrology what you're saying is basically that Lichess detects cheaters by detecting cheaters. Note that any system will be a compromise between accuracy (mark only cheaters as cheaters) and recall (mark as many cheaters as possible). Faster does not necessarely mean better
    – David
    Commented May 27, 2021 at 11:12
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    "a person's weight tends to be higher than his height" - only in the USA - everywhere else in the world, a person is twice as tall as they're heavy. Commented May 27, 2021 at 13:18

Different website have a different rating scale. I'm sure lichess gives higher rating than chess.com for the same player. In fact, the lichess rating is also higher than the FIDE rating. I personally know a lot of FIDE 2200 rated players achieve ~ 2600 on lichess, equivalent to GM on FIDE scale (but they are not GM).

I'm personally also a few hundred ELO points behind on chess.com than lichess. I've found much more challenging to defeat a chess.com 2000 rated player than lichess 2000.

  • To be fair, a lot of 2400, 2500 FIDE players achieve 2700/2900/3000+ ratings on chess.com too. Levy Rozman as an example. Also players like Hikaru achieving insane 3500+ ratings. Commented Dec 30, 2021 at 21:41

The dynamics of postal chess allows more in-depth analysis of the games. This makes mistakes rare. Some sites prefer to maintain the rule that in correspondence chess you should not use assistance of any kind (as if it were face-to-face chess) and others have reasoned that it is too difficult to know if chess engines or other assistance have been used. For example, the International Correspondence Chess Federation, (ICCF) allows the consultation of tables of endings of seven pieces to decide the winner of the ending of a game. I guess to save time at the big tournaments.

Some tournaments are centered on certain openings (thematic tournament) and others are pure competition. In the latter, the chess player must foresee the opponent's move, either by investigating the lines of play that can be derived from the position or if suspect that his opponent uses engines to chose his moves, consider also the lines that an engine would choose, especially in the opening to take him to a disadvantageous position due to a better understanding of the strategy and trying to uncoordinate the opponent's pieces, so that can't benefit from the engine.

In the middlegame, some player can choose the type of endgame he prefers and look for, for example, a triple repetition draw or aim for an endgame with more than seven pieces to prevent his opponent from benefiting from the Lomonosov endgame tables.

Now, the reason why you suspect that chess_com players rely more on engines than Lichess players, its perhaps an appreciation that should be validated comparing the analyses of correspondence games from same players on both platforms.

Your hypothesis could be explained by the slow pace that makes difficult for chess_com or Lichess to monitor the use of engines by the players, because somebody spending an hour or more time of analysis, could discover moves that the reference engine (stockfish on chess.com an Lichess) won't detect as an engine move.

Another reason could be that Lichess and chess.com may process suspicions of cheating differently.


Just about the cheating, cheaters are not the smartest, and that's why there are algorithms which can detect cheaters. Those algorithms are not the smartest either, and that's where the differences are. Most cheaters have really powerful engines playing for them, but don't pick the best of the best move because the most basic anti-cheat would detect that (except if you are titled as BOT). That's why they pick the second, third of fourth line the engine suggests. If this behaviour is happening a lot of the moves (which could variate between Lichess and chess.com), a cheat could be detected. If you play about the same time per move in combination (that margin can also differ and this can be bypassed by using different depths) with this, that means you are playing against Stockfish instead of Irsu85.

The chances are also low a human can see a very complex but winning line with a hundred pins after 30 ply. This could also be used in anti cheat, but I don't know if that is a thing on chess.com or on lichess

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