I play on chess.com which is usually a very positive and pleasant experience. I like to play five minute time controls with 0 second increments which means it translates to a very fast paced game. Often, I will enter tournaments with this time control.

Recently, I have been forced to play with a player who I strongly believe is using a computer. I figured it would be very easy to have another chess program open in a different window and play the moves your opponent is playing and respond likewise, but I didn't think this would be possible in such a rapid chess game. He is moving very quickly without making any mistakes and setting up very strong combinations. Is it possible that he has configured his computer to be wired into the game where it moves without him having to switch between windows or programs?

  • 3
    If you're are going to down vote a question which seems well formed and genuine can you please leave feedback on the rationale behind this decision... wish I could downvote your downvote, good lord.
    – maxwell
    Jan 4, 2015 at 20:47
  • ^ good for u @maxwell Jan 5, 2015 at 21:33
  • 1
    I have been in the same situation on chess dot com. Five minute blitz game, opponent uses exactly 5 seconds per move in my case. Probably the opponent found a way to plug in the engine directly via some GUI that connects to the chess dot com server. But that's just a guess, have not checked this.
    – user2001
    Jan 7, 2015 at 7:55
  • This seems relevant support.chess.com/customer/portal/articles/…
    – user2001
    Jan 7, 2015 at 17:08

3 Answers 3


It's definitely possible.

In this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zi47GBArpPE the user has set up a program that screen captures the board, determines the best move and then plays out that move. It's fast enough that he can play bullet (1 minute each) with it.


5 0 is slow enough it would be easy to cheat in another window, especially if you are capable of moving on your own at least part of the time. It sounds like chess.com has an active detection system although they don't disclose all of the details. (It may be possible to automatically cheat, as you say, but it would be a lot more effort. edit: at least, I think it would be...)

I would download the PGN of your game and analyze it against a free computer program like Stockfish. If they truly made almost no mistakes/almost always made optimal moves (and you think they shouldn't have) I recommend you report the suspected cheater.


  • No one would switch windows any more, that trick is rather old. People would just enter the moves as they happen in a phone or a tablet with evaluations.
    – Keshav
    Jan 5, 2015 at 12:23
  • It is true to cheat and "premove" if i am not mistaken. I mean you could have it play for you there are plenty of programs that can achieve that i presume so it doesnt seem impossible. Jan 5, 2015 at 21:34
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    Right, but chess.com is a website--there's no easy way to intercept the API like on FICS/ICC, where you can easily have an engine play for you. Jan 5, 2015 at 22:59
  • @wesfreeman That's kind of what I was thinking and more along the lines of the kind of feedback I was hoping to get from this question, does anyone know anything about this or should I consult overflow?
    – maxwell
    Jan 6, 2015 at 3:12

Image recognition is easily to the point where a person could set up an AI to automatically play for him.

  1. screen capture the board
  2. allow the computer to find the move made compared to previous screen capture (AI Neural Networks could accomplish this with the correct training)
  3. AI inputs the move to some other engine
  4. Engine displays best move

Point 5 could be the human actually makes that move that is displayed by the engine, or the AI once again reads from the screen and translates that into how it would make the move in the online game.

It would take a decent amount of work to get such a setup going - it would not be worth it for most people. Even those that know how.

More likely, someone would have two monitors set up. (or two windows on their one monitor). They would need to be able to know the shorthand chess notation well, (I don't but many people do), as soon as you make your move they just type it in. Engine shows next move, they type that in and make the move. I think this could be fairly quick.

You would probably have to report someone if you suspect them of cheating. Eve's answer has a link to chess.com's cheating policy.

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