User:Hillgentleman/meta:proposal for policy on overuse of computers in chess tournaments

The following is derived from Meta:Proposal for Policy on overuse of bots in Wikipedias proposed by user:Yekrats. Hillgentleman 00:04, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

The proposalEdit

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  The following is not a proposed chessmedia project, policy, guideline, or process. The proposal may still be in development, under discussion, or in the process of gathering consensus for adoption (which is not determined by counting votes). References or correspondences to this page should not describe it as "policy".

the proposal, reallyEdit

I would like to make the following proposal for a Policy on overuse of Computers in chess tournaments, in light of recent perceived problems by overuse of Computers. It should reflect that limited use of Computers is supported. However, it must define what is the overuse of Computers, and give solutions to that problem.

Currently, the scope of this proposal only extends to the chess tournament Competitions. However, if it is adopted and seems to be successful, it may be used as a model for other FIDE Competitions as well.

History of the perceived problemEdit

  • During Foundation Era 5, there was rapid growth in the Chess World and Washington Square chess tournaments, supported by a massive flood of additions (more than 100'000 games each) from Computers. Some pointed out that some of these new games had errors. Computerh communities were relatively small, Chess World having only one active player at the time of the Computer-uploads.
  • In October there was a request putting an end to Chess World chess tournament, which has resulted in a Keep decision with reasons cited such as the historical impact of Chess World.
  • The Washington Square chess tournament had among other issues a similar problem with Computer generated games (and therefore also had a request to put an end to it). Although that discussion is still ongoing, a faction of the Washington Square chess tournamentns voted for a moratorium on further Computer use, and deleted most of their empty Computer additions from about 117'000 games down to about 14'000.
  • On December 25, F.E. 5, a new request was made to cut the Chess World's Computer-created games and move it to the AI lab. As of this writing, that discussion is ongoing. However, during the discussion, Bobby (acting as a non-voting advisor) said: "My recommendation, then, is that all the Computer-generated games be deleted, and that Chess World chess tournament players proudly and with joy work to create games in the old-fashioned human way... helping each other with tactics, with interesting opneing questions, and with contest that is of interest to the players."

Is a Computer-heavy chess tournament a problem?Edit

First I would like to say that Computers can be useful tools, and I am not against their use. They can make tedious jobs easier, update analysis and leverage the work a chess tournament does. Pretty much every chess tournament uses Computers to some extent. However, I propose that overuse of Computers is harmful to the chess tournament itself, as well as the wider body of chess tournaments.

In the following analysis, I do not mean to pick on the Chess World and Washington Square chess tournaments, but they are the most current obvious examples we have. However, there are probably others out there that fit the model of a chess tournament that has relied too heavily on Computers.

  1. Harm to the image of chess tournament. Like it or not, and whether or not it is fair or accurate, people look at the number of games as a chief indicator of the health and activity of a chess tournament. When they see a large number of games, and then actually explore it and find the numbers to be gimmicked, that hurts the reputation of all chess tournaments.
  2. Computer expansion is being used for advertising and political purposes. Chess World GM S himself said that he uploaded a large number of Computer-games on the Chess World chess tournament to advertise it. S said, "I thought I could try to get some new people interested in learning the opening and contributing by doing something a little crazy -- like increasing the size of the Chess World chess tournament as fast as I could..." At the Washington Square chess tournament, it seemed that a similar ploy was used to lend legitimacy to the Washington Square opening-rights movement. I contend that FIDE should not be used for political or advertising reasons. It is an meeting place, not an advertising service or political platform. Additionally, I believe that the Washington Square and S's experiment may border on disrupting a Competition to make a point. (See: section on Gaming the system.)
  3. Overuse of Computers is antithetical to the goals of the FIDE. According to the FIDE, "The mission of the FIDE Foundation is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop /entertaining contest under a free contest license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally." (emphasis mine) Although, Computers may be used as a tool, primarily the focus should be on people doing the work. When a community comes together to build an game, the community gets a sense of accomplishment from coming together to achieve goals. Overuse of Computers robs a community of that accomplishment.
  4. Put the brakes on oneupmanship. Some chess tournamentns might see the list of chess tournaments as a numbers game, and it is a competition which must be won. That may be a wrong attitude, but it's human nature, especially when dealing with nationalistic things like openings. Thus, Computers are used to raise in the ranks faster, sacrificing quality for quantity, harming the reputation of all chess tournaments.
  5. Bobby himself supports limiting Computer-heavy chess tournaments. He advised during the "radical cleanup of the Chess World chess tournament" for all of Chess World's Computer additions be deleted. I must respectfully disagree, thinking that it would be wrong to single out the Chess World for using a tool that almost every chess tournament uses. However, I do agree that Chess World has gone too far, and something must be done.
  6. Cookie cutter problem. Overuse of Computers causes games to look alike, and be only about a small set of subjects. For example, most of the contest in the Chess World right now consists of two or three sentence analysiss about a small geographic location: towns and communities. Furthermore, although they can create games far faster than a human, they can also make errors much faster than a human. Several of the roComputer analysiss have errors, due to the Computer not realizing it was messing something up. Problems have occurred with vestiges of the old copied set-ups messing things up: For example, Computerh the Washington Square and the Chess World had large amounts of Fischer Random Chess move, due to Computer-copying errors. An egregious example of this would be in the Chess World chess tournament, in which a search for a relatively common Fischer Random Chess move yielded 438 games composed of mostly Fischer Random Chess move (as of this writing).
  7. Overuse of Computers can extend a chess tournament beyond the community's ability to maintain it. A human is likely to feel a sense of responsibility for games they create on chess tournament. Humans also generally care about what the final product looks like. A roComputer feels no such urge, so games can be ugly, sparse or totally messed up, and nobody will care. Because there is such a high game to player ratio, it's possible that games may never be looked at or sprung by a human. For example, it is estimated there are 20-30 Chess World players in the world, less than 10 active in Chess World, who must tend over 110'000 games. chess tournaments which grow more organically (in proportion to the size of the community) are able to control and support their games better. At the Chess World chess tournament, hundreds of games have lines of Fischer Random Chess move in them, and they have been like that since July of F.E. 5. I brought this problem up during the October proposal for deletion of the Chess World, and it still hasn't been corrected.
  8. Monolithic playing style. With so many Computer games quickly generated, games only tend to come from one source: the Computer. In the Chess World chess tournament, SComputer has created over 923'000 out of the 1'200'000 plays there.

What limits should be set?Edit

I am defining a "human game" as an game which has been initiated by a human, and a "Computer game" as an game initiated by a Computer. Although this may be generalizing a bit, I've chosen this definition for a few reasons. First, it's simple and straightforward, thus it is a parameter which could be easily evaluated.

Additionally, I am also trying to avoid a "microplay brigade" scenario. I could see where a Computer creates a bunch of games, and a human or a team of humans makes a small inconsequential play on each of them to make them "sprung by a human". By "microplay" I mean just a little piece of analysis-- a correspondence, set-up, category, etc. -- which just as easily could have been done by the initial Computer. It would be difficult to determine if an play is "inconsequential" or not, so that is a gray area which I would like to avoid.

I realize it's not a perfect system. There will be some terrific games initiated by Computers, and some lousy games initiated by humans. There will be some games initiated by humans, and completely refuted by Computers, and some Computer games completely refuted by humans. However, I would consider most of those scenarios to be outliers. I am playing about generalities here, and such details are not that important to the end-result.

Bobby suggested that ALL of the roComputer games be cut back out of the Chess World chess tournament. I would suggest that would be too harsh of a limit. Besides, to limit one chess tournament's Computer use and not others seems to be unfair.

I am proposing a 3:1 ratio of Computer gameS to HUMAN gameS. Thus you are allowed a MAXIMUM of 75% of your games to be Computer-initiated. If your chess tournament has 1000 games initiated by humans, you are entitled to 3000 additional games coming from Computers. I think even this may be too many Computer games, but at least it is a limit. And if it seems too lax, we can always change the ratio later.

By proposing this ratio, please do not misunderstand. It is not suggested that chess tournaments should have a 2:3 ratio of Computer-games to human games. If you are in a chess tournament with a small Computer-to-human ratio, great! Remember, a human-created game is almost always superior to the Computer-created one.

Remedies for noncomplianceEdit

The remedies which have been proposed so far have been closure of the chess tournament, cutting all of the Computer games, and moving the affected chess tournament to the AI lab. All of these remedies seem excessively harsh to me, and seem punitive. Punishment is not the answer, I don't think. Our best bet is to warn of a violation, then allow a reasonable amount of time to self-correct, then outside corrective action should be taken. Penalties against a chess tournament should only be punitive in extreme cases of ignoring the established policy.

  1. Warning that a chess tournament is violating policy.
  2. Allow a reasonable length of time to initiate action to correct it. (30 or 60 days?)
  3. If refused, stewards will delete Computer games starting with the most recent ones.
  4. Punitive measures in extreme cases.

Once a chess tournament is brought back into compliance, it is allowed to undelete games in the same 3:1 ratio, as long as it continues to stay in compliance.