Are Chess.com Games Against Real People? (The truth!)
Chess.com is one of the most popular chess-playing platforms along with lichess, most people who participate in the platform desire a fair game.
Today we will be discussing the possibility of bot users (fake players) on chess.com, a talk that has been rising in popularity lately.
As someone who has used chess.com a lot, here is what I know:
Matches made on chess.com are against real thinking humans 95% of the time, though there might be cases of engine assistance that make chess.com opponents appear robotic. Regardless chess.com does not create fake profiles for the sake of providing quick matches, most games are authentic.
It is important for us to answer this question since people want a genuine game, it is a letdown to think that our hard-fought games are actually against fake profiles. I will provide clarity on this issue.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
Chess.com games should be against other human players 95% of the time
There are some that doubt the validity of chess.com opponents, some claim that their matchmaking system is too fast and there shouldn’t be that many users. The matchmaking should be slower if they are trying to find real people, as they claim.
I can testify that this is not true, back in the day chess.com did have a very slow matchmaking system since chess (in general) was not as popular as today. It is not that chess.com started introducing bots, it is more like chess.com has more users now.
95% of chess.com games should be against real people, however, there are cheaters on the platform which utilize engines that make their games appear robotic.
If you are curious, there are no hordes of bots on chess.com that attempt to match with users.
There are also some who say that chess.com opponents are too strong and their moves seem to be too perfect, while this may be true it is not that the platform manipulated the matchmaking system.
Rather the users on the platform try to game the system by using outside computers.
These cheaters will have games that appear to be played by an engine (bot) but they are still real people who are only trying to play the engine’s top recommendation. One thing is for sure though, chess.com has a better anti-cheating system than lichess.
The possibility of cheaters within chess.com should be under 10%
Chess.com will have a higher probability of bringing a human opponent than lichess due to its anti-cheating system, this means that most chess.com opponents are mostly human opponents.
If we are talking about the percentage of cheaters on chess.com I would say that the possibility would be lower than 10%, the platform after all has a good anti-cheating system.
The platform’s paid feature also helps in this discussion, there are not as many cheaters in chess.com as with lichess for example.
If you are curious why it cannot be 100%, it is almost impossible to prevent every kind of cheating online. There are just too many ways to cheat in chess.
The 10% is very courteous, the real number should be around 2% (or lower). I have been playing on chess.com for a long time and I have never seen someone cheat blatantly (most opponents are fine).
Since many chess.com users pay for their membership they expect a fair cheater-free platform, the website in turn invests a lot of money in order to take out cheaters.
Lichess for example does not have as strict of a system since the website is for free, chess.com users have higher expectations.
With a good anti-cheating system most opponents are not engine opponents, they are real people that use their own brains to calculate moves.
Chess.com don’t have as many users as Lichess which makes matchmaking slower
Many people who I’ve seen complain about this are those that are not used with chess platforms in general, chess.com actually has a slower matchmaking system than most platforms out there.
As demonstrated by my conclusion in my other article, chess.com players are generally stronger than lichess players. Read it for more information.
It is not like there are fake players on chess.com which makes the process too fast, it is normal actually.
The reason why chess.com matches users fast is that there are a large number of other users available in play, chess.com actually has a slower matchmaking system than lichess for example.
Lichess is a free-to-play platform which means there are more players that make match-making faster.
Chess.com has a more authoritative system since it has paid features, but it also means that it is not as popular as with free-to-play websites such as lichess.
What you think of as being too fast is actually slow in the standards of other free-to-play websites, there is nothing suspicious there.
Chess.com doesn’t create bot profiles in order to sustain its player base, there are simply too many users on the platform that continuous matchmaking is possible.
I know this since I have experienced waiting for several minutes on occasion on this platform (on the contrary, lichess finds matches instantly).
Most users who you get to play on chess.com are not necessarily engines, cases where this claim has been made have never been verified (fake profiles).
Personal experience on chess.com matchmaking system, bot opponents
I think this is the biggest reason why the points that I have made are what they are, my personal experience in chess.com points to opponents being authentic. When I have used the platform I can definitely tell that proponents are verifiable than with lichess.
On lichess one can create multiple accounts and get away with the cases of cheating, chess.com works on identifying multiple accounts that try to run this scheme. You can even play as anonymous in lichess which you cannot do on chess.com.
Even though lichess might sound to be an untrustworthy platform it is also quite authoritative in the chess space, even on such a website I think the users are authentic.
If lichess gives authentic matches I am pretty sure that chess.com would give even more of that, which is why I take this position.
I have experienced many instances where the chess.com’s match-making system did not find any available opponents at the moment (I have to wait), this really makes me think that the games are authentic.
If the platform is forcing users against bots then this wouldn’t have happened.
The games played on chess.com are against real people, there aren’t any stream of bots that the platform has created in order to artificially increase the user pool. Though cases of cheating might occur (which makes opponents look robotic) it is rare.
It might even be suspected that chess.com users are stronger than usual, but this probably isn’t because the opponents are bots (spoiler alert, it is because of the rating system that makes people appear weaker than they are).
That is all, thank you for reading.