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Club Statement: Surbiton teams withdraw from 4NCL Online due to unfair player treatment

It is with great regret that Surbiton Chess Club has decided to withdraw its Surbiton 1, 2 and 3 teams from the 4NCL Online tournament.

One of our players has been excluded from the competition because, it is alleged, he used engine assistance. Having investigated the matter, the Surbiton Chess Club committee has accepted the player’s account, together with the evidence he has provided, that he was not using external assistance and believe that a fair appeal process would exonerate him. We have significant concerns about the integrity of the algorithms being used to analyse the games by the internet platform and 4NCL Online and the judgements being made by those who rely upon them.

However, 4NCL Online will not re-instate the player pending the results of his appeal. The onus is on the individual to provide evidence that they have not used external assistance. That involves a huge amount of analytical work on the games in question as well as drawing together other relevant information. A massive burden on an individual, innocent, player. In effect the 4NCL Online process is “computer says cheat” and after that a player is treated as guilty until proven innocent.

Surbiton Chess Club does not believe that the 4NCL Online anti-cheating process meets any basic standards of fairness and therefore have concluded, with great regret, that is not appropriate for our 1, 2 and 3 teams to continue participating in the 4NCL Online tournament.