Contribute to the Author

Highest paid cheater in chess history?

On Monday March 22, 2021 in Indonesia there was a 3 games match, between IM Irene Sukandar and Dadang Subur, also known as Dewa Kipas. The match was organized by Deddy Corbuzier a famous Indonesian actor, after the online controversy which saw Dadang Subur (AKA Dewa Kipas) being accused by IM Levy Rozman of cheating.

On March 2nd, 2021 on his Twitch channel Rozman (AKA GothamChess) played a 10 minutes game against Dadang Subur (Kipas Dewa). Rozman main complain was that the account of the Indonesian player had gained 800 points in 11 days. Obviously if chess improvement was this easy, we would all be world champions by Christmas. Rozman checked the account’s games, and noticed the accuracy was too high and consistent for a human player. He reported the account, and it was closed.

Cheating in chess is quite simple: a player uses an engine to play the moves in his/her games. Chess Programs have reached a level that no human can beat them (even when used on a smart phone!). And today there are even adds-on to browsers like Chrome which promise to play at a certain level, like 2300 which is a Fide Master level, to avoid detection. Another way some cheaters try to avoid detection is to mix the moves of the chess program with their own moves.

After the account was closed, someone who posed as Kipas Dewa’s son made a post on how unfair his father was treated. A magazine, Wired, probably published by journalists and editors who know nothing about chess, supported the lies of Dadang Subur’s son, and created a controversy which in the chess world, plagued by cheaters like Dadang, doesn’t really need to be supported.

Statistics showing for September 2020, highlighted the amount of cheaters caught on

In chess the only thing which count is how well one can play at the board, in front of another player, unfortunately the Covid pandemic has prevented chess players to play for nearly a year in front of each other. In any case, Rozman began to receive threats and insults in all his online social accounts, making his life miserable. To my knowledge nobody of the low life, and trolls who attacked Rozman publicly apologized for their behavior and for supporting a cheater.

In Indonesia it became a story, and while the cheater refused to play a local male GM and another male IM, he accepted to play against a woman IM, maybe thinking he had better chances, because in the chess world there is a definite difference in strength between men and women. Women have their own tournaments, and titles, probably because otherwise they wouldn’t be able to compete with men for money prizes. At the moment we still don’t have a match between the male world champion, and female world champion, also if chess as sport is not based on muscles. 

Dadang Subur playing against IM Sukandar

These are the games played between Sukandar and Subur, with small annotations to explain when things got bad for Subur who lost all three games. In an article on chess-com the playing strength by Dadang Subur is given around a rating of 1100-1200, which is the rating of a begiiner in chess, quite different from what we will see later, in the selection of games given in this article, where Dadang plays like a 2300 (in US a National Master is around 2200).

The following is the game for which Kipas Dewa (Dadang Subur) was accused of cheating by IM Levy Rozman on Twitch. As we can see a totally different player from the one who played against IM Sukandar.

Now while I do give credit to those who criticize chess-com saying that Kipas’ account was closed because IM Rozman complained of cheating

At the same time, as personal experience, I have seen cheaters in playing a total of over 2000 games before their account was closed.. and once more it was closed to my complain because I mentioned I’m rated nearly 2000, and there is no way someone rated 1200 or less would beat me 7-10 times in a row.

But in Kipas Dewa (Dadang Subur) case the evidence is quite big. Let me show you some positions taken from the games played by Kipas online, and how strangely he always won without hanging pieces or major blunders, like he blundered when playing against IM Sukandar. In the following selection of games, you’ll witness chess brilliance, definitely of a superior player, not someone rated 1200, but at least 2300-2500 tactically.

White to move and win
White to move and gain a pawn
Black to move and win

Then I’d like to present the following selection of games played by Kipas, hoping it will open the eyes to all the apologists, if they know something about chess. For example the many different openings used by Kipas, who strangely studied them all! The second game is funny, because in chess there is the saying: Knight on the rim is dim, but in this case Kipas’ knight is quite active a la Fischer! (for those of you who remember the reference to that game from the 1972 world championship!)

And then we can notice how Kipas (or the engine/computer program he used) prefers the bishop pair over knights or knight and bishop when planning to enter the endgame. This is also a big difference in evolution from the first computer programs. For example, few years ago I was curious to see the differences between some engines, and organized a match between Chessgenius, written by Richard Lang (a chess program which won many computer matches from 1984 to 1993) and Fritz, don’t remember the version, but the result of the games was clear, in that time Chessgenius would give up the bishop pair, and lose each game.

I’d like also to add a selection of games by Rozman, so we can learn from both players, and see the differences. The selection of games by Rozman is just made to show how he plays, not to praise him or criticize his games. I was just curious to see some of his games played against players I’m friend in Facebook, or follow the matches in Chicago etc.

Final Thoughts: in this case we have a cheater who has made 7000 dollars, which from the comments I read could be worth 2-3 years salary in Indonesia. If that is true, once more I ask: who is protecting the victims of cheating? And how can a society reward a cheater, instead of a honest chess player?  How are FIDE and national chess federation protecting honest players and reimburse them, when they meet a proven cheater? In many cheating cases, which happened also locally at over the board tournaments here in US, they were all swept under the rug, and nobody actually reimbursed the players cheated of even the entry fee for the tournament. This is a topic which should be faced at a certain point, because it’s not fair that chess tournament organizers and federations make money out of chess events, but fail to protect and reimburse the cheated players. The last cheating scandal saw a GM, Rausis, caught after many years he was cheating, did FIDE contacted and reimbursed the players cheated by Rausis?  Then we also have the responsibility of a magazine: Wired, which published an incendiary article, which caused grief to IM Rozman. Did they publish another article apologizing, and pointing the finger against chess cheaters, and the big problem we are facing in the chess world? Obviously this last question is rhetorical, we all know how the fake news cycle work, they try to create hate and anger, instead of informing, and educating the public.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *