The UNIR chess tournament, fairer thanks to SMOWL

Did you know that SMOWL can make a chess tournament fairer? Yes, you read that right. Proctoring—or remote supervision—is often...
17 May 2024

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The UNIR chess tournament, fairer thanks to SMOWL

Did you know that SMOWL can make a chess tournament fairer?

Yes, you read that right.

Proctoring—or remote supervision—is often associated with the educational sector and Human Resources. And that’s normal and logical, as it’s a recognized technology established in both cases, as our case studies show.

But it can also play a crucial role in the online gaming sector and even in sports.

And the best proof of that is applying it to reality. In this post, we’ll tell you how UNIR has supervised its chess tournament with SMOWL, in which both students and university staff participate.

A chess tournament where competition is remote

As we know, chess is a sport that requires strategy and physical and mental skills. But if we stop to think about it, it doesn’t necessarily require the physical presence of players in a specific location.

The problem lies in the reliability of the games. Who ensures that in a digital environment where players have so many tools at their disposal, the game is completely transparent?

We have examples of top players suspected of cheating internationally.

That’s where SMOWL comes in.

But let’s take a step back.

Universidad en Internet

How did an institution like UNIR organize this tournament?

David Barberá, director of the institution’s Sports Service, has the answer: “UNIR is the Online University, and as such, its students are spread across different countries. Therefore, we believed that online chess was a perfect fit.”

And time has proven him right, as participation has been a success: more than 65 students are taking part in the preliminary rounds. In total, with the Teaching and Research Staff (TRS) and the Management and Administration Staff (MAS) of the institution they’’ve reached 100 participants.

In short, the UNIR environment “is very interested in chess because, even though it may not seem like it, it’s a competitive sport,” says Barberá.

Chess, a very active sport in the online world

The tournament takes place thanks to the online application of Academia de Ajedrez, where players can contact each other and schedule their matches, always in coordination with the Sports Directorate.

In total, it’s a five-week tournament; five rounds using a Swiss system format. All of them online, except for the final rounds, which will take place in person on June 22 in Logroño with the presence of the University Rector and other dignitaries.


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Cheating in a chess tournament in the age of AI

Returning to the question we asked a few paragraphs ago, yes, cheating can occur in an online tournament. Especially if you play from a computer at your own home.

Today, there are tools you can open in a few seconds, like Stockfish, a powerful open-source engine dedicated exclusively to chess. Or the well-known Artificial Intelligence, to which a player could report how an opponent moved and consult possible moves.

These dangers are real, as the chess application itself only has webcam supervision, where you can see the players’ faces but not what they’re doing.

This is where SMOWL’s proctoring plans come into play.

With SMOWL CM tool, tournament officials can monitor the player’s computer activity at the time of the game and configure which applications are allowed, detecting at all times open applications and browser tabs, connected devices, virtual machines, etc.

The UNIR chess tournament, fairer thanks to SMOWL

Players thrilled with the integrity of the UNIR chess tournament

In this regard, players are thrilled with the use of these types of tools, which, as David Barberá indicates, “are a good option to eliminate cheaters.”

Although it must be said that, at least in this first edition, every single participant has signed up to compete and win cleanly, and “no attempt to cheat has been detected.”

Many of them, especially the students, were already familiar with SMOWL, although the Sports Directorate provided a brief training so they wouldn’t have any problems starting their matches.

In short, SMOWL will ensure that the winner of the first UNIR chess tournament is truly and sportsmanlike.

Having seen this, what do you think about using a monitoring tool like SMOWL for a chess tournament?
If you find it interesting and want to share your comments, or if you want to try SMOWL in any sport or online game with the same reliability that UNIR has applied in its chess tournament, contact us. We’ll be happy to hear your ideas and offer you the opportunity to try SMOWL for free.


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