US Chess Procedures on Ethics Complaints

US Chess receives occasional inquiries and/or assertions about cheating within US Chess-rated events. When cheating is alleged to US Chess through proper channels (e.g. notifying a TD at a tournament, filing a written complaint to the US Chess office), procedures are followed that provide an exhaustive review of the evidence presented and due process for those accused, including an ability to appeal decisions. With the potential for cheating at all levels of the game and across all ages, we offer the following statement that reflects long-standing, existing practices within US Chess.

1. It is the policy of the U.S. Chess Federation (U.S. Chess) that cheating in any form during, or in preparation for, a U.S. Chess-sanctioned tournament will not be tolerated.  This policy includes any event a member intends to submit to U.S. Chess for rating purposes.  Paragraph 6 of the U.S. Chess Code of Ethics describes Standards of Conduct for players and also has several examples of unethical behavior that equate to cheating.

2. When a U.S. Chess member believes they have evidence of cheating behavior by another member, the correct procedure is to submit a written complaint to the U.S. Chess Federation main office, pay the administrative fee, and provide detailed supporting evidence to back-up the claim.  Potential complainants should keep in mind that U.S. Chess cannot take action on claims submitted against persons who are not members of U.S. Chess.

3. Penalties for members of U.S. Chess who are found guilty of cheating include, but are not limited to, suspension of membership, suspension or loss of Tournament Director or Certified Coach status or being permanently barred from future membership or participation in tournaments sanctioned by U.S. Chess.


  1. Is it the the USCF policy that all cheating allegations must be referred to an Ethics complaint and will not be handled by the TD at the event?

    If a student takes out his phone at the board and uses it to check Stockfish…is the policy to submit a written complaint, pay 50 dollars and wait for months to get a decision? That is what this policy memo infers. Please do not state that that is the long held policy of the USCF as countless TD’s have made on site decisions about cheating during events.

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