Gaslighting

Sherwood, Russell  Sunday, August 11, 2019

In recent times the use of the term "Gaslighting" has increased significantly, mirrored in Film and TV. For those not familiar for the term a common definition is "manipulate (someone) by psychological means into doubting their own sanity.".

Now, In CC, I have never had players have me doubt my own sanity (although some of the characters I have both played and crossed path within an administrative capacity have brought me close!)

So from a CC perspective, a slightly different definition can apply "manipulate a player into doubting their own analysis". 

Few players can claim not to be guilty of this in its most mild form - offering a draw in an inferior position, especially when the higher-rated player.

In a more unpleasant form, we have all played those individuals who keep offering draws and get upset when you don't accept the draw.

A more much more modern tactic that the discerning player should be aware of can be seen when utilising ChessBase.. Imagine the following scenario. You are significantly ahead in a game. Your engine is showing move X as preferable to a decent depth. Chessbase shows a different move to a much greater depth with a good score. 

Now upon examination, this move is generally poor and turns your winning position to a draw. What the opponent has done is lay a trail to attempt to have the player doubt their own analysis. (In the example I reviewed it was clear it was the opponent due to the dates on the analysis).

So the moral of the story is whilst the analysis on Chessbase (and all crowd-sourced websites) can be valuable, always make sure (especially when it is "fresh") that someone is not trying to lead you down the garden path

Updated Sunday, August 11, 2019 by Russell Sherwood

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