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Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Messages: 17

The topic of cheating -- specifically, cheating on times submitted to the Genina sudoku site -- is one that has been brought up several times on this forum. It is obvious that many players participating on this forum believe that there is cheating taking place. I have my thoughts on this issue, and although those thoughts can be found by reading my past posts, I'm keeping them out of this thread for now.

So, I have some questions I'd like for your input on:

Do you think there is cheating occurring on this site?
If so, do you think that the cheating taints the legitimate results?
How do you think cheating is likely being performed?

I'm very curious to see what people here think! Please feel free to add your own questions, and contribute any comments you believe to be pertinent to the topic.


Personal best times:
Easy 0:34
Medium 0:54
Hard 1:15
Extreme 1:39

Joined: 27 Jun 2014
Messages: 1

Ok, I've never done it because I love the game and I'm not all that interested in the competition aspect (except with myself ).

Well then, you can stop and start any game, including a competition game, right?

Start the game, take a screencap of the game. Exit.

Solve the puzzle, come back and fill in the right answers.

I also believe, some input methods may be faster and more accurate than others, for instance, on a 3" inch screen your finger may be too large for accuracy but perhaps some folks are using a stylus instead on some versions of their respective OSes...

This last paragraph is not about cheating but about speed...


(Forum Admin)

Joined: 12 Jul 2010
Messages: 242

How about just having two phones in a family? (I know, shocking). One could solve a competition on one of them, then enter the solution into another without ever having to pause the second one.

Another option would be to use Google Googles on one to take snapshot of another and have it solved for you.

I'd say the ways to cheat are many. Too many to be able to counteract effectively, but I'd also say that those that cheat are in a minority small enough to ignore. (So, no, I don't think cheating taints the legitimate results.)

Additionally, I'll say that a lot of people would write off results they find impossible as cheating just to feel better about themselves. To illustrate: as an admin I get a lot of emails from people claiming that the puzzles are incorrect / unsolvable, etc. only to review the screenshots they sent and to find an error in their logic or to point out the next logical move. It is much easier for one to blame another for cheating or to blame a puzzle for being incorrect than to admit to oneself that someone else may be better or that he may not be able to solve a puzzle of certain difficulty.

Joined: 16 Jun 2014
Messages: 2

I am sure cheating happens because it is impossible for me to believe that anyone is THAT much smarter than I am. I mean, seriously? 56 seconds for an extreme puzzle?? And even if you exclude that result as just a total fluke, then consider the next fastest at 1:41.

But aside from my bruised ego is this.
1. The fastest times for the four levels (excluding that :56 for the extreme puzzle posted by artech) follow, very nearly a linear path of ever slower times. But it is not my experience that four levels of puzzles follow a linear path of difficulty. Yes, I admit, my sense of difficulty is purely subjective. But if my sense is correct and the four levels of difficulty are exponentially more difficult, then it seems that the very fastest results should also follow an exponential curve, not the straight line. So why, you may ask, do the fastest results follow a linear path? It's because they have a linear path of blank squares. That is to say, the EASY puzzles have fewer squares to fill in than the MEDIUM puzzles, the MEDIUM fewer than the HARD, etc. And the number of blanks in the four levels of puzzle difficulty follow a linear path.

2. Why do none of the uber fast times in any of the levels not show up in the other levels. Surely, if artech's :56 time for an EXTREME level puzzle was authentic and true, then we should see that name somewhere on the list for the other level. I mean, seriously, artech is only intelligent on the EXTREME puzzles? And when artech turns to the EASY puzzle he turns into a moron?

These observations are by no means proof. But they do assuage my bruised ego, and I am standing by them.

But to all you cheaters out there, carry on if you wish. I know you're not really all that much smarter than I am.



Joined: 8 Aug 2014
Messages: 1

My times for extreme vary between 3 to 4 mins and I was curious on how it could be done in a little over a minute and I tried it today and even taking a snapshot and solving on paper to then enter the results on the game was still slower than the fastest time, this shows cheating must happen as I am sure I could copy results quicker than anyone could solve one legitimately (ps my hi score in extreme today is false sorry had to test a theory).

Joined: 22 Jun 2014
Messages: 3

Lamp your times are very impressive. My best for easy is under 2.5min. And I never paused to "think". But to answer your question, I say who cares if others cheat. I dont get my self worth because I am quicker than someone else here. I will post my times if someone asks, but other than that.......really, who cares!

Joined: 30 Aug 2014
Messages: 1

I'm on the same track as oddjobbob. I think you are right on it.
But I also have to say that from time to time I'm faster on Hard or Extreme then a Easy. Most depending on the Easy ons sometimes could be very very hard.
But the fastest time must be hard to finish so fast when if you have the answer writen down, there must be someone reading the answers to you?

Joined: 19 Oct 2012
Messages: 7

I also used to be convinced there was rampant cheating. I have changed my mind. Over time my scores have improved so dramatically that I now believe the top times are not only possible but probable. My top ten times for easy are now around 1:15. I also notice that there are many, many people who score top times. I can't imagine it being very fun to go to the trouble of cheating and posting those times month after month, so many times a day, for so many people.
As for me,I get a lot of joy out of competing against my own top times, and slowly getting better and better. I suggest everyone do the same.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 30 Aug 2014 16:08:55



Joined: 24 Sep 2013
Messages: 6

Hi lampshade. I have, in the past, insisted that people had to be cheating to get some of the times being posted. I am an intelligent person and thought I played the game as fast as humanly possible. At one time, I thought there was no way people could be solving puzzles faster than ME! Then, I took a reality pill and came down off my high horse. I do believe, now, that most of the times posted are legitimate. I'm not saying there isn't any cheating going on, but it is irrelevant. I now play to beat my own scores and ignore the rest. I don't care if I have the fastest score. I care only that I was faster than my last score. My times have improved over time and I'm sure they will continue to do so. Although, lately, my brain is in a funk and I can't solve anything lol.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 1 Sep 2014 07:35:59


Joined: 26 Apr 2013
Messages: 3

@oddjobbob and Formannen:

I am confused by your argument #1, but regarding #2, it is quite easy to understand: the pencil fill feature is unnecessary for Easy difficulty, whereas it is beneficial for Extreme. But it takes a toll on your total time, simply by the sheer amount of cell presses itt requires. I am unable to complete the fill process under a minute in any puzzle, so using this technique rules me out of Easy scores. The skill required to solve a difficult puzzle with a complete and exact pencil fill is very different from that of solving an easy puzzle with no pencil fill at all.
In my case, my best time for extreme is 2:03 for Extreme and 2:01 for Hard, the two categories where I use pencil. I guess my lowest limit for a complete pencill fill + solve process is about 2 minutes regardless of the puzzle's difficulty (that's several cells per second), but it is possible to reduce this by skipping the pencils when the results are obvious, as in Easy puzzles where my best time is slightly above 1 minute. So there: I am mediocre (moron?) at Easy, and much better at Extreme

More generally, I see that scores are quite consistent day after day, with the same players scoring the same ranks. I doubt that cheating happens significantly at all. I mean, why cheat your way to the top 20? If you're going to cheat, why upload a score of 2:24 on Extreme, and not, say, 0:08? Since nobody really cares about an obscure leaderboard in an obscure forum, why would hundreds of people take turn to upload every day cheated scores nicely spread between 2 and 3 minutes, EVERY DAY, FOR YEARS?

1 minute may be a bit lucky, but I have no reason to believe it's fake. 2 minutes is definitely common, hundreds of players can do that.
That or there is a secret forum somewhere where hidden plotters gather from all time zones to take turn and upload the leaderboard constantly with the same performance profile, with a fine dosage between excellent and lousy scores, just to bruise your ego .

Joined: 15 Jun 2014
Messages: 2

The leaderboard times seem legit to me.

The proposed ways to cheat don't really make sense since it is faster to solve a puzzle than to copy an already solved puzzle.

Most of these puzzles are already just a measure of your typing speed. Having to take your eyes from the screen to copy a solution would only slow you down. Even some of the Extreme puzzles can be solved as fast as you can type.

I have only got the top score a few times and it felt great when I did. It takes a bit of luck and some fast fingers but cheating isn't required.

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