Contest Spoiler Follow Up – TeamCyclone Identified

2 min read

Hello all,

We would like to thank everyone who participated in our July contest despite the problem of exposed solutions. It only goes to reinforce our belief that there are those among us who love to solve problems and love to compete, irrespective of the prize money and irrespective of who cheats. You are the guys we built CodeChef for. You rock!

Secondly, we have identified the account TeamCyclone, thanks to our diligent Sysad team. We regret to announce that it belongs to our long-term associate Varun Jalan, and Pratik Tandel. The evidence trail points at Varun Jalan, who, upon questioning, named Pratik.

We have always trusted Varun, had problem-setting contracts with him, and welcomed his counsel regarding CodeChef on occasions. At his request, we revealed the solutions of the problems LCM and HAPPY to him. We view his behavior as a serious breach of trust and contract. We had sponsored Pratik for the ACM ICPC finals. We are disappointed that in a misguided attempt, they have tried to undermine our efforts to run the last few contests.

We have spoken to both of them, and they have acknowledged their involvement. They have admitted the error of their ways. We do not want to take any action against them, in the hope that they will not repeat such a gross mistake. Since this is also a legal matter, our legal team will be investigating the issue fully and will be deciding on a course of action to safeguard Codechef’s interests in the long-term.

Meanwhile lets put these events behind us and look forward to having a great time! We are excited at the launch of our new short contest format. πŸ™‚

Cheers,
The Codechef Team.
—-

PS – We harbor no grudges against anyone. If anything we feel disappointed. We hope both Varun and Pratik see the demerits of their actions and use their potential for the benefit of the community going forward.

—-

Blog Updated: The acceptance and apology mails sent to us after we spoke to them:

Varun says:

“HI all,

This is to formally apologise for being involved in the Stefan incident. I am sorry for my actions.

I was a part of the idea all along. Pratik had created the codechef/fb accounts, however I had login details for them. For the problem LCM, Pratik had asked me help on a similar problem that he discussed with a friend. I did now know immediately how to solve it. So I asked Anup for a solution to the LCM problem, and on seeing it, I could explain Pratik the solution then. I have not posted the solutions to the problems myself, but have been aware of it in collaboration with Pratik all along.

I would like to conclude by mentioning my motives in being behind it, which were clearly not monetary gain. With the particular format of the contest, cheating in the contests is rampant. Without strong motivation to learn, its easy to get carried away by small monetary gains and make easy and fast money. In my opinion, spending 10 days on 4-5 problems is not exactly the best way for a beginner to learn. That is not the way I learnt, but its my mistake in trying to force my ideology on anyone. I am sincerely sorry for my actions, and assert that they will not repeat. I m aware of the amount of damage it has caused to Codechef’s reputation and am sincerely sorry for it.

-Varun”

Prateek says: “I, Pratik Tandel, admit to being an accomplice to Varun Jalan in the public disclosure of solutions to the recent monthly contests on Codechef. The reason for my actions it that I strongly resented the fact that many used unfair means to win in contests. Very little or too lenient action was taken against them. They used to come back the next month and cheat in better ways. This was the main reason for the deplorable actions of mine.

The plans for this activity was discussed with Varun and he had agreed and contributed to the ideas. He was aware of the login credentials of all accounts created for this purpose. He had also helped with some of the harder problems.

I strongly regret the outcomes that this actions of ours have caused. After my discussion with Anup and Bhavin, I have been convinced that my misguided actions have undone a lot of hard work put in by many people working on the Codechef team and the problem-setters. After discussions I have concluded that these means do not justify the reasons that I have stated. I apologize to the community for any inconvenience caused, and I understand that it must be a very hard time for all of you. I hope that you will forgive me over a course of time, for these wrong actions.”

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65 Replies to “Contest Spoiler Follow Up – TeamCyclone Identified”

  1. OMG… this is very much a big shock ! Never expected that it would be two of the great coders from India, who are supposed to set a good path for others to follow. I wonder why did they do all this ? .., Just to have some Fun ? . They surely did a big mistake in their life, and considering their 'performance' in all these years, its a real shame on them to do such nasty things at such a big level.@syco: Please do write good editorials for the problems u set, we will forgive you :)@pratik: Come back to India.. you are done πŸ˜›

  2. OMG… this is very much a big shock ! Never expected that it would be two of the great coders from India, who are supposed to set a good path for others to follow. I wonder why did they do all this ? .., Just to have some Fun ? . They surely did a big mistake in their life, and considering their 'performance' in all these years, its a real shame on them to do such nasty things at such a big level.
    @syco: Please do write good editorials for the problems u set, we will forgive you πŸ™‚
    @pratik: Come back to India.. you are done πŸ˜›

  3. shocking it is ! If you didn't like something codechef did/does just quit it and be quiet. If you are very concerned, then start a discussion here, give your thoughts, be a part of it and try to get a good positive change in their system ( dont tell you are a writer and are part of the system πŸ˜‰ ) . It will take time to make things proper, and you have to be patient. This kind of behavior is undesirable, and I really hope it doesn't be as an option for emerging coders from India ( as in , false thoughts , 'if these biggies can do it, why can't we' ) . .Your icpc/collegiate contest career has ended, please let us have fun, its our turn now !.

  4. shocking it is ! If you didn't like something codechef did/does just quit it and be quiet. If you are very concerned, then start a discussion here, give your thoughts, be a part of it and try to get a good positive change in their system ( dont tell you are a writer and are part of the system πŸ˜‰ ) . It will take time to make things proper, and you have to be patient. This kind of behavior is undesirable, and I really hope it doesn't be as an option for emerging coders from India ( as in , false thoughts , 'if these biggies can do it, why can't we' ) .
    .
    Your icpc/collegiate contest career has ended, please let us have fun, its our turn now !.

  5. Obviously notThey are great coders…..that cant be denied..I also wish CodeChef had not revealed their names in public…..you could have given them another chance.

    1. @admin: They are participating and even winning in codechef contests ( http://www.codechef.com/JULY11/#rank-tab-2 ) and its not even a year since this has happened. There are students ( eg. @ NIT, durgapur.. )Β  who got banned for 2yrs for something similar, for breaching in a college techfest contest. I wonder what steps you are going to take regarding this !!!

  6. Obviously not
    They are great coders…..that cant be denied..
    I also wish CodeChef had not revealed their names in public…..you could have given them another chance.

  7. Let's see.. The two of them together didn't make the top 10 despite having solutions to the 3 most difficult problems. That's pretty pathetic, actually. Maybe you know them better. The thing about wrecking your reputation is that the other 99.99..% of the world will go on what they have to go on – namely that they're lying cheats.

  8. Let's see.. The two of them together didn't make the top 10 despite having solutions to the 3 most difficult problems. That's pretty pathetic, actually. Maybe you know them better. The thing about wrecking your reputation is that the other 99.99..% of the world will go on what they have to go on – namely that they're lying cheats.

  9. they have already given them another chance by not taking any action against them.This is really a serious matter and no way can anyone forgive them.They made two monthly contest a hell for everyone. I really expected more action from CodeChef.

  10. they have already given them another chance by not taking any action against them.
    This is really a serious matter and no way can anyone forgive them.They made two monthly contest a hell for everyone. I really expected more action from CodeChef.

  11. Varun and Pratik are two of India's top algorithmists, and this act cannot take that away from them. I think this issue has been dealt with very well by Codechef, though I would hope that more than anything, the reasons for why this was done is taken into account. I'm sure the admins know best and will take care of it.

  12. Varun and Pratik are two of India's top algorithmists, and this act cannot take that away from them. I think this issue has been dealt with very well by Codechef, though I would hope that more than anything, the reasons for why this was done is taken into account. I'm sure the admins know best and will take care of it.

  13. Really unbelievable! I would love to know why they did it. And people, please stop posting insulting remarks about them, they both are undoubtedly great coders.

  14. Really unbelievable! I would love to know why they did it. And people, please stop posting insulting remarks about them, they both are undoubtedly great coders.

  15. Is he the same Varun Jalan who is also the Editorial Board member at SPOJ?OMG!! I had been following several coders and he was one of them. He also has done so well in competitions like GCJ. This calls for an explanation from him.What grudge did he have against Codechef? Don't tell me it was the same foolish “open source” idea that spurred him to do this. I would also like to know who was moderating imaginary Stefan's facebook profile?I still cannot believe it, these were the guys who were devoting so much time and effort for the purpose of destroying such coding competitions!! In fact it is because of these competitions that they are so popular.Gosh!!! What an anti-climax!!

  16. Is he the same Varun Jalan who is also the Editorial Board member at SPOJ?

    OMG!! I had been following several coders and he was one of them. He also has done so well in competitions like GCJ. This calls for an explanation from him.

    What grudge did he have against Codechef? Don't tell me it was the same foolish “open source” idea that spurred him to do this. I would also like to know who was moderating imaginary Stefan's facebook profile?

    I still cannot believe it, these were the guys who were devoting so much time and effort for the purpose of destroying such coding competitions!! In fact it is because of these competitions that they are so popular.
    Gosh!!! What an anti-climax!!

  17. I really can't understand how any user cannot condemn their actions! Whatever the reasons could be, understand the means adopted is illegitimate. If anyone believes that the reason is having a short-contest, thats utterly ridiculous. The cook-off was announced already. This cannot be accepted as a reasonable point.A skill and intelligence doesn't make one moral. The virtues here in question are moral and ethics. To me they seem to lack them.

  18. I really can't understand how any user cannot condemn their actions! Whatever the reasons could be, understand the means adopted is illegitimate. If anyone believes that the reason is having a short-contest, thats utterly ridiculous. The cook-off was announced already. This cannot be accepted as a reasonable point.

    A skill and intelligence doesn't make one moral. The virtues here in question are moral and ethics. To me they seem to lack them.

  19. I certainly do agree that what they did was wrong and your points are totally correct! What I want to know is, why they did this? Consider the cons for them:1) They could have as well participated legitimately and won some cash prize.2) They have the extremely huge risk of being exposed.To say that, a possibility of having shorter contests is the only advantage which outweighs these 2 points sounds silly to me.

  20. I certainly do agree that what they did was wrong and your points are totally correct! What I want to know is, why they did this? Consider the cons for them:
    1) They could have as well participated legitimately and won some cash prize.
    2) They have the extremely huge risk of being exposed.
    To say that, a possibility of having shorter contests is the only advantage which outweighs these 2 points sounds silly to me.

  21. Regarding your points
    1) As already mentioned Varun was in contract regarding problem setting so he definitely doesn't had any right in winning prize money and pratik havn't won any prize money in regular monthly contest so i doubt if he had the capability to win contest on his own.

    2) That's what has happened, they could have easily escaped by doing prank for only first month but they continued there bad motives.

    Regarding there motive :
    Do you still think there's any motive which will justify there action. If they had any motive don't you think varun and pratik are big enough coder that codechef will definitely listen to them. Even if they had some motive i don't think it's reasonable enough to listen them because this will only encourage other's to perform more foul play like this.

  22. Regarding your points1) As already mentioned Varun was in contract regarding problem setting so he definitely doesn't had any right in winning prize money and pratik havn't won any prize money in regular monthly contest so i doubt if he had the capability to win contest on his own.2) That's what has happened, they could have easily escaped by doing prank for only first month but they continued there bad motives.Regarding there motive : Do you still think there's any motive which will justify there action. If they had any motive don't you think varun and pratik are big enough coder that codechef will definitely listen to them. Even if they had some motive i don't think it's reasonable enough to listen them because this will only encourage other's to perform more foul play like this.

  23. Its sad to see people like you jumping on their throats so easily – especially Varun considering he is one of two Indian Topcoder Reds. I'm sure there's more here that codechef is not telling us or what they clearly think is not relevant to this discussion. I'd like to hear the explanation these guys have given – publicly. This isn't a prank or a simple act of sabotage – these aren't mad people putting their reputation on the line.

  24. Its sad to see people like you jumping on their throats so easily – especially Varun considering he is one of two Indian Topcoder Reds.

    I'm sure there's more here that codechef is not telling us or what they clearly think is not relevant to this discussion. I'd like to hear the explanation these guys have given – publicly. This isn't a prank or a simple act of sabotage – these aren't mad people putting their reputation on the line.

  25. that was really unfortunate………i would like to appreciate the efforts and methodsof codechef team and their methodology of keeping things aside and looking forward.

  26. that was really unfortunate………
    i would like to appreciate the efforts and methods
    of codechef team and their methodology of keeping things
    aside and looking forward.

  27. What they did was inexcusable; a lot of effort goes into these contests from both the creating side and the solving side. They deliberately ruined two contests with full knowledge of what they were doing. It makes no difference what their reasons are; people have every right to be very upset with these two individuals.

  28. What they did was inexcusable; a lot of effort goes into these contests from both the creating side and the solving side. They deliberately ruined two contests with full knowledge of what they were doing. It makes no difference what their reasons are; people have every right to be very upset with these two individuals.

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