Excellent commentary by Jeremiah on some obvious flaws that often do not get the kind attention they should from product management. In other words, some product managers may not care that the system they are promoting is hackable and will sour as users figure out the game is flawed. They will not care because they are blinkered by short-term objectives such as getting page view numbers up or meeting expectations on the street. Am I being too cynical?
Most of the time we can't find these issues by scanning, we have to find them by hand, or from customer support when they receive hundreds of calls from pissed-off users because they can't improve their chess rank. There is more to this hack.
There are literally thousands of people (or more) with an amazing about of free time to do the most mundane tasks for the most inane rewards.
Ah, culture. One person's inane task is another person's treasure. I'll trade you my chess rank for those pretty and shiny metal disks…
EDITED TO ADD (28 Dec 2006): Reuters has posted a story about another group using technology to cheat at chess:
Sharma was finally caught at a recent tournament when officials discovered that he had stitched a Bluetooth device in a cloth cap which he always pulled over his ears.