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Carlsen v Niemann: the dishonest row that’s rocking chess – defined | Chess

What’s going on at top-level chess?

Allegations of dishonest – together with wild hypothesis involving vibrating anal beads – which have rocked chess to its core. A fortnight in the past the world champion Magnus Carlsen pulled out of a event for the primary time in his profession – after which, on Monday, he shocked the game once more by resigning a recreation after only one transfer. Each instances Carlsen was confronted with the identical opponent, the 19-year-old American Hans Niemann.

So when did the furore begin?

After Carlsen pulled out of the $500,000 (£433,000) Sinquefield Cup after a shock defeat towards Niemann with white items. The day after the loss, the world champion posted a cryptic tweet that included a video clip of José Mourinho saying: “If I communicate, I’m in large hassle.” There was quickly frenzied hypothesis over Carlsen’s motives, with the American grandmaster and standard streamer Hikaru Nakamura claiming the world champion had withdrawn as a result of he thought Niemann was “probably cheating”.

What occurred subsequent?

Organisers of the Sinquefield Cup introduced extra anti‑dishonest precautions, together with a 15-minute delay within the broadcast of the strikes and elevated radio-frequency identification checks. Niemann, who had received two of his first three video games on the occasion, proceeded to lose or draw his last six. Nonetheless, no proof of dishonest was discovered.

What explanations have been superior for Niemann’s victory?

One concept doing the rounds on the web, popularised by Elon Musk, is that Niemann used vibrating anal beads to assist him. One other suggestion was that the American might have someway been leaked Carlsen’s opening preparation. Each are denied by Niemann. However others have advised the American, who says he spends 10-12 hours a day on chess, might have merely been the higher participant on the day.

Er, how would these beads assist a chess participant win?

The Guardian spoke to 2 sources within the chess world, who each mentioned that if prime gamers knew {that a} transfer that gave them a major benefit existed – maybe with the usage of some kind of sign – it might assist them to search out it most of the time.

How has Niemann responded?

After his victory towards Carlsen, Niemann claimed that “by some ridiculous miracle” he had guessed what his opponent’s uncommon opening can be and ready deeply for it. “It should be embarrassing for the world champion to lose to me,” he mentioned. “I really feel unhealthy for him.”

The subsequent day, Niemann did admit he had cheated up to now in on-line occasions with the assistance of pc help when he was a 12- and 16-year-old – however insisted he was now “clear” and was even ready to play bare to show his innocence. Nonetheless the web site Chess.com has since mentioned they believed Niemann had cheated on-line extra regularly, and had proven him the proof. Niemann has been banned from the site and Chess.com occasions.

Hans Niemann (right) in the third round of the Sinquefield Cup
Hans Niemann (proper) has admitted dishonest earlier in his profession however denies he cheated to beat Magnus Carlsen this month. {Photograph}: Crystal Fuller/Saint Louis Chess Membership

How do you cheat at chess?

It’s far simpler to take action over the web, the place some gamers have been caught utilizing pc engines to assist them to search out good strikes. Nonetheless it’s tricker over the board the place gamers are sometimes scanned beforehand for electrical gadgets.

That doesn’t imply it isn’t potential, nonetheless. Maybe essentially the most high-profile case concerned the French gamers Sébastien Feller, Arnaud Hauchard and Cyril Marzolo, who had been discovered responsible of dishonest on the Chess Olympiad in 2010. The frilly scheme concerned Marzolo analysing the video games of Feller on the web, earlier than sending recommendations to Hauchard by SMS. He then relayed them to Feller by standing behind one of many different gamers’ tables in a predefined coded system, the place every desk represented a transfer to play. In 2019 Feller was given a six-month suspended jail sentence for his behaviour.

Extra lately, the Latvian grandmaster Igors Rausis was banned for six years after being caught trying up strikes on a cellphone he had hidden in the bathroom.

On the current Olympiad in India, some gamers had been shocked to have their heads scanned by electro-magnetic wands. One concept doing the rounds was that organisers had been searching for gadgets in enamel.

Why did Carlsen and Niemann play once more so quickly – and what occurred?

Both players were invited to participate within the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour’s Julius Baer Technology Cup, and accepted. And the 2 gamers squared off once more on Monday evening, this time on-line somewhat than nose to nose. Nonetheless Carlsen brought about extra controversy by resigning after enjoying only one transfer.

How have the opposite gamers reacted?

The response has been blended. The highest grandmaster Anish Giri mentioned it was “fairly clear” that Carlsen didn’t have direct proof that Niemann had cheated towards him. Nonetheless, he mentioned: “It’s an enormous downside enjoying individuals who have admitted to dishonest on-line earlier than since you lose belief in them and that may be a main, main downside.”

In the meantime Carlsen’s Norwegian teammate Jon Ludvig Hammer condemned the choice to resign after one transfer. “It’s utterly unacceptable behaviour to lose on function, it’s the most unsportsmanlike behaviour on this planet of sports activities,” he mentioned, earlier than suggesting Carlsen may himself be sanctioned for his actions.

The place does this all depart us?

With a Mexican standoff of epic proportions. The world’s main knowledgeable on dishonest in chess, Dr Kenneth Regan, has analysed all of Niemann’s video games over the previous two years and his conclusion is there is no such thing as a purpose in any respect to suspect him of dishonest. Nonetheless Carlsen, essentially the most highly effective participant in chess, is clearly unconvinced.

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