Anal beads. Elon Musk. And cheating in chess.
Put all those words in one sentence and you have a guaranteed scandal.
No wonder the chess world has found itself in the eye of the storm.
What exactly happened?
On September 5, Norwegian chess grandmaster Magnus Carlsen withdrew from the $ 500,000 ($ 749,000) Sinquefield Cup tournament in the US state of Missouri after 19-year-old American Hans Niemann defeated him.
Carlsen was round three in the nine round tournament.
The next day, the reigning five-time world chess champion tweeted a cryptic video of Portuguese coach José Mourinho saying, “I really prefer not to talk. I’m in big trouble if I talk.”
In a few hours, in a live stream, Japanese-American chess grandmaster and online streamer Hikaru Nakamura said, “Magnus believes Hans is probably cheating,” but is unable to say it openly because there is no evidence.
Both Carlsen and Nakamura have a reason to speculate.
Niemann has a checkered past.
He admitted he cheated twice in online chess events when he was 12 and 16.
But according to Danny Rensch – chess.com chief chess officer – there is evidence that Niemann has cheated more than twice online.
“We contacted Hans Neimann to explain our decision to privately remove him from chess.com and our event,” Rensch said in a statement on 9 September.
“We shared detailed evidence with him regarding our decision, including information that contradicts his claims about the extent and severity of his chess.com betrayal,” he said.
Did Neimann use anal beads to cheat?
Although no evidence of cheating was found, unsubstantiated rumors that Neimann was wearing anal beads that transmitted signals and helped him win the match against Carlsen began to spread.
Adding fuel to the proverbial fire was Elon Musk, who tweeted on September 8 and then deleted the following: “Talent hits a target no one else can hit, genius hits a target no one can see (because it’s in your sit) – Schopenhauer. “
In one of his now deleted tweets, Elon Musk suggested that Hans Niemann cheated using a device hidden in his “ass”. Credit: Pool / Getty Images
Gary Wastell is the president of the Australian Chess Federation.
He said that while cheating using a sex toy in face-to-face play is difficult, it’s not impossible.
“It is possible with very sophisticated equipment and a third party broadcasting or sending signals to the player,” Wastell told SBS News.
“If you have the collaboration of a third party, who can be contacted perhaps inside the office, accesses a computer, monitors the game as it is played and is somehow able to transmit a signal to the player during the game, it can be done”.
Even a timed signal can change the course of the game, Wastell said.
“It should be borne in mind that it is not necessary for a cheating player to receive information at every stage of the game.
“One of the former world champions, Viswanathan Anand, said that if in a match he only had one moment when he was advised on the right move to play in a critical position, his performance would have been substantially improved,” he said. Wastell.
Previous convictions don’t prove guilty … unless you have evidence [proving Niemann cheated]he must be given the benefit of the doubt.
Gary Wastell, president of the Australian Chess Federation
But Mr. Wastell also said that just because Niemann admitted he cheated in the past doesn’t mean he cheated in the face-to-face match against Carlsen.
“Previous convictions don’t prove guilty… Unless you have proof [proving Niemann cheated]he must be given the benefit of the doubt.
“And there was no evidence of any significance,” he said.
Niemann is ready to play naked
Niemann vehemently denied the allegations.
“If they want me to strip completely naked, I will. I do not care. Because I know I’m clean, “he told her in an interview after the game.
In fact, Niemann went one step further in soliciting Carlsen.
“It must be embarrassing for the world champion to lose to me. I’m sorry for him, ”Niemann said.
What happened next?
On Monday, Carlsen and Niemann faced off again.
This time in the Julius Baer Generation Cup of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, conducted online.
But after only one move Carlsen withdrew, causing further controversy.
Mr. Wastell said Niemann couldn’t have cheated in such a short game and Carlsen’s retirement is another cryptic message.
Norwegian chess grandmaster Magnus Carlsen could face off with Hans Niemann in another chess match in the next few days. Credit: Rob Kim
“I think it’s just some kind of protest gesture that Magnus came up with … an attempt to be somehow consistent with his action at the end of the previous game when he lost to the same player.”
The incident occurred in the preliminary stages of the tournament.
“At the moment it looks like Magnus will qualify for the finals and so will his opponent [Niemann]and there is a possibility that they will meet again in the quarter-finals or semi-finals, or at some later stage of the tournament, ”Wastell said, adding that the next match between the players could take place in the next two or three days.
“So the world will be watching,” he said.