Magnus Carlsen vs Hans Niemann: we explain the cheating issue that shakes the chess world

Magnus Carlsen vs Hans Niemann: we explain the cheating issue that shakes the chess world

Ever since he lost a match to young American Hans Niemann, five-time world champion Magnus Carlsen has been involved in a conspiracy against cheating in chess.
ARUN SANKAR / AFP Ever since he lost a match to young American Hans Niemann, five-time world champion Magnus Carlsen has been involved in a conspiracy against cheating in chess.

ARUN SANKAR / AFP

Ever since he lost a match to young American Hans Niemann, five-time world champion Magnus Carlsen has been involved in a conspiracy against cheating in chess.

SPORT – If the writers of Checkers were looking for ways to put together a season 2, they couldn’t have found a better source of inspiration. In early September, an enigmatic tweet from five-time chess champion Magnus Carlsen unexpectedly rocked the sport, to the point of once again plunging the discipline into a paranoia worthy of the last great scandal in sports history.

All the ingredients are there: accusations of cheating brought by the world number 1 against a promising youngster, the latter’s sulphurous reputation, games finished in less than three moves, analysis from the greatest experts in the game of chess, not to mention the promise of a final grand reveal. Without a doubt, the Carlsen v. Nieman is not without twists and turns.

And the last tweet published this Monday, September 26 by the champion is formal proof of this. ” I think Niemann cheated more, and even more recently, than he publicly admitted. writes the 31-year-old Norwegian. No evidence of cheating was revealed, but rather a dogged feeling on the part of the man who had given up defending his world title in May due to lack of motivation.

First match in the Sinquefield Cup

In his tweet posted on Monday, Magnus Carlsen said: “ His progress on the board is unusual. And during our match at the Sinquefield Cup, I felt like he wasn’t tense or even fully focused on the game at critical moments, as he outplayed me with Black playing at a level only a handful of players can match.”

To better understand the origins of this statement, a brief overview is required. On September 5, Magnus Carlsen, who needs no introduction in the world of chess, faces the young American Hans Niemann, then ranked among the top 50 in the world, after two years of meteoric rise. It was after this match, won to everyone’s surprise by the American outsider, that things really began. The champion of champions then published an enigmatic tweet, announcing his withdrawal from the tournament, despite the six duels he still had to play.

I withdrew from the tournament. I have always loved playing in the Sinquefield Cup and I hope to return in the future. Then Carlsen announced. Whether the international grandmaster was indeed stung by his ego after this loss, his withdrawal as well as the rest of his tweet ask. Indeed, he slips a famous video in which soccer coach José Mourinho, frustrated by a disadvantageous arbitration, declares: “If I speak, I’m in big trouble. » In French : “If I talk, I’m going to be in big trouble. »

The rumor is spread: Hans Niemann would therefore have cheated, as advanced in particular by the great teacher Hikaru Nakamura on Twitch to explain the defeat, then the withdrawal of the Norwegian. Despite an investigation by the organization and additional measures to stop cheating, no evidence will be found.

The 19-year-old prodigy just ended Carlsen’s 53-game unbeaten streak, but his level in subsequent matches raises doubts and suspicions. Especially since Magnus Carlsen enjoys an exemplary reputation and inspires confidence thanks to his status as the best player in chess history. So who to believe?

Two hits and then it’s gone

Hans Moke Niemann is no stranger to acts of cheating. In the past, the San Francisco native has been poked online, to the point of being banned from the sport’s most popular platform: Chess.com. Despite his young age, he himself admitted to cheating on two occasions, when he was 12 and 16 years old. A version questioned by the famous online site, which ensures that the American’s acts of deception would be much more numerous than he claims.

And as in a good series, the time for “revenge” has come. On September 19, the two men meet again, this time online, at the Julius Baer Generation Cup. And while the chess community hangs on Magnus Carlsen’s fingers, the latter suddenly turns off his webcam and throws in the towel after the second move, taking his opponent and the game commentators by surprise. A media trick to question the presence of the alleged cheater in this tournament.

If Niemann had said that he was willing to play naked to prove his innocence, it is Magnus Carlsen who comes out with the great phrases so that ” cheating in chess should be treated seriously ». “I will definitely be releasing a statement very soon and that will not be all you will hear from me on this.” he outbid, promising future reveals.

An existential threat to the game?

The days go by and the analyzes of the greatest chess experts parade. However, no one seems capable of giving formal proof of cheating during this match on September 5, not even the famous Kenneth Regan, world chess cheating specialist. Then there are the sulphurous theories that we slip here and there to try to explain the accusations of the number 1 in the world.

One of them, popularized by Elon Musk himself, suggests that Hans Niemann would have used a vibrating butt plug. In a serious article. guardiantwo sources from the world of chess “both said that if the better players knew there was a move that gave them a significant advantage (perhaps with the use of some kind of signal), it would help them find it more often”. Among the other theories considered: a hidden earpiece, an implant under the skin or a miniature camera, but there is no evidence to support this yet.

In a tweet in response to a joke about a butt plug worn by Hans Niemann, Elon Musk said: “Talent is the shooter who hits the target that others can't touch;  genius is someone who achieves a goal that others can't even see (because it's in your ass) - Schopenhauer”.
twitter screenshot In a tweet in response to a joke about a butt plug worn by Hans Niemann, Elon Musk said: “Talent is the shooter who hits the target that others can’t touch; genius is someone who achieves a goal that others can’t even see (because it’s in your ass) – Schopenhauer”.

twitter screenshot

In a tweet in response to a joke about a butt plug worn by Hans Niemann, Elon Musk said: “Talent is the shooter who hits the target that others can’t touch; genius is someone who achieves a goal that others can’t even see (because it’s in your ass) – Schopenhauer”.

The case divides, even among the great champions of the discipline. Although some have asked Magnus Carlsen for more explanations about these accusations, such as the great Garry Kasparov, for the Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, world blitz champion, the time has come for discussion to avoid a possible ” Witch hunt “. Speaking to the Chess24 website, he believes that ” The best thing is of course to put everyone at the table, Magnus and the rest of the players, to think about what we want”.

But in the end, the big loser in this matter remains the game of chess itself. An opinion shared by the French streamer Blitzstream. Within The teamthis player is worried about the repercussions of the Carlsen vs Niemann case, “a very bad ad”: “it will be very difficult to see once the doubt has crept in”.

Enough to summon old demons to the chessboard. As the ” wcgate » 2006, when the champion Vladimir Kramnik, whose stays « strange, if not suspicious in the bathroom he had questioned challenger Veselin Topalov’s team and sparked accusations of cheating. But again, no formal proof could be established, not even by expert Kenneth Regan.

See also in The HuffPost:


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