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this should be simple Magnus Carlsonor at least as simple as top-level chess Games can. When the world chess champion sat down with 19-year-old American Hans Niemann at the Sinkfield Cup earlier this month, he benefited from White’s 53-match unbeaten streak. The opponent is someone who enters the game as the lowest rated player.

Few people expected to be upset, but that’s what happened.

Carlsen’s loss to Neiman in that game was unusual, but it was even more so in what followed. The next day, the world’s No. 1 chess superstar withdrew without explanation; only a brief statement posted to Twitter and a meme.

“I’m out of the game. I’ve always enjoyed playing @STLChessClub, and hope to be back in the future,” he wrote in a tweet, accompanied by a video clip of Jose Mourinho, saying, “I really prefer not to speak. If I talk, I’m in big trouble. “

Carlson himself didn’t say so explicitly, but his exit and the cryptic video were interpreted as veiled allegations of Neiman cheating.

Niemann vehemently denied the allegations against him, but the chess world — its own ecosystem of players and teachers, YouTubers, streamers, and fans — has been eaten up by the drama since.

“Basically, Magnus Carlsen seems to think that something is wrong with Hans Niemann,” Levy Rozman, a chess grandmaster and host of a popular chess-based YouTube channel, said in a statement. video. He described it as “probably the biggest chess scandal in history”.

Chess cheating is as old as the game itself. But the rise of online gaming, coupled with the invention of AI-powered chess engines that can calculate millions of possible moves in seconds, has led to an explosion in cheating in recent years., the most popular chess platform on the internet, called cheating “the dirty not-so-secret of chess” and it “has plagued online chess sites”.The site says it’s suspended 500 accounts per day Cheating.

So how is Niemann supposed to cheat as Carlson himself? This is where things get weird.A theory from deep within Reddit reportedly suggests that Neimann uses vibrating anal beads to receive movement commands from an external assistant, discussed as if it were a serious possibility offered by guru Eric Hansen in live. other theory It has been suggested that Niemann may be using a “micro-laser” that “draws an ultraviolet line on the board that can only be seen through social networks. [sic] contact details. “

Niemann had his own theory, assuming in his post-match interview Carlsen “was demoralized because he lost to an idiot like me. It must be embarrassing for the world champion to lose to me. I feel bad for him.”

Next up is something akin to a true crime drama. Neiman’s history has come under intense scrutiny online, and his past games have studied anomalies and patterns.

Hikaru Nakamura, chess grandmaster, former world number two and popular chess YouTuber, replayed the game Look for no-nonsense action between Carlson and Niemann. In other words, he looks for actions that can only be prompted by artificial intelligence. “I’m really skeptical,” he said.

Greg Keener, FIDE arbiter The assistant manager of the Marshall Chess Club wrote in an analysis New York TimesSince January 2021, Neiman’s Elo rating based on player game records has risen by more than 500 points, describing it as a “massive increase that many people don’t believe is possible”.

In other words, the sudden emergence of Niman is a fundamental reason for many people’s doubts.

The scandal only deepened when Neiman explained his match against Carlsen in an interview and defended himself, admitting to cheating in online games as a young man.

“I cheated in a random game I met. I admit it. This was the biggest mistake of my life. I am completely ashamed. I tell the world because I don’t want false statements and I don’t want rumors. I’ve never cheated in a board game.Except when I was 12 years old, I never cheated in a tournament with bonuses,” he said in a post. St. Louis Chess Club Interview.

“To provide context, I’m 16 years old and living alone in New York City, the epicenter of the pandemic, and I’m willing to do anything to expand my traffic,” he added. “What I want people to know is that I am deeply sorry for my mistakes. I know there will be consequences for my actions, and I live with them.”

Niemann went on to say that he would play naked to prove his innocence against allegations that he was wearing the device on his body.

“If they want me to strip naked, I’ll do it. I don’t care. Because I know I’m clean. You want me to play in a closed box with zero electronic transmission, and I don’t care. I’m here to win, whatever That’s my goal anyway,” he said.

Reporters could not reach Neiman for comment independent.

Two days after that interview, said in a statement that it had banned Neimann from the site, but did not further details.

Still, the plot continues. Neiman and Carlsen met in another match, this time online, in a tournament called the Generations Cup. After one move, Carlsen withdrew from the game, turn off his webcam.

“I think it’s a bigger statement than a tweet,” commentator.

The uproar threatened to derail the career of a young chess grandmaster before it even really started. However, no one has yet been able to provide any concrete evidence of his cheating.

After days of speculation, Chris Bird, chief arbitrator of the Sinkfield Cup, where the scandal began, said there was no evidence of cheating.

“In response to recent rumors circulating in the chess world, I can confirm that we have no indication at this time that any player has played unfairly in the 2022 Sinkfield Cup,” Bird said in a statement. said in. Reuters.

This New York Times report He was invited back for the club’s next game.



Keener in his analysis era, Also pointed to the comments of Levon Aronian, an Armenian master who played the same match and defended Niman after the match interview.

“Well, I think that often happens when young players are playing well. All these allegations are made against them. All my colleagues are very paranoid,” he said in the interview.

A more in-depth analysis is provided by Professor Ken Regan, dubbed “the world’s greatest chess cheat detection expert” by ChessBase, who analyzes all of Niemann’s online and offline games for the past two years.

“Nieman played well. But not very well,” he said in his sentenceconcluded that he did not cheat.

This could be the end of the controversy.But Carlson dabbled in the topic again this week in an interview.

“Unfortunately, I can’t talk about that in particular,” Carlsen said when asked why he resigned from his final game with Neiman. “But, you know, people can draw their own conclusions, of course they can.

He then hinted that he might not remain mysterious anymore.

“I hope to talk a little bit more after the game,” he said.