Grandmaster Carlsen breaks silence about chess fraud Debacle

Magnus Carlsen in front of chessboard hitting a chess clock.

Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen continues to make underhanded comments to suggest that rival Hans Niemann is cheating at his games.
Photo: ARUN SANKAR/AFP (Getty Images)

The ongoing chess fraud scandal isn’t going to die out, and it’s starting to look like the rest of us are just pawns being shuffled from one charge to the next.

Earlier this week, during a preparatory match against chess master Hans Niemann in the ongoing Julius Baer Generation Cup played via the online Chess24 platform, Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen dumped both the game and the flow after only the second move. It was a sudden shock to both the hosts and the chess community, and seemed to imply that he was still protesting Niemann’s entry into the tournament.

He made no statements at the time, but broke his silence on the Chess24 stream on Wednesday. He declined to speak specifically and make actual allegations of cheating, adding: “But people can draw their own conclusion and they certainly have. I have to say I am very impressed with Niemann’s game and I think his mentor GM Maxim Dlugy must do a great job.”

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Despite saying he’s not making a scene with a full-blown accusation, his mention of Dlugy also appears to be a further accusation of cheating. Chess coach and FIDE master Yosha Iglesias wrote on Twitter that Dlugy was allegedly caught cheating on Chess.com in 2017.

It seems that the ongoing chess fraud scandal relies on circumstantial evidence that, while looking bad at Niemann, provides no real evidence. Other chess masters have also mentioned how Niemann performs “strange movements”” during his game, but it’s far from really true evidence.

According to their own news bulletin, Chess.com CEO Erik Allebest declined to issue a statement. FIDE Director General Emil Sutofsky told the Julius Baer Cup stream on Wednesday that their organization plans to reach out to Chess.com and make some sort of statement, saying it’s something they should “look closely.”

19-year-old American chess master Niemann defeated Carlsen in the Sinquefield Cup earlier this month. The 31-year-old Norwegian grandmaster, one of the most glorified players in the world, then quit the tournament and gave a tweet that seemed to imply that there was something unpleasant about his opponent. It has sparked a storm of speculation, even some wild conspiracies that Niemann used vibrating anal beads to give him clues for his next move.

Niemann had previously admitted to using computer help in online chess when he was 12 and 16, which also led to a Chess.com ban and an end to his streaming career.

in a interview earlier this month, Niemann called his past cheating “the biggest mistake of my life” and went on to say that if his critics wanted to strip him naked and force him to play out of a box with “zero electronic transmission, I don’t care. am here to win.”

Gizmodo’s previous coverage pointed out that the case could be less of a cheat scandal and more of how staggering improvements in chess AI have changed the game, creating a new paradigm where players memorize and play opening moves by repetition and less by calculation. .

Chess.com’s cheat detection was developed in part by Kenneth Regan, a chess researcher and professor at the University at Buffalo. He is written pretty about differences between how computers and humans play chess. He recently told the Chess24 stream that based on what he’s seen, he hasn’t found any evidence that Niemann cheated, although few if any researchers consider anal beading, so who knows.

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