This chess drama is the gift that keeps on giving Hans Niemann cheating. Maybe it’s because there is never any drama in the chess community. How could that be in a game that is rooted in skill? If you lose, chances are your opponent was just better than you. I know I thought it was impossible to cheat at chess across the board. But here we are, writing about this drama once again.
To make a long story short, the world’s best player Magnus Carlsen on Monday officially accused his Grandmaster Hans Niemann of cheating during a match they played a few weeks ago at the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis. There was long speculation that Carlsen believed Niemann was cheating, but two days ago Carlsen came out with an official statement on the matter.
While several big names in the chess community came to Carlsen’s defence, claiming that Niemann played out of character and played strangely after the match, there was never any clear evidence that Niemann used the chess engine during the match to feed him moves. I’m not sure it ever will be. I doubt anyone will ever find the wire, electronic device, or anal beads that Niemann had in his sleeve (or any other area) during the match against Carlsen. The only thing anyone could do to move the investigation forward was to analyze the match. Well, someone took the time to do this, and suddenly Niemann’s cheating allegations seem a lot more credible.
Hans Niemann cheating
On Sunday, Yosha Iglesias, an up-and-coming chess YouTuber, posted a video using online software called ChessBase. To review Niemann’s game against Carlsen. ChessBase also helps determine engine scores for specific moves. For those who don’t know, an engine score determines how good a move was based on how a chess engine that is designed to play perfectly would play. For context, most world champions play with engine scores around 70-75 per cent. According to Iglesias, at the peak of Carlsen’s career, Carlsen was playing around 70 per cent. During Bobby Fischer’s famous 20-game winning streak, he played 72 per cent.
And according to Iglesias’ research, Niemann played perfectly in this much-discussed matchup with Carlsen.
Isn’t it unusual to play one game at 100 per cent, but on multiple occasions? Now things are suspicious. The only time someone consistently achieved close to 100 per cent in recent history was Sébastien Feller. Who achieved 98 per cent optimal play in a tournament around 2010. Later, the French Chess Federation discovered that Feller had cheated by communicating with two other players. International Champion Cyril Marzolo stayed home and Grandmaster Arnaud Hauchard fed him Feller’s moves.
Marzolo then put these moves into a chess engine and sent coded messages to Hauchard to know what Feller’s best move would be. Then Hauchard, who was sitting in the same hall where Feller was playing. Sat down at the table in Feller’s line of sight. Depending on which table Hauchard was sitting at, Feller would know what moves to make. It sounds complicated and it was. The ruse was not immediately discovered, but chess officials eventually caught on and banned Feller from competing for more than two years.
The point of this story is to show how improbable a string of nearly 100 per cent games in chess over the board is. However, Niemann has more than a few such games. Including one against Cristhian Camilo Rios in the second round of the Sharjah Masters on September 18, 2021. Where Niemann played a perfect engine for 45 consecutive moves. If that’s not evidence of cheating, I don’t know what is.
Like Feller, Niemann vehemently denied any allegations made against him. However, as more evidence like this emerges, it becomes increasingly difficult to defend him. How can he explain such a perfect game? Is he the greatest player of all time? No. He has admitted to cheating in the past, and as many other grandmasters have explained. Niemann’s demeanour after his match against Carlsen was suspiciously reserved. The ball is in Niemann’s court. While the smoking gun has yet to be found, the evidence against Niemann is already pretty damning. He needs to make a statement explaining these crazy events. If not, we can only speculate, and the community’s speculation is not leaning in Niemann’s favour. Follow the sports category The info is from this tweet.