Chess grandmaster probably cheated in over 100 games

An American chess grandmaster has likely cheated in more than 100 games on Chess.com, including several in which cash prizes were awarded, according to a report by the popular online platform on Tuesday.


What do you want to know

  • An American chess grandmaster likely cheated in more than 100 games on Chess.com, including several in which cash prizes were awarded, according to a report published Tuesday by the popular online platform
  • The report comes after Magnus Carlsen, the five-time reigning world champion, accused 19-year-old Hans Moke Niemann of cheating at an in-person tournament last month in St. Louis, an allegation that rocked the chess world.
  • Niemann admitted cheating in an online tournament when he was 12 and again in ‘random’ and ‘unranked’ games when he was 16, but denied cheating at prize events in cash since the age of 12 or at in-person events. already
  • Chess.com report contradicts his remarks about recent online cheating, but says there’s “a lack of concrete evidence” he cheated in any over-the-board games

The report comes after Magnus Carlsen, the five-time reigning world champion, accused 19-year-old Hans Moke Niemann of cheating at an in-person tournament last month in St. Louis, an allegation that rocked the chess world.

Carlsen surprisingly withdrew from the Sinquefield Cup the following day without explanation, sparking speculation he believed Niemann had cheated. When the two met again weeks later at an online event, Carlsen left the match after making a single move, seen by many as a protest.

Carlsen finally ended his silence by a statement of September 26in which he explicitly accuses Niemann of cheating.

“I believe Niemann has cheated more – and more recently – than he has publicly admitted,” the Norwegian chess star said. “His progress above the board has been unusual, and throughout our game in the Sinquefield Cup I got the impression that he wasn’t uptight or even fully focused on playing in critical positions. , while surpassing myself as black in a way that I think only a handful of players can do. This game helped change my perspective.

In this match, Niemann upset Carlsen by playing with the black pieces, which is a disadvantage.

In an interview with the Saint Louis Chess Club last month, Niemann, a San Francisco native, admitted to cheating once in an online tournament when he was 12 and again in “random” and “no classified” at the age of 16. in order to improve his rating so that he can face stronger competition.

Niemann insisted he hadn’t cheated in a prize money event since he was 12.

He said he confessed when confronted by Chess.com and called the cheating “the biggest mistake of my life”.

“What I want people to know about this is that I’m deeply, deeply sorry for my mistake,” Niemann said. “And I know my actions have consequences, and I suffered those consequences. During that time, I completely walked away from a very lucrative streaming career. I stopped playing in all events and I lost many close friendships and relationships that meant a lot to me.

But the Chess.com report contradicts his words. The website’s investigation concluded that Niemann likely cheated in 112 games, including 93 in 2020, after the age of 16. He also denied live-streaming any games he cheated in, but the report says he streamed 25 of those games to viewers online.

The 72-page report says Niemann was banned from the site for a period of time.

To detect cheating, Chess.com compares a player’s moves to those suggested by chess engines, which are able to consistently beat the best human players; studies a player’s past performance; monitors a player’s behavior, including whether they had other web browsers open while playing; and consults with grandmaster fair play analysts.

In a letter, included in the report, sent by Chess.com chess director Danny Rensch to Niemann after his comments during last month’s interview, Rensch said the website had “strong statistical evidence “that Niemann had much better results during online games in which he “switched” between screens.

“[T]here have always remained serious concerns about the extent of your cheating in prize events,” Rensch’s letter added.

Spectrum News emailed a trade inquiries address from Niemann seeking comment on the report, but did not immediately receive a response.

Niemann also last month denied ever cheating in in-person or overboard matches.

Chess.com’s report says there is “a lack of concrete evidence” that he cheated in all over-the-board games, including the one against Carlsen in St. Louis. The report, however, noted that Niemann “has had a record and a remarkable increase in rating and strength.”

The International Chess Federation announced last week that it was carrying out its own investigation into the Niemann-Carlsen controversy.

Proving he’s cheating at in-person events can be tricky, as a grandmaster may only need help with a few well-timed moves to swing a game to his advantage. Forms of cheating can include secretly using a phone in the bathroom, wearing a small earpiece, or receiving cues from someone in the audience.

Last month, Carlsen vowed never to play against Niemann again.

“I believe that cheating in chess is a big problem and an existential threat to the game,” he said in his statement. “I also believe that chess organizers and anyone who cares about the sanctity of the game we love should seriously consider increasing security measures and cheat detection methods for remote chess.

“We have to do something about cheating, and for my part in the future, I don’t want to play against people who have cheated many times in the past, because I don’t know what they are capable of doing. in the future,” Carlsen said. added.

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