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Chess in turmoil amid bizarre cheating theories


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It started as a scandal that led to bizarre theories about how the American chess prodigy Hans Niemann may have cheated in a game.

One idea, gleefully shared by the technology billionaire Elon Musk, was that the colourful and wild-eyed Niemann beat Magnus Carlsen, the best in the world, by secreting an electronic communications device intimately on his person to use outside help. Another theory was that the 19-year-old had a mole in Carlsen's camp, passing him secrets.

But two weeks on, the controversy dubbed #chessdrama has taken a new turn and is now threatening to engulf the cerebral game.


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  • The title was changed to Chess in turmoil amid bizarre cheating theories

Chess: how to spot a potential cheat

A few years ago, the chess website Chess.com temporarily banned US grandmaster Hans Niemann for playing chess moves online that the site suspected had been suggested to him by a computer program. It had reportedly previously banned his mentor Maxim Dlugy.

And at the Sinquefield Cup earlier this month, world champion Magnus Carlsen resigned without comment after playing a poor game against 19-year-old Niemann. He has since said this was because he believes Niemann has continued to cheat recently.

Another participant, the Russian Grandmaster Ian Nepomniachtchi, called Niemann’s performance “more than impressive”. While Nieman has admitted to sometimes having cheated in previous online games, he has strongly denied ever cheating at a live chess tournament.

But how does Chess.com, the world’s biggest chess website, decide that a player has probably cheated?


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Every situation has pros and cons. At least chess is again hot topic in mass media. Even Elon Musk commented.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Chess player Hans Niemann sues for $100m after being accused of cheating

The 19-year-old was accused of widespread cheating following an investigation by online platform Chess.com after he beat one of the best players of all time.


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