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October 05, 2022

King to Butt Four: Investigation Concludes That Chess Champion Really Took a Crap On the Game. Cheating More Than 100 Times

A very smelly finding.

When world chess champion Magnus Carlsen last month suggested that American grandmaster Hans Moke Niemann was a cheater, the 19-year-old Niemann launched an impassioned defense. Niemann said he had cheated, but only at two points in his life, describing them as youthful indiscretions committed when he was 12 and 16 years old.

Now, however, an investigation into Niemann's play--conducted by Chess.com, an online platform where many top players compete--has found the scope of his cheating to be far wider and longer-lasting than he publicly admitted.

The report, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, alleges that Niemann likely received illegal assistance in more than 100 online games, as recently as 2020. Those matches included contests in which prize money was on the line. The site uses a variety of cheating-detection tools, including analytics that compare moves to those recommended by chess engines, which are capable of beating even the greatest human players every time.

The report states that Niemann privately confessed to the allegations, and that he was subsequently banned from the site for a period of time.

The 72-page report also flagged what it described as irregularities in Niemann's rise through the elite ranks of competitive, in-person chess. It highlights "many remarkable signals and unusual patterns in Hans' path as a player."

While it says Niemann's improvement has been "statistically extraordinary," Chess.com noted that it hasn't historically been involved with cheat detection for classical over-the-board chess, and it stopped short of any conclusive statements about whether he has cheated in person. Still, it pointed to several of Niemann's strongest events, which it believes "merit further investigation based on the data."

Well if he's receiving "outside assistance" in online play -- obviously, using a chess computer to tell him what move to make next -- then he's also doing so in live person-to-person play.

And you know how he's suspected of doing that, right?

The suspicion is that he's being signaled by a device he wears on the body, or rather... in the body, which pulses in a certain way to signal to him "e5" or "b7" or whatever.

That device? Some kind of, erm, remote-controlled anal stimulator which has been modified to issue precise pulses. He would have a confederate monitoring the game, feeding the current position into the chess computer, and then using his remote control to tell Niemann "g5." (Usually chess notation is just done by two characters, which tell you what destination your piece is heading to; only if multiple pieces can get to that square do you have to specify the square the piece is leaving from, i.e., "g4-g5.")

They also suspect that some female champions are doing this, albeit, employing a less gross and less emasculating method of smuggling the signaling device into the match.



Computers have "nearly infallible tactical calculation," the report says, and are capable of beating even the best human every single time. The report says dozens of grandmasters have been caught cheating on the website, including four of the top-100 players in the world who confessed.

Note that they have only claimed to have established he cheats in online play. No one's yet suggesting he's got an Anal Buddy signaling him during games.

When this first broke, people wondered if it meant that competitors would have to undergo the indignity of a prison body cavity search before play.

I guess, maybe. Or, they can just be seated inside a faraday cage, which should prevent all signals from going in or out. I don't know if that will permit camera signals in or out-- if they picture is conveyed first by a telescope-like tube carries the image out of the faraday cage and then, only once outside of the faraday cage, is then converted into an electronic signal, could that work?

(Same for sound -- an audio pipe carries sound out of the cage.)

I guess the holes for those tubes would defeat the faraday cage, though.

Eh.

Body cavity search it is.

BTW, a couple of months ago I watched a documentary about the cheating scandal in the competitive Bridge world, called Dirty Tricks. A good amount of money at play, there, too. Turns out, a fair number of champions were also cheating when it all shook out.

Worth the watch. You don't need to be familiar with bridge because they keep it pretty superficial and just tell you what you need to know, which is that you're not allowed to communicate with your partner except for the permitted bid cues (one heart, three diamonds, etc.), but that people do find ways to secretly signal their partners, and this is cheating.

I'd say, though, that knowledge of bridge increases enjoyment of it.

PS, if you watch carefully, you can spot the method of cheating. It's in plain sight. Though it's very subtle. (I didn't catch it.)


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posted by Ace at 05:00 PM

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