2022 Hans Niemann Chess Cheating Controversy depicting the chess champion during a tournament with a thought bubble photoshopped next to him picturing anal beads in reference to the conspiracy theory.

2022 Hans Niemann Chess Cheating Controversy

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Updated Aug 29, 2023 at 01:04PM EDT by Adam.

Added Sep 15, 2022 at 02:16PM EDT by sakshi.

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Overview

2022 Hans Niemann Chess Cheating Controversy refers to accusations of foul play levied against Hans Niemann, a 19-year-old chess grandmaster, after winning a match against world champion Magnus Carlsen in the Sinquefield Cup on September 4th, 2022. Soon after his defeat, Carlsen took to Twitter to announce his withdrawal from the tournament and post a cryptic meme featuring football coach Jose Mourinho saying, "If I speak, I am in big trouble." Conspiracy theories about how Niemann allegedly cheated began to be discussed online, with a bizarre explanation involving vibrating anal beads becoming a prominent topic amid the accusations in the following weeks. The controversy also came on the heels of Niemann saying "the chess speaks for itself" when asked about his strategy in a previous match against Carlsen.

Background

The Chess Speaks For Itself

On August 16th, 2022, Hans Niemann played against Magnus Carlsen as part of the 2022 Crypto Cup in a best-of-three chess match. After beating Carlsen in the first game, Niemann was approached by an interviewer asking about his strategy for the game, to which he responded, "The chess speaks for itself." A reupload of the brief interview was posted to YouTube[1] by David Mays on August 16th, gathering nearly 40,000 views in two weeks (seen below).



The statement from Niemann received mixed reviews from chess fans online, with some commending him on his initial, but short-lived, victory against Carlsen, while others criticized what they perceived to be arrogance from the young chess grandmaster. On August 22nd, Redditor[2] LosTerminators posted an image of the Crypto Cup leaderboard alongside the title, "The Chess Spoke for Itself." The post gathered over 2,000 upvotes in nearly 20 days (seen below).


225481 B The chess spoke for itself News/Events (i.redd.it) submitted 24 days ago by LosTerminators ** 199 comments share save hide give award report crosspost hide all child comments 1 2 O 3 4 5 6 7 8 FFTX CRYPTO CUP MELTWATER CHAMPIONS CHESS TOUR MAGNUS CARLSEN PRAGGNANANDHAA ALIREZA FIROUZJA LIEM LE JAN-KRZYSZTOF DUDA LEVON ARONIAN ANISH GIRI HANS NIEMANN FINAL STANDINGS PRIZE MONEY $40,000 $37,500 15 $37,500 12 $30,000 $27,500 $20,000 $17,500 $0 PTS 16 15 11 8 7 0 Powered by chess24

2022 Sinquefield Cup Cheating Allegations

On September 4th, 2022, Niemann and Carleson went head-to-head again in the third round of the Sinquefield Cup, where, in a surprising turn of events, Niemann beat Carlsen in an upset.

Following the defeat, Carlsen withdrew from the tournament and posted a tweet[3] on September 5th that many felt implied he sensed something foul was going on at the event, linking to a clip of Jose Mourinho saying that if he said what he wanted to say, he'd be in "big trouble." The tweet gathered over 16,000 likes and 1,000 retweets in nearly 10 days (seen below).


Developments

The cheating allegations against Niemann following the 2022 Sinquefield Cup were further stoked by prominent streamer and grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura, who discussed the match during a livestream on September 4th, reuploaded to YouTube[4] on September 5th, 2022. The upload gathered over 1 million views in nearly 10 days (seen below).



In the video, Nakamura brings up Niemann having cheated in the past, Niemann's post-game analysis supposedly not reflecting the standard of his play and Niemann's unusual choice of an opening line.

AI-Powered Vibrating Anal Beads Theory

On September 6th, 2022, Redditer[5] Xitro posted a conspiracy theory about how both Carlsen and Niemann were supposedly using vibrating anal beads to cheat, feeding chess moves to an AI that then predicted the best next move via coded vibrations. The comment received over 200 upvotes in nine days (seen below).



The theory quickly gathered traction with internet users ironically expressing their belief that Niemann did actually win due to the supposed AI anal bead technology. For example, on September 7th, Twitter[6] user @Babble____ posted a video about the rumors, gathering over 12,000 likes and approximately 2,000 retweets in eight days (seen below).


Ban From Chess.com

On September 8th, 2022, Chess.com took to Twitter[7] to announce that it decided to ban Niemann from the website following his admitting to having cheated in past tournaments at ages 12 and 16. The tweet gathered nearly 6,000 likes and 400 retweets in five days (seen below).


Chess.com @chesscom Chess Community, ast few days have been tumultuous for many in the chess community. At this time, we ed out to Hans Niemann to explain our decision to privately remove him from Chess.co our events. We have shared detailed evidence with him concerning our decision, includ nation that contradicts his statements regarding the amount and seriousness of his ting on Chess.com. We have invited Hans to provide an explanation and response with of finding a resolution where Hans can again participate on Chess.com. We want noth than to see the best chess players in the world succeed in the greatest events. We will s act to protect the integrity of the game that we all love. y Rensch Chess Officer 6:58 PM - Sep 8, 2022. Twitter Web App 428 Retweets 259 Quote Tweets 5,999 Likes chess

Carlsen's Instant Resignation

On September 19th, 2022, Niemann and Carlsen were scheduled to play in a preliminary for the Julius Baer Generation Cup, an online tournament. Carlsen, playing black, played one move and resigned in apparent protest to the disbelief of commentators and viewers.



Resolution

On August 28th, 2023, Chess.com announced that itself, Niemann and Carlsen had resolved their differences. Carlsen and Niemann both agreed they would play each other should they have to in the future without issue, while Niemann would be allowed to return to Chess.com.

Search Interest

External References

[1] YouTube โ€“ David Mays

[2] Reddit โ€“ r/Chess

[3] Twitter โ€“ @MagnusCarlsen

[4] YouTube โ€“ Hikaru Nakamura

[5] Reddit โ€“ Xitro

[6] Twitter โ€“ @Babble____

[7] Twitter โ€“ Chess.com

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