Did Hans Niemann actually cheat? All the info so far
Yesterday, Magnus Carlsen withdrew from the Sinquefield Cup 2022 after his loss to Hans Niemann in Round 3. Multiple tweets, streams, comments, and security checks later, the accusation of Niemann cheating is pretty obvious!
Let’s start from the beginning (shout out to u/BKtheInfamous on reddit who created a dope saga)
Magnus Carlsen lost to the lowest rated player, Hans Niemann in Round 3. It was his second loss against Niemann in a month and the first in classical chess. It was obviously a shocking result which costed Magnus 9 whole rating points, and took him more far away from his 2900 goal. After that, Niemann gave an interview and mentioned that he “miraculously” looked at an obscure line the same morning that happened in the game and that he had only looked at it because of Magnus had played it against Wesley So in the 2018 London Chess Classic. Well, Chessbase disagrees with Niemann on this, and Hikaru couldn’t leave this uncommented.
“The little story from today” was the comment of Tony Rich, the Executive Director of the Saint Louis Chess Club, who came onto the official broadcast to talk about Magnus’ withdrawal, explain the additional security measures which caused the delay at the start of the round, and how the tournament will go on with 9 players. The fourth round was indeed delayed by 15 minutes for an enhanced security check, in particular of Hans.
Magnus tweets a video of Mourinho saying that “If I speak I’m in big trouble”.
From that point, Twitter gone crazy, but also skeptical!
Emil Sutovsky, Director-general of FIDE, sends out a wild tweet with huge implications.
Hikaru Nakamura gets in the game and absolutely kills Niemann in his stream. The chess superstar immediately starts speculating and implies that Magnus quit due to Hans potentially cheating. “There was a period of 6 months where Hans did not play any tournaments for money on chess.com. That’s all I’m going to say.” Hikaru said.
“I stopped talking to Hans because of his stuff on chess.com” GM Andrew Tang also comments in his stream.
Fifteen minutes later Hikaru plainly stated that: “I think Magnus believes that Hans probably is cheating.”
During this stream, Wesley So (among many others, including Jorden Van Foreest, Shant Sargissian and more) has been in Hikaru’s chat commenting various things, among those stating that “I wasn’t even in London in 2018”, confirming the previous point. But Nigel Short, Vice-president of FIDE, tweeted that there was actually a game between Carlsen and So but in Kolkata in 2019, when the g3 Nimzo was played.
Then Hikaru closely watches Nepo’s after-game interview in which he comments on Carlsen-Niemann game [maybe in an ironic tone]: “It was more than impressive”! If Nepo was speculating a possible cheating by Niemann in this interview, it wouldn’t be the first time, as 2 years ago he accused Hans of using a bot on his own stream.
Levon gives his take where he backs Hans.
Hans Niemann finally finishes his game against Alireza Firouzja in which he missed a great winning chance, to find himself commenting on the game without an engine! At this point Hans gives an “incoherent” analysis per Eric Hansen, and Hikaru strikes back again.
Then Hans commented on Magnus’ withdrawal saying: “I was struggling to even focus. I was thinking about it the entire game. I’ve never in my life heard of a top player forfeiting a game...1st he gives up the title, certainly I was surprised & now this... it’s very strange, but at least I got to beat him before he left!”
Alireza then gives his side in an interview where he mentioned being totally perplexed by various decisions Hans made during the game, suggesting he “completely missed” multiple lines that Hans saw. He even mentions Hans’ Qg3 as “shocking”.
Fabiano also gives his humble but sharp comment on this...
...to finally tweet
GM Rafael Leitao backs up Niemann tweeting that “I carefully analyzed, with powerful engines, Niemann’s 2 victories in the tournament. I didn’t find ANY hint of outside help. Wrong where humans would go wrong. I’m curious about the ramifications of the hints released today.”
Twitter keeps rocking until now!