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“Niemann is either the greatest American talent since Fischer or a fraud” Olimpiu Di Luppi

From CNN and BBC to the Washington Post and the New York Times, the chess cheating scandal is still hitting the headlines after almost 25 days since Magnus Carlsen withdrew from the Sinquefield Cup. The chess community has moved from the initial chaos and confusion to systematically gathering information – and maybe evidence – on this matter but also cheating in general.

Photo: Lennart Ootes

After Magnus Carlsen decided to break his silence and directly accuse Niemann of cheating, many top GMs have shown their support to the World Champion with a great number of experts (or not) searching for evidence to validate Magnus’ hunch!

“I trust the World Champions’ instinct in this instance. Even if the cheating has happened in the past, that is sufficient ground to avoid playing against that particular player. The best proof will be the players’ results in the next year, under public scrutiny.” Indian GM and one of the world’s leading chess coaches R.B. Ramesh tweeted. Hikaru Nakamura, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Romain Edouard, Srinath Narayanan, and Andrew Tang are few of the GMs who publicly supported Carlsen.

There are also some critical views on this matter as Magnus actually provided no real proof but he instead asked Hans for permission to speak openly! Whether Hans will do it or not, is up to him, but if he doesn’t wouldn’t be a sign of a guilt? In another case in 2013, Borislav Ivanov, a FIDE master, was accused of cheating by using a device hidden in his shoes, and his refusal to remove his shoes at the request of an arbiter was taken as an admission of guilt, and as a result he was stripped of his title and his professional chess career was over.

The New York Times

As the New York times highlighted, after Ken Regan (an associate professor of computer science and engineering at the University at Buffalo who developed the system trusted by FIDE to detect when a chess player is using computer assistance during a game) analyzed Niemann’s play over the last two years, concluded that he was probably not cheating. But some have questioned how well Regan’s model can detect a player who uses computer assistance only sparingly, maybe once or twice a game at key moments, in a scheme to evade detection.

“If Mr. Niemann is not cheating, the magnitude of his achievement is astounding. At times, his play is so accurate that it leaves audiences and opponents alike in disbelief. He may already be the best player in the world. But if Mr. Niemann is cheating, the damage done to the game of chess may prove incalculable.” Greg Keener, a FIDE arbiter and assistant manager at the Marshall Chess Club in New York, writes for the NYT.

Maxim Dlugy also cheated on chesscom

Maxim Dlugy, one of Niemann’s coaches who was recently namedropped by Magnus Carlsen, was also banned from chesscom in 2017 and 2020 for repeatedly cheating in its tournaments, according to emails reviewed by Motherboard in which Dlugy admits to cheating. They include a lengthy explanation from Dlugy in which he says that students from his chess academy were watching him play in a tournament, and that one of them was using a chess AI to feed him moves.

Dlugy told Motherboard that he believes cheating is rife on, but would not comment specifically on the emails. “If the article you are writing about is about confessions made to by alleged violators of their Fair Play policies, the scope of your article will include thousands of closed accounts which I doubt would be something you would be completing anytime soon. This should give everyone the time to see how the story unwinds.”

Interesting tweets

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