Theories Abound as to How Niemann Might Have Cheated

Deadspin looks at one interesting one
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2022 11:20 AM CDT
A Big Chess Loss Raises an Interesting Question
This screengrab from a video shows American grandmaster Han Niemann during an interview with the St. Louis Chess Club in which he admitted to cheating in online chess matches in the past.   (St. Louis Chess Club via YouTube screengrab)

Last week, American chess grandmaster Hans Niemann achieved the unlikely (albeit not unprecedented) feat of beating world champ Magnus Carlsen, who happens to be the highest-rated player in history. But the 19-year-old’s win was quickly overshadowed by accusations that he cheated (and not for the first time). Niemann passed a thorough public security screening prior to his next match, but that didn't stop the flow of theories as to how he might have cheated in the livestreamed match. Per the Guardian, there's a theory that someone leaked or hacked into Carlsen’s pre-game plans; social media caught fire with a joke suggesting Niemann was receiving communications via vibrating anal beads, per Vice.

Deadspin explores a different theory, citing a proof-of-concept paper written earlier this summer by blogger James Stanley, who successfully tested a vibrating sock-based system that allowed him to send and receive real-time info to and from a chess engine. "Stanley explained that his feet were ideal for accomplishing this cheat, because they are the only part of the body that has dexterity while still being obscured from view," notes Deadspin, which also points out that there is no indication Niemann actually cheated via a sock system. (Read more chess stories.)

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