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Chess,  Culture,  Humor

Chess Cheats

Niemann

If you are at all interested in chess, or follow the news, there’s furious controversy over this character, Anal Niemann, aka: Tinglebottoms.

A flood of YouTubers, commentators, online commenters suddenly appeared to subtly cover for and praise Niemann. These fanboys came out in force, as though he’s pure as the driven anal, which makes no sense, because every day he keeps looking worse. Most likely, all this is a coordinated money grab. It’s like living in a gigantic organized crime racket, controlled by a clique of power, as this flash mob of defenders of Niemann rush in. They are even going so far as to recklessly accuse world chess champion Magnus Carlsen of cheating, out of spite, in their swarm attack. Chess is vulnerable to this sort of thing.

We can deduce that they’re targeting chess now, to try to exploit it for a big payday from the suckers, and the chess thing is playing out just like other scams, most notably, the “Bitcoin” con. So, at least part of the “chess community” is corrupt as they attempt to exploit chess for money like they did poker, comic books, childrens’ toys, pro sports…

If you own the press, you create whatever instant investment or topic of interest, when you want. Yes, Anal could be part of a big scheme to draw attention to chess, and the lemmings will pick it up from there.

Suddenly this fantasy Netflix show, The Queen’s Gambit, had appeared out of nowhere (there was no chess champion Beth Harmon). A typical trick to create hype and interest in anything is with sensationalism. You may remember when they were hyping poker you had all these movies, Rounders, I’m Matt Damon Playing Poker, Lucky You, Molly’s Game, Deal, KidPoker, Runner Runner, Shade, All In, Gutshot Straight, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Freeze Out, Smokin’ Aces, The Gambler

As part of the exploit, now chess is described as a sport — the same BS they pulled with poker. A sport, like rugby, like pole vaulting, like mixed martial arts. Uh-huh. (Niemann classes himself as “Professional Athlete” on his Twitter, lol. What a maroon.)

They’re already gloating and parroting that Niemann had a “sex toy cheat helper,” knowing this will resonate and create hype.

What’s next? Well, the whole thing’s already reaching its climax with the $400,000,000 lawsuit Niemann filed against Carlsen for not wanting to play chess with him, which has repercussions on what tournaments young Anal will be invited to. (Niemann lists four causes at $100,000,000 each.)

Dr. Anal

The whole point to his “chess career” now, has become the lawsuit, not being a “grandmaster,” lol, or even winning small-stakes, chicken feed tournaments. Now he’s lighting it up for the big score.

Niemann’s possibly as high as a 2500-level player (though that is dubious, considering his lack of ability to explain his own games), compared to Magnus’ near-2900, but you have all these children of privilege who they’ll build up, depending on their area of ability… Niemann does have some ability, but not champion caliber.

Anal reported in a confession that he cheated at age 12, but downplayed it by saying it was, “in random games” to raise his score to play higher-rated players. Say wha? That makes little sense, since he’d have to play under his account to raise his score. Note that if he’s good enough to play higher-rated players, he could simply play, and his score would automatically rise rapidly, since he’d be winning. International master (IM) John Bartholomew, for example, has a YouTube series, “Climbing the Rating Ladder,” where he does that very thing.

Niemann Timeline
2015
Competition
11-year-old Niemann became last person to play (and lose) a rated game against GM Walter Browne, who died shortly after competing in the tournament
2016
Title Achieved
attained FM title, early 2016; competed at 2016 Saint Louis Invitational-IM Norm; at 2016 North American Youth Championship, tied for 1st in U18 category & earned 1st IM norm
2017
Competition
entered 2017 SuperNationals VI, with a rating of 2412, as the top seed, finished 1st in his K–8 category; after winning 1st six consecutive games
2018
Competition & Title Achieved
3rd at U-16 Olympiad in Turkey; earned his second IM norm and also his first GM norm; earned his 3rd and final IM norm (Aug.)
2019
Competition
won several competitions throughout year; competed in 103rd Edward Lasker Memorial, tying for 1st place and achieving second GM norm (Nov.)
2020
Competition & Title Achieved
first ban from Chess.com; achieved 3rd & final GM norm at the CCCSA GM Norm Invitational, placing 1st (Oct.); won blitz competition at VII Sunway Sitges Chess Festival, then surpassed the 2500 Elo threshold required to become a grandmaster (Dec.)
2021
Competition
placed and won in several tournaments, including U.S. Junior Championship hosted by Saint Louis Chess Club, entitling him to compete in 2022 U.S. Chess Championship; pooped pants due to maladjusted bead placement (unconfirmed)
2022
Competition & Controversy
won with black against Carlsen (Aug. 16); Carlsen withdraws next day after loss to Niemann in Sinquefield Cup, Niemann removed from chess.com (Sept. 5); at Julius Baer Generation Cup online tourney, Carlsen plays one move vs. Niemann before resigning by turning off his computer (Sept. 19); chess.com releases 72-page report on Niemann’s cheating (Oct. 4); files $400,000,000 defamation suit lawsuit against Carlsen et al that accuses his rivals of smearing his name (Oct. 20); judge rules complaint “procedurally defective” for not establishing Missouri court’s jurisdiction, ordered him to file amendment within 7 days (Nov. 16); Niemann files amended complaint showing the citizenship of the defendants named in the complaint (Nov. 23)

But there’s something else with Niemann’s shtick and BS — he was playing “Titled Tuesday” on Chess.com. Well, that’s only open to titled players! So he was a cheating “master.” That should be immediate grounds to lose his title, and until he does, no other chess titles are meaningful. FIDE (the organization that issues the titles) knows about the cheating, since it was Anal’s public admission. They have taken no action, nor given any indication that they are contemplating any action. FIDE is condoning cheating by its silence, meaning the organization loses all credibility, and therefore, so do any titles they issue.

Something funny with all of Anal’s cheating getting big publicity: The number of cheaters will skyrocket, for a while at least. And why not, If they can be “chess champions” with no more than firing up a chess program to guide them to victory?

The proliferation will be like all the young people that took dangerous steroids, HGH, test, etc., thinking they could all look like Donald Schwartzenheimer. The fools will flock in like seagulls after chum.

With Niemann’s idiotic remarks (such as when asked about his victory against Carlsen, he curtly replied, “Chess speaks for itself,” and walked away), and his other massive character flaws, you can see how we’ll have a whole crop of idiots of the same caliber trying to emulate him.

Young Anal boasts that he’s on his way to the world championship title, but like other cheaters, doesn’t have the gifts for it. It’s neither something to be ashamed of nor to be bitter about, but truth. (But that doesn’t mean people can’t improve their game with practice and study, of course.)

To even become a master should be a rare thing, not a business opportunity for everyone.

One striking example, is a game between two “masters,” Anna Ushenina and Olga Girya (Women Grand Prix Geneva (2013)). In fact, it was former Women’s World Chess Champion Ushenina who failed to checkmate with bishop + knight, a theoretically winning position. The game ended in a draw, despite Ushenina having plenty of time. She is certainly still a good chess player, but in no way can be considered a “master,” under any circumstances.

It’s somewhat ridiculous for the average person to aspire to it, when there are guys who can play — and win — blindfolded, who obsess over patterns, traps & tactics, openings, techniques, who can remember games from years past, move-for-move! But those are the elite players… and those are the rightful “masters,” not any old slob off the street.

Almost no one is going to beat Carlsen, except in a fluke, which has happened to him, too, but very rarely. Any player will have noticed that when they’re lazy on just one move, they’re usually brutally punished.

Niemann is not a “grandmaster,” by any rational standard. Not only did he admit to cheating, but lied about the extent of it, and, amusingly enough, he associates with a known cheater, another “master,” Max Dlugy, who is reportedly his coach/mentor. Carlsen referred to him in a statement about Niemann, saying sarcastically, “I have to say I’m very impressed by Niemann’s play and I think his mentor Maxim Dlugy must be doing a great job.”

Niemann maintains he only cheated twice. When he was banned from Chess.com for cheating, it subsequently published a report saying Niemann had lied and that it has proof he’s cheated over 100 times. Of course Niemann doesn’t help his case since he can’t give a coherent answer for why he played the moves he did in post-game interviews during various money matches.

We mustn’t forget how Anal “miraculously analyzed this position,” beforehand, so he was prepared, purely by fluke in his win against Carlsen! Now we’re beyond reasonable doubt that he’s cheating. He said he’d made an analysis based on one of Carlsen’s prior games — that people looked up and found never existed!

Each time something worse comes out, fools defending him seem to take no shame in looking stupid. Which tells you its an organized campaign. Someone even hired some girls to come out waving signs in his support. Plus, other cheaters jump on board in his defense, since that’s what they do.

A statistician ran the numbers, and found a sudden recent rise in his chess rating is unprecedented, and doesn’t fit with the numbers accorded to other prodigies. If the statistics are correct and can be extrapolated, then, Niemann is a cheater not just online, but on the board as well, perhaps using some secreted device, like vibrating shoes, or vibrating beads inserted deep in his rectum.

Wrecked ‘im? Hell — it damn-near killed ‘im!
– a concerned observer

Then things took a weird(er) turn, in this year’s U.S. Chess Championship, round 12, when playing Sam Sevian. In an unprecedented act in stuffy, formal chess, Sevian grabbed Niemann’s king off the board, a big no-no, of course, and pulled the top, the king’s cross (finial) off of it, and then tossed the king back on the board disdainfully. Yet no one has asked Sevian what that was about.

It’s obvious to any sentient what it’s about. Sevian suspected the king had been tampered with, with some sort of cheating device, then improperly reassembled. He had good reason to think that — have you ever seen a chess piece with the top falling off, let alone in a championship game?

They quizzed Anal about this later. He dissembled some nonsense about Sam wanting to go outside with him to glue the cross back on the king! I suppose he brought his chess glue and woodworking kit along with him in his pack, too. Staged? Or they’re covering for Niemann, otherwise they’d be all over Sevian, threatening fines and sanctions. Sadly, these bastiches slavering over Niemann, do so because he’s bringing free publicity to chess, and that’s something sorely desired by these money-grubbers.

Turning to Niemann’s Twitter account, there were no new posts from about Sept 8, the start of the larger controversy… until Oct. 20, at which time he posted his $400,000,000.00 lawsuit, throwing in his catchphrase, “the lawsuit speaks for itself.”

The Psychology
He [Carlsen] must be embarrassed to lose to an idiot like me.
– Niemann

Which is all the psychology you need to know to condemn Niemann. Why do people cheat, even anonymously, even for no money? Because, in their logic, they’re “showing up the smartie-pants know-it-alls.” It’s just hideous ego and jealousy.

The exact same thing occurs when you play online, where you might win a game, then receive an offer for an immediate “rematch,” then get trounced when they start using the engine against you. Again, that psychology, they’re “making you pay,” and “showing you up.” It’s like kicking the dog or punching a cabinet.

butt

Chess.com

We estimate that fewer than 0.14% of players on Chess.com ever cheat, and that our events are by and large free from cheating.

Then the company turns around to discuss, the many, many “grandmasters” and other “masters” it has banned. (Having previously been forced to ban him for cheating, they subsequently sucked up to Niemann, almost begging him to come back if he made some token claims to having “reformed” his ways.)

As you know, we’ve closed the accounts of hundreds of titled players (including 4 of the top 100 grandmasters who have confessed to cheating)… (Danny Rensch email to Niemann.)

Hundreds of titled players, not just patzers (bad amateurs) and four top 100 grandmasters. So they caught 4%, didn’t catch an indeterminate number, but probably many more, because good cheating is hard/impossible to detect, close 800 accounts each day, but claim it’s only 0.14% overall cheats? That don’t add up. Talking out of both sides of their mouth, they’re trying to build credibility for their crappy site, of course. It’s important that they seem clean, because many people don’t want to go online to waste their time facing cheaters.

Top grandmasters alone are 4%! And that’s just the ones they catch, and I noticed they were very slack when I played there, facing a lot of cheaters, until I rage quit, then, desiring more punishment, went back later, and rage quit again, but this time for good!

The number of online cheaters is staggering. I had one chastise me for moving “en passant.” “What the hell was that? Tell me! Tell me!” he wrote in the chat area, while soundly beating me in an online game. Beating me while not even knowing all the rules of the game. And they tell us there’s very little cheating going on.

It’s more like the majority are cheaters, or the world has suddenly had an inexplicable and overwhelming increase in intelligence and chest mastery. Ridiculous.

[Niemann’s] butt vibrates when he plays, but I’m sure there’s a valid medical reason for that. 😐

– Anthony Sanchez on YouTube

Is Someone a Cheat?

You can spot if an opponent’s time per move is “off” somehow (too consistent, taking little time for complex moves, for example). If they take very little time overall, that’s a tell, too. It takes time to check the consequences of a move, especially when its a critical one that may put your own pieces at risk. Not so much with cheats who often make bold moves in scant seconds. It wouldn’t be prudent to move so quickly, especially if you have considerable time left, but they can’t help themselves.

Of course if they don’t even know how to play, like that previous example, that’s kind of a tell, too!

Perhaps, though this is more difficult, you can look at their accuracy before and after certain moves to see if someone starts cheating at a certain point of the game.

You can sometimes even beat the cheaters when you start to lose, they’ll stop cheating at times, to try to beat you on their own the rest of the way, and you’ll be able to recover.

If running the computer analysis on their games shows too many games with near perfect play, or 0 blunders, it’s very suspicious. So simply block them.

One thing I’ve noticed, that I haven’t seen mentioned before: If, looking at online players’ past games, they always tend to play against opponents at the same or lower rating, it has to be a huge tell. Why? They don’t want higher-level players griping, getting suspicious, or reporting them, and it’s much easier to be suspicious when your opponent supposedly is much worse, of course.

Another thing has to be said: to be a “2000 level” player takes dedication and continual practice. Basically, it’s approaching pro. level. Yet there appear to be thousands upon thousands of these players online. Very unlikely. Madness, really. So we can safely conclude that most of the online 2000s and above are cheaters.

Dealing with Pros that Cheat

In tournaments, to lessen the chances of cheating, they should wear slippers, like those disposable ones you get in some hotels. Hilariously, one past “master” was required to remove his shoes at a tournament, and vehemently refused to do so, deferring on the basis of foot odor.

Anyone cheating while holding a “master” title, should suffer instant revocation of that title.

What Can Lichess and Other Chess Sites Do?

Frankly, Lichess.org, in my experience, is the only worthwhile chess site. But all of the chess sites can be improved.

Some tips:

  • Allow players to see the stats of how many blocks others have applied to them. There’s no shame in it, if you aren’t a cheat, to be blocked. I’d hope I have some blocks myself, to flatter myself if I see people think I’m good enough to be cheating.
  • Incorporate a computer check for the post-game engine analysis, a check that tells you if a player had suddenly improved his play right after he started losing.
  • Get militant to help stop these self-styled “experts,” like FIDE, from their farcical domineering. Only a champion or former champion should be able to make any kind of “rulings.” To do this, chess sites should post some articles explaining FIDE’s flaws.

Call for FIDE to Be Disbanded

If this were a rational world, FIDE would necessarily be disbanded. It is a joke.

Well, all the players should unify and demand this, but lots of luck with that. They aren’t going to want to give up their phony titles and “prestige,” or disrupt any cash flow from FIDE tournaments and such.

Its latest self-humiliation came with its pronouncement that, “They will decide on a punishment for Carlsen,” because he didn’t go hat in hand to them to ask if he could please draw attention to the cheat. What a bunch of goofs! Who the hell are they at FIDE, to chastise Carlsen? The champion resigned early and without apparent cause, in a prize game against Niemann without explanation, and FIDE had to barge in with a kooky censure of Carlsen for this act. But it was really an expression of frustration by Carlsen, who was only taking one of the few effective options available to him to protest the inclusion of a known cheat at a tournament.

For the mindset, not just at FIDE, but tournament officials as well, grandmaster Nepo (Ian Nepomniachtchi) said that he had suspicions about Niemann cheating when he was admitted to the 2022 Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis, and was ignored! Another indication, that “grandmaster” is meaningless. The self-styled “judges” don’t even listen to you, when it’s the (honest) grandmasters that should be making all the decisions, not these hubristic, strutting administrators.

Obviously, they will stonewall anyone who tries to protest, so Carlsen was taking the one available route to do something about the problem.

They can’t enforce effective anti-cheating measures, as they’ve proven in the past, where cheaters have been caught, after the fact. They don’t have the same ability as Carlsen to spot something “off,” and certainly Carlsen is a man in a authoritative position to sense that, if anyone can, being probably the GOAT.

Carlsen is professional chess, really. Here’s a plea to Carlsen: do something very valuable and set up your own (non-profit) chess committee to replace FIDE. It should consist of volunteers, including titled players, but also with a sprinkling of amateurs that love the game. There are a few streamers that would be well-suited to this committee — and many that would not.

It doesn’t even have to be disbanded, just made irrelevant, as all titled players turn in and renounce their titles, and refuse to participate in anything to do with FIDE any more.

If prize money and titles can be achieved by cheating, you risk having a bunch of cheaters firmly in place, setting policy. Is this so difficult to understand?

All an organization like FIDE is, is a device to extract money out of chumps and suckers. It can’t work effectively, but instead concerns itself with churlish attacks and slurs against the champion.

To cover itself, FIDE requires a veneer of credibility, created using the old trick, “appeal to authority,” a logical fallacy. So it provides its bona fides with such shills as Kenneth Regan, an international master, professor and “FIDE’s leading authority on anti-cheating,” who “found no foul play after an analysis of Niemann’s classical games since 2020.” So, he’s a liar or an incompetent, since, contrarily, there are many analyses showing that exact thing, anomalies in Niemann’s play, inconsistencies between his play and what his statistics should show, and so on. So Regan is their designated lapdog.

Why so harsh a judgment, though? Because he would address the inconsistencies found by others and explain them or change his tune because of them, if he were an honest broker. Also, you can’t make conclusive statements, because a person would only need assistance one or two times in a game to devastate an opponent. This is to say, proper cheating is undetectable using conventional computer analysis, since any player can fluke out a few good moves, a pro, even more.

But wait! Chess.com’s own report on Niemann says Regan expressed his opinion on Niemann, and he says he did find evidence of online cheating.

It’s questionable, whether it’s everyone who is cheating. How do you get something like a “3200” ranking in Lichess.org or Chess.com, if you’re inevitably playing against cheaters that must drag down your rating? (There’s no one in the real world that even reaches 2900 Elo (not Electric Light Orchestra, but the numeric chess strength rating.) Keep in mind, it is impossible for anyone to beat the machine.

Sure, I did it. Well, it was not the latest or a top-level engine, and I pulled a sort of a swindle. But I did beat an older engine (at its highest level, too), that I couldn’t normally beat at all, by a little trick. It always seemed to castle kingside, under most circumstances, so I amassed all my forces against it (subtly) on that side, and sent a barrage, including a pawn storm, at it at the point it castled. Even then, I had to follow a strict move order, or it would still crush me. But I finally did beat it, which goes to show, having even a little foreknowledge, many moves in advance, can put you on the path to winning. Or if you’re Anal Niemann, you just plug in like Neo in The Matrix, and bulldoze everyone.

Chess Tip: Missing Moves

You’re fighting your own psychology in chess. People often “miss” an opponent’s move that will devastate them, because they are, but not really consciously, afraid to look at that move and make a counter-move in defense. A person will sense it, but not explore it. That is, there may be a devastating move your opponent can make, but you are too scared to look at it, intuiting that it’s probably going to beat you, so you choose optimism and play some other line.

So there’s a tip: look for every move your opponent can make that will checkmate you, trap your queen, nab a pawn, etc., as eagerly as you look for powerful moves against your opponent.

Cheats miss nothing, so you’ll make a good move and it is immediately countered, something Carlsen was experiencing in his play with Niemann. That is why they said, “Oh, Carlsen made a lot of blunders and mistakes in that game.” Well, of course you bungle when you’re playing a machine, and nothing you do is good enough. It drags your level of play down. Remember a lot of moves work because they’re working against humans, who will usually be prudent and not throw out moves that aren’t going to be relevant until 20 moves down the road, or make moves that leave pieces undefended, unless there’s a clear and obvious line to immediately follow.

These gang-stalking punks who criticize Carlsen, need to be swatted down. It’s easy to be an armchair quarterback and make idiotic pronouncements. Obviously many of them have never even played chess, or they’d know that when playing a cheater, you tend to make worse moves. You can sense something, a hopelessness of being overwhelmed, and it affects your play. In Carlsen’s loss against Niemann that broke his unbeaten streak, he did seem to be affected in this way.

The games Niemann played to make his “GM Norms,” the victories he needed to be bestowed his grandmaster title, are also revealing. One of those games was an inexplicable disgrace. It alone raises the possibility that his title is a conjuring trick, a setup with collusion. In that game, the “grandmaster” opponent was positionally weak, due to uncharacteristic bungling for a “grandmaster,” and resigned early. But he wasn’t down any material, and should not have resigned, if only to give a good battle to Niemann to force him to earn the title. Note that IM Eric Rosen said he wouldn’t have resigned in that position.

The important point to make sense of all this: masters sell losses so other players can make their norms (victories or ties towards their titles, see this Reddit post for details). Fixing and collusion is actually very common. In fact, they routinely arrange to tie games (this sometimes gives both players an advantage in a tournament), and this is accepted as normal behavior by officials.

More and more, chess is an insular, cheating little club of losers and con men, not a legitimate intellectual and artistic pastime.

How To Play Online and Retain Sanity

  • Limit your play; playing for one more win than loss per day seems like a prudent measure.
  • If you must play a few more games, do so anonymously, not logged in to your account.
  • Play Lichess.org, only, a non-profit, open-source site, no ads, no solicitations, just a wonderful chess resource.
  • Generally, don’t play rated games, only casual ones.
  • If your opponent resigns or abandons the game, presumably you have an advantage, so play it out against the computer to see if you can win against perfect play.
  • If you thoroughly examine an apparent cheater’s games and find strong evidence of cheating, report him. I reported two on Lichess and was quite satisfied to see they were banned, very quickly. Unfortunately, that thrill wore off, and then I simply blocked anyone who rubbed me the wrong way — and then I rage quit again, canceling my account.

To show the nonsense about “few cheaters,” go to this page and get a laugh when you hover over the players’ usernames. They all have been flagged for fair play violations, strangely enough. Keep scrolling, it looks like there aren’t any that weren’t flagged, and the list goes on and on.

Chess Story Starring Anatoly Karpov and Viktor Korchnoi

Karpov is a Russian chess player and official world champion from 1975 to 1985 when he was defeated by Garry Kasparov. Korchnoi was a Soviet chess grandmaster and writer. He is considered one of the strongest players never to have become World Chess Champion.

Karpov suspected Korchnoi of hiring a hypnotist to sit in the audience and hypnotize him during a previous match, so he brought a counter-hypnotist to the Philippines.

In retaliation, Korchnoi befriended two local murderers, out on bail after stabbing an Indian diplomat. They had come to visit the match in hopes of getting on television to promote their cult, Ananda Marga. Korchnoi was angry that Karpov’s hypnotist was allowed to sit in the audience, so he demanded that the cult members be allowed in as well.

In the meantime, Korchnoi defended himself from the hypnotist’s attacks by wearing mirrored sunglasses. This led him to discover that he could use the mirror to reflect light into Karpov’s eyes, which he did immediately. Karpov complained to the arbiters but they allowed Korchnoi to continue to wear them.

Both players suspected that the other was cheating by receiving outside assistance, and voiced this opinion frequently. Karpov demanded that Korchnoi’s chair be x-rayed to look for a communication device, and it was duly taken to the local hospital and x-rayed.

Yet out of all the nonsense that happened in this match, the most famous is this: Karpov received a blueberry yogurt from a waiter during the second game and Korchnoi’s team immediately complained to the arbiter that it was a coded signal telling him what move to play. The two sides compromised that Karpov would only receive food at a predetermined time, and that Korchnoi’s camp would receive advance notice of the color of the yogurt.

hypnotist with hypno-device

(Updated Nov. 29, 2022)


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