Another day, another bit of chess drama. I thought the one article on the Hans Niemann vs Magnus Carlsen drama was going to be it. After all, this is chess. It doesn’t matter and nothing interesting ever happens.
Well hold that thought, because Magnus Carlsen resigned on move two versus Hans Niemann in his own tournament.
Magnus Carlsen owns Chess 24, who is putting on the entire tournament, or rather series of tournaments. He agreed to continue playing in this event knowing full well that Niemann was also playing. And he even agrees to play Hans Niemann, although he wasn’t given the opportunity to decline this match. So he plays one move and then resigns.
For a chess focused overview, Canada’s highest rated homeborn player ever, Eric Hansen, made a thirty minute long video on the matter. Eric Hansen’s previous video on the matter was the impetus for the “anal bead cheating method.”
The chess world has been rocked over recent days by allegations of a scandal involving denied accusations of cheating, Elon Musk and a sex toy – no, we’re not joking.
Musk contorted a quote from German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer to fit the situation, writing: “Talent hits a target no one else can hit, genius hits a target no one can see (cause it’s in ur butt)” – Schopenhauer”
The claim was that someone could theoretically hide a vibrating receiver with an antenna in their anus, which then vibrated the correct moves. This may not actually make it through the wanding down they do before games, and to the best of my knowledge no one ever actually took this seriously.
But what you should take seriously is Magnus Carlsen’s increasingly bitchmade non-accusations. Carlsen has still made no statements on the matter. His twitter account still has as its last tweet the soccer manager whining about being in trouble if he says anything.
Him not making a statement was cowardly, but justifiable when it was the Sinquefield Cup. But this is his companies tournament and he’s right in the middle of it. In fact he’s currently leading the overall tournament, and is third place for this mini-tournament, a position he remains in despite throwing three points to Niemann.
The way the tournament format works the top 8 qualify for a playoff. Before that players make money each game they win. So Magnus’ petty temper tantrum doesn’t just affect himself by losing points, or Niemann for gaining points. If Niemann makes the playoff because of having extra points from Carlsen, then the ninth player has a very good argument that Carlsen’s actions threw away their earned playoff position. Even before that, not knowing whether they need points in the last round could easily affect their strategy and potentially cause them to overpress a position, causing them to lose.
But then again, Carlsen might not be as much of a petulant, whiny, child as previously believed. I didn’t cover it in my original piece, but Chess.com disputed Niemann’s characterization of his online cheating as unique to the two events he got officially caught for. In the above interview, Levon Aronian, initially a tepid defender of Niemann, alludes to learning recently that Niemann may have been dishonest as to the extent of his online cheating. Carlsen, owning Chess 24, and having his company bought out by Chess.com, does have firsthand, inside information on the matter. If Niemann has an extensive history of cheating, then Carlsen’s actions are much more justifiable.
But even if the facts are 100% on Carlsen’s side, as Niemann’s response should be studied by anyone in politics, Carlsen’s serves as a great example of what not to do. He could have come out with a statement after he withdrew from the Sinquefield Cup. He has an entire team of people around him to write a statement to the effect of “I refuse to play someone who has been caught as a cheater, even if he didn’t cheat against me personally.” It would not have been difficult to paint himself as sacrificing his bank account for the sanctity of chess.
He’s even being criticized by Jan Ludwig Hammer, a close friend of his and former second, this time for his actions earlier today. He appears to be afraid of direct, masculine confrontation, instead opting for this weak and effeminate insinuation stuff. Carlsen probably calculated that, being a well respected figure inside of chess and commanding a lot of clout from tournament organizers, he didn’t have to make a clear statement on the matter. Instead he comes off as being a self-serving and narcissistic prima donna who doesn’t care about screwing over other players who signed up for his tournament and are now a leg down on a guy that Magnus thinks is cheating, because Magnus gifted him a win… because Magnus thinks he’s cheating.
It doesn’t make sense with Carlsen self-sacrificing for the purity of chess. It makes sense only as Carlsen assblasted that he lost a game to a then <2700 player. But more importantly the World Champion behaving like this will cause some things to change in the world of chess. Whether they will change for the better is anyone’s guess.
In the meantime, we’ve got chess groupies. And yeah, it’s real.