US chess player Hans Niemann, who has been accused of cheating, underwent a body scan before entering a final.
The 19-year-old was seen in a line of others being checked with a handheld scanner before a match in the US Chess Championship. The tournament is hosted by the Saint Louis Chess Club and has a prize pool of $262,000.
Mr Niemann was accused of cheating by Norwegian champion Magnus Carlsen, who many believed was the best player in the world. The teen beat Mr Carlsen in a match last month, prompting the 31-year-old to leave the Sinquefield Cup, also hosted by the St Louis Chess Club, despite not being eliminated.
This week, Chess.com released a report saying Mr. Niemann was “probably” cheated in more than a hundred online games. He previously admitted to cheating twice when he was 12 and 16 years old.
The report also said that there was no evidence that Mr. Niemann had cheated in over-the-board games, such as the one in which he defeated Mr. Carlsen.
Speculation fueled by online rumors suggested that Mr Niemann used Bluetooth-connected anal beads to receive messages via Morse code, prompting Mr Niemann to say he would play naked to prove he was not cheating. .
“Do any fair-checking you want, I don’t care because I know I’m clean,” he said in an interview with the St. Louis Chess Club after his victory over Mr. Carlsen. “They want me to strip completely naked? I will do it. I don’t care because I know I know I’m clean and I’m willing to submit myself to what you want me to play.”
Unlike other competitors, the official scanning of the players required Mr. Niemann to turn around to allow a reverse scan, which caused some commentators to laugh.
Mr. Niemann knocked out his 15-year-old opponent in the first round and took part in a post-match interview.
“This game is a message to everyone. This whole thing started with me saying ‘chess speaks for itself’ and I think this game spoke for itself and showed the chess player I am,” he told the interviewer on the channel Saint Louis Chess Club YouTube.
“It also showed that I’m not going to back down and I’m going to play my best chess here regardless of the pressure,” he said.
Mr. Niemann looked frustrated and left the interview early.
“You can leave it to your own interpretation but thank you, that’s it,” he said.
While there was no evidence of cheating in the table games from Mr. Niemann cited in the Chess.com report, it stated that he likely cheated in online tournaments up to at least 2020.
The report indicated that Mr. Niemann had admitted that Chess.com had been conducting several cheating cases in private and that he had been banned from the site.
“In total, we have found that Hans probably cheated in more than 100 online chess games, including several prize money events. He was already 17 when he probably cheated in some of those games and matches. He was also streaming in 25 of these games,” says the Chess.com report. “While his performance in some of these games appears to be within the realm of some statistical possibility, the likelihood of any one player doing this well over this many games is extremely low. Furthermore, the manual review by a team of trained analysts was, in our eyes, conclusive enough to strongly suggest that Hans was cheating.”
“We initially shut down Hans’ account in 2020 due to suspected fair play violations,” the site said. “In 2020, during a private call with Danny Rensch, CCO at Chess.com, Hans was informed of the closure of his account due to suspected cheating in these events and games. During this call, Hans admitted to the cheating offences.
“After the call, Hans and Danny communicated over Slack … where Hans asked how to admit the cheating offense and how to confirm that it would never happen again. In that call, Danny agreed to support Hans’ desire to save face and publicly announced that he was voluntarily closing his account to start anew.
“Hans confirmed to Danny that he had ‘made the announcement’ to close his own account. (Hans was also asked to be admitted to our team email, but he wasn’t. Since Danny wanted to be helpful and see the best in Hans as a rising young player, the lack of emails),” the report says. .