Comments on the Magnus Carlsen Affair

I often wonder how many viewers actually read the responses left by Chess fans in the comments section. I admit to having occasionally read comments, and used a few on this blog, but have not made a habit of reading the comments, but an exception was made because of the firestorm caused when the current World Chess Champion withdrew after losing to the young American Hans Moke Niemann in the ongoing 2022 Sinquefield Cup at the St. Louis Chess Campus. What follows are only a few of the myriad comments left, and still being left at Chessbase (https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-carlsen-niemann-affair). If you have not read the article you may want to do so before reading any further. In addition, there is a link provided in the article, the best I have ever read at Chessbase (https://en.chessbase.com/), and that is really saying something because Chessbase has featured an untold number of excellent articles over the years, to another excellent and thought provoking article, Paranoia and insanity, by GM Jacob Aagaard (https://forum.killerchesstraining.com/t/paranoia-and-insanity-by-jacob-aagaard/856/1).

The first comment, and arguably the most pertinent, is from Brian Lafferty, a well known contributor to the USCF Forum:

ChessSpawnVermont 9/8/2022 01:33
As a semi-retired US litigation attorney (NY State and Federal Bars), former Assistant District Attorney and Judge, I find it fascinating to watch Mr. Nakamura dig the defamation of character litigation hole that he now finds himself sitting in. Unless he can demonstrate with specificity how Mr. Niemann actually cheated in his otb game against Mr. Carlsen, he will likely have no viable defense should Mr. Niemann sue him for defamation of character seeking monetary damages for injury to his reputation and career. What Mr. Niemann may have done as a twelve or sixteen year old in online competition will likely not be probative at trial and may well be ruled inadmissible at trial. Likewise, suggestions that Mr. Niemann subject himself to a polygraph examination will not be probative. Polygraph examinations are not reliable and are generally not admissible as evidence at trial. (I have seen people lie and pass polygraphs. It’s a skill that is taught and can readily be learned)

Chess.com has also created needless potential liability for itself by barring Mr. Niemann from its site and competitions absent a clear finding that Mr. Niemann cheated otb against Mr. Carlsen. Note also, that at a trial, it is likely that Chess.com will be forced in discovery to reveal to Mr. Niemann’s experts any algorithm used by them forming the basis of a cheating accusation against Mr. Niemann.

I suspect that Mr. Carlsen has received the benefit of legal counsel as he has clearly refrained from making a direct charge of cheating against Mr. Niemann.

Thanks you for an excellent and comprehensive article.
https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-carlsen-niemann-affair/1#discuss

Leavenfish
At this point, this is all on King Magnus. Will he offer proof…or are we witnessing the sad undoing drama worthy of a Shakespearean King?

  1. He does the one thing any professional would unlikely do: abdicates his crown.
  2. His business empire started crumbling – so much so that PMG seemed ‘forced’ to sell itself to the ‘evil empire’ that is chess.com. How much of a slap in the face must this feel?
  3. Young Princes from different parts of the world (Praggnanandhaa, Niemann…) are mortally and routinely wounding him on the battlefield he once dominated. Some treachery must be afoot!

All this in just the past few months. Have the walls of the castle… simply begun to crack?

Yannick Roy
Great article. But to those throwing stones at Carlsen, let’s remember that chess, to a certain extent, induces paranoia. It pitches a mind against another mind. Losing to a young prodigy on a meteoric and quite atypical rise has to be very hard. It is true that after looking into the game and hearing all the declarations of those involved, it is becoming more and more difficult to believe that there was cheating. Carlsen’s mistake on the board pretty much dispels the suspicions one might have had.

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
Step out of line, the man come and take you away
https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/buffalospringfield/forwhatitsworth.html

Mel Griffin
I agree with aleenyc2015 and Soprano.I can’t remember the last time Carlsen lost in a mature manner. If it’s not slamming down pens, or storming off from the podium when Ivanchuk was crowned Rapid Champion. Disrespectful. When Sergey Karjakin was the first to win a game in the World Championship Magnus left the press conference before Sergey even arrived.
If Carlsen wasn’t fined for that he damn well should have been.
Champs like Fischer, Kasparov and the current one have all gotten away with certain things that no other would. Pointed out by Kramnik years back( he was in fact talking exclusively about Kasparov). Talk to Judit

and Naka about Kasparov’s touch rule ignorance. (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/garry-kasparov-cheated-judit-polgar/)(https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2020/04/26/confirmation-garry-kasparov-cheated-judit-polgar/) In an interview with Nakamura after Kasparov released the piece during a game and then picked it up again and moved it to another square. Naka shrugged his shoulders in a dismissive manner and stated something along the lines of “Its Kasparov”…whatcha gonna do attitude. The DGT board actually registered Garry’s first move.


However, he’s all in for roasting Hans with ZERO proof.
It’s obvious that Magnus quit the tournament believing Neimann cheated.
If he does not believe this, he should have made a statement to clear up this witch hunt and slander. Magnus need to step up to the plate and be a man.
However, being 31. Living with your parents and reading Donald Duck comics…I don’t expect this anytime soon. Pathetic.
So Hans blew a couple of analysis lines with the commentator. Big f#%king deal. How many times has Svidler corrected Seirawan during this tourny alone. As far as social media goes. Regardless of subject, it explodes with a plethora of experts who irresponsibly hang a young man’s future in their hands.
This is so sad for the world of chess.

fede666 9 hours ago
I find this article by far the most informative and unbiased one on this matter on all chess sites … great work

Cato the Younger Cato the Younger
Kudos to the author for a superb article.

The impressions left of the two bad actors in this saga are not particularly flattering. Magnus, no doubt acting on the advice of his attorney, heading for the tall grass following his hit-and-run non-accusation. And Hikaru, maniacally pouring gasoline on a campfire

and engaging in what seemed like Schadenfreude. Neither of them expressing the slightest regret or admission of culpability. Well, nobody’s perfect.

But to me the worst villainy emanates from Chess.com. The public expects that a mature, serious business–a behemoth in the sport–would be run with wisdom and probity. But no, instead we see their senior policymaker(s) ‘privately’ imposing dire career-limiting sanctions on a teenager who has been tried and convicted of doing what, exactly? This is an unbelievably gratuitous and unjust action that needs to be reversed immediately with a humble apology, not that this would fully compensate for the damage done. Otherwise, Chess.com’s position amounts to gross misconduct.

Cato is not the only Chess fan who feels strongly about the “villainy” of Chess.com:

Toro Sentado
@tweeterbull
·
19h
Replying to
@DanielRensch
and
@chesscom
And you just happened to do this to him the day after Magnus withdrew and you offer no explanation as to why? Incredibly tone deaf – yes. Also incredibly unprofessional. Did Magnus order this? Why is this being done in public? Awful awful awful. (https://twitter.com/danielrensch/status/1568033316347203584)

How has Mr. Rensch responed to the vast number of Chess fans criticizing him and his company?

Daniel Rensch
@DanielRensch
Replying to
@DanielRensch
and
@chesscom
My intention was to add some humor 🤷🏻‍♂️ not be vindictive. Sorry to everyone if it was tone deaf. Despite the hate and opinions all around, I legitimately want what’s best for Hans (and chess).

Hoping to hear from him…
8:27 PM · Sep 8, 2022
·Twitter for iPhone

https://www.chessdom.com/susan-polgar-about-niemann-carlsen-case-the-professional-reputation-of-many-parties-is-at-stake/

The reputation of the Royal Game is on the line and this clown wanted to “…add some humor.”

I started a joke, which started the whole world crying
But I didn’t see that the joke was on me, oh no
https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/beegees/istartedajoke.html

If you are a paying customer of Chess.com my question to you is, why are you paying to play online when you can play free at Lichess.com?

Hans Niemann Wins Capa Memorial With Carlsen-esque Style

Grandmaster Hans Moke Niemann

https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/07/18/hans-niemanns-world-open-trifecta/

drew in his penultimate round game after winning his antepenultimate round game, which can be found in the previous post, and was a full point in front of the pack with one game to play. GM Niemann defeated his opponent in the final round to win the tournament two points ahead of Shekhar Ganguly of India, and Cubans Vasif Durarbayli and Luis Ernesto Quesada Perez Surya. His performance rating was 2857. The current World Human Champion, Magnus Carlsen, is rated 2864.

Hans Moke Niemann (2637) USA vs Mustafa Yilmaz CUB (2626)
Capablanca Mem. Elite (round 9)
B51 Sicilian, Canal-Sokolsky (Nimzovich-Rossolimo, Moscow) attack

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Nd7 4. O-O a6 5. Bd3 Ngf6 6. Re1 e6 7. Bf1 b6 8. c4 Bb7 9. Nc3 Ne5 10. d4 Nxf3+ 11. gxf3 Be7 12. d5 e5 13. f4 Bc8 14. fxe5 dxe5 15. f4 Bd6 16. Qf3 Qc7 17. f5 Be7 18. Bg5 Qd6 19. Bh3 Bd7 20. a4 Nxd5 21. exd5 Bxg5 22. f6 Bxf6 23. Ne4 Qe7 24. d6 Qd8 25. Bxd7+ Kxd7 26. a5 Rc8 27. Qh3+ Kc6 28. Qf3 Kd7 29. Qh3+ Kc6 30. Qd3 Kb7 31. Qd5+ Kb8 32. d7 Rc7 33. Red1 Rb7 34. axb6 Qxb6 35. Nxf6 Rd8 36. Qxe5+ Ka7 37. Rd6 gxf6 38. Qxf6 Rg8+ 39. Kh1 1-0
    https://live.followchess.com/#!capablanca-mem-elite–2022/556086478
    https://lichess.org/broadcast/capablanca-in-memoriam–elite/round-9/vRxolTEV
  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Nd7 4. O-O (Stockfish 14 @depth plays 4 c4, as does SF 301221, but SF 070222 @depth 36 prefers 4 d4) 4…a6 5. Bd3 (SF 220521 @depth 59 plays this move, but SF 301221 @depth 66 will play 5 Bxd7+. For the record SF 9 @depth 40 plays 5 Be2, how do you do…) 5…Ngf6 (SF 14, SF 14.1, and some “New Engine” all play 5…e6) 6. Re1 (SF 13 @depth 60 will play the game move, and just to be sure you know what it will play the CBDB shows it TWICE! Then there is my new favorite little ‘engine’ that could, can, and does play 6 Qe2! Just sayin’…) 6…e6 (SF 14 @depth 51 and SF 310821 both play the game move, but Fat Fritz @depth 6 [That is NOT a misprint! What did I say about a tune-up for the CBDB?] will play 6…g6) 7. Bf1 (SF 13 @depth 59 plays the most often played move, 7 c3, which has scored only 44%. SF 12 @depth 44 plays the game move. Fritz 16 @depth 28 will play 7 b3. The ChessBaseDataBase contains only two examples of the move and both game were lost by White, so it has scored Zero; Zip, Nada, 0.0. Maybe the CBDB is in need of an upgrade. The only other game located with 7 Bf1 can be found below) 7…b6 8. c4 (This is a TN. The three antiquated programs shown at the CBDB, Fritz 16; Stockfish 8; and SF 14, all play 8 d4)

Jan Smeets (2585) vs Vincent Keymer (2568)
Event: ch-Schachbundesliga 2020
Site: Karlsruhe GER Date: 09/20/2020
Round: 7.2
ECO: B51 Sicilian, Canal-Sokolsky (Nimzovich-Rossolimo, Moscow) attack
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Nd7 4.O-O a6 5.Bd3 Ngf6 6.Re1 e6 7.Bf1 b6 8.d3 Bb7 9.Nbd2 Be7 10.c3 b5 11.d4 O-O 12.h3 Qb6 13.Bd3 Rfc8 14.Nf1 Bf8 15.Ng3 g6 16.Be3 b4 17.cxb4 cxd4 18.Nxd4 Qxb4 19.a3 Qa5 20.b4 Qd8 21.Nb3 d5 22.Na5 Rcb8 23.Bf4 e5 24.Bd2 d4 25.Rc1 Bd6 26.Qf3 Bc7 27.Nxb7 Rxb7 28.Rc6 Rb6 29.Rec1 Bd6 30.Nf1 Rxc6 31.Rxc6 Nb8 32.Rc2 Nbd7 33.Rc6 Nb8 34.Rc2 Nbd7 35.Bc4 Qe7 36.Nh2 Kg7 37.Ng4 Ng8 38.Nh2 Ngf6 39.Ng4 Ng8 40.Qd3 h5 41.Nh2 a5 42.Bd5 Ra7 43.bxa5 Ngf6 44.Bc6 Nc5 45.Qb5 Ncxe4 46.Nf3 Nxd2 47.Rxd2 Bc7 48.a6 Qxa3 49.Bb7 e4 50.Nh2 e3 51.Rd1 exf2+ 52.Kh1 Bxh2 53.Kxh2 Qd6+ 54.g3 h4 55.Qg5 Rxa6 56.Bxa6 Qxa6 57.Kg2 Qc6+ 58.Kh2 Qf3 59.Rf1 Ne4 60.Qxh4 d3 61.Qf4 Qxf4 62.gxf4 d2 0-1
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=4270627&m=14