Once a pawn a time, the chess world was in perfect harmony. Grandmasters would coexist, there was no beef between players, and everything was glorious. But now, the chess world has been absolutely shaken, rattled and rolled. If you’re looking for the ultimate recap of all the drama in the world of chess, rook no further than this yarn right here.
Our story starts with 31-year-old chess grandmaster Magnus Carlsen, from Norway. Carlsen is considered the best chess player in the world by the International Chess Federation (FIDE). He has prided himself on never quitting or withdrawing from tournaments (an important fact to remember later).
Carlsen went head-to-head with a young American chess prodigy named Hans Niemann at the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis on September 4. At the time, Carlsen had played 53 classical matches of chess without a single loss.
But in a HUGE shock, Niemann defeated Carlsen in an over-the-board (OTB) match and world champion Carlsen decided to withdraw from the entire tournament after his defeat.
And this, friends, is just the beginning of the story. Let’s get into how we go from this to rumours of vibrating computer-informed anal beads.
Dear rest of the world, you will probably be seeing Magnus Carlsen and Hans Niemann on your timeline today. Chess is a wonderful game – you should give it a try. We’re just having a little drama right now.😄
— GothamChess (@GothamChess) September 19, 2022
A Cryptic Message
Following his withdrawal from the tournament, Carlsen posted to Twitter a cryptic video of football manager José Mourinho.
Mourinho is known for constantly losing his shit and accusing referees and the media of conspiring against him and his team.
“If I speak I am in big trouble, and I don’t want to be in big trouble,” Mourinho says in the clip.
— Magnus Carlsen (@MagnusCarlsen) September 5, 2022
Chess fans assumed that by posting this clip, Carlsen was insinuating Niemann cheated in their recent match, but couldn’t say anything about it. After all, that would be incredibly unprofessional without sufficient evidence.
Either that or he just can’t handle defeat. He’s a man of very few words, so it’s hard to know.
Niemann on the other hand was on top of the world after the match, understandably.
This is truly a humbling day for me. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to play chess at the highest level and live out my dreams. A few years ago, my chess dreams were quickly dwindling but thankfully they rose from the dead. This is only the beginning…
— Hans Niemann (@HansMokeNiemann) September 4, 2022
Keep in mind that it is very hard to cheat in over-the-board chess. You’d need something like a super-smart computer inside of your shoe or you know… inside your ass.
Director-General of FIDE Emil Sutovsky tweeted his support for Magnus Carlsen, saying there would have had to be a very real reason for him to forfeit. After all, quitting is rookie behaviour (badum tss).
No matter how his tournaments went, @MagnusCarlsen never quit. He must have had a compelling reason, or at least he believes he has it. Don’t call him a sore loser or disrespectful. I shall not speculate on the reasons of his withdrawal, but probably would expect TD to air them.
— Emilchess (@EmilSutovsky) September 5, 2022
A Court of Grandmasters
Following this scandalous event, American chess grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura hopped onto Twitch to talk about it.
After all, when you’re a Twitch streamer whose sole focus is chess, I can’t imagine it’s every day that drama like this comes around. This whole mess is a goldmine for content.
“There was a period of over six months where Hans did not play any prize-money tourns [sic] on Chess.com and that is the only thing I am going to say on this topic,” he said.
The implication here is that Nakamura seemingly believes Hans Niemann has a history of cheating at the game.
Niemann responded to the allegations by calling them “frivolous insinuations”.
You admitted to cheating, which is all that he said about you. So if you’ve cheated in the past, why is it outrageous to insinuate that you have again after you beat the greatest player ever with black in classical?
— Bardhyl (@bardhylius) September 8, 2022
American chess grandmaster Andrew Tang also commented on Hans Niemann, saying his checkered past was the reason he stopped associating with him.
“I stopped talking to Hans because of his stuff on Chess.com,” he said during a Twitch stream.
So that’s two grandmasters now accusing Niemann of a history of cheating…
And what do you know it, Hans Niemann did cheat. Well, when he was 12 and 16, but he swears that’s it.
As more and more speculation grew around Niemann’s match with Carlsen, Niemann was banned from the online chess platform Chess.com. Chaos is king, I guess.
“We have reached out to Niemann to explain our decision to privately remove him from Chess.com and our events,” wrote Chief Chess Officer Danny Rensch in a statement.
“We have shared detailed evidence with him concerning our decision, including the information that contradicts his statements [about] the amount and seriousness of his cheating on Chess.com.”
— Chess.com (@chesscom) September 8, 2022
Pop off Chess.com.
The letter written by Rensch seems to hint that Chess.com knows more about Niemann’s past than he’s admitting to… the tea is PIPING hot in the chess world, folks.
The Anal Beads Rumour
And now we come to the anal beads rumour that has sent the entire world into a frenzy. Never before have so many people suddenly been interested in competitive chess.
Unfortunately, the rumour is untrue, as delicious as it is.
It all started after a Twitch streamer jokingly suggested that an anal bead or prostate massager would have to be one of the only ways someone can cheat OTB and get away with it.
Currently obsessed with the notion that Hans Niemann has been cheating at the Sinquefield Cup chess tournament using wireless anal beads that vibrate him the correct moves. pic.twitter.com/F48BXjtBlN
— Babble (@Babble____) September 7, 2022
And then what do you know, every person and their nonna is suddenly reporting on the fact that Hans Niemann used anal beads in his match. The media is a gorgeous landscape, isn’t it?
*Chess streamer makes one JOKE about anal beads*
— Alexandra Botez (@alexandrabotez) September 15, 2022
If that wasn’t wild enough, a Reddit user on r/Chess made a since-deleted post that claimed Magnus Carlsen himself became the best chess player in the world via anal beads.
How did Hans Niemann beat him then? Well, he stole the legendary super computer morse code anal beads, of course.
“The real answer is actually elementary,” the post reads.
It goes without saying this Reddit post is not serious at all, but it’s wild to think that so many news sites ran with the anal beads story without properly investigating.
Naturally, Niemann denied the ludicrous assumption that he’d cheat with anal beads.
“I have never cheated in an over-the-board game. If they want me to strip fully naked, I will do it,” Niemann told Sportbible.
“I don’t care. Because I know I am clean. You want me to play in a closed box with zero electronic transmission, I don’t care.”
In walks adult website Stripchat, offering Hans Niemann $1 million to actually strip naked and play chess to prove he isn’t using a supercomputer in his ass.
“I know you even offered to strip completely naked to prove to people you didn’t cheat,” a public letter from Stripchat read.
“Well, being that Stripchat is an adult entertainment webcam platform that receives 400 million views on average each month, I wanted to extend you an offer to do just that.
“Prove the haters wrong once and for all. Strip naked and play a game of chess live on Stripchat in return for up to $1 million.”
Over the past week, the “anal beads” chess theory has evolved from nonsense Reddit meme to front page headline on 10+ news sites. A website has also offered Hans Niemann $1 million to play chess naked. WTF 🤣
— GothamChess (@GothamChess) September 16, 2022
Honestly, if I was Niemann I would have just done it. One million dollarydoos can buy a LOT of chess boards.
Magnus Carlsen and Hans Niemann found themselves up against each other again on September 20 as part of the Julius Baer Generation Cup.
The chess masters filmed themselves via Microsoft Teams and used the online chess platform Chess24.
If the match was held via Chess.com, Niemann would not have been able to compete.
— Matthew Fly (@mattflyjr) September 7, 2022
The chess world waited with bated breath to see how things would go down during this rematch, but after a single move, Carlsen turned his screen off and resigned.
“Magnus Carlsen just resigned. Got up, and left. Switched off his camera, and that’s all we know right now,” said announcer Tania Sachdev.
— chess24.com (@chess24com) September 19, 2022
For Carlsen to quit once was astounding, but for him to quit a second time without even playing out the match is unheard of. Clearly, he’s convinced that something is up with Niemann.
After a few days of silence, Magnus Carlsen released a written statement (the chess world’s version of a Notes app apology).
It’s incredibly spicy and straight-up claims that Hans Niemann cheated.
“I believe that Niemann has cheated more — and more recently — than he has publicly admitted,” Carlsen wrote.
“His over-the-board progress has been unusual, and throughout our game in the Sinquefield Cup, I had the impression that he wasn’t tense or even fully concentrating on the game in critical positions.
“There is more that I would like to say. Unfortunately, at this time I am limited in what I can say without explicit permission from Niemann to speak openly.
“I am not willing to play chess with Niemann. I hope that the truth on this matter comes out, whatever it may be.”
My statement regarding the last few weeks. pic.twitter.com/KY34DbcjLo
— Magnus Carlsen (@MagnusCarlsen) September 26, 2022
Some folks online jokingly claimed that Carlsen’s post had some hidden messages in it.
I’ve cracked the code. Magnus Carlsen left a hidden message in his post pic.twitter.com/gmyZcJsV2C
— Piankton (@Political_PIank) September 26, 2022
The truth of the matter is that these allegations are incredibly serious. If Niemann isn’t cheating at all, we’re witnessing one of chess’ greatest players absolutely losing it over the fact he finally lost a match to someone better than him.
I’m sure this isn’t the end of the wild chess saga. Who knows, maybe anal beads really are to blame for this whole fiasco.