Accusations of cheating in the highest tournament levels of chess

Birdjaguar

Hanafubuki
Super Moderator
Supporter
Joined
Dec 24, 2001
Messages
50,429
Location
Albuquerque, NM
Most con men are civil. If they weren't their con would fail.
 

Sofista

Deity
Joined
Oct 16, 2006
Messages
2,276
Location
Trent, Italy
during corona, FIDE lost a lot of power/influence. Internet portals are becoming de-facto centralized chess entities. I won't be surprised if chess.com starts handing out their own titles in time.

I believe the late lamented GM Tony Miles explained the issue best:

"A few years ago in his (London) Times column he [Raymond Keene] called a player named Archangelski a grandmaster. As reported on page 38 of issue 23 of Kingpin, when this mistake was pointed out Keene assured The Times that his remark had been true because ‘FIDE is not the only body to award grandmaster titles’ and because he believed ‘that the USSR Federation awarded Archangelski a national title’. Even Malcolm Pein of CHESS, a committed protector of Keene, observed: ‘Quite astounding. Perhaps I should start awarding titles myself. I could give a few to Keene.’"

EDIT: Sorry, it came back to my mind because of the Miles connection, but the linked piece by the great Edward Winter, author of Chess Notes and more splendid chess history (I have in my library three CN books, his Capablanca monograph and a selection of late-period Alekhine-annotated games; I'm awfully sorry for the mistake).
 
Last edited:

Kyriakos

Creator
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Messages
69,643
Location
The Dream
Hans doing better :) After a draw, now a win with black.


Some more analysis. Seems he means to at least try to silence that criticism.
Nice open attack at the bearded guy too! People who can't make it as pros end up hosting podcasts:rotfl:

Chess-wise, it was a cool move (his opponent blundered, but it still looks impressive on the board with the hanging queen and the no take en passant.

1665922375786.png


I will this christen this the De Maupassant move, btw. It leaves the person crazy and turning to an animal.
 
Last edited:

Kyriakos

Creator
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Messages
69,643
Location
The Dream

Ben is entertaining ^_^
"Chess.com just says they wouldn't have banned Hans from their tournaments, but Magnus said he cheated so they did".
Sad thing is, it's also exactly what they did. Despite massive conflict of interest, being in talks to buy a property of Magnus.
 

Askthepizzaguy

Know the Dark Side
Joined
Aug 14, 2007
Messages
7,796
Location
Norway
I attempted to read Chess.com's statement directly to see whether it was as bad as Ben says it was.

The statement is long and ultimately denies a conflict of interest but at the same time says that Magnus' accusation of Hans led to Hans being banned.

Ummmm

But Magnus accused Hans of cheating OTB without proof, and chess.com is an online chess playing service.

This would be like banning me from CFC when I insulted someone years ago on another site and already got infracted there and haven't done anything in two years.

Again, cheating is worse, yadda yadda, I am just showing how bad the process is here.

Imagine if this was being done to you personally. Let's say Elon Musk accused you of robbing a bank, and you've got a juvenile record of being a thief, and then your boss fired you based solely on the new allegation from Elon Musk, after Elon Musk and your company became business partners.

Even with a juvie record, that's incredibad.
 

Askthepizzaguy

Know the Dark Side
Joined
Aug 14, 2007
Messages
7,796
Location
Norway
I think Hans is guilty and has an earned bad reputation for cheating hundreds of times and especially for essentially stealing by cheating for prize money. ELO rating also has value, and stealing that by cheating in rated games is almost as bad.

My opinion of Hans' character, personality, morality, all in the toilet. In a stricter world, he and hundreds of others would be banned from the sport deservedly.

That does not touch my criticism for how bad the process has been on publicly accusing him and not having new evidence.

That's so incredibly bad. If it were not happening to someone with an earned bad reputation I think more folks might agree with my take on how bad the process is here.

Spoiler Gets off topic by citing other non chess examples :
And bringing this up again, there has been zero evidence brought by anyone, even Hans' accusers and detractors, that reveal over the board cheating. The most anyone has, me included, is suspicion based on his poor analysis of the game where he beat Carlsen, which is why it should be looked at, and was. Carefully.

What we have are reasonable suspicions based on guesswork, not evidence. We are guessing that bad analysis means he cheated, it's not proof.

Those types of suspicions are reasonable bases to begin investigating someone of cheating particularly if a player comes forward and says I think they're cheating.

Those types of suspicions are not reasonable bases for conclusions or public accusations. That's deciding we know the answer when we don't know the answer.

There's a big difference between the stuff we think is likely or possible and something we know for a fact. It's troubling that this distinction is confusing to many in the general public and it's why public opinion is a terrible basis for a system of justice, and has a spotty track record on human rights and freedoms afforded to the minority.

People think track record two years ago plus Magnus Carlsen said plus he did a terrible interview is the smoking gun. Guilty verdict.

It doesn't actually work that way. And when we think that way, innocent people go to jail IRL and people get slandered and their reputation unfairly destroyed.

The mob remembers the times they think they got it right and handwave away the times they got it wrong or refuse to discuss or admit them.

Happened just the other day, someone wrote a fake article


Guy in a position of authority put the nonsense on blast.

People without knowing anything about the situation fell for it. Person who did not write the fake article nor worked for the publication in 8 years wakes up to an internet firestorm calling her a groomer of little kids.

Nothing required here but an allegation put on blast by someone in a position of fame or authority. An allegation that could be debunked in seconds.

People don't care. People just want to be part of the crowd that denounces the bad guy. Whoever they perceive the bad guy to be, as long as it's the other team and not ours.

There are no standards for what constitutes evidence, and nothing that is said that can be considered slander. As long as you perceive the target as being deserving of the hate anyway... (you meaning, no one here, just the general public) then it doesn't matter how the conclusion was formed, if the case was based on lies, zero evidence, or if there might be a corrupt motive involved.

All that matters is that the target is getting what they "deserve" whether they actually do deserve it or not.

Especially in the case where the target is perceived to deserve it, there's little I can say to highlight how immoral, irrational, and corrupt this process is, and how harmful it will be to countless innocent people if it becomes our standard operating procedure.


I might not be able to get that point across precisely because the target is perceived to deserve it, because they have a bad reputation, even though there isn't actual evidence presented by anyone anywhere that Hans cheated over the board.

I strongly dislike the guy and think previous bans made sense. If they happened before the age of 18, you know, people often get a second chance when they become an adult.

If he cheats again after that point, you know, ban him. But this is all solely because Magnus said, and we don't have evidence to back it up even after investigating it.

That's not good. Even if the allegation later turned out to be true. Even if the guy has a bad rep that's self-inflicted.

The process of figuring things out and actually knowing whether he committed wrongdoing is separate from that. And it's being run over by the desire to make an example of him and because the conclusion that he deserves it this time is assumed from the beginning, when it wasn't established.

He could be found out tomorrow and confess the next day, and I'd still stand by all of this. It's the wrong process and it leads to terrible injustices.

We can't do it this way, folks. Even if it's right, this method is wrong. It's like throwing a witch in a lake tied to a chair and seeing if it floats, and we got that far because she deserves it for being a witch in the first place.

The conclusion is assumed, and the consequences of being wrong are not being fully considered. Or considered at all in some cases.

Here, the defendant stole lots of loaves of bread, so you know, no one wants to defend them. But the conclusion that the thief is a witch is just assumed, and whatever happens to them is deserved.

That's just everything wrong with human judgment in a nutshell. A wrong I try to avoid committing but I am not immune to making myself. It takes conscious effort not to lapse and I still do.
 

Askthepizzaguy

Know the Dark Side
Joined
Aug 14, 2007
Messages
7,796
Location
Norway
So, the chess.com statement demonstrates that the timeline was Magnus said X without evidence, then Chess.com looked at Hans' games and decided to ban him from an upcoming tournament, and therefore hadn't detected the newer examples of cheating before that point in rated GM tournaments with prize money, which means they hadn't bothered to use their cheat detection on Hans in years even after catching him cheating before.

Wrong: Chess.com denied there was a conflict of interest, but the Play Magnus deal and the fact that this was prompted by Magnus (in an unrelated OTB game with no evidence backing it up, and the game having nothing to do with Chess.com) means there was a direct causal relationship here and a conflict of interest that's obvious.

Wrong: Taking two years to check on a known cheater in prize money tournaments. Checking all games in prize money tournaments should be automatic. What's the point of cheat detection otherwise?

Probably right: Banning the cheater, if the methodology used shows actual cheating. The stuff leading up to it is wrong, the decision is probably correct if it's the same methods used to detect cheating on the site for everyone else.
 

Askthepizzaguy

Know the Dark Side
Joined
Aug 14, 2007
Messages
7,796
Location
Norway
So, the chess.com statement demonstrates that the timeline was Magnus said X without evidence, then Chess.com looked at Hans' games and decided to ban him from an upcoming tournament, and therefore hadn't detected the newer examples of cheating before that point in rated GM tournaments with prize money, which means they hadn't bothered to use their cheat detection on Hans in years even after catching him cheating before.

I'm basing this on this, underlining mine.

Why are you addressing all of this now, and so publicly? Why didn’t you address these topics before?

On September 5, 2022, Magnus publicly withdrew from the Sinquefield Cup following his game with Hans. For better or worse, this action sparked a public controversy in the chess world and beyond. As we explain in greater detail in our report, we were faced with a binary decision with little time to make that decision: could we ensure the integrity of the CGC for all participants in the event under the circumstances and with the information we had at the time? We believed the answer was no and so we subsequently uninvited Hans. While we reached out to Hans privately and intended to keep the matter confidential, as has historically been our practice for fair play matters, Hans decided to make it a matter of public interest during his post-game interview after round 4 of the Sinquefield Cup and we felt we needed to respond publicly to correct the record.
Then why did you create a public report on Hans?

We only created a public report on Hans because Hans made this a public issue with his comments and we felt forced to correct the public record. Up until the point Hans made his comments, Chess.com handled this matter discreetly and planned to continue handling it directly with Hans only. We felt compelled to complete as full and detailed an investigation as we could on a condensed timeline and to give the community and the public at large a detailed report on our findings regarding the controversy, including the game with Magnus, Hans’ past on Chess.com, and Hans’ OTB rise, and insight into Chess.com’s best-in-class cheat detection system.

Which means either all this information about Hans was already known to Chess.com and they made no public action about it (is that what you'd read into the situation? Is that what they are implying? Because that's ridiculous to know he cheated in money tournaments and not ban him for it.)

OR

They assembled the information and the investigation quickly, it took them a short time, and this is new information, and decided to ban Hans from chess.com because they didn't know about all this cheating previously.

In both cases, only taking action because Magnus prompted them to do so. Rather than having a proactive approach

In neither case "detecting the cheating as it occurs or taking timely action after detecting the cheating as it occurred". Just letting someone rob a tournament and walk away, and only getting around to doing anything about it because of something entirely unrelated to chess.com, on zero evidence, just an allegation. Or, not bothering to check prize money tournaments and only investigating allegations of cheating made by Magnus in an unrelated game on zero evidence.

There isn't a more charitable interpretation and neither interpretation is any good at all.

There's a conflict of interest in both examples, and gross incompetence in both examples. The worst of both worlds.
 

Askthepizzaguy

Know the Dark Side
Joined
Aug 14, 2007
Messages
7,796
Location
Norway
If I was on the chess.com staff, I'd work to change our practices to be proactive, ensure all major tournaments hosted by chess.com investigate every game for cheating, prize money or not, and structure the finances of the website to incorporate a staff needed to do that. I'd also discuss deeply how to handle PR and potential business conflicts of interest. And after the situation was fixed I'd be out of there, because I'd feel pretty responsible for letting it get that bad in the first place.

That's if I didn't get fired first.

Hans should be banned from FIDE tournaments if he is caught cheating OTB at any point in the past or future, or whatever the maximum penalty is that is applied to all GMs with a strong history of cheating, and be allowed to play until that moment.

Magnus doesn't have to play who he doesn't want to play. He's entitled to his opinion. He doesn't have to enter tournaments with Hans, but he should not withdraw from them mid tournament nor give Hans free points in a tournament by resigning against him on move 2. And he should keep evidence free allegations out of the public eye and let people investigate the allegations and not comment on them until they're concluded, and accept the conclusions given he doesn't have to face off against the guy anymore if he doesn't want to.

The public should recognize the difference between "I think and want to believe" and "I know".

I don't anticipate there will be more to this drama. If there is, I will be very upset unless someone proves he cheated OTB, and then congrats the person for actually doing the job that everyone should have done in the first place before declaring him guilty.

Otherwise, I think I am ready to wash my hands of this. Just a dirty day for chess, and public opinion fails yet again. It's not that new or different, just disappointing.

History is a long series of repeated and avoidable events that are unfortunate.
 

Askthepizzaguy

Know the Dark Side
Joined
Aug 14, 2007
Messages
7,796
Location
Norway
Most con men are civil. If they weren't their con would fail.
They are civil towards the people they want to con, at least, outwardly.

The people the fake civility and the lies are directed towards are the marks.

The hostility is directed at anyone smart enough not to fall for the lies, and the con man tries to convince the marks that this makes them enemies.

In truth, both groups are victims of the con man. One group merely is not aware of that fact.
 

Moriarte

Immortal
Joined
May 10, 2012
Messages
2,171
Wrong: Taking two years to check on a known cheater in prize money tournaments. Checking all games in prize money tournaments should be automatic. What's the point of cheat detection otherwise?

Anti-cheat IS automatic and always on. Your assumption (correct me if I read you wrong) is automatic equals fool proof and 100% reliable. I don’t think that’s remotely the case. To come closer to a truth, the concerted inquiry from other GM’s is needed (there is precedent) and even then there is no guarantee, if the cheater is smart, I’ll try to give my understanding as to why.

Catching a strong GM is difficult for two reasons. First, it is completely normal for a GM to have 95-99% accuracy in multiple games in a row. Anti-cheat is designed to catch players like you and I have too many 95% games in direct succession. SuperGM games trail pretty close to top computer moves all the time, hence anti-cheat, in it’s normal capacity of spotting substantial deviation, from both his norm and average norm in the rating field, would be useless, unless GM is super greedy.

Second, a seasoned cheater is not going to cheat all the time. Once a game, twice a game. Once every two games. At critical junctures, where he Knows correct decision would be a game changer. One thing to catch cheating 1600s, but how do you catch a smart cheating super GM? I don’t think the odds are on your side. The fact that Hans was “apprehended” for his online shenanigans, is just a factor of his young age, ambition and stupidity in things outside of chess. Others are/will be smarter.

I don't anticipate there will be more to this drama. If there is, I will be very upset unless someone proves he cheated OTB, and then congrats the person for actually doing the job that everyone should have done in the first place before declaring him guilty.

I didn’t hear anyone serious give a definitive verdict in regards to otb. Maybe in Youtube comment section, but not in respectable places. :) A few high level players pointing out their suspicions, while FIDE just started investigation. Lets see what they find? Hans is better than he has ever been: playing tournaments, smiling, giving interviews, enjoying unprecedented, crazy popularity. Obviously feeling good and playing games of his life, occasionally taking down biggest caliber players - letting everyone know that he has won.

I expect FIDE fair play committee to take their time to come out with a non-decision, slapping Carlsen on the wrist lightly, apologising to Niemann on behalf of the chess world and promising better otb security in the future.
 

Kyriakos

Creator
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Messages
69,643
Location
The Dream
I didn’t hear anyone serious give a definitive verdict in regards to otb. Maybe in Youtube comment section, but not in respectable places. :) A few high level players pointing out their suspicions, while FIDE just started investigation. Lets see what they find? Hans is better than he has ever been: playing tournaments, smiling, giving interviews, enjoying unprecedented, crazy popularity. Obviously feeling good and playing games of his life, occasionally taking down biggest caliber players - letting everyone know that he has won.

I expect FIDE fair play committee to take their time to come out with a non-decision, slapping Carlsen on the wrist lightly, apologising to Niemann on behalf of the chess world and promising better otb security in the future.
A few high level Magnus started all this, and a mere slap on the wrist will make things worse :)
 

Kyriakos

Creator
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Messages
69,643
Location
The Dream
So we've gone from "because we can't prove Niemann cheated, premature judgements are bad" (fair) to "punish Carlsen, punish him"?

:D
Yes. He is responsible for all this crap, due to his fit over losing to Hans. If it is seen as ok to throw a tantrum, accuse people of cheating in the game(s) they won against you otb and quiting tournaments like a diva, while briefly it will draw attention due to the scandal, in the long run will make fewer people become pros or even fans.
What I like in the recent Hans interviews is that he clearly shows he can analyze his games, which is another (deserved) dig at those in the chess media who irresponsibly tried to end his career without any proof of otb cheating.
 

Narz

keeping it real
Joined
Jun 1, 2002
Messages
29,633
Location
Haverhill, UK
What I like in the recent Hans interviews is that he clearly shows he can analyze his games, which is another (deserved) dig at those in the chess media who irresponsibly tried to end his career without any proof of otb cheating.
Lol anyone can analyze on a high level when they prepare.

One of the biggest chess youtubers is rated 1900 but w the help of engines analyzes world championship games.

 

Moriarte

Immortal
Joined
May 10, 2012
Messages
2,171
Yes. He is responsible for all this crap, due to his fit over losing to Hans. If it is seen as ok to throw a tantrum, accuse people of cheating in the game(s) they won against you otb and quiting tournaments like a diva, while briefly it will draw attention due to the scandal, in the long run will make fewer people become pros or even fans.

While others interpret willingness to sacrifice reputation as devotion to the game. The diva you’re describing is the multitude of subforums, subreddits and you tube vids screaming in terror 3 times a day, dreaming of milking the last ounce of sweetness from the ad revenue. They criticize Carlsen, but secretly, just before sleep, thank him in their good night prayers for throwing them a bone. Carlsen withdrawn from tournament and posted 1 message, which led to increase in security over in Saint Louis. Ben, in return made 20 videos, so who’s the diva? :)

Chess will be fine. It probably was the most played game in the world even before the internet arrived. Internet tantrums will temper it.
 

TheMeInTeam

If A implies B...
Joined
Jan 26, 2008
Messages
27,658
only punishment that would make sense to stick on carlsen would be for leaving tournament early w/o a good reason (that's a non-trivial no-no in round robin) and for people to consider the resignation in bad taste (not really a punishment other than to reputation)
 

Kyriakos

Creator
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Messages
69,643
Location
The Dream
3 wins in a row for Hans; likely he will finish the tournament with 4 wins in a row, but his earlier 3 loses in a row means it won't be enough.


By the way, he really wants revenge against Christian (the bearded guy). Doesn't even let him speak :p

Here are the standings too, Hans is 5th, so even if he wins the only game remaining, he can't win the tournament (Caruana would still be ahead of him even he lost his)

1666182019781.png
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom