I posted the following message on TalkChess, a forum focused on chess engine programming. The topic is tangentially related to chess engine programming.
Drama in the World of Chess
Nineteen year-old Hans Niemann, unknown in the world of elite chess until very recently, sporting an improbably flat then steep rating progression, defeated World Champion Magnus Carlsen in a tournament game. Did Hans cheat? Did he receive computer assistance? Or did Magnus play poorly?
My Thoughts (Posted on TalkChess)
Hans Niemann strikes me as an Andy Kaufman-like character. You know, someone who gets off on people hating him, loves playing the villain, loves orchestrating a long con, seems anxious for a big reveal where he can expose his detractors as idiots, then bask in his sanctimony.
That’s my impression of him. He seems to be playing a character: the wild-eyed, misunderstood genius who cannot suffer fools and is impatient with the unimaginative, bourgeois chess establishment.
Whether this is based on…
- Derogatory comments Hans endured while stuck in the 2400s (not smart enough, not talented enough, etc) that inspired him to seek revenge by doubling-down his efforts, leading to a legitimate rise to the elite level, or…
- Hans realizing there’s no audience for the bad-boy, trash-talking villain in the 2400s; that no one cares unless the villain rises to the top and knocks the kings and princes off their thrones; so Hans decided to leverage computer assistance to get himself on the stage.
… is unclear to me at this time.
I’m skeptical based on Niemann’s history of cheating online. Plus GMs have said his post-game analysis is incoherent. Plus GM Larry Kaufman’s story (earlier in this thread) indicating Kaufman likely personally experienced playing against a cheater who couldn’t competently discuss the game he just played. I interpreted it as an experienced chess pro saying yes, it happens.
What a drama.
Follow the Story
What is this all about? Get caught up by reading a timeline of events.
Follow discussion of the drama, including my comments, here: Carlsen Withdrawal After Loss to Niemann.