THE chess world got the shock of its life when World number 1 and World Chess Champion since 2013 Magnus Carlsen resigned suddenly while playing against American grandmaster 19-year old Hans Niemann last September 19, 2022 in the sixth round of the Jilius Baer Generation Cup.
Chess aficionados all over the globe were also surprised to learn that the reason the world chess champion unexpectedly resigned after only making his first move with the black pieces was that he believed GM Niemann was cheating at chess. His suspicion apparently began much earlier when during the chess tournament Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis, Magnus lost to Nieman in a match and afterwards decided to withdraw from the tournament entirely.
Afterwards in September 26, 2022 GM Carlsen finally confirmed that he withdrew from the tournament and abruptly quit during a match against GM Nieman because he believed the 19-year-old American grandmaster had been cheating.
In his statement to the chess world, he said that he believes that cheating in chess “is a big deal and an existential threat to the game.” He also believed that “chess organizers and all those who care about the sanctity of the game should seriously consider increasing security measures and methods of cheat detection for over-the-board-chess”.
GM Carlsen then dropped the bombshell by revealing that he believes Niemann has cheated more, and more recently than he has publicly admitted. Carlsen then went on to exhort the chess world to do something about cheating, adding that he does not want to play against people that have cheated in chess repeatedly in the past.
Grandmaster Niemann for his part denied the accusations leveled against him stating that, “I have never cheated in an over-the-board-game. That is the worst thing I could do: cheat in a tournament with prize money.” Unfortunately for Niemann, there have been instances when he had cheated at chess during online games – once when he was 12 years old and again when he was 16 years old. He had admitted this already and in public. For this past transgression he was previously banned from the online chess website “Chess.com”. It is also a fact that his mentor Maxim Dlugy was also suspended in 2017 for allegedly cheating.
Meanwhile the International Chess Federation commonly referred to by its French acronym FIDE (Federation Internationale des Echecs) came out with the following pronouncements, including showing its distaste at the sudden resignation of GM Carlsen in his match against GM Niemann. “First of all, we strongly believe that the World Champion has a moral responsibility attached to his status, since he is viewed as a global ambassador of the game. His actions impact the reputation of his colleagues, sportive results, and eventually can be damaging to our game. We strongly believe that there are better ways to handle this situation,” he said. He added, “At the same time, we share his deep concerns about the damage that cheating brings to chess. FIDE has led the fight against cheating for many years, and we reiterate our zero-tolerance policy toward cheating in any form. Whether it is online or ‘over-the-board’, cheating remains cheating. We are strongly committed to this fight, and we have invested in forming a group of specialists to devise sophisticated preventive measures that already apply at top FIDE events.”
What this simply means is that cheating, especially during this modern technical age, has been happening more often than chess aficionados would care to admit. Now that online chess games and chess tournaments have become a regular staple in the chess world, it is with the means on how to cheat the game using artificial intelligence (AI) assistance. The most often used AI during online games are chess engines which can suggest the best moves that a player can make during a chess game to defeat an opponent.
So while AI can be seen as a useful tool to increase a players strength in chess, it also opens the door for the opportunity to cheat especially when the chess match is done online.