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    Some context: this is specifically about cheating at “over the board” (OTB) chess, played in-person, and is only one of several possible methods – people have used confederates relaying moves through coded positioning amongst a room of spectators, for example, as well as electronic methods.

    Likely the specific reason it’s being brought up today is that Magnus Carlsen, the reigning world champion, withdrew from the Sinquefield Cup with a cryptic comment. Yesterday he lost a surprise/upset game against Hans Niemann, and several top players are making more or less veiled accusations that Hans was cheating (and that he has been suspended from online chess sites in the past for cheating – cheating in online chess is a different issue that’s even harder to completely prevent).

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      A kind soul on /r/chess is maintaining about as neutral and comprehensive a timeline as you’ll find, for those wanting to read more. Cast of characters:

      • The Sinquefield Cup is a prestigious chess tournament held annually in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
      • Magnus Carlsen, reigning world champion since 2013 (though he announced recently he will not play the upcoming title-defense match, after hinting off and on for years that he didn’t like the format and was growing tired of it).
      • Hans Niemann, a young grandmaster from the United States who was a last-minute replacement in the Sinquefield Cup (taking the place of Richard Rapport, who was unable to make the journey). Niemann won a game against Magnus yesterday and claimed it was because he had, by chance, recently studied the particular weird sideline of the Nimzo-Indian Defense that Magnus chose to play in their game.
      • “Nepo” Ian Nepomniachtchi, Russian grandmaster, played the 2021 world championship match against Magnus, recently won the right to play the next one but will face Ding Liren of China due to Magnus pulling out of the world championship (see above).
      • Hikaru Nakamura, American grandmaster, finished just shy of second place in the Candidates tournament (which decides who plays for the world championship, thus would have been Nepo’s opponent if not for a late loss to Ding), prolific streamer.
      • Alireza Firouzja, young grandmaster originally from Iran, now living in France and playing under the French flag. Considered one of the top young players in the world.
      • Levon Aronian, grandmaster originally from Armenia, now living in the US and playing under the US flag.
      • Wesley So, grandmaster originally from the Philippines, now living in the US and playing under the US flag.
      • Jorden van Foreest, Dutch grandmaster.
      • Fabiano Caruana, US grandmaster who played the 2018 world championship match against Magnus.
      • Eric Hansen, Canadian grandmaster and, with fellow Canadian GM Aman Hambleton, one-half of the popular “Chessbrah” streaming channel.
      • Andrew Tang, American grandmaster and streamer.
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        The followup to The Queen’s Gambit writing itself before our very eyes.

        Coincidentally, I think it’s really wild that chess is treated this way like a “real” sport - live coverage, streamers… I mean, “Chessbrah”???

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          No more wild than anything else being treated as a sport. Sports are weird, no matter which you pick

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            Yeah I guess. It’s just not something I’ve been aware of before.

            Is there decent money involved? That tends to skew incentives.

            This might have been posted before, but I found it fascinating. Obviously checkers isn’t as big as chess though.


            (edit phrasing)

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              The big invitation-only online events typically require that all players have a multi-camera setup to show themselves, their screen, and the rest of the room they’re in, and don’t allow them to have headphones in or be using other electronic devices (there have been a couple mildy-amusing cases of players forgetting to turn off a cell phone and forfeiting a game because of a ring or a text-message chime)

              High-level over-the-board chess tends to use metal detectors.

              There are also online events with cash prizes that are open to the public at large, but generally they come with restrictions; for example, chess.com has a long-running series (“Arena Kings”) where anyone can enter and play, but only players who live-stream with an acceptable camera setup are eligible for cash prize.

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            There had already been a growing chess streaming community for several years – I remember fondly getting up early to watch chess.com’s live streams from the 2018 Carlsen/Caruana world championship match – before 2020. But the combination of first the pandemic leaving a lot of people indoors looking for entertainment, and then The Queen’s Gambit later in the year, created a massive boom for chess and for watching chess coverage on live-streaming platforms. There were multiple large-cash-prize online tournament series launched, some of which still are going a couple years later. And there have always been prestigious over-the-board events with cash prizes, even if the prizes aren’t up the level of other sports.

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          The book about them is highly recommended


          Of course these people didn’t have a computer as advanced as a RPi, so they had to simulate a roulette spin using a lot less hardware.

          Also what they did wasn’t technically illegal, but the casino operators were not amused.

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          Naked chess will soon have to be a thing.