It’s been a little over a week since 19-year-old chess prodigy Hans Niemann shocked the world at the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis, taking down the top-rated player in the world, Magnus Carlsen, 31. Here’s a short recap of the fallout:
- Carlsen withdrew from the remainder of the tournament, something he rarely ever does without genuine reason.
- Carlsen tweeted a 2020 clip of former Tottenham manager José Mourinho, implying that Niemann was cheating during their match.
- Other chess grandmasters came to Carlsen’s defense, analyzing the match and coming to the conclusion that foul play was likely involved.
- Tournament officials checked Niemann for devices on his person at the tournament the following day. Nothing was found
The question of “how?” was on everybody’s mind. How do you cheat in live chess? Wouldn’t it be obvious? Several hypotheses were scattered around the internet. Most involved an electronic system underneath Niemann’s clothes that relayed messages from a chess engine via vibrations and buttons feeding Niemann the best move to counter each of Carlsen’s moves. But where would he have put such a device? His shoes? His pants?
How about in his balloon knot?
The joke started as a Reddit thread by user u/nicbentulan, which has since been removed by the moderators of the r/chess subreddit. What u/nicbentulan postulated was that Carlsen had been using vibrating anal beads as a means to get the best moves fed to him for years. And that was how Carlsen soared to the top, and that’s how Carlsen knew Niemann was cheating, because Carlsen had been using the same tactics for years, obviously.
This was clearly a joke, a good ol’ hardy HA-HA from the chess community, but after several streamers started playing along with the joke, keeping the bit alive, the chess community started to run with it, and the theory that Niemann may have used vibrating anal beads as a cheating mechanism has started to pick up steam.
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The streamer in the video above is clearly joking, but whether this theory is being proposed ironically or unironically varies from person to person. After all, the video of Niemann being checked by tournament representatives at the Sinquefield Cup following his cheating allegations clearly shows that the tournament officials never bothered to check Niemann’s derriere. What better place to hide a device for cheating in a place that no one would be willing to look? It’s genius! We should’ve expected nothing less from a chess grandmaster.
Despite the initial point of the Reddit post, several media outlets have taken off with the theory, treating it as a genuine possibility.
Frankly, it’s ridiculous. I know cheaters will do whatever it takes, but is this really how bad some people want to win? Are some people really willing to put beads up their anal cavity in order to capture their opponent’s queen quicker and utter the word “checkmate” four moves sooner than they previously would’ve been able to? I mean, Niemann is 19 — prime experimenting age — but still, highly doubtful.
Whether or not Niemann was actually cheating has yet to be determined definitively. However, it’s hard to pass up all the accusations being thrown at Niemann by other grandmasters. Niemann has held fast that nothing fishy happened during his match with Carlsen, and has even called out some grandmasters for insinuating that he could’ve been cheating.
The court of public opinion seems to be against Niemann though, and until there is definitive proof that Niemann was in fact not cheating, there will be thousands of chess enthusiasts wondering whether or not he plays chess against some of the best players in the world with vibrating beads up his asshole. I can’t think of many worse situations to be in.
Either way, this theory is ass-inine. Goodnight, folks!