Alejandro Ramirez: "It does seem very likely that Hans cheated over-the-board."

by Johannes Fischer
10/14/2022 – Under the name "C-Squared" Fabiano Caruana and Cristian Chirila recently launched a new chess podcast. Episode five featured Alejandro Ramirez, Costa Rica's first grandmaster, ChessBase author, trainer and popular commentator. The three talked about Ramirez's career, chess in Costa Rica, but above all about the Hans Niemann case. Asked whether he believes Niemann cheated when playing over-the-board, Ramirez said: "It does seem very likely."

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In the first part of the interview, Ramirez mainly talks about his chess career - how he became Costa Rica's first grandmaster, how difficult it was in Costa Rica to participate in tournaments, to play against grandmasters or even to meet them. But Ramirez still had a stellar chess career. At 13, he won the sub-zonal tournament in Managua in 2001 and automatically became an IM. However, at that time he had not yet played against a single grandmaster.

But in the first round of the Chess Olympiad in Bled 2002 Ramirez finally played against a grandmaster. Costa Rica had to play against Russia and Ramirez had White against Alexander Morozevich, who at that time was one of the world's best players whose original and creative play again and again fascinated the public.

Against Ramirez he also played creatively and put a lot of pressure on his young opponent, but did not find a way to overcome White's stubborn defence. In the end Ramirez even missed a win.

 

In 2004, Ramirez became a grandmaster himself at the age of 15. However, he only decided to pursue a career in chess after successfully completing a degree in "Video Game Design" at the University of Texas at Dallas.

As a professional player, Ramirez won a number of prestigious tournaments and as a second he was part of Caruana's team for the 2018 World Championship match between Fabiano Caruana and Magnus Carlsen. As a coach, Ramirez oversees the successful Saint Louis University team and as a popular and eloquent commentator, he regularly covers top tournaments, especially in Saint Louis.

He was also a commentator at the 2022 Sinquefield Cup and experienced first-hand the drama that ensued when Magnus Carlsen pulled out of the tournament after losing to Hans Niemann in round three, and then indirectly accused Niemann of cheating with his subsequent "Mourinho tweet".

Ramirez interviewed players at Sinquefield after their games, and it was he who interviewed Niemann after his win against Carlsen and after his game against Alireza Firouzja. And when Ramirez interviewed Niemann after his game against Leinier Dominguez Niemann made his now famous statement, in which he admitted to using computer help in online games at the age of 12 and 16 but claimed he had never cheated since - a statement that clashes with the "Hans Niemann" report published by chess.com early October. In this report, chess.com claims that Hans Niemann “likely received illegal assistance in more than 100 online games, as recently as 2020”, including in many tournaments with prize money on the line.

Alejandro Ramirez interviews Hans Niemann after Niemann won against Carlsen

Alejandro Ramirez interviews Hans Niemann after Niemann played against Alireza Firouzja

Alejandro Ramirez interviews Hans Niemann after Niemann drew against Leinier Dominguez

Thus, the main part of the conversation between Ramirez, Chirila and Caruana also revolved around the Hans Niemann case.

Ramirez described how and why Niemann had been invited to the Sinquefield Cup, talked about the impact of the cheating allegations on the chess world and the organisation of chess tournaments, and the difficulties of proving computer assistance in online and live chess.

He also spoke about the damage caused by allegations of cheating: "Assume that [Hans] is innocent. The amount of damage done is incredible."

But when Chirila finally asked directly where Ramirez stood on the allegations against Niemann, Ramirez said:

"The circumstantial evidence that has gathered against Hans seems - specifically on him having cheated over-the-board - so strong that it's very difficult for me to ignore it. ... From my own experience and my own expertise for these things, it does seem very likely he has cheated over the board. ... Am I sure of this? No, I am definitely not sure of this. ...

[But] the thing about Hans is that his improvement seems strange. ... It's strange and it is something worth looking into. And hopefully we find useful tools that will help us in the future to determine better whether a player is playing like a human or not.

Now, when it comes to Hans specifically ... there's a part of me that wants Hans to be innocent. That wants to believe that this guy is a good chess player ... that he played one really good game of chess, or maybe three or four, and now he is put into this shitstorm.

It seems unlikely. His meteoric rise, then beating Magnus with Black the way that he beat him. It is unlikely. I want it to be the truth. I want it to be the fairy-tale story. But can you really believe the fairy-tale?"

The C-Squared podcast with Alejandro Ramirez

Timestamp

0:00 - Intro
0:43 - Chess beginnings
9:56 - Limited opportunities for Costa Rican players
11:00 - Youth tournaments
14:05 - Federations with limited resources
20:46 - Worldwide online resources
21:19 - Growth from losses against good players
22:32 - Going to the U.S.
24:39 - University of Texas at Dallas
25:25 - Disillusioned and burned out
27:40 - A Master’s Degree in Video Game Design
30:50 - Paying the bills after college
32:12 - 2013 U.S. Championship
34:11 - "I don’t have a rating, I have a name."
34:59 - Salsa Lizano
39:44 - Hans Niemann
45:47 - How much evidence is enough evidence?
48:35 - Cheaters try to hide
50:55 - False positives
53:25 - Proof and punishment
56:00 - Moving forward
59:54 - Hans’ post-mortem interviews
1:15:55 - Where does Alejandro stand?
1:21:06 - Chapulina the owl
1:22:47 - A goodnight kiss for the homies

Links


Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".
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lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/18/2022 03:11
:)
tauno tauno 10/18/2022 02:56
@lajosarpad. Funny coincidence. According to Chess.com (2020), they have caught around 300 titled players who have admitted cheating. And according to FIDE there are around 15.000 active titled players and about the same number of inactive ones. It’s 1% :-)
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/17/2022 10:29
After rereading my comments I realized that I mistyped the calculations. I quote the wrong part:

"Let's say that 1% of all games are elite games. That would mean that ~29 elite players are playing their life's game, which is probably flawless or nearly flawless. Should we suspect there are 29 cheaters? I disagree."

Of course I have meant that

"Let's say that 1% of all games are elite games. That would mean that ~292 elite players are playing their life's game, which is probably flawless or nearly flawless. Should we suspect there are 292 cheaters? I disagree."
arzi arzi 10/17/2022 02:03
To Science22
https://en.chessbase.com/post/let-s-check-the-elite-are-better-than-you-know
Science22 Science22 10/17/2022 07:26
@ Jack Nayer They mob is back to spam reality with long pseudo- intellectual nonsense. They are the black hole of chessbase.com, no information escape. But I shall repeat for you :

Watch the actual analysis of Stockfish : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbEiW-60hf0

Stockfish concludes ind the end of the video that Niemann did not made a single move wich was not within the first 3 choice of Stockfish, and 93,4 % was the first choice of Stockfish. Niemann makes a lot of only win moves in the complicated endgame, and Carlsen never had a clear draw after the opening. Notice the word clear.

Short time after this game Niemann gets a completely similar opening against Robson ( (now under constant observation ) which he completely misunderstand. Mistake after mistake.

The good news ? FIDE will close the door for this apparatnik.
arzi arzi 10/17/2022 04:58
lajosarpad:"What baffles me is that in Niemann's case 0 proof (I mean actual proof) is enough for some people to say he has cheated against Carlsen."

That is exactly the most important point. I also don't know if Niemann cheated Carlsen in that game. There is no physical evidence, not a single one. The analysis of the game also did not bring any hint of cheating. Sometimes it feels like Niemann was also accused of NOT playing a perfect game, as a proof of cheating. Niemann didn't play perfectly so he can cheat better? What's the point of playing badly sometimes if such a tactic can cause a win to slip into a draw or a lost game? Did Niemann use an even stronger chess software than is currently officially available? How can that be possible? A program that saw the move 29...Nc4 in seconds lead to a win that current programs have to struggle with for a much longer time. The more people try to find the basis or the way Niemann cheated, the more amazing these stories start to take shape. Stories about Bermuda triangles and how a UFO helped Niemann beat Carlsen in his game are about to start coming.

The timeline should be fixed. History, present and future should be separated from each other and put in the right order. What happened when Niemann was 16 should be placed on the timeline closer to the Big Bang than the Carlsen-Niemann game. Cheating in the past does not mean that there was cheating in the Carlsen-Niemann game. They were two completely independent events. FACTS are the most important things. If they are not available, then you should not start working on them either, by the power of imagination. Shit doesn't turn to gold no matter how much you wish for it.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/17/2022 02:12
@mc1483

By the way: it's extremely unlikely that one would win the main prize of the lottery. But, sometimes there are winners. The unlikely and the impossible are two very different things. This is a fact that seems to be ignored by many.

If we suspect that the transmission is the problem, then let's transmit the games with at least 1 hour delay. Do we suspect a player having a device on him? Okay, let's find it. Some person from the audience whispering? Find the person. This is how cheaters need to be caught in my opinion. Niemann appears to be an excentric person and his avoidance to analyze his games appeared to be very strange to me indeed. But what I have seen so far were not convincing to me.

What if someone (and now let's drift away from Niemann) is indeed brilliant? Should we assume that X is a cheater if he plays "too precisely"? Do we exclude that someone could take over the chess world by storm, like Morphy did?

What baffles me is that in Niemann's case 0 proof (I mean actual proof) is enough for some people to say he has cheated against Carlsen. But, if the video of his Lichess game is shown to them, where Carlsen clearly and evidently did what Niemann is being accused of, namely, accepting outside help, then the same persons do not say it's bad. Someone even reached to the point of giving the excuse to Carlsen that he did not take the game seriously.

An ivestigation is being conducted and I hope that we will not have to wait for long until they present their findings.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/17/2022 02:12
@mc1483

I would like to emphasize that I do not know whether Niemann has cheated against Carlsen. I surely do not exclude that possibility, but, if he was cheating and he continues to cheat, then sooner or later he will be caught. Yet, if he was not cheating, then the whole accusation and scandal was slanderous. Since no proof has been presented yet, only analytical works, some of which suggested that he probably didn't cheat, some others suggested that he probably cheated, so it's quite a controversial topic.

Yet, besides granting that cheating in chess is a serious problem and effort needs to be invested into preventing cheating and catching those players who cheat nevertheless, I see this kind of baseless accusation to be a bigger problem. It's a common feeling that "I played so well, yet, my opponent still managed to defeat me, there must be something fishy". If we accept without proof that X has cheated at his game with Y, then we open the door for many baseless accusations and chess will become the sport of scandals. There are daily many games played and given the 800 000 000 players, the average person lives 27 375 days. So, on average 29 223.744292237 people are playing the game of their life each day. From this 29 223 games some are small tournament games which contain quite a few mistakes. But some of them are master, international master or even grandmaster games.

Let's say that 1% of all games are elite games. That would mean that ~29 elite players are playing their life's game, which is probably flawless or nearly flawless. Should we suspect there are 29 cheaters? I disagree.

Those who argue about low chances seem to ignore that in a treshold of 800 000 000 chess players, we likely can see very unlikely events each day.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/17/2022 02:09
@mc1483

I would like to clarify that I do not consider 29... Nc4 to be a disproof of the accusation, but I do consider it a weak spot of the theory. So, whatever one's opinion is, a serious analysis needs to discuss it. If someone aims to prove that Hans has cheated, then he/she needs to explain why and how 29... Nc4 happened. On the other hand, if someone aims to disprove the accusation, then 29... Nc4 is a weak spot. My point about 29... Nc4 is that any serious analysis of the possibility of Niemann cheating against Carlsen needs to deal with this move.

while I perfectly understand your take of the position and your opinion, based on empirical experimentation using Stockfish 10 and 15, according to which Nc4 is worse than fxg4, but, if I understand correctly, according to what you have seen, the evaluation dropped from -1.6 to -1.5, basically White gained a bit of ground, but your engine-based analysis concluded that it was not that much. My human intuition tells me that it's not really a good idea to move that knight in front of the rook, as it seriously restricts its move and allows White trade his bishop against the knight, which dominated it, releasing the defense from b7, whilst fxg4 frees the f5 square for the rook and allows Black to defend the f7 pawn from f5 if white decides to attack it, the move keeps that option, while Nc4 can be played later as well.

This is why it seems to me that this is a mistake, and, if we take a look at https://en.chessbase.com/post/sinquefield-cup-2022-r3, the engine evaluation claims that Bxc4 is 0.00.

chess24.com claims on Twitter that Sesse's evaluation also dropped to 0.00. https://twitter.com/chess24com/status/1566528000014880768/photo/1

lichess.org claims that 29... Nc4 was an inaccuracy and that 31... fxg4 is a mistake. For 31... Cxg4 chessbase (in the article referred to above) claims that the evaluation dropped from 2.13 to 1.26.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/17/2022 02:09
@mc1483 first and foremost, thank you for the detailed description of what you have seen when you looked into this move with the engine.

The reason as of why I asked whether the engine claimed a mate in n moves was to find out whether it has calculated all the lines to the end in minimax style (see https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/minimax-algorithm-in-game-theory-set-1-introduction/) or whether it operated based on the heuristics (see https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00974979) mined from the not pruned (see https://www.javatpoint.com/ai-alpha-beta-pruning) variations. If an engine claims mate, then within its horizon (the depth of the analysis, see https://chessify.me/blog/what-is-depth-in-chess-different-depths-for-stockfish-and-lczero) it calculated every single move of the variation and, assuming that there is no bug involved, it factually knows that the position is winning.

If the engine does not claim mate, then it has pruned quite a few branches from the game tree and compared the heuristics of the positions it evaluated up to a certain depth. In this case the engine is unsure about its findings, but the mistakes of the engine are deeper than us, humans can reach during an OTB game. So, the evaluation you have seen after you have waited are more accurate than whatever a human can provide, but they are not necessarily correct, as there might be an even greater depth that's beyond even the engine's horizon.
mc1483 mc1483 10/16/2022 10:09
4) If I try 29... Nc4, thinking of 30 Bxc4 (the best reply), the advantage - after one or two minutes of uncertainty - also increases a little, from -1.40 to -1.50, with the same verbal esteem ("Black is clearly better"), but the position greatly simplifies. Although 29... Nc4 is slightly worse than 29... fxg4 the difference is very small while the "path to victory" should be easier (both for humans and engines) and less risky (let's remember once again we are facing the World champion). Also, if White tries something else, trying perhaps to not simplify the position (and he could just do that, because he knows he's worse), Black's advantage will again rise to -1.60 - at worst.

Unless I wait for an hour or so (in which case the evaluations change and after 29... Nc4 30) Re7 eventually becomes a good move, a one that decreases Black's advantage to -1.30) the evaluations remain the same for a long time, and I think we face two scenarios:

First scenario, first approach: if that were the case 29... Nc4 clearly disproves the cheating hypotesis, as the engine does not ever contemplates it.
Second scenario, second approach: if that were the case 29... Nc4 not only does not disprove the cheating hypotesis, but looks like a smart cheater's most obvious choice. As humans could easily choose 29.. Nc4 by themselves, this still would NOT be evidence of cheating, although I must admit it reminds me very much of the "Dlugy method", as he himself explained on the reddit's post when describing how he let his students discuss and vote.

My conclusion is that 29... Nc4 is not the move that a cheater only relying on engines would play; but it's not a mistake and could be played by a smart cheater, thus not disproving the cheating hypotesis.
mc1483 mc1483 10/16/2022 10:09
It is important to understand some things about 29... Nc4 and how a chess engine works.
First, the time taken by an engine when evaluating a position may vary a lot, depending on: engine itself, hardware, cores, other softwares in execution and, above all, if the previous moves were foreseen or not.
Second, the engine does not give you an immediate "path to victory". The engine evaluates the outcome of a move with some numbers (i.e. "-1,78"), some symbols (i.e "-+") and some verbal esteems (i.e. "Black is clearly better").
Third, unless blunders occur these evaluations do not change suddendly, nor do they vary a lot between moves; if there's something "hidden" it could require a lot of time before a great change in the evaluations is shown.

With this in mind, I've tried several approaches using Stockfish 10 and Stockfish 15, and this is what happens:

1) After 29) Ba2 Black is not winning, nor it was before. It certainly has got a great advantage, and as 29) Ba2 doesn't look like the best move (29 Rd8 was) this advantage increases a little, from -1.40 to -1.60. Nothing too dramatic.
2) The first approach is "let the engine decide", and it settles for 29... fxg4, after one minute for 29... Rc2, after two minutes again for 29... fxg4, after that it stays there, at -1.60, and "Black is clearly better".
3) The second approach is "let's try a couple of moves". If I try 29... fxg4, the engine evaluates it as before, at -1.60, and shows me that it will be met with the obvious 30) Rxe4. Although the pawns' configuration has improved for Black (that's why 29... fxg4 is good) the position has remained almost unchanged and there's little doubt that many other moves will be required to win (especially against the World champion).
Science22 Science22 10/16/2022 06:03
@lajosarpad : Stockfish states the variant 29. - , Nc4 30. Bxc4, R x c4 31. gx f5, b5 32. Rb8, Ra4 33. Rb6, Rx a3 and Stockfish then concludes that this looks very scary for White, but in the reality white has just time enough to stop the free pawns.

If you follow Stockfish's analysis from this position, black always maintains a small advantage. Try entering the position in Stockfish yourself. I urge all sane players to do this.

When we humans make decisions in chess, it plays a decisive role if we can see within a reasonable calculation horizon that the move is the best. Here a frightening position arises with two free pawns, and the world champion cannot see within a computational horizon that the king can stop them. To call the decision not to take the knight a bad mistake that changes the score from a tie to a win for black is utter nonsense.

This is a classic example of the basic dishonesty lajosarpad always operates on. In a game where Niemann plays the same first move as Stockfish in 93.4% of the moves and in many cases finds the only move that keeps the win even, lajosarpad desperately clings to the move 29 Nc4 as evidence that Niemann is not getting help during the game.

It's like a serial killer who, faced with overwhelming evidence of his guilt, claims he once petted a puppy.

Distortion of proportion.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/16/2022 05:20
@mc1483

Admittedly, all these scenarios are speculation, as there was no solid proof, only analytical work, but the actual device or whatever was not found so far. But 29... Nc4 deserves a deep look into and I applaud your effort to analyze this move.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/16/2022 05:14
@mc1483

If we assume the first case to be correct for a second, then, judging by the results you have shared, Niemann (or his accomplice) had to wait for a while (the amount of time is crucial, this is why I was asking about it) before the engine changed the evaluation (assuming that the engine behaved in the same way during the supposed cheating incident). Luckily, whether this is possible at all can be objectively investigated, if we measure the time Niemann was spending before 29... Nc4 and making measurements for different engines, to see whether they change their evaluation and if so, how much time they need to do it and we do that experiment on powerful devices.

If there is a single case when the engine changes the evaluation as you described and in less time than the amount of time spent by Niemann on 29... Nc4, then scenario 1. is possible, but not necessarily true. If there is no such result, then we can exclude scenario 1. from being possible.

If we assume scenario 2. to be correct for a second, then the reason for not receiving such an information might be that he was not cheating (but our premise was that he was cheating in this thought experiment). But, if he cheated and the engine did not change its evaluation while 29... Nc4 was being contemplated on, then Niemann had the information that 29... Nc4 is spoiling the win and played it nevertheless, giving a chance to the champion for a brilliant save.

I do not consider this scenario to be likely, yet, I do not exclude it of course. If Hans cheated against Magnus, then he wanted to win. So, why would he risk the win by making a move that, according to the information available for him at the given moment was spoiling the win?

So, if Niemann was cheating and the move is indeed (still) winning, then the first scenario seems to be more likely from the two. But I wonder whether that's possible.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/16/2022 05:14
@mc1483

Also, such inaccuracies may turn out to be spoiling the win after all. You said that the evaluation was a draw for a while, then the engine switched the evaluation to a win. Did it analyze all the variations to the end, or was it still banking on heuristics? If it is the latter (which is probable, but let me know if Stockfish claimed a mate in n moves after 29... Nc4), then it is possible that an even deeper look into the position would switch the evaluation back to a draw.

If you ask a grandmaster whether there are mistakes in chess that ultimately don't change the overall evaluation of the game, he/she will likely tell you that indeed, there are mistakes that make the win or draw much harder to achieve than their precise counterpart.

You claim that 29... Nc4 is still winning. I would appreciate if you would share the engine brand and version as well as technical details of the device you used, along with the time you needed to wait until the evaluation changed from a draw to a win.

But, putting the technical details aside, let's use the result of your experiment as our premise and let's assume further that the engine was correct when it told you that with precise play the move is still winning. With this premise, if we argue for the verdict of Niemann cheating, then there are two cases:

1. Niemann received the information that the inaccurate 29... Nc4 is still winning and committed this mistake deliberately to make the game look more human.
2. Niemann did not receive the information that the inaccurate 29... is still winning but still played that move.
Science22 Science22 10/16/2022 05:13
You tell something that is not true, and then you draw conclusions from your false statement you claim is now true. Cheating did not occur in some few games, Niemann has played. It is alread confirmed + 100 times in online games.

Between 2019 - 2022 Niemann play 90 % of the move preferred by Stockfish as first choice if live transmitted in 25 crucial games and 10 games with 100 % accuracy. Much better than the world champion. Even more devasting he play with average 30 % accuracy with no live transmisison. The difference leads to no other conclusion than he cheat whenever possible. In the game Carlsen - Niemann he played with 93,4 % accuracy, much better than the world champion and with less time.

You follow op with an empty Erasmus Montanus statement. A stone can not fly, you can not fly, ergo you are a stone.
Or in your formulation : "If Niemann is cheating which is the logic behind the moves ? " Meaningless nonsense. Nothing can change your exhausting of reality. It is like a person who believe the Earth is flat because he see no curvature out of the window.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/16/2022 05:12
@mc1483

"29... Nc4 is not a mistake, but requires the engine to analyse the position a bit longer."

Let's clarify what a mistake is. From the quote above I infer that your definition for the concept of mistake in chess is something like below:

"A move that disfavorably changes the outcome of the game, assuming precise play."

Let me know your actual definition if I misunderstood what you consider to be a mistake.

My definition for mistake in chess is as follows:

"A move that damages the prospect of the game"

So, if I have two variations: a mate in one, or a positional move that still leads to victory after 40-50 moves, from which a large quantity is only move to achieve the win, then, missing the mate in one is a mistake. Why? It makes the win much more difficult and, instead of a low-hanging fruit, I will have to spend hours and hours to squeeze the win, while I will have many opportunities to spoil the win or even lose the game.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/16/2022 05:12
@Science22

If the first choice is winning and the third choice is drawing, then the third choice is clearly worse than the first choice, i.e., it's a mistake.

"Stockfish does not have moves on the program that is a mistake"

If the evaluation largely differs between two variations, then the one with much worse prospects is a mistake. Also, no engine plays perfect chess and there are strong arguments for the position that perfect chess will never be achievable. Since Stockfish has lost games, it is clear empirically as well that it's far from perfect: https://www.quora.com/Has-Stockfish-ever-been-beaten

"In the end of the video Stockfish said clearly that NO moves of Niemann is a real mistake. "

Let's be clear: the robot speaking in the video is a human commenting on Stockfish's evaluation with modified voice and a graphic being displayed during the process.

"Moreover the drawing possibilities after 29 Nc4 is extremely difficult to see. "

It is difficult to see the draw, indeed (if it's a draw after all, as apparently mc1483 claims otherwise), that's why humans, such as Niemann and Carlsen made mistakes.
Science22 Science22 10/16/2022 05:08
You tell something that is not true, and then you draw conclusions from your false statement you claim is now true. Cheating did not occur in some few games, Niemann has played. It is alread confirmed + 100 times in online games.
Between 2019 - 2022 Niemann play 90 % of the move preferred by Stockfish as first choice if live transmitted in 25 crucial games and 10 games with 100 % accuracy. Much better than the world champion. Even more devasting he play with average 30 % accuracy with no live transmisison. The difference leads to no other conclusion than he cheat whenever possible.

You follow op with an empty Erasmus Montanus statement. A stone can not fly, you can not fly, ergo you are a stone.
Or in your formulation : "If Niemann is cheating which is the logic behind the moves ? " Meaningless nonsense.
mc1483 mc1483 10/16/2022 11:25
29... Nc4 is not a mistake, but requires the engine to analyse the position a bit longer. It's a move that could or could not disprove the cheating hypotesis, but without the time Niemann spent on this move (and Carlsen on 29 Ba2) it's hard to tell. It's a move that complicates matters, but of course with engine assistance that won't be a problem.
The real issue here is: if Niemann is cheating (and was in that specific game) which is the logic behind the choice of moves? Sometimes they are the best ones, sometimes they are subpar, soemtimes are small inaccuracies. Also the possible cheating seems to occur just in a few games here and there. Again, which is the logic? There doesn't seem to be one.
Science22 Science22 10/16/2022 01:48
lajosarpad@ : 29 - Nc4 was NOT a mistake no matter how much you spin. Stockfish had the move as choice nr. 3 and Stockfish does not have moves on the program that is a mistake. They do not appear as a possibility. In the end of the video Stockfish said clearly that NO moves of Niemann is a real mistake.

Moreover the drawing possibilities after 29 Nc4 is extremely difficult to see. You spin, manipulate, blow up small things, supress important things like Erasmus Montanus. Ignore all the wonderful precise and ONLY WIN moves made by Niemann. You are not honest to the game .
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/15/2022 11:18
@Science22 at GM level a mistake that turns a winning position to a position that's hard to win and where the opponent possibly has drawing chances qualifies as a bad mistake or even a blunder. Why would we search for a losing move on Niemann's part in his trademark game? There were games played by other super GMs where we do not find losing mistakes made by the winner. Nevertheless, a mistake is a mistake. 29... Nc4 was a mistake on Niemann's part which is a point that needs to be addressed by anyone who wants to convince others that Niemann has cheated in that game.

Niemann committed many mistakes in the US championship. You view this as a sign that he either decided not to cheat in this tournament or that he was not able to cheat. I view this as a sign that is not in line with a pattern that we would expect from a cheater, who obviously wants to win the US championship. It's still possible that he cheated against Carlsen, but it has not been proven so far.

"Usually lajosarpad ( EMPTY) manipulate with reality to create a wrong conclusions."

And here comes the personal attack. I have not seen the video you have given. You could have said "hey, here's a video that addresses that particular move". But no, you attacked my person. As about the video, here it is the relevant timestamped URL where the actual move is being discussed: https://youtu.be/BbEiW-60hf0?t=332

"This is my third best move and Magnus can get a drawn position by taking the knight if he wanted."

So, according to the video, Stockfish's analysis evaluates 29... Nc4 as a bad mistake that allows white to achieve a draw. Niemann therefore missed the win and Carlsen missed the draw. Mutual mistake.

"never ever listen to lajosarpad without checking him."

Again the personal attack, this time the so-called "poisoning the well" logical fallacy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poisoning_the_well
Science22 Science22 10/15/2022 03:53
Usually lajosarpad ( EMPTY) manipulate with reality to create a wrong conclusions. Watch the actual analysis of Stockfish : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbEiW-60hf0

Stockfish concludes ind the end of the video that Niemann after the known opening did not made a single move wich was not within the 3 first choice of Stockfish ! Not a single move. Meaning not a single mistake, just a slight deviation. Moreover Niemann makes a lot of only win moves in the complicated endgame, and af 29 - Nc4 the possible draw is almots impossible to see for a human bening, as it involves given Niemann two passed pawns. Says Stockfish.

In conclusion, Niemanns play is extremely non human in the game. He avoids natural defence moves and goes right for the smart computer move so many times ( only win) . And short time after this game he gets a similar opening against Robson ( (now under constant observation ) which he completely misunderstand. Mistake after mistake. Give me a break... never ever listen to lajosarpad without checking him. Then you discover his manipulations.
Science22 Science22 10/15/2022 03:08
In a 2020 game against Mishra, Niemann has black and ELO 2460. He only needs two draws in the last two rounds to score the final and decisive GM norm. Neverteheless he plays tactically extremely aggressively.

In move 17, he plays an officer completely out of play ( Nh2 ). The variant is based on an elegant trick in move 30, where Niemann plays Re6 instead of the natural Rxd6. The move Re6 ensures a won endgame because White cannot avoid rook exchange. However, it is not clear that the endgame with one less officer wins until around move 40, i.e. 23 moves after Sh2. Niemann's Sh2 is a fantastic strategic sacrifice that I have only seen the best computer programs suggest after a longer analysis.

His notes to the game has made a big impression on me. He spends a lot of time clarifying that computers are much better than himself to find the right move. As if he wish to avoid critics from using a program. But then he shoots himself in the foot : http://uscf1-nyc1.aodhosting.com/CL-AND-CR-ALL/CL-ALL/2021/2021_04.pdf

Niemann discuss how he was thinking and writes that before his move 15 (g3) he assesses whether he should block a knight on h2 : "The h2-knight is an amazing piece : it restricts the king's movement, something that was crucial in the endgame...."

Notice the word was. A person who explains how he thinks during a game would of course use the word is: It is crucial in the endgame to block the king. If one says it was he tells us that he discovered later that it was crucial. But you have to discover it here and now in order to play it. Unless someone else play for you.
Science22 Science22 10/15/2022 03:01
@Michael Jones : You are right that the proof that Niemann is cheating must be beyond reasonable doubt.

But that doesn't mean we have to settle for anything until the man himself lies down flat. It shouldn't be like the old days in cycling where cheating paid off. After Armstrong became filthy rich from his scams perpetuated by aggressive fans, he ended his career by getting US$50 million to tell Oprah that he had been cheating all along. The signal Armstrong sent to all aspiring young cyclists was clear: Cheat as much as possible, it pays off financially. No one dares stop you for fear of being financially ripped off in court.

The most advanced chess program, AlphaZero is not available to the public. But it is available to the panel in FIDE and I know many programmers are copying the concept. Namely that you don't have to teach the program to play chess, it must be allowed to unfold itself. It took AlphaZero a few hours of training on its own to become good enough to beat any other program on the market, and Niemann has access to an equivalent program in my opinion.
Science22 Science22 10/15/2022 02:59
The move Nc4 ( Carlsen - Niemann ) was definitely not a serious mistake. Nothing losing about it. It was just not the optimal move. As most of the rest was.

If we look at this with receiving signals directly to the ear without the use of electronic aids, then there are good indications that the US Open has received a tip on how to stop this type of cheating. You can relatively easily interfere with infrared laser signals without knowing the source because it is heat radiation.

Unless Niemann is more cunning than I think and loses games on purpose, he suddenly plays badly after a few rounds in the US open. He won over the world champion in a Nimzo Indian with dazzling vision, and lost in an almost completely identical Nimzo Indian to Robson without proving that he had even grasped the theme of the opening. Again in the next round he demonstrated a very poor ability to calculate, completely opposite to the first round and the Carlsen game.

We are in the endgame now. FIDE close the game soon to my opinion.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/15/2022 01:54
I agree with @fgkdjlkag and @Michael Jones. The so-called "perfect" game Niemann played against Carlsen, for example had a clear mistake of 29... Nc4. I have not seen Yosha or Milky Chess even mentioning this more. But it's a question of central importance: if Niemann has cheated to beat Carlsen, as Carlsen suggested, how did he commit that mistake?

As about cheating, it's a very serious charge. A career, a life can be destroyed by such a charge, so when someone is making such an accusation, he/she should have proof for it.

If Niemann is cheating, then something very physical needs to be performing it: a device or whatever. A very esotheric theory assumes that he is receiving messages via laser, then there is a device in the hand of his accomplice. If there is a GM telling him what to move (like in an incident involving his accuser), then that's also detectable. As a result, if he is cheating, then sooner or later he will be caught at over-the-board events. Once that happens, I will have no objection whatsoever against treating him as a cheater. But, until then I view the almost religious fervor to "catch the witch" premature and in violation of civilizational norms.
tauno tauno 10/15/2022 11:15
Someone blew the fuse. Lots of smoke. An investigation is ongoing at the head office.
AlexeyIgorevichRatchkov AlexeyIgorevichRatchkov 10/15/2022 02:36
And Mamack1, you can keep nitpick the expression I used all you want, till you're blue in the face. It still applies here. So fuck off and keep my name out of your mouth.
AlexeyIgorevichRatchkov AlexeyIgorevichRatchkov 10/15/2022 02:34
I am going to say this again. Where there is smoke, there is usually fire. There is clear precedent and motive for Hans to cheat. Just because we do not know exactly how he is doing it, does not mean he isn't cheating.
Michael Jones Michael Jones 10/15/2022 02:08
Different methods have been used to analyse Niemann's OTB games. Some have concluded that there is strong evidence that he has cheated, others that there is no evidence at all. I don't know enough about the methods in question to know which are more reliable, but if at least some are concluding that there's no evidence then that shows that the case against him is far from overwhelming. The simple challenge to anyone who alleges that he is cheating is this: prove it. You think he's been using an electronic device? Find the device. You think he doesn't need one because someone can beam a laser directly into his ear? Find the person firing the laser. Demonstrating that a particular method could enable someone to cheat is meaningless if you can't prove that Niemann has been doing it.
Jack Nayer Jack Nayer 10/15/2022 01:09
Ramirez is exactly right: the circumstantial evidence against Niemann cannot be ignored.
It is actually overwhelming.
But feel free to continue to talk nonsense: cheating is not a crime, it is not that important, there is no smoking gun, this and that.
The facts that have been presented show that Niemann is a cheater. Or else Niemann is the latest Paul Morphy.
Albert Silver Albert Silver 10/14/2022 11:18
@rkpuia - Let's Check was never designed to be used as an anti-cheat verification. It matches moves with any engine in its database that agreed with that move. But when you run Let's Check, you can also choose an additional engine of your choice from your computer. So this is never a case of 'all moves matched Engine X'. It might be matching move 2 with Stockfish, move 3 with Spike 1.2, move 4 with Ryba, and finally, an engine you run as well. I saw one video showing 'Stockfish 7 Gambit' whatever that is, meaning an engine the YouTuber had deliberately modified and used for the tests. That for me told me all I needed to know.
Tom Box Tom Box 10/14/2022 10:20
It does seem very likely ..' is simply not good enough given the seriousness of the allegation.
Science22 Science22 10/14/2022 09:51
@fgkdjlkag 2 : You are right in the sense that looking on the individuel games alone with no tools does not give a clear picture. Also talking to Niemann and analyse does not give a clear picture. Only some suspicion.

So it is the hard work collection various statistical information and checking with many programs that points to the conclusion. You have all the right to be skeptical. But my knowledge of statistics and chess tells me it is pointing towards cheat. I have been through so many different angles on the material. I cant see how it is possible for a human to play like this.

Lets see who is right. The report fra FIDE will arrive within a month.
Science22 Science22 10/14/2022 09:31
I anticipated the report from chess.com which showed that Niemann has cheated extremely much more than he has told. And was immediately assaulted here.

Now I predict that the committee FIDE has set up will come to the same conclusion regarding games played in standard chess over the board. Namely that Hans Niemann has cheated.

The conclusion will be based on statistics. Right here and now, a team of statisticians and chess programmers is working to uncover what is up and down in this case. Experts are also asked about the possibilities for communication. But it will be solid statistic that determines that the way Niemann has played is not possible for a human being. The choice of moves is so extremely unlikely as it works as DNA on a crime scene.

It is clear that Niemann does not use electronic aids. But he doesn't need that either, for example you can receive signals directly to the ear which can only be decoded by the receiver. The method is based on vibration of water molecules in the ear creating an acoustic signal via infrared radiation. See the original experiment from MIT:
https://www.ll.mit.edu/news/laser-can-deliver-messages-directly-your-ear-across-room

So please, you can disagree as much as you want with me. But at least stop the nonsense that one can not receive signal without an eletronic device. You need nothing on your body to receive a signal. Except ears.
Mamack1 Mamack1 10/14/2022 09:19
AlexeyIgorevitch


Its you who used the phrase "no smoke without fire" as if it actually meant something, not me.

Don't get tetchy if you are called out on it.
tauno tauno 10/14/2022 08:41
I think we are focusing too much on whether Hans cheated or not or whether there is evidence or not. It doesn't really matter. The main thing is that Chess.com has banned him.
rKvothe rKvothe 10/14/2022 07:56
Cheating is not a crime. It's so common in sporting events that it's treated harshly but not as a criminal offense. If it were criminal, many folks would be in jail...like Bonds, Clemens, Lance Armstrong and a ton of other cheaters. So the "beyond a reasonable doubt" threshold in criminal offense doesn't apply to cheaters. I think people would use preponderance of evidence...circumstantial evidence. But I think Fide will have a say in all this. In the meantime, it's best to let it play out.