Breaking News: Hans Niemann is suing!

by ChessBase
10/20/2022 – The news broke out minutes ago. Hans Niemann posted on his Twitter the official complaint against Magnus Carlsen, the Play Magnus Group, Chess.com, Daniel Rensch, and Hikaru Nakamura. The complaint states that he is seeking "damages in an amount to be determined at trial, but no less than One Hundred Million Dollars ($100,000,000)". The text of the complaint does not mince words.

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It was a step many speculated might happen. Hans Niemann has filed a complaint in the United States District Court, in the Eastern District of Missouri. The complaint cites  Magnus Carlsen, the Play Magnus Group, Chess.com, LLC Daniel Rensch, and Hikaru Nakamura, seeking damages of no less than one hundred million dollars, with a jury trial demanded.

The full 44-page complaint can be read here.

Quoting very lightly the complaint, the text does not mince words:

Carlsen, having solidified his position as the “King of Chess,” believes that when it comes to chess, he can do whatever he wants and get away with it.

(...)

8. Notorious for his inability to cope with defeat, Carlsen snapped.  Enraged that the young Niemann, fully 12 years his junior, dared to disrespect the “King of Chess,” and fearful that the young prodigy would further blemish his multi-million dollar brand by beating him again, Carlsen viciously and maliciously retaliated against Niemann by falsely accusing Niemann, without any evidence, of somehow cheating during their in-person game and demanding that the organizers of the Sinquefield Cup immediately disqualify Niemann from the tournament.   

9. When tournament officials refused to comply with Carlsen’s corrupt and cowardly demand to baselessly eliminate Niemann from competition, Carlsen lashed out again, this time by boycotting the remainder of the Sinquefield Cup in protest—an unprecedented act for a top chess professional, let alone the reigning World Champion.

Hans Niemann is represented by Oved & Oved and Gartner Firm.

Needless to say, the Twitterverse is already exploding. USA Today Sports reporter Tom Shad already commented:

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tauno tauno 10/27/2022 11:21
@lajosarpad - Motives, attitudes, intentions and beliefs are not measurable facts, but they can nevertheless have far-reaching negative consequences that cannot be interpreted as mere coincidences, bad luck or accidents. That is a fact.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/27/2022 07:52
I have started reading the lawsuit and I think it's strange at some parts. For instance, why would a lawsuit contain a very subjective and unproven remark according to which Carlsen believes he can get away with anything? I think it would be better if the lawsuit would focus on the verifiable facts and not on theories by Niemann and his lawyers. After all, the whole think was created because of the unfortunate conspiracy theories Carlsen was fomenting...
tauno tauno 10/27/2022 04:55
Sevian's time was running out, he had worse position, he saw that black only had one winning move in this critical position - the king move - so he got that brilliant idea to pick up Niemann's king when it was black to move, tear it up in parts and act aggressively to throw Hans off balance. Well, if anyone knows how to throw people off balance, it must be Hans, so he became just a little surprised and smiled at this ridiculous attempt. After a short while this strange episode was over, Hans calmly moved his black king and after a few minutes the game was over. Poor Sevian, this was his only loss in the tournament.
Aighearach Aighearach 10/27/2022 04:51
@Pemoe6

In US lawsuits, you accuse the other party of everything you think they might have done. To defend the lawsuit, they have to answer each of the accusations with a claim that it is or isn't true. If Carlsen says it isn't true, then they will do "discovery" where they exchange information about the matter. Also the tournament staff would be interviewed as witnesses. If it turns out it didn't happen, Niemann can simply remove that accusation from the case.

Circumstantially, based on the behavior and statements of the tournament staff at the time, I suspect that part is true. In any case, it is reasonable that Niemann believes it to be true, so completely normal to be stated as a fact in the filing. We will likely find out if it is true when Carlsen's lawyers file their response, but it isn't really something he can lie about, since there would be neutral witnesses who have a professional interest in remaining unbiased and honest.
Aighearach Aighearach 10/27/2022 04:37
@eastyz

The conduct happened in the United States, so arguments about, "I'm a furriner, you can't judge me" are specious.
Pemoe6 Pemoe6 10/26/2022 06:55
Meanwhile I watched the video clip, and to me it looks like the king is completely intact. Sevian takes it in his hand, plays with it and breaks the crown on purpose. When Niemann finally (somewhat stunned) complains, there is a back and forth, as if Sevian seriously wants to keep the piece and then he doesn't quietly put it back in its place, but slams it right in front of Niemann on the board freely according to the motto "There's your dirt".
What is this?
Pemoe6 Pemoe6 10/25/2022 11:32
@tauno: OK, thank you for clarification. (I didn' refer to your previous comment.)
So paragraph 9 is still unclear, but of overwhelming importance: if Carlsen really did it, he stands badly, that's clear. If not, then Niemann has told his own lawyers a fairy tale, and that would be really funny.
tauno tauno 10/25/2022 11:12
@Pemeo6. OK, let's try to clarify this.

“9) When tournament officials refused to comply with Carlsen’s corrupt and cowardly demand”

I got it. Obviously I misunderstood your question (I am not a native English speaker either).

Niemann claims, that Carlsen demanded to eliminate (ban) him, but the official could not do it because there was no evidence, right?

Now, I don't know what was said between Carlsen and the tournament officials at the Sinquifeld, as neither has commented it publicly. And if Carlsen really asked the officials to suspend Niemann, I have no idea how Niemann got that information. Of course, it's possible that Carlsen told the officials just "Hey, I think Nieman cheated, bye bye!" and it is also possible that the officials even asked Niemann if he had cheated, but I believe that so far no information has been leaked and therefore it is impossible for us outsiders to know. It is quite possible that we will have to wait until the trial is over before we can know for sure how Hans got that information - or if he just made it up himself.

P.S. 12-14) Now, Niemann has already been banned from the coming Tata Steel tournament, due to Carlsen's behavior and public allegations (at and after the Sinquefield Cup). That was what I was referring to in my previous comment.
Pemoe6 Pemoe6 10/25/2022 07:57
@tauno: Some lines above you can read:

"9) When tournament officials refused to comply with Carlsen’s corrupt and cowardly demand to baselessly eliminate Niemann from competition, Carlsen lashed out again, this time by boycotting the remainder of the Sinquefield Cup in protest"

I am not a native English speaker, but even the Deepl translator provides me with exactly what I wrote earlier for this. Maybe I still misunderstand things ...
tauno tauno 10/25/2022 06:32
@Pemoe6. I'm sorry, I thought your comment was a reply to my previous comment a bit earlier. My bad.

But seriously, it seems you're using the word "demand" incorrectly. Niemann has not claimed that Carlsen has *demanded* that he would be excluded from the tournament. Carlsen must, of course, have been aware of what the consequences of his public and baseless accusations would lead to (he is not stupid), and now we can all see what they led to. I think everyone should understand it even without any written or spoken evidence. This is the background to paragraphs 12-14 in Hans' suing (which I think you meant if I don't misunderstand you again). - Or do you really think the organizer had banned Hans if Carlsen had not publicly accused Hans of cheating him?
Pemoe6 Pemoe6 10/25/2022 05:10
@tauno: My question was actually meant seriously, but that seems to be pointless here by now.
I just wanted to know if there was any official statement from the organizers (document, interview, etc.) to support Niemann's claim that Carlsen demanded that Niemann would be excluded from the tournament, as stated in one of the complaints. If there is absolutely nothing official about this, how can Niemann know for sure?
tauno tauno 10/25/2022 01:16
@Pemoe6. It's not even a rumor. I made it up all by myself. I am the source.
tauno tauno 10/25/2022 01:00
@eastyz. I agree. The same type of gestures can sometimes be seen in a pub when a drunk asks another to come out for a fight.
Pemoe6 Pemoe6 10/25/2022 12:03
For the life of me, I can't imagine that the organizers offered to remove Niemann just like that to keep Carlsen.... and certainly not that Carlsen could have demanded such a thing. Considering that these are all public figures and also hard-core businessmen who most likely don't want to ruin their reputations for fun, that would be possible at most in case of temporary mental derangement, and I rule that out.
But if Niemann simply made it up and told it to his lawyers to make it sound better, it will be a boomerang.
Therefore my question: Does anyone here have a source that proves this or at least a rumor about it - I myself hear about it here for the first time.
arzi arzi 10/25/2022 07:20
Some players have both dream opponents and more difficult ones to play, with Carlsen they seem to be Nakamura and Niemann? Maybe in the future tournaments they want to have both playing at the same time and place? Maybe extra money is paid for that pleasure?
eastyz eastyz 10/24/2022 11:02
@tauno, there was aggressive intent in the eyes of Sevian for all to see. There was nothing friendly about his posture. You are very kind to him. Imagine somebody doing that to Magnus.
tauno tauno 10/24/2022 10:46
@arzi: “What about after court decision? The organizers are free to ban GM Magnus Carlsen from any tournament where GM Hans Niemann participates, with the strong permission of FIDE.”

Very likely. But since the tournaments where Magnus participates always bring extra money to the organizers, they probably don't want to ban him. And if Hans sometime in the future - which is very likely - would be allowed to play in same tournaments where Magnus also plays, I think Magnus would never again dare to refuse to play against him. So it's probably only a matter of time before Hans beats Magnus again.
tauno tauno 10/24/2022 07:11
@fgkdjlkag: “He was very tense and calculating in a difficult position and was low on time.”

That's exactly how it was. Therefore Sevian took the king away on Hans' time. Despite the strange incident and the arbiters poor way to handle it, Hans was still able to concentrate and find the only winning move and win the game. And how he handled the situation both during the game and at the post-game interview shows what a gentleman he is. Hats off!
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 10/24/2022 06:33
I do not think there was any disrespectful intent by Sevian. He was very tense and calculating in a difficult position and was low on time. It was severely bothering him that the crown on the King was bent/loose. He was having trouble concentrating because of it. They are not his opponents pieces, they belong to the club. He lost some awareness of the moment. He even suggested that the crown be glued back on in the moment. It was confirmed by Niemann and the arbiter, and after that round the crosses on all kings in all sets were glued on more strongly.
tauno tauno 10/24/2022 05:26
@with_cheats_you_lose

Most people here already know that Hans has cheated at least 100 times on two different occasions: one was during a period when he was 12 and the other was during a period when he was around 16. I can't judge how serious it is when children or minors cheat online, nor when adults lies about the rule vialations they committed when they were minors. Maybe they are very serious crimes, I don't know. It is probably up to FIDE or some court to decide, but the most important thing is to give a fair and proportionate punishment, right?

In the same way, I cannot judge the severity of the crimes that Hans claims have been committed by Carlsen, Rensch and Nakamura. It may well turn out that their defenders can proof that they are innocent and haven't committed any crimes at all! But again, that's for a court to judge - how absolutely insane it may sound.
Jacob woge Jacob woge 10/24/2022 05:02
@mc

Well, I do, due to the simul-like appearance. Carlsen is the first I noticed doing this, Giri followed suit I think. Carlsen does it a lot. Putting physical pressure. Not kosher.

Sevian’s action was from another planet - don’t try this at home! Niemann incredulous - what, am I fair game now?! I cannot even begin to describe the undertones, and guess the lawsuit in preparation is the reason this was swept under the carpet. Hands full already.

But I don’t see Sevian’s as an attempt to change the outcome, i.e. not in the category of aforesaid shenanigans. The disrespect was the entire point.

Perhaps he thought, the way this guy is playing, nothing will change the outcome anyway. Why not muck about? I don’t see this happening with any other opponent than Niemann.

If anyone has come across comments from Sevian himself on this, could you please let me know? ... At least now we know why top GMs spend so much time in the gym.
mc1483 mc1483 10/24/2022 04:20
@jacob: while I, too, saw Carlsen act in such a way (and he won the game, his opponent was Nakamura), I don't think it to be disrespectful. Some people behave like Rubinstein, some people do not. Soviet players were well trained, and while some of them could indeed be surreptitiously disturbing the opponents (moving, smoking a lot and so on) almost all could not be disturbed by anything (Botvinnik was especially skilled in that).
Disrespectful - for real - is something like Sevian's behaviour.
Jacob woge Jacob woge 10/24/2022 03:54
“So, he is able to use body language and facial expressions that manage to psych out his opponents! Good for him. Kasparov was a master at doing that, and people credited him for it.”

This I would refer to as shenanigans. Trying to win by means other than your moves. It belongs on the hustler scene, and does not add to the reputation of any chess player. Including Kasparov.

You should not in any way disturb or distract your opponent during the game.

A famous master, Akiba Rubinstein, took this to the extreme. He would leave the board when not in the move, go stand in a corner, so as not to disturb. “I play against the pieces” was that him? .. Less than that will do the trick.

Carlsen himself has a bad habit in this respect, I have noticed. I was sincerely surprised the first time I saw this: not in the move, he gets up from the board - but stays at it, as a spectator. Behind his own chair, or behind his opponent. As if motioning on, oh do get on with it - or as if playing a simul, master vs. amateur. Which is disrespectful. In first position, that is. I don’t know how any of you would feel, having your opponent in second position, on your back.

In poker and bridge alike, you may pick up “tells” from your opponent(s). In bridge, giving out false tells is considered not shenanigans, but outright cheating. Not allowed, period. In chess, not equally serious (and much harder to document) but I would consider a win obtained by such means tainted. Not something to be proud about.
Jacob woge Jacob woge 10/24/2022 03:25
“So it all comes down to whether Carlsen is correct. ”

Not quite. American Defamation Law explained:

https://legaldictionary.net/defamation/#:~:text=American%20defamation%20law%20only%20allows%20a%20victim%20one,more%20lenient%20than%20others.%20Defamation%20in%20International%20Law

(...)
Required elements of a defamation lawsuit include:

- A defamatory statement was made.
- The statement made was published in some fashion, meaning it was told to others either verbally or in writing.
- The statement was not true, and the person who published the statement knew that it was not true.
- The statement caused the victim harm or injury, emotionally or financially.
- The statement did not fall under the privileged category
(...)

3rd point in its entirety of particular interest.

This would mean, a statement does not have to be true, if the court rules that the defendant had ample reason to believe it was true. Where exactly to draw the line is where big money is made in US legal business.

Cohen’s dissection of the lawsuit (thanks to Scince22 for the link) discusses this. And comments that the attourneys selected by Niemann seem to “shoot all over Creation” (my interpretation).

—————-
Cohen, by the way shares surname by a celebrity. Chess celebrity, world champion material in his prime - so, not the composer, the assassin, or the journalist ...
with_cheats_you_lose with_cheats_you_lose 10/24/2022 02:07
@tauno, however you try to spin the narrative, you cannot hide the facts that Hans Niemann has cheated not once, not twice, but more than a hundred chess games, at least, winning some prize money because of it. Even though he has admitted having cheated before, he lied about the extension and severity of it. Now surprisingly enough, he creates a lawsuit to those that questioned his recent play, because his chess career is in shambles.

About Borislav Ivanov, before the shoe incident with Maxim Dlugy, who just happens to be another notorious cheat, Borislav Ivanov was being openly accused of cheating and was boycotted by some chess players and out of tournaments. I do not recall you cheat apologists talking about a "witch hunt" or using "innocent until proven guilty" catchphrases, because poor innocent Borislav Ivanov was outed from chess.

Sadly, none of you seem to realize how absolutely insane you sound while defending the admitted cheater and proven liar.
eastyz eastyz 10/24/2022 12:07
Hans should do a Boris Johnson and work on earning $5m a year doing lecture tours. I am sure there is also a book in him. How about "The Art of the Steal"?
eastyz eastyz 10/24/2022 12:03
Actually, I can't see why Magnus can't simply say that a court in Missouri has no jurisdiction over Magnus, a Norwegian citizen.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/24/2022 11:55
@Jacob Woge

"a) why only Niemann, and b) can you enforce backwards in time, leading to a player being ostracized today. "

a) can be easily solved, as it would mean that the entities having such information will be compelled to publish it
b) is unsolvable, as enforcing a new rule in hindsight is something any civilized entity should avoid

I think Niemann's OTB cheating has not proven yet, even though some people are suspicious. I have my doze of suspicion as well, because Niemann did not use his opportunity to show his class in analyzing a game at the USA championship. But, he may be just an erratic person as well, so I would not accuse him on those grounds.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/24/2022 11:53
@eastyz "There was a time when people were sent to the gallows on suspicion. Hopefully those days are past us and we honour the principle of innocent until proven guilty."
"Cheating is dishonest. Falsely accusing somebody of cheating is equally dishonest."

Exactly.

@Science22

"[...] This is the first thing I tell my students in statistics.." :)

@dumkoff

"Hans will get kicked out of the court and probably sued by the judge himself, for taking the precious time of the court."

Actually Carlsen's accusation caused quite a lot of damage to Niemann. So, if Carlsen is wrong, then he unjustly attempts to block Niemann's career via slander. If Carlsen is correct, then Niemann has committed the offense he attributes to him. So it all comes down to whether Carlsen is correct. The fact that Niemann has cheated before does not automatically prove he has cheated against Carlsen.

"Carlsen, with his intuition and highest chess understanding, would surely evaluate much better than anyone else"

Maybe facts are more reliable than any authority. Just... Maybe.
eastyz eastyz 10/24/2022 11:52
If Hans is cheating OTB without being caught, he is a wasted talent. I am sure that he would be worth more money elsewhere.
Science22 Science22 10/24/2022 11:51
Aighearach : The conclusion that a player always lose rating in tournaments that is lower rated than himself is of course absurd. Niemann lose rating in 10 not live transmitted tournaments in a row and his opponent is in average rated at his own level. That is quite anomal. Go check for yourself, I have used enough time on your hate.

In live transmitted tournaments ( 9) he opposite gain rating in all with performance rating up to 2893 ( 7/7)

Actually a higher rated person usually win more against the lowest rated as also is the case in US open for Niemann.

Of course you have to insult me personally on my work after you great analysis, which is that Carlsen got distracted by Niemanns hair. So end of discussion with you agressive hate . You just demonstrated that you are a troll and not a serious person.
arzi arzi 10/24/2022 11:44
Tauno:"The organizers are free to ban GM Hans Niemann from any tournament where GM Magnus Carlsen participates, with the tacit permission of FIDE."

What about after court decision? The organizers are free to ban GM Magnus Carlsen from any tournament where GM Hans Niemann participates, with the strong permission of FIDE.
tauno tauno 10/24/2022 11:34
An Important Message
The organizers are free to ban GM Hans Niemann from any tournament where GM Magnus Carlsen participates, with the tacit permission of FIDE.
Jacob woge Jacob woge 10/24/2022 11:01
“@Jacob Woge "There’s staring and there’s looking. (...)"

One can form a personal opinion that way. But, in the context of cheating allegations, facts, evidences and proofs are the elements that are relevant. Maybe we agree upon that.”

Definitely. What one believes, watching closely as a chess player, be it as a spectator or as an opponent, and what holds up in court are two different matters.

What matters in court is:

- will periods of on-line cheating count as incriminating in OtB chess? There are obviously forces who want it to be so, including the current WC. But if that should happen, then a) why only Niemann, and b) can you enforce backwards in time, leading to a player being ostracized today.

If not,

- is OtB cheating really documented? And if so, is it solely by the moves played, or do you need to bring in other factors, as time spent on specific moves and/or behaviour during games. This is less tangible information, perhaps not to chess players, but to a non-chess playing jury.

As for the 2019-20 period I have seen two OtB statistics, which cannot both be right. The first, incrimination one is, by own admission, put together in a jiffy. The second, not incriminating, is more thorough when it comes to the tournament tables and opponents but misses some events, it seems to me. None report in a thorough manner where the BC vs. non-BC information stems from, and a possible BC delay is not discussed.

- is there any method(s) of OtB cheating that would be accepted as probable. At present, the most viable I have seen is, I have to say, the “Q” theory (the name is Bond). Accomplice outside but nearby broadcasting game intel, that may be picked up by a carefully designed, non-electronic antenna. Crucial to this breaking tech method, is BC without delay. I do not see a jury accepting this out of the blue - but neither have I seen an alternative theory regarding present day cheating. 2-3 years ago, could be something different, simpler.
Frederic Frederic 10/24/2022 10:44
Frederic Just now
@mc1483, @saturn23 "...no matter how many comments you delete, certain users will go on attacking others" -- I'm not deleting, others are, in a desperate attempt to keep the feedback working. I'm trying (unsuccessfully) to go into retirement, write my books, one using our new ChessBase book CMS. You know, positive stuff.

Incidentally, I have spoken with almost a dozen friends, top GMs, and they have all expressed their very passionate opinions on the subject to me. My advice: please do not say anything like that in public. Even if it is carefully worded, you must take care that you will be able to work on getting to the very top of the chess world, and not spend a good bit of your time and your nerves giving depositions, talking to lawyers, defending your remarks.
Jacob woge Jacob woge 10/24/2022 10:23
“I'm not a world-reknowned statistician, but it took me less than a second to realize that tournaments with live broadcasts have a higher average rating, and tournaments without live broadcasts are lower rated open tournaments where a GM is unlikely to gain rating points. ”

XGM Rausis’ m.o. was exactly that. Pick tournaments with not too strong opposition, gain some rating points in every one of them.

Which is probably why he could go on for so long. There was no beating very strong opponents. Weaker opponents raise no red flags themselves they expect to have to fight for the draw.
tauno tauno 10/24/2022 10:04
Science22: “OTB wih live transmission ELO performance 2610 ( + 131)
OTB no live transmission ELO performance 2404 ( -112)

Ken Regan has not differentiated between these two types of tournaments and it is a significant mistake when the question is whether Niemann is cheating with outside help. Of course he can't do that if the games isn't broadcast.”

Of course he can't! Thanks for the excellent explanation. When the live transmission in Saint Louis was delayed by 30 minutes, Hans’ ELO performance suddenly jumped to 2699. Now we all have to understand the secret. Hans is busted!
Aighearach Aighearach 10/24/2022 07:08
Ken Reagan is a world-reknowned statistician. "Atlanta Kings" is not.

I'm not a world-reknowned statistician, but it took me less than a second to realize that tournaments with live broadcasts have a higher average rating, and tournaments without live broadcasts are lower rated open tournaments where a GM is unlikely to gain rating points.

This illustrates the nonsense; you're not experts at statistics, why pretend you are?

As for the time taken per move, that's just more nonsense; top GMs are not looking 1 move into the future. An important "only win" move would be seen and decided on a couple moves in advance. Another player who likes to make those particular moves really fast, often even "screwing" the piece into the square with emphasis, is Kasparov!

This line of attack is just irrational nonsense. It is not against the rules to make critical moves quickly to get a psychological edge. When a player does this successfully, often their opponent is deeply affected. It can mean that the *next* time they play, an advantage persists.

dumkof: A judge who did that would be ending their own career, and the case would be returned to be litigated by another judge. Legal cases are determined by the law, not by personal feelings of ugga-wugga. You might be advised that 100 GMs have been caught cheating by chess.com, including top 100 players. None of those people's profession reputations were destroyed. So it is not only a silly attack, it is demonstrably false. That's what the judge would look at; what happened to other people in the same situation. If cheating is "theft," it depends what was at stake in the game. False accusations designed to remove competition are also theft. The stakes matter.
arzi arzi 10/24/2022 07:03
tauno:"...there were no ardent Hans fans yet. Maybe an occasional Borislav fan, but no Hans fans."
lajosarpad:"I do not see Hans fans here..."

To lajosarpad, tauno, and others, actually before this Niemann -business. I was a Magnus -fan. I followed his games and life in chess with a great interest. I was very disappointed by his vague ramblings. Such a smart guy acts so stupidly. In a Finnish song (by Lapinlahden linnut), it is sung like this: "There are two ways to make coffee, right and wrong." In the Carlsen-Niemann case, there were two ways to handle things, right and wrong. Guess which way Magnus chose?
arzi arzi 10/24/2022 06:30
I do understand that in a game of chess you need your intuition to play great chess. Carlsen has lot of intuition when playing chess but his intuition failed him in a real life, in this Niemann case, badly.

It's great that a court or a judge can't work on intuition, they have to mainly follow the evidence. Evidence of cheating or lack of cheating are the most important things when decisions are made in court. You also have to remember that this fight in court is NOT happening because Niemann has admitted the previous cheatings, but because of Carlsen's vague speeches, a certain company made a strange public decision that affected Niemann's current livelihood. Carlsen's vague mumblings apparently affected Niemann's other professional activities as well. These things are discussed in court, not Carlsen's brilliant intuition. It doesn´t matter if one of the players has Elo over 2850. The court is blind for that kind of information, irrelevant information.

To mc1483, tauno, lajosarpad, saturn23 and many other reasonable writers. What are you expecting from with_cheats_you_lose, whose previous name was with_jews_you_lose? Intelligent conversation or racist bullshit? A certain "scientist" is a great supporter of this racist hatewriter.