FIDE to form investigatory panel for Carlsen-Niemann controversy

by ChessBase
9/30/2022 – After an initial statement that acknowledged the current controversy shaking the chess world, FIDE has now announced the creation of a panel by its Fair Play Commission to investigate the "the World Champion's claims of alleged cheating by Niemann and Niemann's self-statement regarding online cheating."

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Statement by FIDE:

FIDE's FPL to form investigatory panel for Carlsen-Niemann controversy

Following the recent developments in the Carlsen-Niemann controversy, FIDE's Fair Play Commission (FPL) has decided to act ex-officio and create an Investigatory Panel (IP). Three members of the Commission will form this panel, and it will also have the possibility to call for a consultation with external experts wherever analysis is required.

The focus of the investigation would be twofold: checking the World Champion's claims of alleged cheating by Niemann and Niemann's self-statement regarding online cheating.

As stated by Fair Play Chairperson Salomeja Zaksaite, the FPL is ready to examine the circumstances, compile and analyze all the data and evidence available, and ascertain the facts and allegations that have been made public. The panel will ensure a fair ruling, protecting the rights of both parties during the investigation.

"In the best interest of the chess community, we would kindly ask the public to refrain from speculations on the outcomes and potential sanctions until all available facts are well considered, and a proper investigation is finalized," added Mrs Zaksaite.


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Jacob woge Jacob woge 10/7/2022 05:36
Sorry, did not see Lajos' below. Makes mine redundant.
Jacob woge Jacob woge 10/7/2022 05:35
I have some comments regarding the recent development.

Re. "chess speaks for itself" .

No, it doesn't. The moves played out is just the tip of the iceberg, there is a massive chunk of underlying variations. These reside in the mind of the adversaries, and generally the winner is invited to give some insight into his/her train of thought. What did he see? What went thru your mind during those hours of concentration?

This is where Niemann has failed on every occasion.

If I were him, facing suspicion from a number of directions, I would seize upon every given opportunity to demonstrate my skills thru post-game interview. With the comp.eval switched off, if that is a problem. Go thru it, opening, middle game, endgame.

But no.

Niemann got burned twice in Sinquefield interviews (r3, where his main observation was Carlsen's "mannerisms" +r4, I haven't watched r2), and now evades discussing the game completely. That may be wise given the circumstances, but also telling with respect to what the circumstances actually are.

"I will not back down". Yes, he is in fact backing down. He does not take the bull by its horns, will not discuss games. There is nothing to say.

Show me another GM, or chess player for that matter, who wo'n't be more than willing, after a brilliant win.

This is the crux of the problem. It would be very easy to prove every critic wrong. Just speak your mind. And yet, he doesn't. Why not?

Hoping, but hoping in vain.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/7/2022 04:37
@mc1483 Niemann played very well, even though he made some errors during the game. His behavior, namely, the refusal to comment on the game was extremely awkward, arguably suspicious, yet, I still do not believe we have enough in order to condemn him. But I would not like to send this comment without saying that if there would be any suspicion lurking around me of some wrongdoing, like cheating, then I would be happy for any opportunity where I could display my abilities, rather than run from them, like Niemann did. If he is not a cheater (which is the null hypothesis, given the fact that not only his, but the organizers' name is also in the line), then he behaves unwisely.
arzi arzi 10/6/2022 01:46
That game (Yoo-Niemann) was quite nice. There have to been some cheating in that game. Nobody can play so beautifully, not even Niemann or Carlsen.
mc1483 mc1483 10/6/2022 11:29
Yesterday's game, in my opinion, will become one of these "90%+ accuracy" that raise suspicion when analyzed by means of the "Let's check" tool. According to my Lichess analysis (and my gut during the game), it has been an almost flawless game (Niemann's of course, not Yoo's), but from time to time Niemann has played some bizarre moves that look neither human nor engine-like. A puzzle. Yoo, I think, got angry in the end and did not want to resign; Niemann refused to comment on the game and just repeated the infamous "chess speaks for itself" (I think he's having fun after all).
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/6/2022 11:14
@mc1483 I have seen that Niemann has won with Black in the USA championship against Yoo, but did not look into the game yet.
mc1483 mc1483 10/6/2022 10:45
@lajosarpad: apology accepted. Now I think we should come back to the main issue, as yesterday's game might give us some insights. I followed it on the broadcast, and I think there's a lot to discuss.
arzi arzi 10/6/2022 07:24
I don't know how Fide can interfere with competitions that are not Fide competitions, SKAcz?

A bit like if Country A invaded Country B, then after the invasion, there would start a vote for B to join A.
SKAcz SKAcz 10/6/2022 02:55
Here is question: Will be FIDE system count in also cheating (and ratings) from online servers events (and from which) ? Shortly: can somebody be online cheater but no FIDE cheater or not? And will have to online servers implement something to be better courts and judges, like providing informations all allowing same processes to judge etc.?
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/5/2022 11:44
@mc1483 then I misunderstood your earlier comment. Please excuse me.
mc1483 mc1483 10/5/2022 05:53
@lajosarpad: "I disagree with this one. Either Niemann cheated, or not."
You cannot disagree, I said the same thing. I said that finding out if a "crime" has been committed, in this specific case, is the same as finding out the culprit. Either Niemann cheated - in which case a "crime" has been committed, and he's the culprit - or not - no crime has been committed (you yourself exclude Carlsen cheating).
MagoPINK MagoPINK 10/5/2022 05:35
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lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/5/2022 02:46
@mc1483 "in this specific case finding out that the alleged crime - some form of cheating in the Carlsen-Niemann game - has happened"

I disagree with this one. Either Niemann cheated, or not. I doubt he was cheating, given that 29... Nc4 was a serious mistake, or so it seems. I exclude the possibility of Carlsen cheating in his game against Niemann. He is very strong and he made blunder after blunder.

He did not handle his loss well and started to neglect his contractual obligations and to make an accusation while not having strong proof for doing so. It may be true that the crime did not happen at all and thus Niemann might have been accused for an offense he didn't commit. It's also possible he committed said offence, but it is up to the accuser to present his proofs and arguments in order to convince us. Given the fact that a lot of time has passed and no such proof was presented, it seems that the accusation was baseless and premature.

The many analytic work, suggesting that Niemann's play or progress is suspicious at best serve the purpose of convincing us that it's a good idea to investigate the matter and catch Niemann if he is a cheater. But I think there is already a consensus on this, I do not remember seeing a single comment that would disagree with investigating the matter.
mc1483 mc1483 10/4/2022 04:14
@lajosarpad: in this specific case finding out that the alleged crime - some form of cheating in the Carlsen-Niemann game - has happened would also mean finding out the person who committed it (unless you think someone else could force Niemann to cheat, or hypnotize him, or something like that).
I agree thar if Niemann did cheat, finding out how he did it would become of great importance. I've some ideas, but I should do many analyses myself, and for the moment I prefer to study and comment others'.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/4/2022 02:57

First we need to find out whether a crime even happened in the Carlsen-Niemann game. Because, if there was no such crime, then Carlsen lost fairly and squarly against Niemann and, in this scenario this is true even if, through subsequent analysis we find evidence of cheating by Niemann in some other games. So, my main point of interest is the Carlsen-Niemann game and, on a secondary, far-less important level I am also interested whether Niemann (or others) cheated in other games. The importance of Niemann's person in my perspective is namely due to the alleged crime he may committed during his game with Carlsen. So this is the most interesting question for me.

So, in this topic I am in agreement with Arzi.

Also, if Niemann was cheating, then the main question becomes how he could cheat while being undetected and how anti-cheating measures should evolve. So, the cheating method that Niemann may have used needs to be identified for multiple reasons.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/4/2022 02:56
@mc1483 The shifting goalposts is a well-known fallacy, from which a very common type is the arbitrary change of definitions with the intention to keep the illusion that the original debate position was not disproven. This is called the no true Scotsman fallacy. A classic example is as follows:

A: No Scot puts sugar in his porridge.
B: But my uncle, Angus is a Scot and he regularly eats his porridge with sugar.
A: No true Scotsman puts sugar in his porridge.

You present an interesting analogy to consider, with the case when we have a detective story. However, there are some important differences:

1. Detective stories usually start with finding the body of the victim of a crime, which proves that a crime was committed. Here we do not even know whether there was a crime.
2. Detectives in the stories always rely on facts and evidence and never on the gut feeling of an authority. I of course do not say that you did anything like that, but there were people who jumped to the conclusions before Peter Falk even entering the scene
arzi arzi 10/4/2022 06:30
To chess8312: nature of transpositions by Malcolm Pein in chessbase.

"Much was made of the fact that Niemann said he was prepared for the variation that appeared on the board as it is a rare one, but that’s because people tend NOT to understand the nature of transpositions most of the time - Malcolm Pein"

Malcolm Pein:

Consider these moves: 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Nf3 b6 was Le Quang Liem against Niemann from the FTX Crypto Cup just weeks before the Sinquefield Cup. Now if 5 g3 0-0 6.Bg2 d5 is a decent reply, so it’s not ridiculous for Niemann to have considered this position or 1 Nf3 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 g3 0-0 5 Bg2 d5 6 d4 dxc4 7 0-0, which was Carlsen-Adams, Turin Olympiad 2006, and is very similar. Indeed, Magnus could have transposed back to that game had he preferred 6 Nf3 against Niemann. There’s also the Catalan move order 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 d5 4 g3 Bb4+ when 5 Nc3 has been quite topical of late and now 5...0-0 6 a3 Nxc3+ 7 bxc3 dxc4 8 Bg2 has been played at GM level and leads us straight back into Carlsen-Niemann.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 10/3/2022 10:25
Jacob Woge,
I guess you also know about Short's live reports on San Luiz for chessbase?
chess8312 chess8312 10/3/2022 10:20
HUGE FINDING: Hans Niemann has 2500 Strength
Huge Findings: correlation between ACPL (Average Centipawn Loss and Player Rating) and between STDCPL (Standard Deviation for Centipawn Loss) and Player Rating.
With these findings, we identify that Hans Niemann's level is around 2500, not more than that.

To arzi, Carlsen and Niemann, ChessBase/Openings Book:
1 d4 Nf6
2 c4 e6
3 Nc3 Bb4
4 g3 0-0
5 Bg2 d5
6 a3 Bxc3+
7 bxc3 dxc4
8 Nf3 c5! Stockfish 15 +3200
9 0-0 cxd4! Stockfish 15 +3200
10 Qxd4 Nc6! Stockfish 15 +3200
11 Qxc4 e5! Stockfish 15 +3200
12 Bg5 h6!! Stockfish 15 +3200
13 Vfd1 Se6!!! Stockfish 15 +3200
Black openings 100%, black -0,40 engine :-/
Petrosianic Petrosianic 10/3/2022 03:54
At the moment, the only person we know for sure has broken the rules is Carlsen. His throwing of the game at the Baer Cub was illegal, as was his public accusation. Topalov was severely reprimanded for the same thing. The thrown game affected the outcome of the tournament and got Niemann into the Knockout Round ahead of Giri, and the anti-cheating regs explicitly refer to result manipulation as cheating.

If Niemann should turn out to be guilty, that would not get Carlsen off the hook. We can't have a top player who steps outside the rules whenever it suits him. Disinterested anti-cheating teams make the call as to whether someone cheated, not the players involved or the court of public opinion. The fact that Carlsen complained to us rather than to the tournament committees says a lot about how much confidence he has in his case.
arzi arzi 10/3/2022 01:59
lajosarpad:" Even though there are some differences, as Talhaunted did not engage into personal attacks so far as far as I know..."

Maybe the side character is evolving?

To mc1483: as lajosarpad told you, Niemann might be or might be not a cheater. We don´t know how big and how long he has done it, if has done. Did he end cheating already few years ago? No one knows that yet. There are two different cases. First one is a Sinquafield Cup. That case needs to be solved first. After that the second case have to be solved, if Niemann has cheated after 2019. They are independent cases. The result of one does not affect the other, unless...

If the cheating happened a couple of years ago, but not in the Carlsen-Niemann game, then these two different cases do not affect each other. If, on the other hand, the cheating happened in the Carlsen-Niemann game, then Niemann must be punished, taking into account the cheating done years ago. At the same time, it is necessary to find out how the cheating happened and add related countermeasures to future tournaments.
mc1483 mc1483 10/3/2022 01:48
@lajosarpad: we are close to a classical detective story situation, with the smart detective finding the murderer by means of deductions and quick reasoning. But deductions and reasoning are not proof, as the murderer always points out; that's why, in the end, the writer lets them lose their temper and confess.
BTW and off topic: you did not mention what I call the "adaptive fallacies", that I deem the worst of all, and work like this:
"I think Carlsen behaved badly, there's no proof Niemann cheated"
"I agree, I also think there is not enough evidence for that"
"You're wrong, there is a lot of evidence"
"But there's no proof, evidence is not enough"
"You're a moron, he obviously cheated"
"You said the contrary"
"As you're a moron, you don't understand what I said"
and so on...
tauno tauno 10/3/2022 01:21
@lajosarpad. Thanks for your clarification, but my intention was only to point out the proper course of action if the accusation are not backed by conclusive proof. There seem to be many top players who are not aware of this, which is very unfortunate.
Jacob woge Jacob woge 10/3/2022 12:55
“- Mr Short acted correctly. This is the way to deal with suspected cheating.”

In my opinion, this allegation spawned two further incidents down the line, namely the so-called Toiletgate (the logic being, if I am falsely accused, I have the right myself to falsely accuse) and the Short-Cheparinov Handshake controversy.

What fun that was.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/3/2022 12:46

Science22 engaged into further fallacies, such as ad hominem attacks against everyone disagreeing with him/her, including you, myself and Shivasundar, straw man fallacies (misrepresenting what the debate opponent said and then attacking te fabricated misrepresentation), cherry picking (I have to give kudos to Shivasundar for detecting that, while, even it is quite obviously there, among the other fallacies I did not observe it in Science22's discourse), Texas Sharpshooter fallacy and I'm sure that if I reread his/her comments focusing only on fallacious arguments, I would detect more, so this is most probably not a full list.

So, two people are calling themselves "scientists", but behave in a very unscientific way. Kudos to you for pointing this out.

@mc1483 I agree with you. It is quite possible that Niemann has cheated, but we need proof in order to condemn him, even though we have seen arguments for the validity of the suspicion.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/3/2022 12:45
@Tauno to clarify, I do not say that Short behaved well or wrongly. The point of my argument is that Topalov and Kramnik were similarly accused in the past and they were not found guilty, as the accusation was not backed by conclusive proof.

@Arzi I think that the similarity in pattern between the comments of Talhaunted and Science22 is astonishing. Even though there are some differences, as Talhaunted did not engage into personal attacks so far as far as I know, both are quick in elevating themselves above the other commenters (or attempting to do so), claiming that they are scientists repeatedly and then use fallacies to make us accept the points they want to make.

An implicit fallacy they both use is appeal to authority, as they ensure to the best of their abilities that we consider them authorities, so we will unquestioningly accept whatever they say. This is not the behavior I would expect from a scientist, because scientists are usually more humble, but we cannot exclude arrogance from a scientist. Yet, their conclusion is also not very scientific, as Talhaunted shifts the burden of proof, while Science22 is 100% sure based on some statistical study he/she did not have a chance to look into yet (the experiment Matthias Ruf conducted). Scientists usually have an epistemological attitude of skepticism, they usually have doubts even in the most well-founded-tenets and, since the enlightening, when the Pope and the Church lost their direct influence over scientific projects, scientists do not appeal to authorities and they often question their own conclusions, revalidating it.
mc1483 mc1483 10/3/2022 10:51
@chess8312: there is by now a lot of statistical evidence showing that HN is indeed a cheater, albeit a very smart one. Problem is, there is no proof, and it's likely there will never be (unless someone will confess). Even if his level of play will drop in the future, he will always claim he's become depressed and not capable of focusing on the game because of all the false allegations...
In the while science22, the so-called "scientist", has disappeared. :-)
arzi arzi 10/3/2022 09:10
To AidanMonaghan, what if the human player is in the strentgh same as an boosted 2700 engine? Does he/she need then help of the engine?

To chess8132, is that strong evidence from the game between Carlsen and Niemann?
chess8312 chess8312 10/3/2022 08:42
"TOP URGENT! Strong EVIDENCE of CHEATING has been found on NIEMANN's Controversy"
"Please share this video! FIDE must know about this evidence! Thank you!"
AidanMonaghan AidanMonaghan 10/3/2022 07:46

In the event any potential cheater with an engine boosted 2700 Elo (and with much weaker real strength), avoiding play when a cheating method is prevented, to avoid being further exposed by being dominated, seems plausible.
arzi arzi 10/3/2022 06:29
lajosarpad, do you think there is something similar with Talhaunted and Science22 each other? :) Why many writing scientists and professors want to tell you that they are scientists or professors? Because everything they say must therefore be considered the only truth, ...I'm a professor, I'm a scientist.
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 10/3/2022 04:01
@Marozka, computers can determine the probability of a human playing a move vs. a computer. Eg, in the famous AlphaGo match, the human played 1 move that the computer estimated a 1 in 10,000 chance that a human would play.
Ellery Bann Ellery Bann 10/3/2022 02:03
My first love is tainted… my second love as well LOL!
tauno tauno 10/2/2022 03:40
“Nigel Short, the former world title challenger, has called for an International Chess Federation inquiry into cheating allegations against the world No1-ranked grandmaster, Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria.”

- Mr Short acted correctly. This is the way to deal with suspected cheating.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/2/2022 02:42

Anecdotal Disproof

Topalov is a top player. He "felt" Kramnik was cheating against him in 2006. Yet, Kramnik won that match. However, Nigel Short is also a top player and he also "felt" Topalov was cheating in 2005. So, if we can always trust the judgement of top players, then both Topalov (who was an accused in 2005 and an accuser in 2006) and Kramnik (accused in 2006) were cheating. But that's quite a ridiculous position, no wonder that those who were hurrying to condemn Topalov/Kramnik back in the day lost the debate, as the lack of conclusive evidence prevailed as an argument.

Disproof with a work hypothesis

Let's assume that one of the top players loses a game against Carlsen and accuses Carlsen of cheating. Let's suppose further that such an accusation against Carlsen is baseless, even false. Since the accuser is a top player, if we accepted your principle, then by the mere accusation by a top player, Carlsen should be condemned. Since the principle you suggested could easily lead to such a scenario, where a bogus claim destroys an innocent world champion, your principle is wrong.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/2/2022 02:42
@Talhaunted your comment can be summarized by saying that top players are some special breeds, whose judgement we should trust unquestioningly, as they are able to determine whether the moves they meet are played by a player or not.

I will first disprove this using a more general and scientific approach, then I disprove this with anecdotal means as well, finally I disprove it using a work hypothesis.

General Disproof

Your argument is a fallacy, called appeal to authority. This is a well-known fallacy, because, instead of critical thinking, delegates the thinking part to some entity and accepts the verdict, whatever it is. The reasons why this is a fallacy include the following:

- it is always unwise to unquestioningly accept something, it is good to always be skeptical, always question even the facts we accepted to be true, always re-validate the axioms and prior knowledge, rather than religiously believe an authority
- the authority might be wrong. How do I determine whether the authority is wrong, if I accept anything he says?
- the euthority might be deceitful. How do I know that the authority does not have some interest in deceiving me? (Carlsen was losing against Niemann and while I do not claim he wants to deceive us about it, it is certainly a possibility)

Instead of appealing to authority, we need to appeal on objective, unbiased and fair analysis/experiments in order to determine something.

As about an accusation, we do have the imperative of assuming innocense until we see the proof of guilt, because this is the precise measure that prevents us from entering collectively a totalitarian hellhole. It is a far worse mistake to condemn an innocent individual than to not catch a criminal, because, if we condemn the individual, then the institutes we use engage in criminal activity of unjustly punishing the innocent.
tauno tauno 10/2/2022 01:16
@AidanMonaghan. Dropping such an important tournament without a valid reason would be completely unacceptable and tarnish the reputation of chess as a gentleman's game. I can't even imagine any serious player doing something so disrespectful to our sport.
Marozka Marozka 10/2/2022 11:12
Computers sometimes play moves that are qualitatively very different from those of humans. If even a handful of such ‘inhuman’ moves are found in a player’s games, it can be strong indication of cheating. Quantitative/statistical analysis might not be enough. Qualitative analysis might be needed as well.
fixpont fixpont 10/2/2022 04:10
@AidanMonaghan: zero, he is a pretty good advertisement of the tournament and without any evidence (on the contrary the main arbiter said there was no cheating during the Sinquefield cup) there is no legal basis of banning him
AidanMonaghan AidanMonaghan 10/2/2022 12:59
Attn. St. Louis:

Add 15 minute delay to move broadcast-publication during upcoming U.S. Championship.