Maxim Dlugy talks to Der Spiegel

by ChessBase
10/13/2022 – After Maxim Dlugy's recent statement on the actions that brought him into the spotlight, suggesting a connection with the accusations Magnus Carlsen had initially made against Hans Niemann. In an interview with DER SPIEGEL, Europe's most influential news magazine and portal, Max speaks of those accusations for the first time and discusses whether he will take legal action.

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Ever since Magnus Carlsen first suggested GM Dlugy was somehow linked to the cheating accusations he had already made against Hans Niemann, the American grandmaster had refused to speak to the media on the subject. Then he released the statement a few days ago and finally has broken the silence with a lengthy interview with Der Spiegel

Link to full interview in English

On the Chess.com incidents

DER SPIEGEL: Mr. Dlugy, let's start with the day it all began for you. On September 21, Magnus Carlsen mentioned your name in an interview concerning allegations of cheating against Hans Niemann. He said that you had done a good job mentoring Niemann. A backhanded compliment.

Dlugy: I was sitting in the car when a friend sent it to me. I read it and thought: that's good. Then he called me and said, "What do you mean that's good?" I said, "Well, he just congratulated me on being a good mentor, why isn't that good?" He replied, "What? Your name is being slandered and destroyed on Twitter." He explained to me that Magnus was claiming that there were parallels between Hans and his mentor, that the latter was helping him cheat. It was just crazy. When I got home, I looked at it and thought: Oh my God, these guys are just crazy. I have nothing to do with this.

DER SPIEGEL: Before we get into that, let’s address the allegations, which came out shortly after Carlsen's comments, that you had cheated on chess.com in 2017 and 2020. Your account was suspended, though Chess.com didn't announce the suspension at the time. Now, though, your confidential email traffic from the time has been leaked to Vice.

Dlugy: I was playing an online tournament on my account in 2017. As I was playing, I was explaining to my students gathered around me how I decide what moves to make. I wanted them to see how a grandmaster evaluates, and they were able to suggest moves to me. My students are much weaker players, so it wouldn't help me improve. But we discussed their ideas. Five months after I was suspended, I found out why I had been suspended. A student had been analyzing my game with an artificial intelligence program on his laptop or smartphone and suggesting the computer moves to me without me knowing where the suggestions had come from. They were, of course, good moves, so I often chose them. After the suspension, I had to deal with being called a cheater. That hurt me emotionally. I immediately contacted chess.com when I found out what had happened. They said OK, but this is still in violation of our fair play guidelines.

DER SPIEGEL: Later, you were given a second chance and were able to play on the platform again. But in 2020, you were once again because chess.com accused you of cheating in the Titled Tuesday, a tournament with prize money.

Dlugy: While I was playing the last round of the tournament, I was banned. They told me I had 72 hours to confess. But I thought to myself: What kind of cheating? Look at the games, where am I supposed to have cheated? There is not even a reason for me to cheat in Titled Tuesday to win $500 or something. I charge more money for private chess lessons. But if I hadn't confessed, my account would have been suspended forever and everyone would have thought I was a cheater. I didn't want to go through that again, so I made a false confession, after which my account was unblocked. Chess.com told me everything was confidential.

DER SPIEGEL: Chess.com assured you that everything would remain private?

Dlugy: Yes, of course. They wrote on their website and in personal emails that everything would remain private. It would all remain between us. All confessions would be confidential.

DER SPIEGEL: Was there no other solution? Couldn't you have gone through the games with chess.com and shown that they were human moves?

Dlugy: We never got as far as thinking about such a solution. I didn't even know that there was another one. My experience in 2017 made me realize, there is no way to prove to chess.com you didn’t cheat, even if you didn’t. When I was still active, I beat Garry Kasparov, the reigning world champion, with black in a must-win game in the World Blitz Chess Championship. I'm not afraid of playing against the best players in the world.

(...)

Impressions of Hans Niemann as a talent

DER SPIEGEL: But at some point, he stopped improving. What happened?

Dlugy: The problem is that there was significant upheaval in the family. Hans has three siblings. One parent lost their job, they had to move, and there was a lot of turmoil in the family. During that time, my teaching of him came to an end. But later, his mother called me and asked me if I could outline a plan for them for what Hans would have to do to become a grandmaster. That was a bit ridiculous, because you could write entire books on the subject. Hans then basically hardly received any training.

DER SPIEGEL: But he was still good at chess.

Dlugy: When he was 16, he was offered a scholarship to Columbia Grammar School, a high school in Manhattan, because he was such a good chess player. So he decided to move to Manhattan to a room near the school. At 16, he was on his own. He started giving chess lessons and went his own way. He was already a strong international master. It’s an incredible story.

DER SPIEGEL: You continued to follow his career?

Dlugy: I continued to follow his games and was interested in his career because for me, he is the most interesting talent in mainstream chess. I've seen a lot of talented kids, but there's something inexplicable about Hans.

Link to full interview in English


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with_cheats_you_lose with_cheats_you_lose 10/23/2022 02:58
Dlugy is clean as a whistle. He never cheated online, it was one of his devious students that tricked him. Dlugy would never cheat, it is against his nature to deceive.

"It's only cheating if you get caught"
tauno tauno 10/19/2022 06:20
There is a savior, and his name is Magnus, and he's come to rescue us from this enemy, this sin that dwells in the members of our body, and he shall be rewarded.
arzi arzi 10/19/2022 12:48
To tauno

1. According to chess.com, Niemann is to blame for the end of the age, and no action can make up for it. FOREVER GUILTY!
2. Of course other people´s beliefs must be taken account. Beliefs are almost the same thing as facts.
3. Nobody can beat Carlsen, as Nakamura can prove with his own games against him. Everything Nakamura says on his own show is completely true and has nothing to do with maintaining his popularity on the show. A true grand master would speak well of Carlsen and worship him forever. Magnus-positivism.
4. The reason for Carlsen's withdrawal from the tournament was his genuine concern about his own mortality. You don't believe it until it happens and even then it has to be a cheating!

I agree you about Magnus. He is a pure saint with jesuslike modesty with millions blind followers. Bless him!
tauno tauno 10/19/2022 12:20
The reasons why Niemann was banned are explicitly stated by Chess.com in the Hans Niemann Report, page 1.

“We uninvited Hans from our upcoming major online event and revoked his access to our site based on
[1] our experience with him in the past,
[2] growing suspicions among top players and our team about his rapid rise of play,
[3] the strange circumstances and explanations of his win over Magnus,
[4] as well as Magnus’ unprecedented withdrawal.”

OK. I think #1 is referring to Hans’ cheating until August 2020, that was last time he was caught of cheating. So they have banned Hans twice for the same offence, right?
#2, Hans’ rapid increase in ELO strength during certain periods may be a fact, but one should not jump to any hasty conclusions based on that.
#3, I don’t know what they mean by "strange circumstances", but I think "explanations" may refer to Nakamura’s analysis (on YouTube) of Niemann’s post-match interview.
#4. A good reason. At least there is solid evidence for Magnus’ withdrawal.

So… what do you think?
arzi arzi 10/19/2022 06:48
I think you told the most of them. I don't believe in coincidences like this, where the start of a world champion's complaint soon causes another grandmaster to be banned from a certain site. In addition, this world champion appellant has or has had a business connection with this same site. Everything is done before the investigations done of Tournament people. Shameful act.
tauno tauno 10/18/2022 05:55
At this stage, it is too early to talk about corruption, but a few things popped up when I was thinking about a possible lawsuit:

Abuse of power and nepotism; Drafting own ambiguous and self-contradictory laws and regulations; Unequal and unfair rights: different people receive different punishments for violation of rules or no punishment at all, and can even be punished multiple times for the same crime (5th Amendment to the Constitution); Defamation and public humiliation; Breach of contract or promise; Disclosure of confidential information; Dissemination of selected and misleading evidence.

I wonder if something popped up into your mind as well.
arzi arzi 10/18/2022 06:32
Luckily I don't use chess.com, and I won't. There are safer sites, and better ones. Maybe I'm a cheater, unknowingly? What a horrible thought!
tauno tauno 10/17/2022 05:45
Chess.com always has the right to ban you regardless of whether you have cheated or not. They don't even have to give a reason. But if they want, they can publicly accuse you of cheating based on mere suspicions or feared future behavior (by themselves or other players) and leak private emails if they feel like it - even if they promised not to. (Though I find it a bit weird when they do it due to peer pressure and mob mentality, as in the cases of Niemann and Dlugy.)

And all this in accordance with the user agreement and terms of service.

So if you are foolish enough to take Chess.com to court with a lawyer, how much do you think it will cost, roughly, given that your chances of winning are practically non-existent? Do you really think it's worth it?
arzi arzi 10/17/2022 05:18
Btw, have any of you watched the games Dlugy played before he was kicked out of the tournament? Where were the cheats for those games? Did he use the chess computer so well that the chess program itself was completely messed up?

https://en.chessbase.com/post/gm-dlugy-on-carlsen-niemann
tauno tauno 10/16/2022 05:39
An important note! All quotes below have been selected by me (@tauno) and are taken out of context, so please read the entire Community Update to get the full picture before drawing your own conclusions, thanks.

Community Update On Recent Events - CHESScom - Oct 14, 2022
https://www.chess.com/blog/CHESScom/community-update-on-recent-events

Q- Would you have uninvited [banned] Hans [from the 2022 Chess.com Global Championship] if any other player [other than Carlsen] had withdrawn?
A - We would have had the same doubts and made the same decision.

Q - Then why did you create a public report on Hans?
A - We only created a public report on Hans because Hans made this a public issue with his comments and we felt forced to correct the public record.

Q - Why did you not close Hans’ account earlier when you knew he cheated? Why did you let this get to the 100 or so games mentioned in your report?
A - We (Danny and Erik) feel a deep sense of compassion for all humans. We have 4 kids each, and we have seen the process of having children grow up and learn and improve through their mistakes.

Q - Why do you use the word “likely cheated” in your report? Are you not confident in your findings?
A - In the world of statistics, even something that is considered 99.99% sure is called “likely”.

Q - Can you tell us any more about the 2700+ rated player [anonymous confessed GM] who Chess.com caught cheating who is mentioned in the report?
A - We used this player as an example to show the process and confidence we have in our cheat-detection protocols.

Q - Why did you publish emails about Maxim Dlugy?
A - This release of emails was fully consistent with our legal rights and our terms of service.

- Danny and Erik
YoyoSat YoyoSat 10/16/2022 12:40
Max Dlugy does not cheat, but he cleverly moves his ears. Does that mean 1.e4? I don't know, I never took his $250/h lesson...
tauno tauno 10/15/2022 01:27
Since Chess.com is an official partner of FIDE, a conflict of interest may arise, which is why FIDE cannot investigate Chess.com. For this reason, an additional investigator must be appointed. Unfortunately, there is none. Therefore, we should all calm down and accept the current arbitrary situation and suffer in silence. (It's naïve to think that social media protests will make such a rigid company back down and change its position, although it can be fun to voice your opinions.)
with_cheats_you_lose with_cheats_you_lose 10/15/2022 12:23
Dlugy wrote: "Online cheating is not like cheating at the board."

Thankfully, FIDE states otherwise: "FIDE has led the fight against cheating for many years, and we reiterate our zero-tolerance policy toward cheating in any form. Whether it is online or “over the board”, cheating remains cheating."

Cheating is cheating, regardless if it is online, and no one should trivialize the rampant chess cheating problem.
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 10/14/2022 08:10
How could he be getting moves which are detected by chess.com and not realise they are engine moves? What level are the students, 2500? This stretches credulity.
ChessSpawnVermont ChessSpawnVermont 10/14/2022 05:30
karavamudan, what is at play here is Carlsen/Rensch/Chesscom corporatism at work to maximize their online market share and profits. Magnus let his anger over losing to Niemann get in the way of that and now Carlsen/Rensch/Chesscom find themselves in a serious bind with potential defamation litigation looming on the horizon.
karavamudan karavamudan 10/14/2022 04:07
This sordid saga must end.

Everyone has something to say. Looks like if a rich man makes an accusation then it is considered true even without proper evidence.
If one has cheated, what is FIDE doing about it? Why is he still playing US open? Then he has not cheated? At least why not suspension pending investigation? Is Chess.com evidence conclusive?
How cheating was done has never been revealed so far. Why?
What really is at play here? Chess or something sinister?
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/14/2022 12:27
"For example, I told him that Magnus wanted to have him thrown out of the tournament after his defeat in St. Louis. Without any evidence of cheating."

If true, then Carlsen asked for punishment in a case that was not proven and when he did not receive what he perceived as "justice" he stormed out from the tournament.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/14/2022 12:26
If Dlugy's story is accurate, I wonder who his opponent was and whether that person knew that Dlugy was consulting with students during he game. If the opponent was not aware, or it was a tournament which did not allow this, then Dlugy has cheated. I also wonder who his students were at the time and whether they confirm this story. If they do not remember such an incident, then he is probably lying. So I'm actually interested to know what the witnesses say.

I agree with Magic Knight: one should never confess for something he did not commit. If Dlugy did it, as he claims, then he lost his credibility. If he confessed falsely a cheating, then how do we know he does not confess falsely now?

@tauno I think because chess.com is a powerful corporation linked to Carlsen.

@Matthias Ruf

"Every participant knows that the regulations in online chess also forbid the souffling of moves by a third person."

You are correct in stating this. Even if Dlugy did not know about receiving computer assistance, he did cheat by allowing others make him suggestions during the game. If Dlugy's story is accurate, then it is very much similar to the Carlsen's case from the end of 2021 during a Lichess game. Here Dlugy received suggestions from his students, there Carlsen received suggestion from Howell.

Yet, Dlugy's case, if his story is accurate is much more severe than Carlsen's, since Dlugy asked for suggestions and accepted them, while Carlsen did not ask for suggestions, received a single one, but accepted it.

If Dlugy's story is not accurate, then it's a much much uglier story.
Matthias Ruf Matthias Ruf 10/14/2022 09:51
In the new Spiegel magazine interview Niemann mentor Dlugy says as the headline of the chess scandal:

What Magnus Carlsen did is absolutely ridiculous.

I say chess becomes untrustworthy when cheaters who use a computer are not punished more severely. GM Maxim Dlugy has cheated several times and talks himself out of being tricked by his students. The parents of the teenagers pay up to 300 USD per hour to have the former world youth champion and investment banker tell them the best moves via hidden smartphone or notebook. However, the children were turned into criminals by the educator during the class lesson. That is yet another crime. As a judge, I would have the names of the tutoring chess students given to me for evidence. Innocent lamb Dlugy is not aware of any outrage and does not want to have any suspicions. 1,000 dollars of prize money is cleared, which would have been due to an honest player. Every participant knows that the regulations in online chess also forbid the souffling of moves by a third person. This is so ridiculous that further discussions like in the German Spiegel magazine should be forbidden. With all skepticism, it must be assumed that Maxim as a cheater can also be a brazen liar. But still he and Hans have a lot of supporters. Yes, it's an incredible story.
Jacob woge Jacob woge 10/14/2022 08:06
"Online cheating is not like cheating at the board."

That is objectively correct.
calvinamari calvinamari 10/14/2022 06:15
If Dlugy lost an online game because his opponent was both crowdfunding moves and using computer assistance, both in plain violation of the expressly stated rules, would he really be so conflicted about whether he was the victim of cheating? Only pure self-delusional sophistry makes this a debatable question.
Magic_Knight Magic_Knight 10/14/2022 04:49
I'm conflicted as to which philosophical scenario is worse: Actually cheating vs falsely admitting to cheating but never cheated. Because both scenarios results in nobody believing you. But at least with the former scenario you have a chance at reaching glory. The latter scenario, you're just a person without a backbone and will be forever branded a cheater (no matter whether you actually cheated or not).
tauno tauno 10/14/2022 01:49
@Mamack1. I think what Dlugy meant was that chess.com has lost its ability to evaluate and validate online cheating and that it differs from the criteria used OTB.

It is also true that online cheating is not like cheating OTB. It's very easy to cheat online, which is why it's so incredibly popular (not saying it's any less serious for that). Cheating OTB is much more difficult and therefore the techniques used must also be more creative and advanced.
Green22 Green22 10/14/2022 01:30
Looks like Magnus eating crow huh? He still has offered ZERO proof of Hans cheating OTB its still all smoke and mirrors. I guess if Hans was cheating OTB he would have won some more games at the US Championship right now LOL..
Mamack1 Mamack1 10/13/2022 11:58
Well a lot of people *will* agree with Dlugy that online cheating is "less serious" than it is OTB.

That's simply a fact.
tauno tauno 10/13/2022 10:00
FIDE is investigating Carlsen and Niemann but not Chess.com. Why is that?
with_cheats_you_lose with_cheats_you_lose 10/13/2022 08:38
Dlugy keeps digging himself into a hole using the old "dog ate my homework" excuse to explain his numerous cheating incidents. There is also this interesting snippet by Dlugy from the interview: "Online cheating is not like cheating at the board."
goeland goeland 10/13/2022 07:32
Ive been playing chess for 50 years and my biggest regret in life is to have bought a chess book by Dlugy.
davide2015 davide2015 10/13/2022 07:09
Could Der Spiegel's journalists contact ICC and ask about when Dugly was banned from their platform, if it was fault of his students too?
drgenial4 drgenial4 10/13/2022 06:51
Magnus, your move.
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