A teenage chess player who managed to beat a world champion last week is now denying his incredible win was the result of cheating with the help of a sex toy.
Nineteen-year-old Hans Niemann pulled off a major upset by defeating Norwegian grandmaster Magnus Carlsen, 31, at the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis on Sept. 4, and the win has prompted some bizarre theories in the chess world.
A rumor circulating on social media — and unsupported by concrete evidence — suggests that Niemann was tapping into a computer program through a “prostate massager” or “wireless anal beads” that could secretly communicate winning moves to him.
Back in July, a techie named James Stanley explained how such technology might work embedded into shoe inserts that a player could wear undetected.
Niemann insisted that his win was legitimate and suggested he was willing to debunk the anal beads theory.
“If they want me to strip fully naked, I will do it. I don’t care. Because I know I am clean,” he said in an interview after his win. “You want me to play in a closed box with zero electronic transmission, I don’t care. I’m here to win and that is my goal regardless.”
Although Carlsen is rated the top player in the world by the International Chess Federation, he abruptly withdrew from the Sinquefield Cup after Niemann defeated him in the third round.
His only comment so far was to post a cryptic tweet of a 2020 speech by Portuguese soccer manager Jose Mourinho.
“I prefer not to speak,” Mourinho said. “If I speak, I am in big trouble … and I don’t want to be in big trouble.”
No one has proven that Niemann cheated at the Sinquefield Cup, but Slate noted that he was accused of cheating during prize-money matches on Chess.com and was banned from the site.
American grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura — who covered the tournament live on his Twitch channel ― suggested that Niemann was cheating, leading the 19-year-old to accuse Nakamura of making “frivolous implications” on Twitter.
In addition, Canadian grandmaster Eric Hansen later said that he’d removed Niemann from chess events he’d hosted due to cheating suspicions.
Niemann has acknowledged that he did cheat using computer assistance in online games when he was younger, but he said he didn’t do anything illegal at the Sinquefield Cup.
He summed up the controversy as sour grapes from Carlsen:
“It must be embarrassing for the world champion to lose to an idiot like me,” Niemann said in an interview after his win. “I feel bad for him.”
The Sinquefield Cup’s chief arbiter released a statement on Sept. 10 saying there was no indication any player cheated during the competition.