– It shows that the level of the moves Niemann played when he became chess grandmaster is much higher than what Magnus Carlsen is capable of playing, Atle Grønn explains to Dagbladet.
He’s talking about a video Ukrainian FIDE champion Andrii Punin shared on Youtube on Sunday night.
It came a week after Magnus Carlsen withdrew from the Sinquefield Cup, and created a storm of rumors in the chess world.
Carlsen himself has not spoken out publicly, but several figures in the chess community believed that it was clear that Carlsen suspected or had evidence that his opponent Hans Niemann cheated, or that Niemann’s previous history of cheating influenced the Norwegian.
In the video, Punin has used a computer to analyze 14 tournaments Niemann played in the period when he went from 2450 to 2550 in rating and secured the grandmaster title.
The program first finds out what a chess computer thinks is the best move in a given position, before it compares the players’ moves with the computer’s moves. The Ukrainian grandmaster explains that he has only taken moves from positions where both players still have a real chance of winning.
In the review, Punin is particularly noticeable in the grandmaster tournament Charlotte CCCCSA GM Norm Invitational. This was a tournament when Niemann was chasing a norm that could give him the title of grandmaster in chess.
There, Niemann plays on a completely different level than the other tournaments Andrii has compared to, and he plays the best computer move 20-30 times in a row over several games.
And that in one of the biggest moments of his career.
– In crucial games, when he wants a norm, he plays fantastically. In other tournaments, he often plays according to his ranking. That’s all I wanted to say. It is not a verdict, but it is something to use to investigate further, the Ukrainian explains in the YouTube video.
PS After this case was written, Andrii came up with a new Youtube video with new startling findings.
The Norwegian chess expert Atle Grønn is even clearer in his speech after he has seen the video.
– It is not understandable for “ordinary people”, but it is quite understandable for experienced players at a certain level. For me it is very convincing and factual. In the video, we get a factual review of each move. It looks quite crushing, given that it has been analyzed correctly, says Grønn.
Grønn believes that many of the top players have been aware of this for a year and a half, and points out that the Russian grandmaster Peter Svidler has confirmed that this has been discussed.
– What is the probability of making the best move so many times in a row?
– It’s not really the “best move,” but it’s the best move the computer had available at the time. It happens move after move after move. The probability of that is zero.
– So you think this proves that he is cheating?
– I don’t know if this is legal proof that it is cheating, because lawyers are not chess players, but from a chess point of view it is not possible to play like that. Magnus has no chance against that level there, if this computer analysis is correct. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but Magnus has a significant deviation during a game. On 20-30 critical features, Niemann has zero deviations, Grønn explains.
Dagbladet has tried to get hold of Magnus Carlsen via dad and manager Henrik on Monday, without a reply. The Norwegian’s coach Peter Heine Nielsen politely replied that he had no comment on the matter.
Carlsen’s choice has been criticized recently, but Grønn understands and respects the choice.
– I think that Magnus knew what he was doing when he resigned and that he knew much more. Exactly what, I don’t know, but I thought he understood and knew a lot, says Grønn, and points out that the Norwegian could at worst risk a long legal process in the USA if he says too much about the case in public.
– That Magnus sets such a clear agenda that cheating is inappropriate, and that it is not good to play against cheaters, I think is interesting and okay. If the Ukrainian is right, Magnus has clearly signaled that I will not play against such players. It can be a wake-up call for young players too, says Grønn.
Download our sports app