WHOSE: Heidi Røneid (39)
WHAT: Chess commentator. Will be commenting on the WC in Fischer chess on NRK in October.
WHY: There is a cheating scandal in the chess world. Carlsen against Niemann. Heidi helps us understand it.
Yo! Is it complete chaos in chess now?
– It is quite dramatic. When Magnus Carlsen first retires after playing against Niemann. And then gives up after one move, two weeks later. He comes with a strong message.
What do you think? Is Niemann a cheater?
– I basically believe that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. You have to be very careful about accusing someone. Then it is the best in the world who say it. Magnus is not in the habit of accusing people of cheating. But I don’t know. I hope Magnus can come to the court with proof.
Because Magnus suggests that Niemann cheats?
– There are unspoken accusations, yes. So why doesn’t he say more? If you are going to accuse someone of cheating, you should have strong evidence. But in chess it’s not like you can just take a doping test. Magnus says that when he plays against someone, he notices whether the move is human or a computer move.
Can you notice that?
– Jon Ludvig Hammer also says that. “This move says the computers are the best, but a human will never find it.” So, if the opponent makes one or more inhuman moves, then something is wrong. You just can’t prove it.
What happens to Niemann’s career if there is no evidence?
– Well, if you have a reputation for being a cheater, then people won’t invite you. On the other side is all this drama. Obviously, if you get a final between Carlsen and Niemann, then that’s something people are going to watch.
If you were to cheat…
– I would never do that. I play because I love to win. And to develop myself. If you cheat then you lose everything the wonderful game is about.
But if you were going to cheat, how would you have done it?
– At the lower level, there are players who are caught with a mobile phone in their sock when they go to the toilet. If I were to cheat in chess at the cottage, I would probably wait until the opponent went to the bathroom, and then move a piece. A typical cottage player will not discover that.
At the top level, then? How can it be done there?
– You can have tiny transmitters in your ear. Only a few millimeters large, which give you messages. And someone on the French Olympic team was caught once because people stood in different places in the room based on which pieces the players should move. But I don’t think it’s common. There is too much at stake.
But it is for cyclists too…?
– Yes, but … in cycling it seems to me that “everyone” did it. Chess is a gentleman’s and women’s sport. You must be polite. You shouldn’t talk shit about your opponent. You must be very proper. No, it would surprise me very much if it became known that top players cheated.
Now, some regular questions. What makes you happy?
– To be with the ones I love the most, of course. And animals. I love animals and birds. And… I’m a little embarrassed about it, but I love the sound of water. If I can listen to water flowing, then I like myself very much.
You just turn on the tap and everything is fine?
– No, but everything from a flowing stream to the dishwasher that is on.
Haha! You buy the dishwasher that makes the most noise, right?
– No, then. Haha. And I’m not really a tidy person, but when I occasionally turn on the dishwasher and hear that sound… well, I like it.
[ Skader i sjakk? Joda. Denne sjakkroboten brakk en motspillers finger ]
What do you dislike most about yourself?
– I’m a pretty bad loser. Once I threw some Risk figures like that into the fireplace. It can be a bit difficult for him. But the other side of that is that I just really like games.
Maybe that’s Magnus Carlsen’s problem too? That he’s just a really bad loser?
– I am convinced that he will be furious when he loses. But I don’t think at all that he suspects Niemann of cheating because he is a bad loser. Magnus has lost against much worse players than Niemann. And in more important situations. He gets angry but handles it in a professional manner.
Is there anything you regret? Is there a special chess move that sits in, for example?
– Ahh, there was a game I played in a tournament at Fagernes, it must have been 10-11 years ago. I had an absolutely fantastic attack that was going to end in checkmate. It was so good. My opponent sat panting heavily, realizing he was in serious trouble. Then I changed the order of two moves. Then I saw that the whole attitude of my opponent became completely different, and the breathing completely changed. I gave away the queen and lost the game.
Angry! It was supposed to be the most beautiful attack of your life, right?
– Whether it was the most beautiful, I don’t know. But it was a great combination, and then I spoil myself. It was incredibly awkward.
Who would you rather be stuck in the elevator with?
– Magnus Carlsen and Hans Niemann. Simultaneous.
[ Tørster du etter mer sjakk? Vi har intervjua Torstein Bae i denne spalta også! ]
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