Chess: latest round of Hans Niemann saga expected in St Louis on Wednesday: The first round (of 13) of the $250,000 US championship at St. Louis begins on Wednesday, putting 19-year-old Hans Niemann, who world champion Magnus Carlsen has publicly declared to be a cheat, to the test against the American best.
Somewhat unexpectedly, Niemann will be making a return trip to “the capital of chess,” where he defeated Carlsen in the third round of the Sinquefield Cup just a few weeks ago.
After the world champion singled out that result in his statement on Monday night, the manner and circumstances of that result have come under close scrutiny.
It was an exceptionally rare loss for Carlsen with the favorable white pieces against a much lower-rated opponent, ending the Norwegian’s run of 53 games without defeat.
Carlsen remarked of his opponent, “I had the impression that he wasn’t tense or even fully concentrating on the game in important positions.” Despite the fact that the latter had outplayed him as black in a fashion that “only a handful of players I suppose” could have accomplished.
“Because of this game, I was able to broaden my horizons.”
Commentators generally agreed with Niemann missing clearer pathways to victory and Carlsen overlooking multiple opportunities to draw or make the win difficult.
Hence Carlsen’s assessment ran counter to the consensus. Alexander Grischuk of Russia put it best: “Their game wasn’t strange. The performance of Niemann and Carlsen was about equal.
Playing a world champion may also be a fun and relaxed experience, as demonstrated by Jonathan Penrose’s memorable 1960 triumph over Mikhail Tal, in which he likened the match to an Essex vs. Middlesex county match.
Dublin historian Tim Harding, the world’s foremost authority on British chess in the 19th century, was among the viewers when the game and players were broadcast live from St. Louis. Harding commented on the match and Hans’s interview thereafter in the English Chess Forum.
Nothing Hans did or said gave me any reason to assume that he was trying to discourage Magnus or that he thought Magnus accused him of cheating.
I saw Magnus play poorly and act ticked off towards the finish, and I saw Niemann play well but not perfectly (as the commentators demonstrated at a few occasions).
Despite the lack of plausibility in Carlsen’s primary example, many of the world’s best GMs have accepted his side.
Fabiano Caruana, a contender for the world championship in 2018, and a former world number two, remarked, “There is no doubt in my mind that he was cheating and he got away with it.” Key moves in one of Niemann’s 2022 victories were called “fishy” and “strange” by Caruana.
The current world no. 5 and five-time US champion, Hikaru Nakamura, will not be competing in St. Louis next week, but he has made it clear to his million-plus Twitch fans that he does not trust Niemann.
Before Niemann’s promising start at the Sinquefield Cup, world No. 3 and 2022 Candidates champion Ian Nepomniachtchi voiced his concerns about the latter’s inconsistent play. “It’s funny having two subpar showings in a row and then coming and screwing some of the top players,” he added.
I don’t think Hans has been the cleanest person when it comes to online chess,” said Levon Aronian, the world’s tenth-best player, who will make his US championship debut next week.
This means that half of the top ten players in the world have spoken out against Niemann, while the other half have remained silent.
Even without concrete evidence, this becomes a crisis of faith.
The success or failure of Niemann in the upcoming US championship, which features a deep field of up-and-coming stars in addition to the trio from the world’s top 10, may indicate the trajectory of his career in the highest level of competition. To put it another way, he is the eighth seed out of fourteen.
The St. Louis organizers published a pre-tournament statement emphasizing the prominence of anti-cheating methods. They are well aware that their championship will be closely observed by chess lovers around the world and by the international media.
We plan to have another successful event with strict protocols to keep the playing field level for the greatest chess players in the country.
Live coverage of the action, which begins at 7pm each day from October 5 through October 19 (with a potential playoff on October 20), will be available online.
Two English players won the open tournament in Nova Gorica, Slovenia, last week. Matthew Wadsworth, 22, won with a score of 7/9, making this his third consecutive tournament victory. He recently completed his Cambridge MA economics dissertation and is now aiming for grandmaster.
At the age of 13, Shreyas Royal has already achieved two international master norms (of three needed for the title). As a result of his recent success, Royal is in contention to become the youngest ever English GM, surpassing David Howell’s record set in 2007 at the age of 16 years and 1 month.
Support from Tata Consultancy Services, a subsidiary of the Tata Group well known in chess as the sponsor of the “chess Wimbledon” in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands, has been instrumental in Royal’s rise to the top.
Bodhana Sivanandan of England almost missed out on gold in the global girl’s under-eight competition in Batumi, Georgia. Sivanandan and Charvi Anilkumar of India tied with 9.5/11, however, Sivanandan lost out on gold by a half point on the third tiebreak count.
In spite of not having a master-level coach, the Harrow state school student who has been highlighted in this column before and who will still qualify as an under-eight in 2023 is currently England’s top-ranked female under the age of 11.