Piers Morgan Confronts Chess Prodigy on Odd Cheating Theory

Talk show host asks Hans Niemann if he used anal beads to illegally win
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2023 2:18 PM CDT
Piers Morgan Pushes Chess Prodigy on Odd Cheating Theory
Hans Niemann is seen during a match against Christopher Yoo at the US Chess Championship in St. Louis on Oct. 5.   (David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

Last year, accusations started flying against chess whiz Hans Niemann, with five-time world champ Magnus Carlsen alleging that his fellow grandmaster had cheated as they faced off in the Sinquefield Cup. Now, those accusations are being resurrected, with the 20-year-old Neimann defiantly insisting he's completely on the up-and-up. Niemann, currently ranked 69th in the world, is now taking part in the World Junior Chess Championship that's running through Sunday, and he was confronted by none other than Piers Morgan over what NPR notes is "hopefully purely hypothetical" speculation on how he may have cheated.

Morgan came right out with it on his Monday talk show while chatting with Niemann. "Have you ever used anal beads while playing chess?" Morgan asked, re-upping a theory first proposed by a chess commentator, then amplified by X CEO Elon Musk in a since-deleted tweet. "That is not a serious theory," Niemann told Morgan, saying that it was "disheartening" to be accused of cheating. "That was something that was taken out of context and that was never a serious thing." When Morgan kept bringing it up throughout their 20-minute interview, Niemann noted, per CNN: "Your curiosity is a bit concerning, you know, maybe you're personally interested."

Niemann then added, regarding his alleged use of anal beads: "Categorically, no, of course not." NPR helpfully explains how such a nefarious technique would work, with the anal beads vibrating via a remote control to help guide where a player moves next. Carlsen's accusations against Niemann didn't emerge out of thin air: The latter has admitted that he cheated online twice, when he was 12 and 16, though he stands firm in his assertion that he's played fair and square in "over the board" (i.e., in-person) games.

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Niemann filed a $100 million lawsuit against Carlsen that's since been dismissed, and Carlsen has indicated he'd face off against Niemann again. Niemann has also been reinstated to Chess.com, despite the group's internal report that found Niemann had "likely cheated" in more than 100 online matches (no evidence was ever found Niemann had cheated in his in-person games). Niemann is now trying to leave all that behind. "Chilling on the 40th floor while Piers Morgan obsesses over *****," he posted on the X platform on Monday. "I remain unfazed, perspicacious, and composed on the path to World Junior Champion." (More chess stories.)

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