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So you’d better go back to your bars Your temples, your massage parlours


Update on the chess scandal Paul has been covering, and apparently the accused is a massive cheater:

When world chess champion Magnus Carlsen last month suggested that American grandmaster Hans Moke Niemann was a cheater, the 19-year-old Niemann launched an impassioned defense. Niemann said he had cheated, but only at two points in his life, describing them as youthful indiscretions committed when he was 12 and 16 years old. 

Now, however, an investigation into Niemann’s play—conducted by Chess.com, an online platform where many top players compete—has found the scope of his cheating to be far wider and longer-lasting than he publicly admitted. 

The report, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, alleges that Niemann likely received illegal assistance in more than 100 online games, as recently as 2020. Those matches included contests in which prize money was on the line. The site uses a variety of cheating-detection tools, including analytics that compare moves to those recommended by chess engines, which are capable of beating even the greatest human players every time.  

The report states that Niemann privately confessed to the allegations, and that he was subsequently banned from the site for a period of time. 

The 72-page report also flagged what it described as irregularities in Niemann’s rise through the elite ranks of competitive, in-person chess. It highlights “many remarkable signals and unusual patterns in Hans’ path as a player.”

This isn’t proof that he cheated in this particular case but it certainly makes it more likely.

I did want to comment on the alleged cheating “scandal” in the world of poker, which conversely makes no sense to me:

  1. What happened here — a less experienced player making an irrational call when the table bully tried to buy the pot with a hand she (correctly) determined he hadn’t made — is neither particularly unusual nor hard to explain. Her explanations were incoherent but, again, given that she had gotten away with what in retrospect was a bad bet and won a huge pot on live TV this isn’t hard to explain. Finally, it’s the opposite of unusual for someone who considers themselves the best or one of the best players at the table to get angry when they lose a pot because a less experienced player doesn’t play “correctly.”
  2. The cheating story makes no sense. Even if she was communicating with someone who was calculating odds and who was able to read her opponent’s hand, they would have told her to fold since Adelstein was always ahead in terms of odds.

Anything’s possible but absent some actual evidence she never should have paid back the money IMO.

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