Ian Nepomniachtchi published a video on his official youtube account where he speaks about tournaments in Saint Louis, the recent happenings related to Carlsen – Niemann case, cheating in chess…
Nepo said that he was not happy when he heard Hans Niemann will replace Richard Rapport in the Sinquefield Cup as Rapport couldn’t make it to the USA and needed to cancel his participation: “I think I wasn’t the only person who was quite unhappy about this particular replacement, this substitute, because somehow I felt things could be a little bit wrong. (…) I asked the organizers for some extra measures to be taken to make the tournament more safe and clean, but none of this was done until this sad case of Magnus’s withdrawal“. He added that he understands Magnus and his decision, but it wasn’t good for the tournament and the overall atmosphere.
Ian then spoke about cheating in chess explaining that cheating exists for a long time already, online but over the board as well. He mentioned the recent cases where it was confirmed the players were doing unallowed things at the tournaments and how they were doing it. He added that he personally experienced the opponents cheating against him in online games on chesscom: “This is a quite common thing“.
Moving to the Carlsen – Niemann case, Nepo explained he didn’t know about Hans Niemann until the pandemic. “I played quite a lot of games against him on chesscom and some of the games were more weird than others, but he had like 2800, 2900 (rating on chesscom) and he was streaming all the time, so it was not too suspicious“. He then shared what he finds weird about Hans Niemann’s play and his recent success mentioning that it is kind of surprising that his play was slowly getting better, but his rating was getting higher with consistency: “Hans was living in a suitcase and played tournament after tournament, coming with some small amount of earned elo rating from 90% of the tournaments. (…) This was some of the things which really surprised me and this is something that indicates that this is a unique case. It’s pretty much uncommon“. Ian added that he didn’t like what Hans said in the interview at the Sinquefield Cup 2022 where he admitted cheating on chesscom: “He said something like, alright I admit it, it was when I was 12 and 16, but he also said it was only to gain some rating to play against stronger opponents. This is, I guess, a very very common thing and common explanation, because it sounds like yeah, I am doing some bad things, but it is for the greater good in the end“. Nepo mentioned FM Punin’s video where he analyzed Niemann’s games and concluded that Niemann’s play was very impressive and that this drew attention.
He added that he might have a different point of view on the case because he had weird games against Hans online: “Maybe I am taking a little bit wrong position from the very beginning because I think I had some very weird games online in some Blitz against Hans. (…) Some of these games felt really weird“. He added that Niemann’s performance at all the tournaments in the last period were a statistical anomaly because he was always gaining some elo rating: “I don’t believe in some major transformations. I don’t believe in metamorphosis.“.
Speaking about Hans’s performance and play in Saint Louis (Sinquefield Cup tournament), Nepomniachtchi said that his games were not ideal: “Obivously, the games he played there (Sinquefield Cup) are not ideal. It’s not something absolutely computerish and you can say statistically that his games are clean and good. But let’s get back to metamorphosis. As I understand, Hans was supposed to play in the Turkish league and he played there in the end. But before he got a wild card for this Miami tournament and he scored not that great well. He was losing all his matches, okay he won some games, but overall I think his performance was far from something really bright. Then immediately he moved to Turkey to play in the Turkish league, and his performance was very much up and down. Immediately after the tournament he got back to US, and it was a different person. It was a different player. I mean okay, I checked some of his games in Turkey and it was a different story. (…) For me it’s weird having two not so brilliant performances in a row, and then coming and screwing some of the top players. The metamorphosis I can see there is quite weird“.
Nepo added in the end that he still waits for the announcements from FIDE, chess.com, and Magnus Carlsen which would help the controversy to be solved. See the complete video below
The timetable of happenings related to Carlsen – Niemann case can be found below the video
The timetable of happenings related to Carlsen – Niemann case: