“We have four or five people on Chess.com who are engaged in full-time cheating on the site,” Doggers told RTL Nieuws. “It comes to light in 0.14 percent of games. Overall, it’s not that bad, you might say, but hundreds of thousands of games are played every day and sometimes a lot of money is involved. Now there is a new competition where you can win a million dollars. So the temptation to cheat is growing. “

Break through quickly

Some of Niemann’s moves have been notable, says Doggers. “Also how he reacted immediately after the game”. However, Chess.com did not want to draw any conclusions from this. “But we have indicated that a number of things are suspicious.”

There was also something special about Niemann’s development. “Most of the super talents are great masters at the age of fourteen. He’s only seventeen. And then he made it to the top of the world in a year and a half. It had never happened before.”

An unusual pattern was visible in the games he played on Chess.com. “In a nutshell: he has shown too high a level in too many games,” says Doggers. “In too many games he has played above his level. If it happens sometimes, you think: he is fit. But if it happens too often, the calculation of the odds shows that it is not right.”

Investigation of the chess federation

Chess.com’s search is limited to games played by Niemann on the leading chess site, which has over 90 million members worldwide. Niemann’s “physical games” are the responsibility of FIDE, the international chess federation. That meanwhile has announced its own investigation.

Niemann had already been removed from the site once and lost his membership again last month. “We don’t normally get out of it,” says Doggers. “We wanted to manage it privately, he could start with a clean slate. But suddenly he started talking about it himself in an interview. That he was no longer allowed to participate and that it made no sense.”

For Chess.com, that was the time to answer. “He was playing it down. He said it had happened twice, when we knew it had happened a lot more often. Then we realized: we have to go out with this. We may not be able to prove it really difficult, but we could I can say, statistically, that there is a high probability that he is cheating. “

More openness?

Chess.com researchers motivate him in their relationship not just with a parts analysis. They also indicate what else they are looking at: how does a gamer use his web browser, where does his mouse go, how long does he need to think? “We never told you how we work. Maybe we should adjust our policy. In the future, give more openness when we catch players.”

Ultimately, most chess players admit to cheating, says Doggers. Chess.com will give them a new account. “Most of the time they’ve learned their lesson.”

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