Today we heard possibly the strangest story connected with the game of chess!
Chess and sex toys have no obvious links but following a shock win against the world number one player, Magnus Carlsen, 19-year old Hans Neilmann, a wild-haired 19-year-old from the States who’s had a meteoric rise to the crème de la crème of chess, has now been accused of cheating by using vibrating anal beads to signal which pieces to play against his rival.
Denying the accusations, Nielmann has offered a re-match but only if the match is conducted in the nude!
He is also suing Carlsen US$100m for libel following the accusations.
Indeed the world’s number one did face Niemann again in an online match, before choosing to quit the game almost immediately.
He then took to Twitter to issue a lengthy statement to explain his actions and denounce perceived cheating in the chess world.
While Niemann has denied any allegations of cheating in that match, having said he only cheated in online matches when he was 12 and 16 and was ‘now clean’, a new report by Chess.com has claimed Niemann has cheated upwards of 100 times, and as recently as 2020, a claim he’s denied.
So how one might well ask after 1000 years of the game favoured by royalty and some of the world’s best and brightest minds, yet often played in stale church halls by stuffy socially awkward young men, could things have changed so much.
Well it seems that the rise of new platforms has allowed chess, and the personality of players to appeal to younger audiences who favour electronic devices – be they computers, or potentially even sex toys.
Indeed Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen, currently the world’s number one player (a role he assumed in 2011, aged just 19) is thought to have had a huge influence on the game’s perception, a far cry from the socially awkward, older and somewhat obsessive image some grandmasters may have had in the past.
One of the formats that Carlsen has helped propagate is ‘speed tournaments’, which for some have made chess matches nail-biting, must-watch entertainment: vastly different from the lengthy battles on the board which used to be the norm.
‘Each game is a maximum of 15-30 minutes, compared to long form tournaments which could last for up to seven hours,’
Cheating in the chess world is nothing new though – in 2006, the game was hit with scandal when Bulgarian player Veselin Topalov accused Russian grandmaster Vladimir Kramnik of cheating, claiming Kramnik was visiting the toilet too many times and suggesting an electronic device may have been hidden in the men’s bathroom.
The fallout resulted in the chess community dubbing the scandal ‘toiletgate’.
For her historical gem this week, Margaret Mills transported us back to the 18th century and the tale of an Essex inhabitant of a house on the borders of East Hanningfield and Great Baddow.
When she became sick, she needed help from the parish but as her property straddled the parish border, there then followed an argument as to which of the two parishes would have to take responsibility.
In the end the matter was settled once it was established on which side of the bed she slept!
You can listen to the story in full here: –
Hope to have your company again next week,