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Featured Image Credit: Saint Louis Chess Club
If you think chess is boring, you might change your mind when you hear about a recent controversy involving a pro player and a set of vibrating anal beads.
Before we get into it, let's first explain how we got here in the first place. It all started when chess grandmaster Hans Niemann, 19, managed to beat five-time World Champion player Magnus Carlsen, 31.
Despite Carlsen being the stronger player and Neilmann being the lowest ranking of the competitors, the teen took his opponent out in the third round of this year's Sinquefield Cup tournament in St Louis.
Shortly after the shock outcome, Carlsen mysteriously withdrew from the championship, which comes with a $350,000 (£300,000) overall prize fund.
Taking to Twitter, he wrote: "I've withdrawn from the tournament. I've always enjoyed playing in the @STLChessClub, and hope to be back in the future."
Alongside the caption, Carlsen shared a cryptic clip of football manager José Morinho saying: "If I speak I am in big trouble."
Rumours of cheating soon started to circulate, especially after organisers of the tournament ramped up security measures and thoroughly checked Neimann before his next game - although they found nothing on him.
By now you're probably wondering where anal beads comes into this.
Well, following Niemann's win, Canadian grandmasters Eric Hansen and Aman Hambleton speculated in a Twitch stream whether he'd hidden a vibrating version of the sex toy in his shoe to offer signals indicating the right moves to make.
Sharing an edited version of a quote by philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, he wrote in a now-deleted tweet: "Talent hits a target no one else can hit, genius hits a target no one can see (cause it's in ur butt)."
These claims were backed up with less x-rated allegations that Neimann had previously cheated in a series of online Chess.com tournaments when he was younger.
The 19-year-old newcomer has since addressed the accusations in a lengthy interview.
Speaking in the five-hour stream posted on Saint Louis Chess Club, he admitted to cheating in online games when he was a young teen, which he called 'an absolutely ridiculous mistake'.
Neimann went on to say that never in his life has he cheated in an over the board game - aka in real life - and never in an online tournament for prize money other than when he was 12 years old.
"I'm admitting this and I'm saying my truth because I do not want any misrepresentation," he explained. "I am proud of myself that I learned from that mistake and now have given everything to chess."
The grandmaster said that he was 'deeply sorry' for the mistakes he made in the past and has 'suffered the consequences' of his actions, which includes a recent ban from Chess.com and its tournaments.
Regarding the recent rumours, he said they're a 'targeted attack' designed to 'ruin' his chess career. He also said he'd be willing to play 'naked' to prove his innocence.
Going into more detail on Twitter, he wrote: "The silence of my critics clearly speaks for itself. If there was any real evidence, why not show it?"
The streamer also tagged grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura, who previously suggested Carlsen dropped out of the tournament as Neimann was 'probably cheating'.
The silence of my critics clearly speaks for itself. If there was any real evidence, why not show it? @GMHikaru has continued to completely ignore my interview and is trying to sweep everything under the rug. Is anyone going to take accountability for the damage they've done?— Hans Niemann (@HansMokeNiemann) September 7, 2022
Neimann said: "@GMHikaru has continued to completely ignore my interview and is trying to sweep everything under the rug. Is anyone going to take accountability for the damage they've done?"
Although the allegations are yet to be confirmed, Chess.com maintains its stance on the situation.
In the end, Niemann was knocked out of the Sinquefield Cup by player Fabiano Caruana - but the aftermath of the anal beads rumour continues to vibrate amongst the chess community today.