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Chess Genius or Genius Cheater? 1 min read

Chess Genius or Genius Cheater?

Hans Niemann was at the center of one of the biggest scandals in the history of chess, and it remains unclear if he's the real deal or a talented fraud.

By Cary Littlejohn

I can never quite put my finger on why I find chess so fascinating. Maybe lots of people found this to be the case after watching The Queen's Gambit on Netflix: sucked in but not entirely sure if it was the subject matter or the TV show's writing, directing, and acting.

I remember loving Searching for Bobby Fischer back in the 1990s when it came on TV (I want to say ABC, but don't quote me on that; I feel like it was on one of the "clearest" stations, and at my house, that meant ABC on channel 7).

But maybe intuitively I knew this line from a recent New York magazine profile of Hans Niemann:

There are three disciplines in which scientists believe prodigies exist: math, music, and chess.

Perhaps I, too, could sense that, and I was drawn to it, not because I understood it with any personal connection, but because it's such an intoxicating idea. To be a prodigy, though its potential to exist in me is long, long gone, feels like something worth wishing for.

Either way, I loved this story. I've been close to chess storytelling before, and when done well, there's just something imminently readable about it. This piece excels in describing the chess of it all, but it's a much deeper and darker story than simply pawn-takes-rook and checkmates.

Chess Brat: Hans Niemann, One Year After the Cheating Scandal
The grandmaster has been kinda-sorta vindicated. So how is he more disliked than ever?