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Chess Grandmaster Accused of Cheating After Tournament Officials Find Deflated Rook

ST. LOUIS — 19-year-old chess grandmaster Hans Niemann has been accused of cheating in another over-the-board game with World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen after tournament officials found a slightly deflated rook, according to those familiar with the situation.

“While we cannot say for certain it was Hans who deflated the rook, this could be a key strategy to turn the tides in a game of chess. Magnus is known for his strong endgames, but against another grandmaster, having the ability to more tightly grip a rook could have given Hans the slight edge there. We will be investigating the situation heavily,” explained a tournament official. Carlsen declined to comment on the situation himself, but cryptically tweeted an upside down smiley face emoji and a gif of Wile E. Coyote holding a stick of dynamite that then explodes in his face.

Niemann, however, took accusations of cheating very seriously.

“It’s ridiculous that I’m being accused of something that I completely did not do. I’m just a better player than Magnus and he’s too scared to admit it. I’ll happily play another game with him where I use over-inflated pieces that I can barely wrap my fingers around, if that’s what he wants. I’ll do that thing where little kids wear tee shirts representing the pieces on a life-sized board and we just call out moves and let them walk around for us,” Niemann said, who has, in the past, been banned from for using a mod that let him shrink the size of his rooks on his screen. “As for the position itself, my pieces were clearly much stronger. You have to be a moron to not see it. I mean, do you want me to explain 2+2 to you? Because that’s what it’s like trying to explain how I beat the World Champion.”

Despite no credible evidence existing to prove that Niemann used the deflated rook in his game against Carlsen, various chess personalities have commented on the situation at length, both to defend and accuse Niemann.

“Oh my god, chat. Oh my god,” said streamer and grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura, commenting on the situation 14 hours into a Twitch stream. “Chat, oh my god. Chat. Come on, chat. Oh my god, chat.”

As of press time, fans were begging Carlsen to make an official statement after the World Champion tweeted a clip-art drawing of a bishop shooting a rook with a handgun.

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