Amid allegations that chess grandmaster Hans Niemann cheated in matches against Magnus Carlsen, new evidence reveals that one of Niemann’s coaches admitted to cheating.
According to emails reviewed by Motherboard, grandmaster Maxim Dlugy acknowledged he cheated in his own tournaments in 2017 and 2020 on Chess.com.
The 56-year-old has been suspected of this for years and was banned from the website in 2017.
But in the emails to Chess.com chief chess officer Daniel Rensch published Wednesday, Dlugy discloses that students from his Chess Max Academy were watching him play in a Chess.com tournament and that one of them used chess AI to feed him moves.
In one email, Dlugy wrote that in 2017, he was playing in a tournament on Chess.com in front of his students and was crowdsourcing moves from them — which is against Chess.com’s play rules.
“I am now positive, that one of the kids, was using an [sic] program on his cell while this was going on,” Dlugy admitted. “As you can imagine, I liked many of his moves, though I had no idea that he was using assistance to generate them.”
Furthermore, Dlugy stated in a later email that it was not the only time he cheated.
Because of this, he was banned from Chess.com in 2017 but was eventually allowed to compete in tournaments again using a different username.
However, he was caught cheating again in a Titled Tuesday tournament on April 28, 2020.
“I agree that I violated the rules as I had some help in some of the games from an outside source,” Dlugy wrote in an email that year. “I promise it will not happen again.”
The evidence comes after Carlsen wrote an open letter to the “Chess World” on Monday, revealing that he suddenly dropped out of a match against Niemann because he suspected his opponent was cheating.
“I believe that Niemann has cheated more – and more frequently – than he has publicly admitted,” he wrote. “His over the board progress has been unusual, and throughout our game in the Sinquefield Cup I had the impression that he wasn’t tense or even fully concentrating on the game in critical positions while outplaying me as black in a way I think only a handful of players can do. This game contributed to changing my perspective.”
“We must do something about cheating, and for my part going forward, I don’t want to play against people that have cheated repeatedly in the past, because I don’t know what they are capable of doing in the future,” Carlsen added.
Niemann has not spoken about Dlugy’s emails, nor Carlsen’s cheating allegations.