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Collusion, Cheating and the Cold War: The Many Scandals That Have Shaken the Chess World | world news

It’s been 50 years since the most famous chess match of all time – a Cold War clash that saw the United States and the Soviet Union square off on a chessboard.

American Bobby Fischer eventually beat world champion Boris Spassky, but the contest was much bigger than two men and 64 squares. It always has been.

The game of chess has been around for nearly 1,500 years, but in the 20th century it became a vessel for the US and USSR to vie for intellectual supremacy – amid allegations of collusion and scandal.

The popular game is now back in the news after the world number one Magnus Carlsen lost in clash against Hans Niemann and cheating allegations against Neumann followed.

Sky News takes a look at some of the biggest scandals in chess history and how they have shaped our geopolitics.

Magnus Carlsen calls out Hans Niemann and says cheating is an ‘existential threat’ to chess

It’s the scandal that has been brewing for weeks and which boiled over with an explosive statement from Magnus Carlsen.

Carlsen, the current world number one and widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time, withdrew from a tournament earlier this month after losing to teenager Hans Niemann.

Later, in an online rematch against Niemann, Carlsen quit after making a single move.

The game’s top active player losing streak led to cheating allegations against Niemann, who had been ranked significantly lower than Carlsen.

On Monday, Carlsen released a scathing statement on Twitter saying he believed Niemann “cheated more — and more recently — than he publicly admitted.”

Niemann admitted to cheating in online games in the past, but dismissed all suggestions he ever made in board chess (in person) or used computer support in a major tournament .

1962: Bobby Fischer cries foul after a string of Soviet draws

The Carlsen-Niemann feud may be in the spotlight, but it’s by no means the first scandal to hit the chess world.

Ten years before his famous match against Spassky, Bobby Fischer claimed that Soviet players colluded in the 1962 Candidates Tournament.

Controversial player Fischer alleged that the Soviets conspired to prevent any non-Soviets from winning the tournament.

He claimed the players who eventually finished in the top three – Tigran Petrosian, Paul Keres and Efin Geller – managed to draw all 12 games against each other to save energy for the end of the tournament. .

In an interview in 2002, Yuri Averbakh, who was the head of the Soviet team, confirmed the existence of the drawing pact.

Chess as a Cold War Battleground

In the 1960s and 1970s, the Cold War was in full swing and chess was very popular and considered a battleground between the Soviet Union and America.

“For the Soviet Union, supremacy on the chessboard was a demonstration – as its leaders saw it – of the superiority of their socialist system over the Western capitalist system,” England chess federation Dominic Lawson told the BBC in 2005.

Fischer’s victory over the Russian Spassky is probably the most famous chess encounter of all time and – briefly – ended 24 years of Soviet domination of the world championship.

Three French masters accused of having tried to cheat by SMS

Three master-level French players have been suspended after being accused of using an elaborate text scheme to cheat during a tournament in 2010.

Cyril Marzolo followed developments on the internet and used computer software to establish the next best move, the BBC reported.

The move was then sent in a coded text message to another team member, Arnaud Hauchard, who would then sit at a particular table in the competition room to communicate the move to Sébastien Feller who was playing the game.

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