The most convincing candidate for such a device I've seen is an Illuminati Thumper Pro hidden in Hans's shoe: https://illuminati-magic.com/products/thumper. If you watch the footage of him getting scanned before his match with Alireza (and, crucially, before Magnus announced he was dropping), there are a couple of subtle things that are consistent with this theory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIulWkTHuu0:
1. He swallows (seemingly nervously) at 4 seconds shortly before his left shoe is scanned.
2. As the left shoe is being scanned, there are 2 beeping noises that at least to me, sound like they are coming from the wand, but are seemingly ignored by the wander. The same beeps do not repeat when his right shoe is scanned (that is, it's not just metal parts built into the shoes themselves). Two caveats to this part: First, I've heard differing opinions on whether the thumper will trigger metal detectors. Second, it's possible (even if unlikely IMO) that those beeps are not from that wand and it's just a coincidence that another wand or object beeped - since we can't see the wand in frame.
3. At 1:17 he starts nervously fidgeting with the credit card as the RF scanner gets close to his left foot and noticeably slows down when the scanner switches from his left foot to the right foot, and appears to stop completely as soon as the scanner is moving up away from his right foot. The RF scanner, to my understanding, would only detect devices that are actively transmitting which the thumper shouldn't need to do at all if Hans were using purely to receive engine moves/hints during the but the fact that it theoretically could transmit would explain why he'd be nervous about getting scanned anyway.
Of course none of these observations are proof but they sure look suspicious to me.
I am very far removed from anything related to Chess, but if they want to get serious about this they should hire people who specialize in the federal-contracting adjacent field of TSCM (technical surveillance countermeasures).
I also think that people putting a lot of focus into shoes or other clothing articles underestimate the motivation and capability of people to use the traditional "prison wallet" method of concealing things.
Wouldn't putting the electronics inside a conductive case hide them from it? Maybe it's hard to get an antenna out if you do that though?
Someone familiar with slight of hand could comfortably scratch here and there while dropping pieces in a 'build' pocket.
The tricks people have pulled to cheat in baseball and (NFL) football are similarly amusing!
If anyone has other examples, I'd love to read about them; it gives me similar satisfaction as learning how a magic trick works.
The second merely suggests an unusually clever, yet plausible methodology.
I felt silly for even thinking this, but seeing as you've mentioned it. It would be so hilarious if true considering he has offered to play naked to prove his innocence!
Here's a link to the original comment, since removed:
Magnus didn't play particularly well and Hans played ok. This was not an example of a superhuman intelligence passing hints to overcome Magnus at his best.
I don’t totally buy Hans didn’t prepare the weird line, but it’s worth calling out; it’s at least marginally possible that Magnus out himself in an unwinnable position on purpose, but couldn’t convert it.
Everyone says this, but do you really know? Those statements are after-the-fact observations of engine evaluations. They don't speak to the amount of mental work that Hans would have had to put in to play optimally (or 'ok' as you say) in those positions.
You might find yourself making the same remarks when looking at the post-game analysis of any top player against an engine. Everyone crumples eventually against perfect play.
Yes, they do. When Magnus makes poor choice - not giving himself an advantage or playing moves giving black an advantage - it makes it easier for black. That’s the whole point.
Putting your opponent in positions that are better according to the engine but only with engine-like perfect play is a strategy at the highest levels of chess. Because the move is objectively worse, it won't be played, because it's not played, your opponent won't know it, because they don't know it, you'll play it better, then you win.
You want to look for evidence that such an intense level of scrutiny is too good at finding signs of ill intent.
e.g. is the bit of information "move the knight" aka theres only about 4 bits of info, or is it "move the knight to E6" which is a good deal more bits, that could be lossy/error prone.
just on the surface of it, i dont see how this thing could give enough info but i suppose with a loooot of training you could improve the info transfer rate?
"I would just needed to cheat one or two times during a match, and I would not even need to be given moves, just the answer on which move was way better, or here there is a possibility of winning and here you need to be more careful. That is all I would need in order to be almost invincible."
Even just 1 bit - an indication to be careful - would be enough to boost the strength of a GM. An accomplice coughing in the background to let you know there's something to watch for. For a strong player - and there's no doubt that Niemann is a strong player, the question is just how strong - that's all they need to avoid making mistakes. GMs can solve insanely hard puzzles, because they know it's a puzzle and has a specific solution. Same thing with 1 bit of info.
Of course, realistically they could simply use Morse code instead of "bits" and transmit two squares (just 4 Morse "letters").
i dont have a horse in this race i just like thinking about things in terms of information theory since this is a remarkable applied case
another way to decide this - have them play blitz (where the moves are way too fast for info transmission to happen), and see if the skill level scales accordingly?
Not a fair contest. There are plenty of top classical chess players who are weaker in blitz and vice versa. It’s a different skillset. Classical is all about preparation for the opening followed by some deep thinking in the midgame. Blitz is all about pattern recognition and the ability to simplify down to an ending where you can blitz out the exact solution from a database.
magnus completely destroyed hans in two games, as black. I think the ease with which magnus took hans apart in these beach games, presumably added to his suspicion when hans played so much better in the Sinquefield cup.
I do think Hans is cheating, but I think the proof will lie in statistical analysis of his games and demonstrating that he has an unusual (>3200 rated) propensity to clutch out specific moves. I think everyone suspects at this point that if Hans is cheating, its only a handful of moves per game.
Blunders are exactly what a device like the one described would seriously help with. If the buzz means both "there is an only move here and it's not immediately obvious" and "at least one of the natural moves here is a blunder or very inaccurate" then you need to just send a buzz and you've probably cut inaccuracies significantly. That said, a very simple communication device like this is probably badly hurt by a 15 minute delay.
Interesting, I'm not sure if a computer has the ability to recognize something as a "natural move but also a blunder." It would require a very human-like way of thinking about moves, which computers don't generally have.
Probably the easiest case of "natural move but blunder" is anything that is a top 3 engine move when looking 3-5 moves deep, but losing significantly on deeper evaluation.
Also, this sort of categorization is at the heart of how chess puzzle collections are automatically assembled. A good chess puzzle contains an unnatural move that wins--the exact opposite of the natural but blunder. Chess sites scan their online play databases for these all the time, and serve them up as puzzles.
Any human 1500+ can recognize the natural human move. The way the computer thinks about moves is different.
I really don't believe that Stockfish can tell you "this move is tempting, but wrong."
I'm sure you could build something in that might kind of work, but until I see it I'm skeptical.
Perhaps a top-level player can jump to a higher level if they can stop worrying about coming up with brilliances in the macro strategy, and instead focus entirely on making their micro-level play spotless.
What does that even mean?
ELO gives you a statistical evaluation of how likely victory is for one of the player. Hans rating means he has non insignificant chance of winning against Magnus.
Hans can win without cheating as this last game proves. There is not a shred of evidence against him after all.
It's not going to make the game more fun, but it's probably necessary.
As these players are on timers there is a race against a clock. So if you know where to focus your time/effort you can easily gain an advantage.
Now imagine what people like the Super GMs are capable of.
They put a number of mid-game positions on the board, and Magnus was able to guess the players, tournament, game number, who won, what the next few moves were. Who was playing on the table next to him. What their moves were.
First, those people should look at his YouTube. Obviously he's capable of analyzing games. To think he'd be incapable of analyzing a game he just played? What? It makes no sense.
To think that someone, even if they were cheating in every game, was not a 2600ish rated player and to perform like Hans is just ridiculous. Every 2600 player can out analyze anyone who is a 2100 player (Botez).
The argument doesn't stand up at all.
They remember all the variations they consider, and they've considered most of the variations their opponents have calculated, so the variations aren't new branches, they're just pointers to spots in the game tree both players have in their heads.
Or lock them in transparent cube for week before match naked... So many solutions that specially person like Carlsen should be open to.
Edit: At the grand finale at 7:51 he says it again: "I haven't cheated yet, but it's coming up."