Thursday, September 29, 2022

The boy walked, looked and spoke like any other child

The row over cheating in chess grumbles on. There is now a sense that many of the top players share a feeling that Hans Niemann, the young American whom the world champion Magnus Carlsen implicitly accused, has improved too rapidly and plays strong but not obvious moves too quickly.

If you want an informed guide to the controversy, I recommend an edition of Perpetual Chess Podcast. One of the contributors, the Scottish grandmaster and philosopher Jonathan Rowson, quotes this German fable as a warning:

A man whose axe was missing suspected his neighbour's son. The boy walked like a thief, looked like a thief and talked like a thief.

But the man found his axe while he was digging in the valley, and the next time he saw his neighbour's son, the boy walked, looked and spoke like any other child.

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