Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
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A 19-year-old chess novice slaughters the world champion and gets called cheater

His most solid credentials seem cheating and speaking falsehoods

After a demented Hollywood actor played US president with his wife making the real decisions, and a serially bankrupted con artist fakes the same competence, now, a US chess player is accused of having brought the world of lies and falsehoods to the top competitions of world chess.

The following positions seem to have been taken by bystanders:

  1. There is no Proof (Objective Evidence)?

Cheating detection experts have found past cheating but no foul play now:

But amateurs disagree. See the next clip (put on subtitles to hear it well):

It is especially damming if the world’s top players reach a score of around 70% of perfect computer moves, but Niemann sometimes scores 100 but afterward cannot explain his strategy at that top-level (or even half of it).

  1. This Has to be Cheating (Subjective Impression)

The world champion concludes this. His reasoning: the guy was not making any mental effort and even seemed unserious, only half-concentrated.

  1. His Stories Give Him Away (Hiding in Plain View)

My analysis is different from most of what I heard from everyone else.

A. A body language expert is so full of his sophisticated detection methods that he totally overlooks the significance of all the lies the accused tells. In a few minutes of interview time, he contradicts himself and clear evidence, yanking out new demonstrable untruths every couple of seconds. This resembles the verbal diarrhea (sorry for the word) of a top con artist.

‘I’m the only one who knows the truth.’ That implies: ‘I know, while you can only guess.’ And that infers: ‘What I say about it will always be superior to what you can say.’ But, that’s only right if he says the truth.

‘The people who insinuated against me have also been insinuated against.’ This is a clear case of Whataboutism, made famous by con man Trump. He issues global denials but not once says: ‘I did not cheat at this game.’

His anger could be understood but is often used by rightly accused people as a smokescreen. He switches his anger on and off in a second. That is a con artist talent. Feeling people cannot do that. Once overwhelmed by strong emotions (grief, anger, fear, etc.), it shouldn’t dissipate so quickly.

About his cheating three years prior he says: ‘I don’t even recognize myself [in that 16-year-old] anymore,’ ‘Of course, I was willing to do anything to pay the bills,’ and ‘I never cheated in a game for money.’ Doesn’t jive.

Perhaps he didn’t cheat at this game, but verbal truth seems not a priority for him. Is it possible that is capable of making sweeping denials that are exaggerations (from anger) but that he does or did not cheat when he plays chess? Sure. But, if verbal truth doesn’t matter to you, how is speaking out going to convince anyone that you’re an honest player?


B. When he starts defending himself in the recent interview, he obviously gets stressed. That doesn’t prove him a liar. But, when our brain is overrun by things to handle, Freudian slips are bound to come out.

1. He says about the accusations that he’s having a fake accent (Dutch) and so a fake persona, ‘that is like the most ridiculous things I’ve ever said’ – he means ‘heard.’ He gives away that what he says is ridiculous.

2. He talks about sometimes thinking a long time to go through every possible transposition, he says one time instead of transposition (variation): transmission. About another move, he says: ‘I got an attack’ instead of ‘I thought of an attack.’ Does he receive communication?

3. ‘It’s extremely difficult sometimes to recollect uh the the things you’re talking about.’ But, we can only talk about things we remember. If you forgot something, you can’t talk about it—unless you’re lying.

4. Generally, it is fine to say ‘I made a gut call.’ But probably you’d use ‘intuition’ when you’re accused of communicating via vibrating anal beads.

5. After arguing that he used his intuition at a crucial juncture, he says: ‘It’s extremely human chess that I play.’ That might be too much in the framework of the accusation that he cheated with computer information.

6. When admitting to his childhood cheating (only 7 and 3 years ago), he calls it ‘the single biggest mistake in my life,’ and ‘This is not…’ and then switches to past tense.

7. ‘The targeted attack has made it really difficult for me to not stop speaking.’ He says that the attacker was targeted. He confuses speaking with not speaking.

8. ‘The same people who insinuated against me have also been insinuated against and so are not so innocent themselves.’ He equates here being accused and being guilty.

9. ‘I wanted to prove that I can win by myself.’ If you did not cheat for a long time, no need to prove that.

10. ‘This is the truth and I’d like to see if anyone else [accusing me] can actually tell their truth.’ This seems to say: Let’s see who’s the best liar here. While I don’t think any of his accusers are lying.


C. His reaction is unlike what any innocent person would say. Now, he’s allowed to be atypical. But if I would honestly beat the world champion, my hero, out of the blue, I would have been overjoyed. Instead, he looks furious, avoiding any reporter’s question. Why? How? Really.

And then, when he was accused of having cheated, I would be so proud. I would not get offended by people saying that I can’t be as smart as I am. I would beam. My lucky day: played the match of my life, and my brain is compared to a computer. NB: Computers can now beat any chess player.

My conclusion: He has lost the benefit of the doubt. The question is no longer if he cheated but how he did it. Many technical ways are suggested. Here is a potent one. You insert it into your digestive tract (either side). It makes Niemann’s offer to play naked or inside a Faraday cage, a metal enclosure that blocks entering electromagnetic fields, worthless:

When you rob a bank, get caught, and the money is recovered, you have no claim the legal system robbed you. You lost nothing that was yours. When you falsely win a competition, get caught, need to return the money and title, and are banned for life from competing, you can’t claim this is unfair, and your feelings got hurt. You lost nothing that was yours.

  1. But Maybe he Won Honestly?

It’s still possible that he didn’t cheat to win from the world champion, at least this time. How so? Clash in personalities. Carlson is an emotional guy. Niemann says: He hates being attacked [at the game], so I attacked him. Niemann seems to be an emotional desert. That gives him an edge. To stay calm helps when you need to think. So, he might be not so bad in chess but a winner because he’s stone-cold. Con artists are often secretive about anything, and that could be his concealment here. He talks not to inform but to hide—we can’t know what. He can play with the emotions of his opponents while he’s untouchable. Advanced computer chess programs also make not-top moves meant to upset their human opponent.

Yet, his 10 Freudian slips are just too damning. He must’ve cheated here.

So many clips are emerging with Niemann going ballistic that it’s hard to maintain that he’s this cold fish. Maybe he only is when he’s cheating?

I was 16, I think, when I played in a simultaneous game against grandmaster Jan Hein Donner. He spent the longest time at my board, likely because every move I played he never saw in his life. I lost.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, an almost daily blog contributor to the Times of Israel, and previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit about what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and education contribute to his visions. * If you don't know the Dutch, get an American peek behind the scenes here: * To find less-recent posts on subject XXX among his over 1600 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe, here: * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. Yet, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people who don't deserve that. He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust, and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. * One of his rabbis calls him Mr. Innovation [Ish haChidushim]. Yet, his originalities seem to root deeply in traditional Judaism, though they may grow in unexpected directions. In fact, he claims he's modernizing nothing. Rather, mainly basing himself on the basic Hebrew Torah text, he tries to rediscover classical Jewish thought almost lost in thousands of years of stifling Gentile domination and Jewish assimilation. (He pleads for a close reading of the Torah instead of going by rough assumptions of what it would probably mean and before fleeing to Commentaries.) This, in all aspects of life, but prominently in the areas of Free Will, Activism, Homosexuality for men, and Redemption. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. He loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, anti-elitism, anti-bigotry and supremacy, for Zionism, Intersectionality, and non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, empowering therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids non-violently. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's being a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. He lives with his library in Jerusalem. Feel free to contact him. * His writing has been made possible by a (second-generation) Holocaust survivors' allowance from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. * His newest books you may find here:
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