A cheating scandal is buzzing in the chess world with wild allegations of using technology — including vibrating “anal beads” — to signal winning moves after a teenage newcomer beat a world champion at a high-stakes tournament.
Hans Niemann, 19, of San Francisco, Calif., caused a major upset when he defeated Norwegian grandmaster Magnus Carlsen, 31, at the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis, Missouri, on Sept. 4, according to VICE news.
In the wake of the stunning result, the chess world exploded into such an uproar that Niemann faced allegations of cheating, was banned from chess.com — and even billionaire Elon Musk weighed in with a tweet mocking online rumors that a rectally inserted device was used in the possible scam.
“Talent hits a target no one else can hit, genius hits a target no one can see (cause it’s in ur butt),” the Tesla CEO tweeted on Sept. 8.
Carlsen is the reigning five-time World Chess Champion while Niemann was the lowest-rated player in the tournament, according to chess.com.
His loss to the newbie ended his 53-game winning streak — and he quickly withdrew from the tournament, which features a $350,000 cash prize.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing in the @STLChessClub, and hope to be back in the future,” he tweeted on Sept. 5.
He added a cryptic video of a speech by soccer manager Jose Mourinho.
“I prefer not to speak,” Mourinho said in the 2020 video. “If I speak I am in big trouble…and I don’t want to be in big trouble.”
Observers online were quick to accuse Niemann of using technology to cheat, despite no evidence of foul play.
Players could use vibration-based buttons placed in their shoes to communicate with a chess engine hidden somewhere in their clothing to gain outside advice on what moves to play, VICE reported. The computer systems predict game outcomes and provide recommendations on how to win.
The vibrating shoes theory sparked the unfounded allegations that Niemann was tapping into a computer using a “prostate massager” or “wireless anal beads” — though the logistics of how that would work were unclear, according to Riverfront Times.
“Currently obsessed with the notion that Hans Niemann has been cheating at the Sinquefield Cup chess tournament using wireless anal beads that vibrate him the correct moves,” one professional gamer tweeted.
Niemann was frisked before the game against Carlsen and security found nothing, according to the Guardian.
Niemann was then banned from chess.com and uninvited from its Global Championship, a $1 million event with online qualifiers in Toronto, according to the Guardian.
“We have invited Neimann to provide an explanation and response with the hope of finding a resolution where Neimann can again participate on Chess.com.”
“I’m not going to let Chess.com, I’m not going to let Magnus Carlsen, I’m not going to let Hikaru Nakamura, the three arguably biggest entities in chess, simply slander my reputation because the question is — why are they going to remove me from Chess.com right after I beat Magnus?” Neimann said, according to the Guardian.
A rep from Chess.com told The Post Niemann was booted for cheating on the site.
“We have reached out to Niemann to explain our decision to privately remove him from Chess.com and our events. We have shared detailed evidence with him concerning our decision, including the information that contradicts his statements [about] the amount and seriousness of his cheating on Chess.com,” the rep emailed in a statement.
The game played between Niemann and Carlsen shows both making mistakes — one sign that Niemann did not use a computer to cheat, the outlet reported.
Asked about Carlsen bowing out of the tournament, Niemann alleged the champ must have withdrawn because he was ashamed.
“I think [he] was just so demoralized because he’s losing to an idiot like me. It must be embarrassing for the world champion to lose to me. I feel bad for him,” he said in an interview posted to the St. Louis Chess Club’s YouTube channel.
Niemann had already beaten the world champion in August in an online tournament in Miami, Fla. “Chess speaks for itself,” he said after winning.
He didn’t return The Post’s request for comment Wednesday.
“A player’s decision to withdraw from a tournament is a personal decision, and we respect Magnus’ choice,″ Tony Rich, executive director of Saint Louis Chess Club, said in a statement. “We look forward to hosting Magnus at a future event in Saint Louis.”