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A chess grandmaster has responded to bizarre claims that he used anal beads to beat world No 1, Magnus Carlsen.
World chess champion Carlsen, 31, withdrew from the Sinquefield Cup last week after an unexpected defeat to 19-year-old Hans Niemann – a relative newcomer to the world of professional chess.
Carlsen announced his withdrawal from the tournament with a cryptic tweet, which included a video of football manager Jose Mourinho saying: "If I speak I am in big trouble."
Niemann has previously admitted to cheating in online chess tournaments, prompting fans to speculate whether the San Francisco-born player beat Carlsen fairly.
A bizarre theory circulating online claims Niemann could have used an accomplice, computer assistance and vibrating anal beads to beat Carlsen, who was on a two-year unbeaten run before their match.
"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," posted one fan on Twitter.
The world's richest man, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, has also waded into the debate, sharing a video on Twitter of an influencer discussing the rumour that Niemann used a vibrating sex toy during the competition.
In a now deleted tweet, Musk posted an adapted version of a quote by philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, writing: "Talent hits a target no one else can hit, genius hits a target no one can see (cause it's in ur butt)."
Suspicions were raised after Niemann admitted to cheating in online chess tournaments when he was 12 and 16 by using a computer program to select moves.
Chess website Chess.com responded by uninviting Niemann from the world championship and removing him from its website.
Niemann has now hit back at his critics, while vehemently denying that he cheated to beat Carlsen.
He said: "I have never cheated in an over-the-board game."
"If they want me to strip fully naked, I will do it," he added.
"I don't care. Because I know I am clean. You want me to play in a closed box with zero electronic transmission, I don't care.
"I'm here to win and that is my goal regardless."
Of the 10 players participating in the Sinquefield Cup, Niemann was ranked the lowest.
He became a chess grandmaster in 2020 and is currently ranked 41st in the world.
Chess website Chess.com have since uninvited Niemann from the global chess championship and removed him from their website.