If you know anything about the scandal currently rocking the chess world, it's probably this...
Reporter 1 00:05
[music plays] Chess has been in the news because of a huge cheating controversy. It's almost been part soap opera, part whodunnit, and we still don't know all the answers.
Reporter 2 00:14
There was recently match where one of the players was accused of using anal beads to electronically stimulate the right answer for chess. [laughing] Like-- like-- whoa!
Reporter 1 00:28
People were speculating that Niemann could have cheated with the use of vibrating anal beads, which sounds ridiculous, but it went absolutely viral. People talking about it, people asking how he could have done it.
Trevor Noah 00:39
I get why someone would use vibrating anal beads to cheat, you know? Because even if you lose, you still kind of win, you know? [audience laughs]
Like most headlines, this barely scratches the surface of the story that's unfolding here. [music plays] A story of cheating, betrayal, scandal, and lies that runs so deep into the core of professional chess I truly don't know if the truth is able to be found amongst the statements, matches, history, and facts of this tale. [music cuts out] But that's what we're here to do. [music plays] We're on a mission to uncover the real story of what the [bleep] is happening in elite chess.
Yeah, first and foremost, I think the purpose of this podcast is to examine cheating and its repercussions as it pertains to the game of chess,
Right, but we're also trying to find an answer to some big picture questions, too. Like, can true facts and honesty still exist in the age of the internet?
Why are we talking about anal beads?
Why should anyone care about cheating in chess? These are all great questions, some of them better than others, that we intend to get to the bottom of-- no pun intended. [music stops]
[laughs] Before we answer any of these questions, let's start with the hosts. We can get to the sex device in episode one. [music plays]
I'm Jess Schmidt, and I'm a podcast producer. I know pretty much nothing about chess. But luckily, I'm joined by my boyfriend, Ryan Webb, who's an intermediate chess player. Say hi, Ryan.
Ryan, why do we have the hubris to think that we should be the people to tell this story? I mean, my logic is that you spend so much time thinking about chess.
Yeah, when I'm not studying or playing online, I'm watching game recaps or looking at the latest chess news.
And most of the time, you don't talk to me about it anymore. Because even though I initially tried really hard to get into it, I just do not see what makes it so compelling. [music fades out] At least, until now. [music plays] As of a couple of weeks ago, Ryan has started filling me in on a big scandal. And despite my general disinterest in chess, I've started to find this particular story very interesting indeed. This story is all we've been able to talk about, and it's formed a kind of bridge between Ryan's world of diehard chess fandom, and my world of unsolved mystery loving. So, if either of those sounds good to you, then stick around-- we're going in deep. [music stops]
Insert anal bead joke here. And in all seriousness, as much as you really don't know anything but what I've told you about chess, you are a really talented podcast producer and storyteller. And you did write this part of the script, [Jess laughs] but I really believe that.
In the course of this series, we're going to introduce you to the key players of the scandal, lay out the timeline of what's happened so far, delve into a brief history of chess that's led us to this moment, and posit what this story could mean for the future of chess-- if there still is one.
[music plays] We both have our own convictions on what the real truth of this story is, and who is the hero, versus who or what-- ominous little breadcrumb there-- is the villain of the tale. But we want you, the listener, to be able to draw your own conclusions. [music stops] So, we'll do our best to just give you the pure hard facts so you can decide for yourself.
[theme music plays] It won't just be our voices telling this story, though. As two smalltime Canadians, we're going to do our best to talk to as many people as we can, from experts to other enthusiast, and anyone else that can help shine a light on what's actually happening here.
So, buckle up, because this is a tale of anal beads.
This is a tale of Elon Musk.
This is a tale of cheating, of lies, and conspiracies.
This is a tale of the game of chess, and the potential collapse of its future.
Ryan and Jess in unison 05:07
This is Rooked. [music fades out] [slide whistle plays]