American teenager Hans Niemann sues chess champion Magnus Carlsen for cheating

American grandmaster Hans Niemann filed a lawsuit against Magnus Carlsen on Thursday after the Norwegian world champion accused him of cheating. It is the latest move in a scandal that has rocked the chess world.

Niemann, 19, in the lawsuit filed in federal court in Missouri, is seeking $100 million in damages from Carlsen, his company Play Magnus Group, Danny Rensch of Chess.com, the world’s leading online chess platform, and American grandmaster. Hikaru Nakamura.

Niemann charged the defendants with slander and libel and conspiracy to destroy his reputation and livelihood.

CHESS-USA-SPORT-NIEMANN
American grandmaster Hans Niemann awaits his turn in a second round chess match against Jeffery Xiong on the second day of the Saint Louis Chess Club Fall Chess Classic in St. Louis, Missouri, on October 6, 2022.

TIM VIZER/AFP via Getty Images


Carlsen has publicly accused Niemann of cheating, and Chess.com claimed in a report earlier this month that the American “probably cheated more than 100 times” in online games.

But while the Chess.com report said Niemann “probably cheated a lot more than his public statements suggest…there is a lack of concrete statistical evidence that he cheated in his game with Magnus or in any other over-the-board ( “OTB” )—that is, in-person—games.”

In his complaint, Niemann said 31-year-old Carlsen, the five-time reigning world champion, Rensch and Nakamura inflicted “devastating damage” on his reputation and career by “grossly defaming him”.

It accuses them of “unlawful conspiracy to blacklist him from the profession to which he has devoted his life.”

“Since the age of 16, Niemann’s only means of earning a living has come from the money he earns from teaching chess and participating in chess tournaments,” the lawsuit said.

After Niemann “deeply defeated” Carlsen at the Sinquefield Cup tournament in Missouri on September 4, the Norwegian “cruelly and maliciously retaliated against Niemann by falsely accusing Niemann, without any evidence, of somehow cheating during their personal match,” it said.

Chess.com, according to the lawsuit, “banned Niemann from its website and all its future events, in order to give credence to Carlsen’s baseless and defamatory allegations.”

Florida-based Nakamura, an influential streaming partner of Chess.com, has been accused of publishing “hours of video content that amplifies and attempts to amplify Carlsen’s false allegations of cheating.”

Chess.com banned Niemann on September 5, shortly after the first accusations were made.

Niemann’s lawsuit suggested that Chess.com’s move was made under pressure from Carlsen, whose company Play Magnus is currently being acquired for $83 million by Chess.com.

Carlsen, who has cemented his position as the ‘king of chess’, believes that when it comes to chess, he can do whatever he wants and get away with it,” the indictment said.

Two weeks after his loss in the Sinquefield Cup, Niemann and Carlsen met again in the sixth round of the online Julius Baer Generation Cup.

Carlsen resigned after just one move and issued a statement saying he would “not play against people who have cheated repeatedly in the past”.

“I know my actions have frustrated many in the chess community,” Carlsen wrote. “I’m frustrated. I want to play chess. I want to keep playing chess at the highest level in the best events.”

The International Chess Federation announced on September 29 that it would launch an investigation into the allegations of fraud.

Niemann has admitted to cheating on Chess.com in the past when he was between the ages of 12 and 16, but has denied the most recent allegations, claiming to be “ready to play naked” if necessary.

Leave a Comment