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Chess player sues for $100m after being accused of cheating

A teenage chess player has been accused of cheating and launched a $100m (PS89m), libel lawsuit against Chess.com, the world champion and online platform Chess.com.

Hans Niemann, 19 years old, was charged with widespread cheating after a Chess.com investigation. It was “likely,” he cheated on more than 100 online gaming.

He beat Magnus Carlsen, a 31-year-old world champion – a player widely regarded as the greatest ever – and it caused shockwaves across world chess.

Chess.com has banned Niemann. It is the most widely used chess platform in the world and uses detection tools and analysis to compare moves of players against recommendations by computers to compile its report.

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Niemann was not found to have cheated against Carlsen in face-to-face games or any other in-person activities.

However, it did indicate widespread online cheating.

Image: Magnus Carlsen

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Niemann broke his silence and said he “won’t backdown”

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In addition to Carlsen’s online Chess.com platform Play Magnus and Chess.com executive Danny Rensch, the lawsuit was filed in Missouri, USA. Hikaru Nakamura, an American grandmaster, is also named as defendants.

Niemann claimed that the defendants “colluding with blacklist” him from professional chess and that he’s been ignored by tournament organizers since Carlsen, five-time world champion, publicly accused him of cheating.

Carlsen’s defeat to Niemann in a surprise and his subsequent withdrawal in September from the Sinquefield Cup, St Louis, Missouri sparked furore and accusations, including Nakamura that the American had cheated.

After just one move against Niemann, the Norwegian player in an online tournament, the Norwegian quit a few weeks later than the Sinquefield Cup.

Lawyers for Chess.com stated that Niemann’s claims were unfounded and that the company is saddened by his decision not to sue.

“Chess.com is looking forward to setting the record straight for its team and all honest players of chess.”

Requests for comment were not answered by representatives of Nakamura and Carlsen.



Famous cheating scandals which have rocked the sport

Niemann was previously banned from Chess.com due to cheating online. He admitted that he had not played fair in non-competitive games of the website in his youth but denied any wrongdoing when he competed in over-the-board games.

According to his lawsuit, Chess.com “banned Niemann from its site and all future events to give credence to Carlsen’s unsubstantiated accusations of cheating”.

“Carlsen has established his status as King of Chess and believes that chess is an unlimited game.” The complaint was added.

Nakamura was also accused of publishing “hours worth of video content amplifying Carlsen’s false cheating claims”.

Last month, the International Chess Federation announced that it would launch an investigation into allegations of cheating.

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