In the latest episode of the cheating scandal that has rocked the chess world, Hans Niemann has filed a $100m lawsuit against Magnus Carlsen at U.S. District Court in Missouri. Niemann is also suing Chess.com, for allegedly conspiring with Carlsen to destroy his repute as a chess prodigy.
It all started after Niemann’s shocking win over Carlsen at the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis which prompted the Norwegian to withdraw from the tournament. A month later, he lost out on points by forfeiting the match against Niemann. Carlsen broke his silence only last month, with a verbose statement on Twitter, where he accused Niemann of cheating in the game he lost, the inference he drew from the American’s body language and lack of concentration in a crucial phase of the game.
“We must do something about cheating, and for my part going forward, I don’t want to play against people that have cheated repeatedly in the past, because I don’t know what they are capable of doing in the future,” added Carlsen.
Days after Carlsen’s statement, Chess.com published a detailed investigation, accusing Niemann of cheating in over 100 games. Niemann has admitted to cheating on Chess.com twice – once when he was 12 and the next when he was 16 – but has denied any wrongdoings thereafter.
“Overall, we have found that Hans has likely cheated in more than 100 online chess games, including several prize money events,” the report notes. Niemann was banned from playing on Chess.com for an indefinite period.
Chess.com is the most popular online platform, and recently acquired PlayMagnus, founded by Carlsen in 2013, for a whopping sum of $83 million. The lawsuit claims that the Chess.com report is influenced by its business relation with Carlsen, and it aims to “monopolize the chess world”. It also notes that these allegations, unrooted from reality, have hampered Niemann’s employment opportunities.
Niemann, thus, wants to be compensated for “devastating damages that defendants have inflicted upon his reputation, career, and life by egregiously defaming him and unlawfully colluding to blacklist him from the profession to which he has dedicated his life.”
Hikaru Nakamura, who is the most popular chess streamer on Twitch and has been a staunch critic of Niemann, is also accused of colluding with Carlsen and Chess.com.
lead Image: Chess24/Twitter