By Mattis Ahlgrimm
It’s probably the biggest chess scandal in the history of the game. The 19 – year old American grandmaster Hans Niemann is suing the reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen along with other grand chess entities for over $100 million.
On Sept. 4 Niemann beat Carlsen in a classic over – the – board match during the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis, Missouri. The day after, Carlsen immediately withdrew from the tournament along with a rather cryptic tweet that seemed to point to Niemann’s cheating activities in the past because the teenager had admittedly cheated on two online – occasions at the ages 12 and 16. The scandal escalated further when the two chess players faced each other again in an online – match of the ”Julius Baer Generation Cup,” hosted by the platform Chess24. Instead of playing the game, Carlsen immediately resigned after just one move. On Sept. 24, he then published a statement in which he accused Niemann of having cheated more frequently and more recently than he admits in public. The discussions and rumors took an unexpected turnaround when the leading online chess platform “chess.com” published a 72 – page long analytical report on Niemann’s cheating activities. Opposing to whose own statements according to which he had only cheated twice, neither in prized tournaments nor while streaming, the report clearly stated that he not only probably cheated in over 100 online games but also in multiple prized competitions as well as during livestreams, most recently 2020. Despite afflicting the teenager seriously with these statements, the platform simultaneously declares that there is a “lack of statistical evidence” whether he cheated in the game against Carlsen or at any over – the – board occasions.
Following this, Niemann filed the formerly mentioned lawsuit on Oct. 20, suing Magnus Carlsen, his company Play Magnus Group, the platform chess.com, its leader Danny Rensch as well as US – American grandmaster and streamer Hikaru Nakamura. He accuses them of defamation, slander, libel respectively, civil conspiracy and expresses that the world champion just couldn’t deal with the loss and now uses everyone who’s connected to him through business relationships to ruin Niemann’s career and reputation. Although it’s not in any way foreseeable how this scandal will proceed, it’s safe to say that the chess world is tautly holding its breath, following even the slightest development with exertion.