A champion chess player was accused Tuesday of likely cheating in more than 100 competitively online matches.
A 72-page report from Chess.com accused Hans Niemann, 19, of “likely cheating” in online chess matches. Niemann has vehemently denied cheating in any “tournament with prize money,” but admitted to cheating in online matches when he was younger, around 12 and 16 years of age. Nevertheless, Chess.com has removed him from the site and disinvited him from its Global Championship, according to the report.
The investigation into Niemann suggests he may have cheated far more than he admitted to. Among the suspect matches are roughly 25 streamed games and over 100 rated games on the website as recently as August 2020, including matches with prize money, the report concluded.
Accusations against Niemann initially came from world champion player Magnus Carlsen in September, according to the BBC. Niemann had beaten Carlsen that month in the Sinquefield Cup, snapping Magnus’ 53-game winning streak, in what the outlet called a “major upset.”
Later that month, the duo met again, but Carlsen quit the game after making a single move in an alleged protest against Niemann’s participation, the BBC continued. Carlsen posted a public statement following the move where he said he was “not willing to play chess with Niemann.”
This is truly a humbling day for me. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to play chess at the highest level and live out my dreams. A few years ago, my chess dreams were quickly dwindling but thankfully they rose from the dead. This is only the beginning…
— Hans Niemann (@HansMokeNiemann) September 4, 2022
Chess.com noted that though Niemann’s results are “statistically extraordinary,” the “direct evidence” he cheated against Carlsen in real-world “over-the-board” matches is lacking. There were “certain aspects” of Niemann’s game that the investigators found “suspicious,” including his statements after the match and “anomalies” in his rate of improvement, the report noted.
Niemann shot from an initial ranking of around 800 in the world to the top 50 players in less than two years, the BBC noted in another article. His rise was the fastest in “modern recorded history” and occurred later in life than Niemann’s peers in the field. (RELATED: Kim Kardashian Pays SEC $1.26 Million Over Crypto Promotion)
“I don’t care, because I know I am clean. You want me to play in a closed box with zero electronic transmission, I don’t care. I’m here to win and that is my goal regardless,” Niemann said an October statement, according to the BBC. He did not respond to The Daily Caller for comment prior to the publication of this article.