The 20-year-old American shocked the chess world by defeating five-time champion Magnus Carlsen. But the Norwegian then claimed he cheated, prompting a Chess.com investigation and a defamation lawsuit from Niemann.
go through James Robinson, Sky News reporter @thejournojames
Wednesday 28 June 2023 11:29, United Kingdom
A child chess prodigy has had his case dismissed after he was accused of cheating in a $100m (£89m) lawsuit against a grandmaster and the world’s largest online chess platform.
Hans Niemann, 20, stunned five-time world champion Magnus Carlsen – considered by some to be the greatest chess player of all time – last September Chess world.
But what happened next was even more explosive — Carlson accused his opponent of cheating.
A Chess.com investigation later claimed it was ‘Very likely’ Niemans cheated in more than 100 online games, Includes several bonus events.
The American chess prodigy denies cheating and has filed a lawsuit accusing Chess.com and several prominent chess figures, including Carlsen, of conspiring to defame and blacklist him.
On Tuesday, a federal court in Missouri dismissed the case.
U.S. District Judge Audrey Fleissig dismissed Neiman’s claim that Carlson and Chess.com colluded to exclude him from the lucrative tournament, in violation of antitrust laws.
Judge Flessig also found that she lacked jurisdiction over Niemann’s state law claims for defamation and breach of contract.
Nieman’s attorney said in a statement that the decision had “absolutely no impact” on his ability to sue for defamation in state court.
Chess.com co-founder Erik Allebest and the company’s chief chess officer Daniel Rensech said in a joint statement that they were “delighted to see the ruling.”
“We clearly believe this is a baseless lawsuit that has cost us a lot of time and money, but we have a duty to protect this game,” the pair said in a statement.
An attorney for Carlson also told Chess.com that he was “pleased” that the court dismissed the case.
Nieman beat Carlsen in the 2022 Sinkfield Cup in Missouri last September, a victory that ended the Norwegian’s 53-game unbeaten streak.
After the loss, Carlsen shared a post on Twitter that included a quote from football manager Jose Mourinho, in which he said: “I would really rather not talk. If I talk, I’m in big trouble.”
Carlson later withdrew from an online match with Nyman after taking just one move, before accusing his opponent of cheating.
Chess.com, the world’s most popular chess platform, uses detection tools and analyzes computer-recommended player moves and submits a report to Nyman.
Chess.com’s 72-page report said there was “a lack of concrete statistical evidence” that Niemann cheated against Carlsen or any other “off-court” or head-to-head game.
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However, it alleges that Niemans “may have received illegal assistance in more than 100 online games” recently in 2020, including “several bonus campaigns.”
Niemann has previously admitted to cheating in noncompetitive games as a child, but has denied the allegations, saying he never cheated more than he admitted or cheated in any games.
He also claims he lost out on millions of dollars in potential winnings after he was allegedly blacklisted from major tournaments.