The controversial chess grandmaster Hans Niemann, whom world champion Magnus Carlsen recently openly accused of using illegal methods, is said to have cheated in more than 100 online games. This emerges from an investigation report by the chess.com portal, which the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. The 19-year-old American is said to have cheated many times more often than on the two occasions when he was 12 and 16, which he himself had recently admitted.
According to the report, Niemann admitted to the allegations in the report and was banned from the site, popular with both amateurs and chess grandmasters, for some time. According to the information, Niemann last cheated in 2020, including in tournaments involving prize money.
Carlsen accuses his US counterparty of fraud: “I think that Niemann – even recently – cheated more than he publicly admitted.” The first incident between the two occurred in early September. At the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis, the superstar surprisingly lost to Niemann and withdrew from a tournament for the first time in his career.
The 31-year-old Norwegian did not give any reasons at the time. The chess scene interpreted Carlsen’s exit as an allegation of fraud against Niemann. The American admitted in an interview during the Sinquefield Cup that he had cheated twice in online games as a teenager, aged 12 and 16, but never in person at the chessboard. The second scandal followed in an online tournament at the end of September: Carlsen met Niemann again and gave up after his first move.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the chess.com report makes no statement as to whether Niemann also cheated in direct duels at the board. However, Niemann’s rise in the rankings is described as “statistically exceptional” and there is an indication that Niemann’s strongest performances deserve further investigation based on the data.
The World Chess Federation announced last week that it would set up a commission of inquiry.