The chess grandmaster Hans Niemann, who is suspected of cheating, started his first-round game at the US championships in St. Louis/Missouri shortly after the publication of an investigation report. After the sovereign victory against 15-year-old Christopher Yoo, he made a brief statement, he did not allow questions and then broke off the interview.

“This game is a message to everyone. It all started with me saying that chess speaks for itself. I think this game spoke for itself. She showed the chess player I am,” said the 19-year-old American. The game also made it clear that he would not give up and would play his best chess at the tournament. “It doesn’t matter what pressure I’m under. That’s all I have to say about this game. Chess speaks for itself. That’s all I can say.”

When the moderator asked about the game, he did not respond, but ended the conversation: “I’m sorry, that’s it. You can interpret that however you want. That’s all I want to say. It was such a beautiful game, I don’t have to describe it.”

Niemann is in focus because world champion Magnus Carlsen accuses him of cheating. The first incident between the two grandmasters occurred at the beginning of September. At the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis, the 31-year-old superstar from Norway surprisingly lost to Niemann and withdrew from a tournament for the first time in his career.

Niemann then 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. But Niemann is said to have even cheated in more than 100 online games. This emerges from an investigation report by the portal, which the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. Niemann is said to have cheated many times more often than on the two occasions that he himself had conceded.

According to the paper, Niemann admitted to the allegations in the report and was banned from the site, which is popular with both amateurs and grandmasters, for some time. According to the information, Niemann last cheated in 2020, including in tournaments involving prize money.

The World Chess Federation announced last week that it would set up a commission of inquiry.