Online Chess Officials Find Hans Niemann Cheated More Than 100 Times
Chess.com, the most popular site for online chess, published a 76-page report Tuesday concluding that chess grandmaster Hans Niemann cheated in at least 100 online matches, including prize tournaments. The report did not prove that Niemann cheated against Magnus Carlsen at the Sinquefield Cup but reinforces his ban from online tournaments on the site.
“Overall, we have found that Hans has likely cheated in more than 100 online chess games, including several prize money events,” the report stated. “He was already 17 when he likely cheated in some of these matches and games. He was also streaming in 25 of these games.”
According to the website, which published its report Tuesday, an investigation into Niemann’s play began following his admission of limited cheating over the course of his early chess career online. Chess.com Chief Chess Officer Danny Rensch released a statement refuting Niemann’s claim, saying that he cheated far more than he stated and that he was removed from the site.
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The site’s report, which comes nearly one month after Rensch’s statement, concludes that Niemann cheated regularly, sometimes in events for monetary prizes, until at least the age of 17. Niemann, now 19, has enjoyed one of the most meteoric rises in high-level chess after an atypically average career as a younger teenager.
In their report, Chess.com officials denied having ever communicated with Carlsen, who first suggested the idea that Niemann was cheating over the board when the young American defeated Carlsen in the Sinquefield Cup on Sept. 4. Carlsen withdrew from the event following the defeat and later said that he would refuse to compete with Niemann in future events due to suspicions of cheating.
Instead of responding to Carlsen’s implied and later explicit accusations against Niemann, the online hosts clarified that they only conducted an investigation in response to Niemann’s claim of two cheating incidents. Their report found that his cheating was far more extensive than that.
“It must be emphasized that we never intended our concerns about Hans’ fair play violations to be a public conversation,” the report stated. “Indeed, his recent removal from Chess.com and the CGC was also communicated privately. He chose to make these communications public. As a result, we feel compelled to share the basis for our decisions publicly with the community.”
Though there is still no evidence that Niemann is cheating over the board in high-level tournaments, there is now a natural level of suspicion surrounding the grandmaster in all of his events. At the U.S. Chess Championship earlier this week, Niemann and other competitors were extensively searched with a metal detector to ensure fair play.
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