A 72-page Chess.com report seen by the WSJ says that Hans Niemann likely received illegal assistance in more than 100 online games.
An investigation by Chess.com, the game’s leading online platform, found that Hans Moke Niemann has cheated more than 100 times, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The 19-year-old American grandmaster had recently denied cheating allegations after five-time world chess champion Magnus Carlsen released a statement last month accusing him of cheating more often than he previously admitted, noting how has been Niemann’s general progress. “unusual”.
Last month, Carlsen withdrew from the 2022 Sinquefield Cup after losing to Niemann in the third round of the tournament. A week later, Carslen resigned after playing just one move against Niemann on the Champions Chess Tour.
The Norwegian said that Niemann had outplayed him by using black chess pieces, a handicap in the chess world, without “fully concentrating on the game in critical positions”.
Niemann has acknowledged cheating online twice, when he was 12 and 16, but says he has never fraudulently played in a head-to-head match and is even willing to play naked to prove his good faith.
Now, a 72-page investigation by Chess.com, seen by the WSJ, says Niemann likely received illegal assistance in more than 100 online games, as recently as 2020, including prize money contests.
The report corroborated Carslen’s suspicions regarding Niemann’s rise through the elite ranks of competitive chess in person, noting “many notable signs and unusual patterns in Hans’ path as a player.”
“Outside of his online game, Hans is the fastest growing best player in Classical [over-the-board] chess in modern history,” says the report. “Purely looking at the qualification, Hans should be classified as a member of this group of the best young players. While we have no doubt that Hans is a talented player, we note that his results are statistically extraordinary.”
Chess.com, which uses various cheat detection tools, including those that compare moves suggested by chess engines, said Niemann was 17 years old during the most recent violations and had livestreamed 25 contests.
This prompted the website to close his account at the time, and a letter sent to Niemann notes his “blatant cheating” to improve his rating in different games, including one against Russian chess star Ian Nepomniachtchi.
The report added that Niemann had confessed to the allegations in a private phone call with the platform’s chess director, Danny Rensch.
Chess.com historically handles bans privately, but its investigation into the 19-year-old came after he publicly questioned his ban from the site’s Global Championship, saying he felt “obliged to share the basis” for his decisions.
FIDE, the governing body of the chess world, is conducting its own investigation into the Niemann-Carlsen case.
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