Hans Moke Niemann is taking his attacking style from the chess board to the courts.
The 19-year-old grandmaster is suing world chess champion Magnus Carlsen, his company Play Magnus, Chess.com, its chief chess officer Daniel Rensch, and grandmaster and popular chess streamer Hikaru Nakamura, for defamation and “colluding to blacklist” Niemann from chess.
The lawsuit, filed in a Missouri district court, seeks at least $400 million in damages across five causes of action.
- Carlsen shook the chess world in September by withdrawing from the Sinquefield Cup, which carries a $350,000 prize pool, after losing to Niemann.
- He later accused Niemann directly of cheating in a written statement.
- Nakamura stated that he was suspicious of Niemann following the match, namely due to Niemann’s postgame analysis, which he and other grandmasters found lacking.
Chess.com, which Niemann’s lawyers, Terrence Oved and Darren Oved, called a “multibillion-dollar behemoth,” agreed to buy Play Magnus for $83 million in August.
Did He or Didn’t He?
Niemann admitted cheating online in isolated incidents at the ages of 12 and 16 and once for prize money at 12, but otherwise claimed he has “never cheated” during in-person games or prize money events, calling it “the worst thing I could ever do.”
Chess.com later put out a report stating that Niemann “has likely cheated in more than 100 online chess games, including several prize money events.”
The report drew no firm conclusions on any of Niemann’s over-the-board games, including the fateful one against Carlsen.