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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Report Alleges Chess Grandmaster Cheated in Over 100 Games

  • A report from Chess.com found more than 100 instances of likely cheating by grandmaster Hans Moke Niemann, including in prize money events.
  • Niemann has been banned from Chess.com and its upcoming $1 million tournament.

The world’s largest online chess platform released its findings on a scandal that has shaken the chess community.

Chess.com’s investigation revealed that 19-year-old grandmaster Hans Moke Niemann likely cheated using computer assistance in more than 100 online chess games, including multiple prize-money events. 

The platform has banned Niemann and removed him from the Chess.com Global Championship, which carries a prize fund of $1 million.

  • Though Niemann had previously been suspended from Chess.com for cheating, the scandal began in earnest when world champion Magnus Carlsen dropped out of September’s Sinquefield Cup, forfeiting a chance at its $350,000 purse, after losing to Niemann. 
  • Carlsen’s shocking move brought scrutiny to Niemann’s postgame analysis, which other grandmasters called “incoherent” and below what’s expected of a player of Niemann’s rating.
  • Niemann’s rating has risen faster than any other player’s in history over a comparable time period.

Chess.com did not make a determination on whether Niemann had cheated during in-person games such as his fateful match against Carlsen, but said that the issue warrants further inquiry. The International Chess Federation (FIDE), the global governing body for the game, is conducting its own investigation.

Who Can Play Magnus?

The kerfuffle has been awkward for Chess.com and Carlsen, who are financially entangled after the platform agreed to acquire the champion’s company Play Magnus for $82.9 million in August.

Chess.com said it did not consult Carlsen on any of its actions surrounding its investigation or decisions to ban him.

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