American teenage chess star Hans Niemann has been accused of cheating far more frequently than he once acknowledged. Recently, Niemann was charged with using unfair means to win games. According to Fox News, the accusations boiled over after Magnus Carlsen, one of the top chess players in the world, withdrew from the Sinquefield Cup after losing to Niemann and quit the online preliminary round of the Julius Baer Generation Cup after making just one move against Niemann.
Niemann, 19, admitted that he cheated in an event when he was 12 and in “random games” when he was 16 but maintained that he never cheated in a live-streamed match. While cheating allegations surrounded Niemann, he was still able to participate in the Generation Cup, which Carlsen won.
On Monday, it was discovered that Niemann had cheated more frequently than he initially claimed. Chess.com, a website that allows users to learn the game’s rules and play the game online, released a summary of their analysis with the Wall Street Journal, stating that Niemann “likely received illegal assistance in more than 100 online games,” including games as recent as 2020. Additionally, the website described his play as “uncharacteristically erratic.”
Niemann was accused of cheating in several games involving prize money; he allegedly acknowledged the accusations and was temporarily suspended from Chess.com. The site did not specify if Niemann cheated in over-the-board competitions. According to the Wall Street Journal report, the website has online cheating-detection capabilities but hasn’t been involved in any cheating detection for over-the-board games.
Niemann claimed, “I have never cheated in an over-the-board game. That is the worst thing I could do — cheat in a tournament with prize money. You know my dream came true. I lived my dream for a day beating Magnus, and then all of this happened.” However, Carlsen stated, “I believe that Niemann has cheated more — and more recently — than he publicly admitted. His over-the-board progress has been unusual, and throughout our game in the Sinquefield Cup I had the impression that he wasn’t tense or even fully concentrating on the game in critical positions, while outplaying me as black in a way I think only a handful of players can do. This game contributed to changing my perspective.”
According to the International Chess Federation, Carlsen is the top player in the world, and Niemann is ranked 40th. The organization said they would investigate Carlsen’s accusations of cheating and vowed to eliminate cheating from the sport.