Hans Niemann: Chess.com Says Teen Grandmaster ‘Probably Cheated’ Eleven Games



CNN

Teenage chess grandmaster Hans Niemann “likely cheated” in more than 100 online games, including ones with prizes, according to an investigation by one of the sport’s most popular websites.

Chess.com’s 72-page report was released on Tuesday, a month after controversy erupted at a top tournament when the world chess champion accused the 19-year-old American of cheating.

According to the report, first cited by the Wall Street Journal, Niemann privately admitted to cheating the site’s chess director in 2020, which led to his temporary ban from the platform.

The report said that Chess.com had shut down Niemann’s account in September, following earlier admissions of fraud, suspicions about his late game and concerns about his sharp and inconsistent rise in rank.

“While we do not doubt that Hans is a very talented player, we note that his results are statistically exceptional,” the report said.

Niemann publicly admitted to cheating in online games between the ages of 12 and 16, but the investigation alleged that he cheated more recently.

Niemann did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

Chess.com has millions of users and hosts more than 10 million chess games per day according to its owners. To detect suspected cheating, the site uses software that flags suspicious moves by comparing a player’s moves with those suggested by a chess engine. According to the report, less than 0.14% of players cheat on the site.

The controversy began last month when world chess champion Magnus Carlsen accused Niemann of cheating in St. Louis, Missouri in the $350,000 Sinquefield Cup.

“I think Niemann has cheated more than he has publicly admitted, and recently,” the 31-year-old Norwegian said. he said in a statement Posted on Twitter.

“His progress has been typical, and throughout our match in the Sinquefield Cup I felt that he was not tense or completely focused on the game in critical positions, I think he just outsmarted me. Few players can do that. This game helped change my perspective. yours”.

Carlsen withdrew from the tournament after losing to Niemann. The global governing body for chess, FIDE, announced last week that it is investigating Carlsen’s allegations.

Board chess is played face-to-face, rather than online. Carlsen did not elaborate on how Niemann might have cheated.

Last month St. In an interview with the St. Louis Chess Club, Niemann said he had never cheated at board games.

“I cheated on random games on Chess.com. I faced it. I recognized it. And this is the biggest mistake of my life,” he said. ” And I am totally embarrassed. I tell the world because I don’t want any misrepresentation and I don’t want rumours. I have never cheated on a board game. And since I was 12 years old, I have never cheated with prizes in a tournament.”

According to the Chess.com report, cheating in a tabletop setting “may involve a variety of methods, such as hand signals from a nearby coach or tapping into a phone in the bathroom, a hidden device in a shoe, or a wire or buzzer taped to the body.”

The report said that Chess.com did not typically investigate cheating at table games, but believed that Niemann’s data in some live games “deserves further investigation based on the data.”

“In our opinion, there is no direct evidence that Hans cheated in the September 4, 2022 match with Magnus, or that he cheated in other OTB games in the past,” the report said.