Chess star Hans Niemann accused of cheating by rival has likely done so in more than 100 games, report claims

Hans Niemann, 19, has previously admitted cheating twice in games when he was 12 and 16

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Wednesday 05 October 2022 19:40 BST
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Related video: World chess champion Magnus Carlsen accuses rival of cheating

An American chess star who has been accused of cheating by world champion Magnus Carlsen has likely done so in more than 100 games, a report has claimed.

Hans Niemann, 19, has previously admitted cheating twice in games when he was aged 12 and 16, but an investigation has allegedly found more occasions, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Mr Carlsen, the No 1 player in the world, branded his rival a cheat last month after he withdrew from a tournament after losing to him, then resigned from an online match against him after one move.

The newspaper states that the report by chess.com, a platform where many of the world’s top chess players compete in online matches, alleges “that Niemann likely received illegal assistance in more than 100 online games, as recently as 2020. Those matches included contests in which prize money was on the line.”

The platform reportedly used a string of tools to detect the alleged cheating, including an analytics programme that compares human moves to those recommended by chess engines, “which are capable of beating even the greatest human players every time”.

The report states that some of the alleged cheating took place as recently as 2020 when Mr Niemann was 17 years old.

The Journal says that Mr Niemann “privately confessed to the allegations” and that he was “subsequently banned from the site for a period of time”.

The report noted that Mr Niemann’s improvement had been “statistically extraordinary” but did not make any conclusion as to any irregularities in his in-person games.

But it said that some of Mr Niemann’s strongest events “merit further investigation based on the data”. An investigation into Mr Carlsen’s claims is also being carried out by the sport’s governing body, Fide.

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