The $100 Million Twist In The Chess World’s Biggest Cheating Scandal
— 21 October 2022

The $100 Million Twist In The Chess World’s Biggest Cheating Scandal

— 21 October 2022
Garry Lu
Garry Lu

Over a month after 19-year-old American chess grandmaster Hans Niemann bested five-time world champion/top ranked FIDE player/history’s greatest chess talent, Magnus Carlsen, in a stunning upset defeat that sparked widespread cheating accusations, the young gun is finally making his next move IRL: suing Carlsen and his entire cabal for $100 million in damages.

According to the federal lawsuit filed in the Eastern Missouri District Court, Niemann maintains Carlsen launched a public smear campaign against him in collaboration with the latter’s online chess company Play Magnus and, the latter of which has agreed to acquire Play Magnus.

The most “defamatory” component of said campaign was probably the 72-page investigation published by, which indicated Niemann likely cheated in over 100 online games (some of which involved prize money). The black-letter analysis compared his movies to those suggested by computers and even included probability breakdowns of each outcome.

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The lawsuit also names fellow US chess grandmaster and world’s best blitz player, Hikaru Nakamura, for parroting the cheating accusations while streaming video content on and elsewhere.

Niemann is seeking compensation to “recover from the devastating damages that defendants have inflicted upon his reputation, career, and life by egregiously defaming him and unlawfully colluding to blacklist him from the profession to which he has dedicated his life.”

“This is not a game,” said Terrence Oved and Darren Oved, Hans Niemann’s lawyers, via statement.

“The defendants have destroyed Niemann’s life simply because he had the talent, dedication, and audacity to defeat the so-called ‘King of Chess.’”

“We will hold defendants fully accountable and expose the truth.”’s legal representation have dismissed the claims, and is apparently “looking forward to set the record straight” on behalf of its team and “all honest chess players.” Carlsen, on the other hand, has yet to respond.

Magnus Carlsen Hans Neimann Cheating Scandal Chess
(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

This controversial saga has been plagued with uncertainty for a number of reasons. For one, Hans Niemann has admitted to previous instances of cheating in online chess; to the point where he was banned from and the in-person tournaments it sponsors. For another, “stunning upset defeat” doesn’t even begin to describe Magnus Carlsen’s loss.

Given the fact the Norwegian tour de force had played 53 classical matches without a single loss, the sheer gulf in ratings and accomplishments between he and Niemann, plus the fact Niemann had a statistical disadvantage by opting to play the black side – as we’ve stated before – this would be like watching Jake Paul KO Canelo Alvarez.

Speculation only escalated after Carlsen’s abrupt withdrawal from the 2022 Sinquefield Cup tournament hosted in St Louis, Missouri.

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“I’ve withdrawn from the tournament. I’ve always enjoyed playing in the St Louis Chess Club and hope to be back in the future,” tweeted Magnus Carlsen, attached to a video clip football manager Jose Mourinho (see: above)

As noted by FIDE Director-General Emil Sutovsky, Carlsen isn’t one to ever rage quit out of ego or petty spite.

“He must have had a compelling reason, or at least he believes he has it,” Sutovsky wrote on Twitter.

“Don’t call him a sore loser or disrespectful. I shall not speculate on the reasons for his withdrawal, but probably would expect a tournament director to air them.”

Following the bombshell development, Sinquefield Cup organisers announced additional anti-cheating precautions, including a 15-minute delay in the broadcast of the moves, increased radio-frequency identification checks, as well as metal scanners.

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Hans Niemann offered to strip naked before a proposed rematch against Magnus Carlsen to prevent any would-be attempts to cheat in person. But by that stage, it was already beyond a matter of convincing the chess world’s Tiger Woods, and more about surviving the court of public opinion.

Eventually, the bitter rivals came face to face for a rematch in the Julius Baer Generation Cup. After making his first move with the black pieces, Carlsen promptly resigned and disconnected from the game. Niemann, who had made two moves with the white, followed suit immediately after.

“Magnus Carlsen just resigned. Got up and left,” said Chess24 commentator and grandmaster Tania Sachdev.

“Switched off his camera, and that’s all we know right now. We’re going to try to get an update on this.”

Safe to say, it’ll be a little while before any hatchets are buried.

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Garry Lu
After stretching his legs with companies such as The Motley Fool and the odd marketing agency, Garry joined Boss Hunting in 2019 as a fully-fledged Content Specialist. In 2021, he was promoted to News Editor. Garry proudly retains a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, black bruises from Muay Thai, as well as a black belt in all things pop culture. Drop him a line at [email protected]


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