US international grandmaster Hans Niemann said on Wednesday he “will not back down” after chess platform chess.com reported that he “probably cheated more than 100 times” in online games. Norwegian world champion Magnus Carlsen accused 19-year-old Niemann of cheating last week. “Overall, we have found that Hans (Niemann) has likely cheated in over 100 online chess games, including several prize money events,” the world’s leading online chess platform wrote in a Tuesday evening report spanning 20 pages, with 50 additional appendices. .
Chess.com banned Niemann on September 5, shortly after the initial allegations were made, but the platform is defending itself against suggestions it is under pressure from Carlsen, whose company Play Magnus is buying it.
After winning the US Chess Championship on Wednesday, Niemann said the game he had just won “speaked for itself and showed the chess player that I am”.
He added: “It also showed that I’m not going back and I’m going to play my best chess here, regardless of the pressure I’m under,” but he declined to comment further.
Chess.com says it is “extremely confident” of how it can detect cheating, including the use of grandmasters — the highest rank of chess players — as well as an analysis of moves made by computer programs.
– ‘Statistically extraordinary’ –
The platform’s suspicions go beyond the framework of the internet. It also devotes part of his report to Niemann’s spectacular and rapid progress on the chessboard.
“While we have no doubt that Hans is a talented player, we note that his results are statistically extraordinary,” said the report, which illustrated the American’s rise with a dramatic graph.
However, Chess.com said it had no evidence that Niemann had cheated in “over-the-board” (OTB) games when players were physically present.
“There is nothing in our statistical research that raises red flags regarding Hans’ OTB play and rise,” the report said.
Last month, at the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis, Carlsen lost to Niemann OTB and then withdrew from the tournament, posting a video suggesting that something inappropriate had happened.
Chess.com described this encounter as “bizarre”, but concluded that there was no evidence “that Hans cheated in this game and we are not arguing for any conclusions regarding cheating based on this one encounter”.
Two weeks after St. Louis, the two players met again in the sixth round of the online Julius Baer Generation Cup. This time, Carlsen resigned after making just one move, after which he made a statement that he would not “play against people who have cheated repeatedly in the past”.
The International Chess Federation announced on September 29 that it would launch an investigation into these allegations of fraud.
Niemann has admitted to cheating on chess.com in the past when he was between the ages of 12 and 16, but has denied the most recent allegations, claiming to be “ready to play naked” if necessary.
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