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Report: Hans Niemann 'Likely' Cheated in More Than 100 Games

    Report: Hans Niemann 'Likely' Cheated in More Than 100 Games
    Last updated: 1 month ago
    Image credit: Grand Chess Tour [via CNN]

    Facts

    • Amid a scandal that has enveloped the sport, 19-year-old US chess player Hans Niemann was found to have "likely" cheated in more than 100 online games, according to an investigation from the website Chess.com. [1]
    • The teenage grandmaster was thrust into the scandal after defeating the world's top player – Norway's Magnus Carlsen – at the Sinquefield Cup last month. After the defeat, Carlsen withdrew from the tournament, prompting speculation that he believed Niemann was cheating during their game. [2]
    • In an interview following the match, Niemann admitted to cheating online at ages 12 and 16 but said he never did so in cash-prize tournaments or while streaming his games. He also said he never cheated in "over-the-board" games or against Carlsen. [3]
    • Carlsen then released a statement accusing Niemann of cheating in their match-up and alleged he "has cheated more – and more recently – than he has publicly admitted." The FIDE, the global governing body of chess, is currently administering its own investigation. [4]
    • While the Chess.com investigation is separate and has no official bearing on games outside its platform, it found that Niemann likely cheated "much more often" than he's acknowledged. It also says he likely cheated in prize money tournaments and against high-profile players. [5]
    • Niemann reportedly confessed to cheating in a 2020 Chess.com tournament, though the recent investigation found no "direct evidence" of cheating against Carlsen or other over-the-board games. [6]
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    Spin

    Narrative A

    While inconclusive, the findings of the Chess.com investigation contradict what Niemann has publicly said in response to the cheating allegations. It also documents how Niemann's rise has been abnormal compared to other young players, specifically regarding his victory over Carlsen when the teenager was still ranked just 40th worldwide. Can there be smoke without a flame?

    Narrative B

    While Niemann may have cheated in online games, it's unrealistic to suggest he could have cheated in over-the-board play. Evidence related to Carlsen's accusations has yet to be uncovered, and we live in a society where everyone is innocent until proven guilty, as should remain.

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