After making his first remarks regarding the incident in over a month, a top chess player accused of cheating has declared that he “is not going to back down.” Additionally, according to a Chess.com report published on Tuesday, Hans Niemann has allegedly cheated in more than 100 online games.
Furthermore, Magnus Carlsen, the reigning world champion, had previously accused the 19-year-old American rising prodigy of cheating. On the other hand, after winning the US Championship match on Wednesday, Niemann stated his success was “a message to everyone.” After a clear victory over 15-year-old grandmaster Christopher Yoo, reporters questioned Niemann about the “elephant in the room,” alluding to the cheating scandal that has engulfed the chess community.
Hans Niemann stated: “This game is a message to everyone. This entire thing started with me saying ‘chess speaks for itself and I think this game spoke for itself and showed the chess player I am. It also showed I’m not going to back down and I’m going to play my best chess here regardless of the pressure.” But, he did not address the chess cheating allegations directly.
Moreover, Niemann subsequently cut short the interview after less than 60 seconds. When the journalist sought to ask further questions, he responded, “You can leave it to your own interpretation but thank you, that’s it. That’s all I can say because it was such a beautiful game I don’t even need to describe it.” Then Niemann, who was competing in the US Championship’s opening round in St. Louis, left the interview, which made commentator Yasser Seirawan laugh and exclaim, “What? That’s it? Ok.”
Prior to the interview, Hans Niemann hadn’t discussed the scandal since September 7, when he firmly denied cheating in competitive games but acknowledged doing so in casual games when he was younger. Niemann continued, “I’ll play naked to show my innocence.” He then charged Carlsen and Chess.com with attempting to destroy his career.
For those unaware, the issue started last month after Niemann defeated 31-year-old Carlsen, widely regarded as the best player of all time, in the Sinquefield Cup. In addition, prior to publicly accusing Niemann of cheating last week, the Norwegian chess player had made subtle charges against him.
Then on Tuesday, a Chess.com investigation found that Niemann probably cheated “much more often” than he had admitted, possibly even in prize money competitions and when playing against highly rated “well known” players. Additionally, Chess.com also drew attention to “anomalies” in Niemann’s rate of development, which has allowed him to rocket up the traditional chess rankings from about 800 to the top 50 in less than two years.
According to the website, this rise happened “much later in life than his peers” and was the fastest in “modern recorded history.” However, it did not uncover any proof that he cheated in his game against Carlsen or in any over-the-board games.
On another note, the world’s foremost authority on chess cheating, Prof. Kenneth Regan, conducted a separate statistical examination of Niemann’s over-the-board games but came up empty-handed.
Besides, there hasn’t been a cheating scandal in chess at the highest levels of the game since 2006’s “Toiletgate.” The champion Vladimir Kramnik was accused of cheating at the time by the team of the challenger Veselin Topalov during his “strange, if not suspicious” trips to the restroom. Back then, Prof. Regan discovered no proof that Kramnik had cheated.