A dispute that caused scandal in the world of elite chess appears to have been settled after the players involved said they have moved on from their rift.
Hans Niemann, a rising star in the chess world, filed a $100m lawsuit against Magnus Carlsen, the website chess.com and chess streamer Hikaru Nakamura after allegations he had cheated.
The allegations began after Niemann beat Carlsen, widely considered one of the greatest players in history, in a match at the Sinquefield Cup last year. The Norwegian implied that the then teenager had cheated. A week later Carlsen refused to play in an online game against the American, opting instead to resign.
Niemann has admitted to cheating online when he was 12 and 16, but insists he has never done so over the board. He also promised to play naked to prove his innocence after unfounded claims he may have used vibrating anal beads were amplified by Elon Musk.
Chess.com, which has millions of users around the world, concluded in a 72-page report released last October that Niemann had “likely cheated” in online matches between July 2015 and August 2020. Niemann denied those allegations. The report did not find any evidence that Niemann had cheated in in-person matches.
A US judge dismissed Niemann’s suit in June.
On Monday, chess.com said the parties had agreed to move forward with no further threat of legal action.
“We are pleased to report that we have reached an agreement with Hans Niemann to put our differences behind us and move forward together without further litigation,” the website said in a statement.
“At this time, Hans has been fully reinstated to Chess.com, and we look forward to his participation in our events. We would also like to reaffirm that we stand by the findings in our October 2022 public report regarding Hans, including that we found no determinative evidence that he has cheated in any in-person games. We all love chess and appreciate all of the passionate fans and community members who allow us to do what we do.”
Carlsen, the world No 1, addressed the events at the Sinquefield Cup in his own statement.
“I acknowledge and understand Chess.com’s report, including its statement that there is no determinative evidence that Niemann cheated in his game against me at the Sinquefield Cup,” said the Norwegian. “I am willing to play Niemann in future events, should we be paired together.”
Niemann said he was looking forward to moving on from the lawsuit.
“I am pleased that my lawsuit against Magnus Carlsen and Chess.com has been resolved in a mutually acceptable manner, and that I am returning to Chess.com. I look forward to competing against Magnus in chess rather than in court,” he said.
Niemann had alleged in his lawsuit that Carslen had paid another grandmaster €300 to shout “Cheater Hans” from a public balcony during a tournament. Carlsen denied any wrongdoing.