Chess grandmaster Hans Niemann said he “will not retire” as allegations of widespread cheating to intensify
On Tuesday, a survey by popular online platform Chess.com claimed that Niemann “probably cheated” in more than 100 online matches, a week after world champion Magnus Carlsen. explicitly accused the American of cheating in too-table games.
The 19-year-old Niemann has only admitted to cheating twice in his chess career at the ages of 12 and 16, and on Wednesday said his “chess speaks for itself” after defeating Christopher Yoo in the first round of the US championship in St. Luis
“This game is a message to everyone,” Niemann said after his win. “This whole thing started with me saying that chess speaks for itself and I think this game spoke for itself and showed the chess player that I am.
“It also showed that I will not back down and I will play my best chess here regardless of the pressure I am under.”
After giving only one answer, Niemann ended his post-match interview by saying “it was such a beautiful game that I don’t even need to describe it.”
He then faces Jeffery Xiong in the second round of the US championship, which will run until October 20.
According to Chess.com’s report, Niemann privately admitted to cheating to the site’s chief chess officer in 2020, which led to him being temporarily banned from the platform.
The report said Chess.com closed Niemann’s account in September because of his previous admissions of cheating, suspicions about his recent play and concerns about the steep, inconsistent rise in his rank.
“While we have no doubt that Hans is a talented player, we note that his results are statistically outliers,” the report said.
CNN previously contacted Niemann regarding the allegations in the report.
Carlsen first made explicit allegations of Niemann’s cheating following two incidents between the pair – the first when Carlsen withdrew from last month’s Sinquefield Cup after losing to Niemann, and the second when he abandon their match at the Julius Baer Generation Cup after making just one move.
The Norwegian said he believed his rival “cheated more – and more recently – than he publicly admitted” and that “his progress was unusual.”
“During our game in the Sinquefield Cup I had the impression that he did not stress or even fully concentrate on the game in critical positions, while he outplayed me like a black in a way that I think only a handful of players can do,” Carlsen added .
FIDE, the sport’s global governing body, said it would launch an investigation following Carlsen’s claims.