Hans Niemann: Teenage grandmaster ‘probably cheated’ in dozens of matches, says Chess.com



CNN
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Teenage chess grandmaster Hans Niemann “probably cheated” in more than 100 online matches, including those with prize money, according to a survey by one of the sport’s most popular websites.

The 72-page Chess.com report was released on Tuesday, a month after controversy erupted at a high-profile tournament when the world chess champion accused the 19-year-old American of cheating.

According to the report, first mentioned by The Wall Street Journal, Niemann privately confessed to cheating on the website’s chess director in 2020, which led to him being temporarily banned from the platform.

The report says Chess.com shut down Niemann’s account in September based on his previous admissions of cheating, suspicions about his recent play and concerns about his steep and inconsistent rise in rank.

“Although we have no doubt that Hans is a talented player, we note that his results are statistically extraordinary,” the report said.

Niemann previously publicly admitted to cheating in online matches when he was 12 and 16 years old, but the inquest alleged he cheated more recently.

Niemann did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

Chess.com has millions of users and hosts more than 10 million chess games daily, according to its owners. To detect suspicion of cheating, the website uses software that flags suspicious moves by comparing a player’s moves to those suggested by a chess engine. According to the report, less than 0.14% of gamers cheat on the site.

The controversy began last month, when world chess champion Magnus Carlsen accused Niemann of cheating in the $350,000 Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis, Missouri.

“I believe Niemann cheated more – and more recently – than he admitted publicly,” the 31-year-old Norwegian said. said in a report posted on Twitter.

“His progress above the board has been unusual, and throughout our game in the Sinquefield Cup I got the impression that he wasn’t uptight or even fully focused on playing in critical positions. , while surpassing myself as black in a way that I think only a handful of players can do. This game helped change my perspective.

Carlsen withdrew from the tournament after losing to Niemann. World chess governing body FIDE announced last week that it was investigating Carlsen’s allegations.

Chess on the chessboard is played face to face rather than online. Carlsen did not provide details on how Niemann might have cheated.

In an interview with the St. Louis Chess Club last month, Niemann said he never cheated on board games.

“I cheated on random games on Chess.com. I was confronted. I confessed. And that’s the biggest mistake of my life,” he said. completely ashamed. I tell the world because I don’t want misrepresentations and I don’t want rumors. I’ve never cheated in a board game. And other than when I was 12, I don’t have never cheated in a tournament with money.

According to the Chess.com report, cheating in an over the board setting could involve “various methods such as: hand signals from a nearby coach or access to a phone in the bathroom, a device hidden in a shoe, or a taped wire or buzzer to the body.”

The report says Chess.com has not generally investigated cheating in board games, but it believes Niemann’s performance in some live games “deserves further investigation based on the data.”

β€œIn our view, there is no direct evidence that proves Hans cheated in the September 4, 2022 match with Magnus, or that proves he has cheated in other OTB games in the past,” the report reads. report.

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