An American chess star who was accused of cheating by world champion Magnus Carlsen has likely done so in more than 100 games, according to a report.
Hans Niemann, 19, once admitted to cheating twice in games when he was 12 and 16, but an investigation by chess.com found more opportunities, says The Wall Street Journal.
Mr Carlsen, the world’s number one player, called his rival a cheat last month after he pulled out of a tournament after losing to him and then quit an online match against him after a knock.
The newspaper says the report from chess.com, a platform where many of the world’s top chess players compete in online matches, alleges “that Niemann likely received illegal assistance in more than 100 online games. , as late as 2020. These matches included contests. in which the prize money was at stake.”
The platform reportedly used a series of tools to detect the alleged fraud, including an analysis program that compares human moves to those recommended by chess engines, “which are capable of beating even the greatest human players”.
The report says some of the alleged cheating took place as recently as 2020, when Mr Niemann was 17.
The newspaper says Mr Niemann “privately confessed to the allegations” and was “subsequently banned from the site for a time”.
The report noted that Mr Niemann’s improvement had been “statistically extraordinary”, but drew no conclusions about any irregularities in his in-person games.
But he said some of Mr Niemann’s strongest events “deserve further investigation based on the data”. An investigation into Mr Carlsen’s allegations is also being carried out by the sport’s governing body, FIDE.
“Apart from his online play, Hans is the most rapidly advancing classical (over-the-board) chess player in modern history,” the report states.
“Looking at the rankings alone, Hans should be ranked as a member of this group of top young players. While we have no doubt that Hans is a talented player, we note that his results are statistically extraordinary.
Mr Carlsen won the Julius Baer Generation Cup despite resigning against Mr Niemann, after which he said he understood his “actions have frustrated many people in the chess community”.
“I’m frustrated. I want to play chess. I want to continue playing chess at the highest level in the best tournaments,” he said.
“I believe that cheating in chess is a big problem and an existential threat to the game. I also believe that chess organizers and anyone who cares about the sanctity of the game we love should seriously consider increasing the security measures and cheat detection methods for outboard failures.
Mr Carlsen said he considered withdrawing from the event when Niemann was asked to participate and was candid in his allegations against his opponent.
“I believe Niemann has cheated more – and more recently – than he has publicly admitted.”
Mr Niemann insisted he had never cheated in a live game. “I couldn’t even imagine doing it in a real game,” he said.
Chess.com’s report states that out of more than 100 suspect games, 25 were live streamed and there were multiple events with prizes.
The Independent contacted Mr. Niemann for comment.