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Chess prodigy Hans Niemann sues for $100 million over claims he cheated using anal beads
20 October 2022, 21:34 | Updated: 20 October 2022, 21:40
A teenage chess prodigy who was accused of cheating using anal beads is suing his accusers for $100 million, according to court papers.
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Hans Niemann, 19, claims that Norwegian grandmaster Magnus Carlsen and online platform Chess.com defamed him with claims of cheating. Rumours have swirled accusing Mr Niemann of hiding the sex toy inside his body to communicate with his coach.
American grandmaster Mr Niemann beat Mr Carlsen, whom he describes in legal papers as the self-styled King of Chess, in September - and claims Mr Carlsen is worried that the defeat will tarnish his brand as a world-beater.
After Mr Carlsen accused him of cheating, Chess.com published a 72-page report detailing claims of 100 times Mr Niemann had likely broken the rules in hundreds games.
Mr Niemann now wants to take Mr Carlsen and the website to court to help "recover from the devastating damages that defendants have inflicted upon his reputation, career and life by egregiously defaming him and unlawfully colluding to blacklist him from the profession to which he has dedicated his life."
The lawsuit also names Daniel Rensch and Hikaru Nakamura as defendants.
Mr Niemann has denied the allegations. He said he has cheated twice in his life, aged 12 and 16, and regretted both occasions. He has offered to play naked to prove he is not cheating.
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The papers add: "Carlsen’s unprecedented actions, coupled with his unfounded accusations, sent shock waves through the chess world and instantly thrust Niemann into the center of what is now widely reported as the single biggest chess scandal in history," according to the lawsuit.
"Even though Carlsen had no legitimate basis to believe Niemann actually cheated against him, he could ensure that no reputable chess tournament would invite Niemann to compete in the future, and his false accusations would cause other top chess players to boycott Niemann as well."
Mr Niemann was due to play a teenage grandmaster, Vincent Keymer, but Mr Keymer backed out because of the cheating allegations.
The legal papers continue: "On October 5, 2022, Niemann was scheduled to begin competing in the U.S. Chess Championship tournament, which, due to Defendants' repeated defamatory accusations and blacklisting, is quite possibly one of the last competitive chess tournaments in which Niemann will ever be allowed to play.
"Niemann desperately hoped to be able to compete in that tournament, deliver an impressive performance, and lessen the blow of at least some of Defendants' defamatory accusations. Yet, once again, Defendants had different plans."
Mr Carlsen wrote in his original accusation that he was "frustrated" at the alleged cheating.
"I want to play chess. I want to continue to play chess at the highest level in the best events," he said.
"I believe that cheating in chess is a big deal and an existential threat to the game."
He later added: "So far I have only been able to speak with my actions, and those actions have stated clearly that I am not willing to play chess with Niemann. I hope that the truth on this matter comes out, whatever it may be."
The 72-page document from Chess.com found Mr Niemann broke the rules in tournaments as recently as 2020 and noted there were "many remarkable signals and unusual patterns in Hans' path as a player.
"The document, obtained by the Wall Street Journal, also noted the nineteen-year-old prodigy privately confessed to Chess.com he had cheated on numerous occasions - and he was banned from the site.