Hans Niemann, the young chess grandmaster accused of cheating in at least two major tournaments along with online matches, has dropped his $100 million lawsuit against fellow grandmasters Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura, along with online platform and tournament host Chess.com.
According to a post on Chess.com’s blog, all parties involved have “negotiated privately in a good-faith effort to resolve their issues and allow the chess world to move forward without further litigation.” Those efforts, ongoing for nearly a year at this point, have borne fruit - Niemann will return to tournament competition and Chess.com will allow him back on its platform.
“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,” Niemann said in the post.
The biggest drama to hit the chess world in years first began in September 2022, after Niemann competed in St. Louis’ Sinquefield Cup and won against Norwegian chess superstar Carlsen. The oft-called King of Chess unceremoniously withdrew from the tournament later that same day, fueling online speculation. Chess.com threw gasoline on that fire when, days later, it banned Niemann from its platform, which is popularly used to host online tournaments and regular matches between grandmasters.
Carlsen and Niemann faced off again one week later during the Julius Baer Generation Cup, where many chess fans and those who were following the developing situation were eager to see how the two would respond. Not disappointing those in attendance, Carlsen performed a single move before resigning the match ostensibly in protest. Shortly after, the grandmaster published a statement wherein he accused Niemann of cheating.
For his part, Niemann initially denied the cheating allegation before walking back that hard line when Chess.com published a report alleging that the platform had evidence that the upstart grandmaster had, in fact, cheated during online matches. Niemann admitted to two counts of cheating online - once when he was 12 and another when he was 16 - but ardently denied any recent allegations. At the height of events, Niemann boldly claimed he would compete totally naked, which led to online rumours and theories that he hypothetically used Bluetooth-enabled, vibrating anal beads to cheat.
A judge dismissed the suit in June of this year, and Niemann was in the process of appealing before this out-of-court settlement was reached. All the involved parties have agreed that they can share their opinions and interpretation of events openly, and Carlsen apparently looks forward to sitting across the board from Niemann in future matches.
“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. I am willing to play Niemann in future events, should we be paired together,” Carlsen said.
BBC reports that Nakamura, who was roped into Niemann’s lawsuit for "amplifying and attempting to bolster Carlsen's false cheating allegations" via his YouTube commentary videos, is glad the chess world can put this chapter of drama behind it, but he’s not done upturning stones in search of more dirt. He says in a recent video that there are “many grandmasters who are speculating about cheating. Down the road I may or may not name names. I might go into that in the future."