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Chess GM Hans Niemann Files $100 Million Lawsuit Against Magnus Carlsen & Others

Hans Niemann has accused Magnus Carlsen, Chess.com and others of conspiring to blacklist him.

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Chess GM Hans Niemann Files $100 Million Lawsuit Against Magnus Carlsen & Others
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American grandmaster Hans Niemann has filed a lawsuit against world champion Magnus Carlsen, and a few others, for bringing up cheating allegations against him. The 19-year-old chess prodigy, who found himself at the focal point of a massive controversy recently, is seeking a total of $100 million in damages from the defendants that include the Norwegian grandmaster.

Niemann’s lawsuit was filed on Thursday, 20 October, at the Eastern Missouri District Court.

The teenager has accused Carlsen, Chess.com, grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura and a few others of making defamatory comments, conspiring to blacklist him from the chess fraternity and wrongful intercession of his businesses.
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New York-based law firm Oved & Oved has been hired by Niemann to fight the case. "This is not a game. Defendants have destroyed Niemann’s life simply because he had the talent, dedication and audacity to defeat the so-called ‘King of Chess.’ We will hold defendants fully accountable and expose the truth,” the American’s lawyers stated, as quoted by The Wall Street Journal.

The controversy started on 4 September, when Niemann, then a relatively obscure name, stunned the chess fraternity to beat Carlsen at the Sinquefield Cup 2022.

The five-time champion withdrew from the event a day later, and while he did not explicitly mention the reason behind his decision, many assumed the Norwegian thought Niemann was cheating during the game.

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The two met again in the Julius Baer Generation Cup, where Carlsen forfeited the game in only the second move, thereby further intensifying the rumours.

Eventually, on 26 September, the rumours came to an end when the Norwegian released an official statement, where he claimed to believe the American had cheated.

Following his allegations, Chess.com also published a detailed report, where they claimed the American had possibly cheated in more than 100 online matches, whilst also stating there was no evidence to prove he cheated during any over-the-board match.

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Chess.com Deny Niemann’s Accusations

Latham & Watkins LLP, the law firm representing Chess.com, however, have denied all allegations brought against them by Niemann. “Hans confessed publicly to cheating online in the wake of the Sinquefield Cup, and the resulting fallout is of his own making. There is no merit to Hans’ allegations, and Chess.com looks forward to setting the record straight on behalf of its team and all honest chess players,” the statement from the firm read.

Interestingly, Chess.com and Carlsen have financial tie-ups – something Niemann’s team has mentioned in the lawsuit. The chess platform is buying the world champion’s ‘Play Magnus’ app for a deal of around $83 million, and the American has accused the two of colluding to hurt his businesses.

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