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U.S. Chess Grandmaster Allegedly Cheated Over 100 Times, per Report

An alleged cheating controversy has rocked the chess world, and according to an investigation by that was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, chess grandmaster Hans Niemann, at the center of the dispute, has an extensive cheating history.

The report stated that Niemann likely received illegal assistance in over 100 online games. The most recent occurrence allegedly was in 2020. The 72-page report also revealed that Niemann admitted to the allegations in private and was banned from the online platform for a period of time. But it also described irregularities with his in-person chess, mentioning “many remarkable signals and unusual patterns in Hans’ path as a player.”

“Outside his online play, Hans is the fastest rising top player in Classical [over-the-board] chess in modern history,” the report said, per WSJ. “Looking purely at rating, Hans should be classified as a member of this group of top young players. While we don’t doubt that Hans is a talented player, we note that his results are statistically extraordinary.”

According to a letter from’s chief chess officer Danny Rensch to Niemann, the chess star’s suspicious moves allegedly occurred during times when it detected another window was open on his laptop. Rensch wrote, per WSJ, “We are prepared to present strong statistical evidence that confirm each of those cases above, as well as clear ‘toggling’ vs ’non-toggling’ evidence, where you perform much better while toggling to a different screen during your moves.” 

Magnus Carlsen, a chess world champion, recently accused Niemann of cheating. His statement came after withdrawing from the 2022 Sinquefield Cup after his third round defeat to Niemann. Carlsen later withdrew after playing just one move against Niemann during the Julius Baer Generation Cup on September 20. 

Chess’s world governing body is investigating the Niemann-Carlsen debacle. Niemann has publicly admitted to cheating on two instances earlier in his life, but the 19-year-old said in an interview with the St. Louis Chess Club he had never cheated in over-the-board games.

“I believe that Niemann has cheated more—and more recently—than he has publicly admitted,” Carlsen wrote in his first public statement about the matter in late September. “His over the board progress has been unusual, and throughout our game in the Sinquefield Cup I had the impression that he wasn’t tense or even fully concentrating on the game in critical positions, while outplaying me as black in a way I think only a handful of players can do.”

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