As if the steroid infused world of chess couldn’t get any more exciting, Hans Niemann who is either the protagonist or antagonist of the recent cheating scandal depending on your opinion, has launched a lawsuit against numerous people who he claims defamed him. He announced the lawsuit on his twatter account.
He links to the court filing, which you can read here if you are so inclined. Personally, I’ve only skimmed it although there are some juicy bits in there. $100 million is obviously not happening, but there does appear to be a reasonable claim for defamation. Hell, I’ve argued that myself in various pieces, and I’m not a lawyer.
To be clear, the most idiotic accusers, like the tranny or the Brazilian “data scientist,” are not mentioned as defendants. Proving Carlsen et al defamed Niemann will be more difficult than dunking on the mentally ill troon (but I repeat myself). As far as the lawsuit itself, it’s far feistier than I anticipated.
Notorious for his inability to cope with defeat, Carlsen snapped. Enraged that the young Niemann, fully 12 years his junior, dared to disrespect the “King of Chess,” and fearful that the young prodigy would further blemish his multi-million dollar brand by beating him again,
Carlsen viciously and maliciously retaliated against Niemann by falsely accusing Niemann, without any evidence, of somehow cheating during their in-person game and demanding that the organizers of the Sinquefield Cup immediately disqualify Niemann from the tournament.
That’s a new claim, and it would explain why the Sinquefield Cup organizers came right out and said that Magnus’ behaviour was inappropriate. Unfortunately the US Chess Championship just happened, so their YouTube channel is flooded with new videos, making it difficult to find all of them. But if Magnus was demanding Niemann be uninvited from the tournament halfway through before ragequitting, that would make a lot of sense.
When tournament officials refused to comply with Carlsen’s corrupt and cowardly demand to baselessly eliminate Niemann from competition, Carlsen lashed out again, this time by boycotting the remainder of the Sinquefield Cup in protest—an unprecedented act for a top chess professional, let alone the reigning World Champion. Carlsen then confirmed his defamatory accusations against Niemann with a provocative post on Twitter, which had the intended effect of disseminating Carlsen’s false accusations that Niemann had cheated against him across the globe.
I have never written a lawsuit before, but I’ve decided now that I’m throwing “corrupt and cowardly,” in there somewhere. If real lawyers can do it, so can I, and as far as the claims go this all but confirms that Carlsen was whining to the Sinquefield Cup organizers to get Niemann banned halfway through the event.
Days later, Carlsen was scheduled to play Niemann again in the Julius Baer Generation Cup. Rather than seek to redeem himself from his unexpected loss to Niemann, Carlsen, the “King of Chess,” gutlessly forfeited the game after making one move, and then issued a press release repeating his false accusations that Niemann had cheated against him at the Sinquefield Cup.
The lawsuit continues to make many fair, or at least arguable points. One of those points, reiterated by Eric Hansen below, is that chess tournament invitations are not necessarily meritocratic. It is a real danger to have Carlsen, Nakamura (who has lots of sway at Chess.com), or Chess.com themselves blackballing a player from tournaments.
I can’t speak for any behind the scenes stuff with Nakamura, but Chess.com explicitly dis-invited him from their major online tournament, the Chess.com Global Championship, and is refusing to invite him to any Chess.com or PlayMagnus sponsored events, which comprise the majority of FIDE-sanctioned chess tournaments. Furthermore, Carlsen has outright said that he will not play any tournaments that Niemann is in, and already tried getting him removed from the Sinquefield Cup. Him saying “I won’t play any tournaments he’s involved in,” may well be legal, but he knows damn well that no tournament organizer is going to miss out on Magnus in order to get Niemann.
As mentioned earlier, top GM and streamer Hikaru Nakamura is also named.
Defendant Hikaru Nakamura (“Nakamura”)—Chess.com’s most influential streaming partner—acting in collusion with Carlsen and Chess.com, published hours of video content amplifying and attempting to bolster Carlsen’s false cheating allegations against Niemann with numerous additional defamatory statements;
Nakamura clearly defamed Niemann, although whether he can be found liable is something else entirely. His “analysis,” that “proved,” Niemann was cheating, which included taking the troons garbage “100% engine correlation,” analysis at face value, was simply dishonest. There is no way that a ~2800 player such as himself would not be aware of opening transpositions, or believe the idiotic “100% engine correlation,” analysis. Nor would he truly consider Hans Niemann to have “2500 analysis,” after obviously cherry picking certain post-game interviews.
Which reminds me of the most understated yet ridiculous aspect of this entire drama, the weird half claim half insinuation that Niemann isn’t really a 2700 strength player. Nakamura came out and claimed that before backtracking, but Chess.com did this really weird “boy he sure improved fast if we use arbitrary start and end points,” effeminate pseudo-argumentation. The problem is that Niemann is a 2700 strength player, as corroborated by everyone who’s played him in person, so it was never weird that he would beat Carlsen in a game where Carlsen played like trash, at least compared to his usual standards. Likewise, it’s not weird that he improved quickly after getting rejected from Harvard and dedicating himself to chess.
Although still on the topic of Nakamura, one funny bit from the lawsuit is that it accidentally highlights his very odd habit of repeating himself. All the below are quotes from Hikaru in the lawsuit.
“Magnus did not withdraw because he was pissed at losing the game, let’s put it that way. I mean, I’ve played with Magnus for the last 20 years, he did not withdraw because he lost the game.”
“I mean, its pretty obvious why Magnus withdrew … Its very obvious why he withdrew and that, there’s no doubt in my mind why he withdrew. No doubt. Zero doubt…. I already said it…. Magnus literally posted a video saying if I speak I’m in big trouble, yeah its very clear what he’s implying. There’s no doubt in my mind.”
“We know why, we know why Magnus withdrew. There’s zero doubt. There’s zero doubt why he withdrew.”
“If they’re on a 15-minute delay, that says it all. If they’re on a 15- minute delay, then we know the reason why Magnus withdrew from the event. Plain and simple. That’s all that I need to say. They were not on a delay for the first four rounds. Yeah, yeah, its that simple.”
As always, I am not a lawyer. Proving defamation and libel seems difficult, and Carlsen saying “I think he cheated against me,” probably doesn’t cut it. The claims of collusion against Niemann seem far more actionable to my untrained eyes. As are the claims that Chess.com’s Danny Rensch knowingly lied about Niemann.
*They include Danny Rensch’s statement, and the bold is theirs.*
Dear Chess Community,
The last few days have been tumultuous for many in the chess community. At this time, we have reached out to Hans Niemann to explain our decision to privately remove him from Chess.com and our events. We have shared detailed evidence with him concerning our decision, including information that contradicts his statements regarding the amount and seriousness of his cheating on Chess.com. We have invited Hans to provide an explanation and response with the hope of finding a resolution where Hans can again participate on Chess.com. We want nothing more than to see the best chess players in the world succeed in the greatest events. We will always act to protect the integrity of the game that we all love.
Chief Chess Officer
*End of Rensch’s statement. The bold is now mine.*
Chess.com and Rensch’s above statement is false. Niemann did not lie about the “amount and seriousness of his cheating on Chess.com.” In addition, Chess.com had not shared “detailed evidence with [Niemann] that contradicts his statements regarding the amount and seriousness of his cheating on Chess.com.” These are more trumped-up, false allegations, specifically designed to further defame Niemann by accusing him of not only being a serial online cheater, but now also a liar.
Chess.com and Rensch knew that the Defamatory Report is false because, among other things, it accuses Niemann of cheating in games where he was streaming (i.e., with both his face and his computer screen visible to the public), while Rensch previously admitted to Niemann that he knew Niemann had never cheated in any games he played while streaming.
The Defamatory Report also states that Niemann purportedly “confessed” to these so-called “cheating offenses” during a call with Rensch in 2020, which is also false.
It’s a mess any which way you look at it. Niemann probably cheated online but not in person, Carlsen definitely threw a bitchfit, Nakamura is the definition of a whiny snake, and the business part of chess is even more MeanGirls-esque, clique, and backstabbing. This is the high class world of chess.