Igor KuznetsovAll materialsThe controversy stemming from cheating allegations by reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen is seen as the biggest scandal in years, as hanky-panky accusations are a rarity in top-level chess.US chess master Hans Niemann has filed a $100 million lawsuit against world champion Magnus Carlsen from Norway and others for allegedly defamatory claims, crowing a scandal that rocked the chess world with cheating allegations in a high-profile competition earlier this year.Among others, the lawsuit claims that the defendants, including the popular Chess.com website, inflicted “devastating damages” against Niemann by “egregiously defaming him” and “unlawfully colluding” to bar him from the professional chess stage.“My lawsuit speaks for itself”,19-year-old Niemann said in a Twitter post.Earlier in September, Carlsen withdrew from the Sinquefield Cup in Saint Louis after losing to Niemann, and eventually came forward with concerns that Niemann had cheated. This was the first time in Carlsen’s career to withdraw from a major event in progress, and the incident was considered to be unprecedented in top-level chess.
“I had the impression that [Niemann] 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,” 31-year-old Carlsen, who has dominated the chess world since becoming world champion in 2013, said on Twitter at the time.
The lawsuit, however, claims that Carlsen’s comments were a retaliatory attempt to stop Niemann from damaging his reputation.
“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,” the suit alleges.
Niemann subsequently admitted to cheating on two occasions, once when he was 12 years old and a second time when he was 16, calling it “the biggest mistakes of his life,” yet strenuously denied cheating claims in the over-the-board game against Magnus Carlsen.
IndiaTwitter Goes Crazy as 16-Year-Old Indian Becomes Youngest to Defeat Chess No 1 Magnus Carlsen17 October, 09:16 GMTA subsequent report by the Chess.com website didn’t find any evidence of cheating in Niemann’s over-the-board play, including the contentious game against Carlsen. However, the report alleged that Niemann may have cheated in over a hundred online chess games, including prize money events. The report also noted the progress shown by Niemann, calling him by far the fastest-rising player by yearly gain in classical over-the-board chess.Niemann lashed out at the accusations of cheating by stressing that he was “not going to let the arguably biggest entities in chess slander his reputation.”The Carlsen-Niemann controversy is seen as the largest in chess world in decades, matched only by the so-called Toiletgate during the 2006 World Championship match, in which Vladimir Kramnik was accused by his opponent Veselin Topalov’s manager of suspicious visits to the bathroom during games, with implications of cheating.