The scandal rocking the chess world has taken a dramatic new turn.
An investigation conducted by Chess.com has concluded that American grandmaster Hans Niemann likely cheated in over 100 online games, The Wall Street Journal reports.
This comes after world chess champion Magnus Carlsen accused Niemann of cheating when Niemann surprisingly defeated him at the Sinquefield Cup. In the aftermath of that game, Carlsen shockingly withdrew from the tournament and then abruptly resigned from another game with Niemann, sparking speculation over whether the 19-year-old had cheated.
Niemann subsequently admitted he cheated in online games when he was 12 and 16. But Carlsen alleged he "cheated more — and more recently — than he has publicly admitted."
Now, the Chess.com investigation has found Niemann "likely received illegal assistance in more than 100 online games, as recently as 2020," including in contests where money was at stake, The Wall Street Journal writes. Additionally, the report points to "many remarkable signals and unusual patterns in Hans' path as a player," and says he privately confessed to the cheating allegations in 2020.
The report from Chess.com, which in August announced it would purchase Carlsen's app Play Magnus, did not conclude that Niemann cheated outside of online games. But it said that some of his events "merit further investigation based on the data," noting his results are "statistically extraordinary." Niemann has denied ever cheating in person and offered to play "fully naked" to refute the allegations.