Hans Niemann: "The lawsuit speaks for itself"
The drama in the chess world has reached new heights. After cheating accusations in online and OTB chess from multiple sources including the World Champion Magnus Carlsen, Grandmaster Hans Niemann has filed a lawsuit! He has filed a 100 million USD lawsuit against Magnus Carlsen, Chess.com, Play Magnus, Hikaru Nakamura and IM Daniel Rensch (CEO of chesscom). What are the accusations he is bringing forward? In this article, we discuss the salient points of the 44-page lawsuit document which Hans put forward on twitter. Photo: Lawsuit PDF from Hans Niemann's tweet.
The Chess World is once again featured in big media outlets - but not because of the regular reasons of a chess player performing well/ winning some event. This time, Hans Niemann has filed a 100 million USD lawsuit against Magnus Carlsen, Play Magnus, chess.com, Daniel Rensch and Hikaru Nakamura!
Before we delve into the lawsuit document, let's take a look at the timeline of events which has led to this incident:
September 4th, 2022: Hans Niemann defeats Magnus Carlsen in Round 3 of the Sinquefield Cup.
September 5th, 2022: Magnus Carlsen withdraws from the Sinquefield Cup before Round 4 begins.
September 6th, 2022: Hans Niemann opens up in the post-game interview, read the full article here.
September 19th, 2022: Magnus Carlsen resigns against Hans Niemann in move 2 of their game in the Julius Baer Generations Cup
September 26th, 2022: Magnus Carlsen gives an official statement to the chess world on this matter.
October 4th, 2022: chess.com releases their official report on Hans Niemann.
October 20th, 2022: Hans Niemann sues Magnus Carlsen, Play Magnus, chess.com, Hikaru Nakamura and Daniel Rensch. Read the entire document here.
Now, let's look at some of the salient features of the Hans Niemann Lawsuit document. I should clarify that I am not a legal expert by any capacity, but just trying to put forward the most important points of the document. All of the statements made below are of Hans Niemann.
Plaintiff and Defendants, Attorneys
Hans Moke Niemann is the plaintiff, i.e. a person who brings a case against another in a court of law. The defendants, or the people who the case is filed against, are Sven Magnus Øen Carlsen, the Play Magnus Group, chess.com, Daniel Rensch, and Hikaru Nakamura. The case is handled by attorneys Oved and Oved LLP, and local Missouri counsel "The Gartner Law firm".
Niemann's claims against the Defendants
Hans Niemann asserts the following claims: 1) Slander, 2) Libel 3) Unlawful group boycott 4) tortious interference with contract and business expectancies, and 5) Civil conspiracy. The damage amount will be determined at trial, but it will be no less than a hundred million dollars ((Rs.800 crores).
Why the lawsuit?
Hans has taken this action to recover from the devastating damages caused upon his reputation, career, and life by defaming and blacklisting him. These are the damages caused to him by the defamatory accusations:
(i) the Chess.com Global Championship revoked Niemann’s invitation to play in that tournament in October 2022, even though Niemann earned that invitation through his exceptional play;
(ii) Teenage Grandmaster Vincent Keymer cancelled his upcoming game with Niemann in Germany;
(iii) the Tata Steel Chess Tournament, one of chess’s most prestigious tournaments, immediately ceased its ongoing arrangements for Niemann to play in its January 2023 tournament; and
(iv) Niemann cannot obtain employment as a chess teacher at a reputable school.
On the Sinquefield Cup win against Magnus
2 important claims are made regarding this topic:
1) Niemann's win against Carlsen crushed his remaining ambitions of crossing 2900, and breaking his own world-record unbeaten streak of 125 games.
2) Carlsen retaliated against Niemann by falsely accusing him of cheating, and demanded to the organizers of Sinquefield Cup that they immediately disqualify him from the event.
Events between Round 3-4 of Sinquefield Cup
According to the document, Carlsen defamed Niemann to Michael Khodarovsky, the executive director of the Grand Chess Tour, demanding that he be immediately disqualified. Khodarovsky didn't agree with this, and then Carlsen convinced Khodarovsky to increase the anti-cheating measures of the event.
After Magnus' withdrawal from the Sinquefield Cup
The documents mentions 3 things happening after Carlsen's withdrawal from the event:
a) Chess.com, in collusion with Carlsen and Play Magnus, immediately banned Niemann from its website and all of its future events, to lend credence to Carlsen’s unsubstantiated and defamatory accusations of cheating;
(b) Defendant Hikaru 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.
(c) Chess.com executive Danny Rensch issued defamatory press releases, and leaked defamatory “reports” to prominent press outlets, falsely accusing Niemann of lying in his post-match Sinquefield Cup interview regarding his use of a “chess engine” in a handful of recreational online games when he was a child, to bolster Carlsen’s unsubstantiated defamatory accusations that Niemann cheated against him at the Sinquefield Cup.
On Hikaru Nakamura
Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura published multiple videos on his YouTube channel about the whole Hans Niemann subject.
In the lawsuit. the following statements from this video are quoted, along with statements from multiple later videos:
a. “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.”
b. “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.”
c. “We know why, we know why Magnus withdrew. There’s zero doubt. There’s zero doubt why he withdrew.”
d. “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.”
On Daniel Rensch and Chess.com
This is what the lawsuit says on this tweet:
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.
The paragraph goes on to claim how the chesscom accusations caused massive conspiracy theories across the internet on this matter.
On Maxim Dlugy
In a post-game interview of the Julius Baer Generations Cup, Magnus Carlsen was asked why did he resign after 2 moves against Hans Niemann. His response about Niemann was:
I have to say, I’m very impressed by Niemann’s play and I think his mentor Maxim Dlugy must be doing a great job.
The document claims that there is no connection of Hans Niemann with Maxim Dlugy. This is what they say:
Maxim Dlugy is not Niemann’s coach or mentor and has no involvement whatsoever with Niemann’s training or preparation. Maxim Dlugy is a professional chess player who is rumored to have cheated in online games on Chess.com. Accordingly, for those familiar with chess, falsely associating Niemann’s play with Dlugy was a direct accusation that Maxim Dlugy somehow helped Niemann cheat against Carlsen at the Sinquefield Cup.
On Carlsen's statement
The document claims Magnus' statement to be defamatory against Niemann, and claims it as false.
On the chesscom report
The lawsuit claims that it was an intentional plot by chesscom to destroy Niemann's reputation and distract him from the US Championships to publish their report on Hans Niemann. Following were the false claims made:
a. Falsely claims that Niemann’s explanation of his preparation was not supported by records of Carlsen’s prior games.
b. Demeans Niemann’s post-game analysis, claiming that “[t]his analysis and dependence on the engine seem to be at odds with the level of preparation that Hans claimed was at play in the game and the level of analysis needed to defeat the World Chess Champion.”
c. Reports that Carlsen “shared in a private conversation that his experience in playing Hans was ‘unlike a game he’s ever had.’ He emphasized that he has competed against numerous prodigies and players who ‘exert’ themselves and show great effort throughout a long, difficult fight like this game. He described Hans’ level of exertion as ‘effortless’ and felt he never had a chance to get back in the game, which was extremely unusual for Magnus who is known for his resourcefulness.” 3
d. Tries to bolster Carlsen’s purported private conversation by claiming that “Hans’ lack of emotion or excitement about the result was also noted by several others,” and linking to videos of “the reactions of notable players who have beaten Magnus.”
e. Claims that the “game and the surrounding behaviors and explanations are bizarre".
People in support of NiemannThe document mentions that numerous Officials and Experts Confirm there is No evidence that Niemann cheated against Carlsen or lied about his past online play, including IA Chris Bird, Kenneth Reagan, Tony Rich, etc.
Reaction of the Chess Universe
These are some of the tweets by the chess world regarding Hans' lawsuit:
IM Levy Rozman:
GM Maurice Ashley:
GM Susan Polgar:
GM Anish Giri:
GM Fabiano Caruana:
GM Simon Williams:
So that's it for the article. In all likelihood, this will continue in court. What do you think about the implications of this lawsuit? Let us know in the comments below.