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General Sep 9, 2022 | 5:50 AMby Colin McGourty

Chess.com and Nakamura respond to Hans Niemann's interview

When Hans Niemann was interviewed after Round 5 of the Sinquefield Cup he criticised Chess.com for banning him from their site in the wake of Magnus Carlsen's withdrawal from the event. Chess.com have now responded.

Hans Niemann at the Sinquefield Cup | photo: Lennart Ootes, Grand Chess Tour

In his long and impassioned interview with Alejandro Ramirez in St. Louis, 19-year-old Hans Niemann admitted to cheating on Chess.com in a Titled Tuesday prize money event as a 12-year-old and then later in "random games" (not for prize money) as a 16-year-old, when he said he wanted to boost his rating to help his streaming career.

Hans was highly critical of Chess.com for banning him again, and complained of a lack of explanation. Now Chess.com have published a statement where they say they have explained their decision to Hans while also sharing with him "information that contradicts his statements regarding the amount and seriousness of his cheating on Chess.com".

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 alway act to protect the integrity of the game that we all love.

Danny Rensch
Chief Chess Officer
Chess.com

Hans had earlier hit out at Hikaru Nakamura for not responding immediately to the interview in St. Louis.

Hikaru finally did respond on his stream, and you can rewatch the clip in the video below.

Nakamura...

  1. ...concedes that Hans' explanation of how he'd checked the opening that occurred in the game against Magnus Carlsen is "definitely plausible", even if he feels Hans got very lucky in that scenario,
  2. ...denies that he made any "direct accusations" of Hans cheating over-the-board rather than online,
  3. ...agrees that Hans being removed from the Chess.com Global Championship requires some kind of statement. He also calls on Magnus to make a statement.

Meanwhile the Sinquefield Cup continues in St. Louis, with Hans suffering a first loss in Round 6, to Wesley So.


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