and Hans Niemann reach agreement

by Albert Silver
8/28/2023 – After having the lawsuit leveraged by Hans Niemann against his accusers being announced as dismissed, many thought this was the end of the debacle, but it was not so. Only the anti-trust charges had been judged upon, and a new round of litigation in state court was immediately promised. Discussions were undertaken and an out-of-court agreement was reached. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Saint Louis Chess Club

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What a story it has been! With one gesture and complaint, unvoiced at first, and then explicitly, Magnus Carlsen's accusation of cheating went around the world like no such story in chess history. It was impossible to discard his concerns and many players were vocal in their support. The problem was that aside from impressions, a dodgy online history by Niemann and lots and lots of armchair investigators, there was no smoking gun. It was pages and pages of graphs trying to prove something was rotten in Denmark, or others showing the numbers suggested innocence.

As a result, an equal number of players and people chose 'innocent until proven guilty'. To make things worse, it soon became the object of jokes when Elon Musk, the richest man in the world, tweeted irreverently that the cheating had no doubt been done with the help of vibrating sex toys. Suddenly, even comedians began adding this to their nightly skits:

While one might be understandably driven to smirk at this, the fact is that the public image of chess was taking an absolute drubbing. 

Things were then aggravated when both Magnus Carlsen and Hans Niemann were paired in an online event and the world champion played one move and resigned, refusing to play, an unprecedented move. The 'noise' this all caused led to even the most unlikely media trying to explain to its readers or viewers what was going on. The author of these lines was contacted by an English language radio channel in Dubai(!) to help shed some light on the affair. 

Finally, Hans Niemann struck back with an eye-watering lawsuit against the biggest names involved: citing Magnus Carlsen, whose businesses had been acquired by for a value in excess of $80 million, itself, Danny Rensch, one of the chief officers in the company, and Hikaru Nakamura. The damages sought were for $100 million each, and thus for a grand total of half a billion dollars. Of course, no one really thought this was going to reach this stratospheric level once the dust had settled, but it was a powerful testament to the seriousness of his intent.

After several months, the first verdict came in, and was the news most channels carried: it had been dismissed! But this turned out to be a very premature announcement, or at the very least, misleading. The lawsuit had indeed been dismissed, but by the Federal courts who ruled on only two points, the anti-trust accusations.

The other points such as defamation were not ruled on at all, and the court explicitly stated they could be reopened for litigation in a state court. Sure enough, the Niemann legal representatives announced they would be doing just that.

However, as it turned out to no surprise, negotiations were taking place behind closed doors by the main parties. released an article announcing the agreement reached, with declarations by Magnus Carlsen, and Hans Niemann.

“We are pleased to report that we have reached an agreement with Hans Niemann to put our differences behind us and move forward together without further litigation. At this time, Hans has been fully reinstated to, and we look forward to his participation in our events. We would also like to reaffirm that we stand by the findings in our October 2022 public report regarding Hans, including that we found no determinative evidence that he has cheated in any in-person games. We all love chess and appreciate all of the passionate fans and community members who allow us to do what we do.” -

“I acknowledge and understand’s report, including its statement that there is no determinative evidence that Niemann cheated in his game against me at the Sinquefield Cup. I am willing to play Niemann in future events, should we be paired together.” - Magnus Carlsen

“I am pleased that my lawsuit against Magnus Carlsen and has been resolved in a mutually acceptable manner, and that I am returning to I look forward to competing against Magnus in chess rather than in court and am grateful to my attorneys at Oved & Oved for believing in me and helping me resolve the case.” - Hans Niemann

Aside from the diplomatic statements, it should be noted that Hans Niemann will be reinstated in, open to participate in their events, and that Magnus Carlsen has agreed to not veto playing against him should they be paired.


Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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