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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lajosarpad lajosarpad 9/1/2023 05:32
I do not claim that Niemann is not a cheater, nor that he was a cheater. I claim that given the facts we know there is no conclusive proof that he has cheated against Carlsen, therefore, Carlsen's accusation was baseless in terms of facts and he relied on Niemann's past cheating issues (how did Magnus find this out, I wonder, especially, since Niemann's cases were amiably resolved with years earlier) and then strongly suggested that Niemann played better than he would be able to and did not even concentrate. Anyone understanding Carlsen's interview clearly sees that Carlsen has cast suspicion on Niemann and then later he said flat out that Niemann has cheated more.

So it is absolutely normal to expect Carlsen to either provide conclusive proof, or apologize. serviently provided content that attempted to prove Niemann's guilt, but they were far from convincing. Yes, he cheated online when he was a teenager, but if he was allowed to play at again, then it makes no sense to ban him just after he beats Carlsen without any evidence. And it makes no sense to accuse him of cheating OTB when there were clearly anti-cheating measures taken, so anyone making such accusations should provide proof as well.
shivasundar shivasundar 8/31/2023 07:55
I think *the real reason* chesscom is not making lists of 'alleged cheaters' public, is because they know - in their heart of hearts - that it's really 'probability-based' and to protect themselves from suits (liability)! That much is clear - so the '100s of rated players were caught cheating' claim is clearly, very, very suspect - looking at such cases... it's more like Danny writing letters like a mafia don to people. A fair percentage of whom likely fold, due to the platform's benefits/linkages/chess classes/tournaments what not, AND also scared of reputational damage.... And because their "English skills" prevent them from writing legalese...

So, yeah - as has been clearly proved - Niemann is a genuinely strong top-100 GM who has held his level EVEN when playing 100s of games over the last few months!

I *shudder to think* of what some pple say eventually, that chesscom will 'buy out FIDE'....! :-( :-(
shivasundar shivasundar 8/31/2023 07:47
Yeah - forgot completely - Magnus *touched a piece with Nepo in their match*! (Danya on commentary said 'that's touching...') :-)

Hello Magnus, cry baby - and *serial* fair play cheater! :-)
shivasundar shivasundar 8/31/2023 07:34
chesscom is not some 'paragon/sole judge n jury of who is a cheater'. Essentially, they are not God!! They are known to "bully people into confessing". Akshat Chandra, a young rising star and US GM in 2018 - was 'suddenly suspended' after Naka had complained THREE YEARS BACK. He is WIDELY ACKNOWLEDGED to not be a cheater now! Here is his sad story (read the email chain!):

If they indeed 'stand by their report' (lots of holes pointed out online), why would they settle? Any corp. settling means they 'admit to some guilt', simple.

Also, Carlsen *still says no comment* - what is he scared of?! Admission of some guilt there? Maybe he *did have Danny* telling him about "okay we have CGC coming up and some top guys dont wanna play this guy; did u know we already banned him?"; on the DAY he played him at Sinquefield Cup (remember THAT?)... since he was gonna be a shareholder in the new company.....

On a different note [*watch videos carefully*], Carlsen is known to have committed Fair Play violations AND NOT BEING PUNISHED! Famously, at WORLD BLITZ CHAMPIONSHIP! Firouzja's appeal was Denied (!!) - a fair judge, wud have added 30s to the clock and let them play/or let them play another game - given it was *championship round*! [Wonder if this is why Firouzja is not playing a lot of FIDE events nowadays! The list of FIDE haters is definitely destined to grow...] Note that due to him being distracted with seconds to go, he might have played badly later and lost!! Magnus clearly talks/shouts almost!
Also, he has had outside help in lichess Arenas - and has not been banned/suspended I think! For similar things, obviously, people have been shadow-banned for life.
Jacob woge Jacob woge 8/31/2023 09:06
IMO, in this whole business, there’s no such person as “the good guy”.
fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 8/30/2023 06:58
Where is the speculation on how much Carlsen/ paid to Niemann as part of the settlement? I'm disappointed in these comments!

There is proof Niemann was a rampant cheater - see the report.
I think Niemann got lucky and looked at an obscure variation before his Carlsen game. It's happened plenty of times among top players. Anand did not notice anything peculiar in the game and many other GMs have said the same thing. Short even pointed out past games played by Carlsen in similar variations.

Chess is a beneficiary of this episode. So are streamers.
Jack Nayer Jack Nayer 8/30/2023 02:25
These long paragraphs which prove what I said already: Carlsen never said that Niemann had been cheating against him during the St Louis game. Look up what Carlsen posted on Twitter after the game. Second, there is context. If Niemann would be someone above reproach, with no history of cheating and lying and someone who had not been raising suspicion among several grandmasters, top grandmasters such as Nakamura, Caruana and Nepo included (and some more who never spoke out), for quite some time, Carlsen’s behaviour would look very strange indeed. But this is not the case. Carlsen does not go around insulting, provoking and accusing people when he loses a game. Carlsen has no problems with Pragg or Duda or Firouzja. He has with Niemann. This is not over. The truth might still come out.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 8/30/2023 11:20
@Jack Nayer

Finally, you claim that "Carlsen never accused Niemann of cheating during the game they played".

Let's see the facts.

1. Carlsen accused Niemann of more cheating

2. He strongly insinuated to have sensed signs of cheating:

"“His over-the-board progress has been unusual, and throughout our game in the Sinquefield Cup I had the impression that he wasn’t tense or even fully concentrating on the game in critical positions, while outplaying me as black in a way I only think a handful of players can do. This game contributed to changing my perspective.”"

So, Carlsen is saying:

- Niemann has cheated
- only a "handful" of people could beat my excellence in the manner Niemann did (excluding Niemann from this "handful of players", otherwise Carlsen's statement would make no sense)
- He did not even concentrate

Let's add to that the fact that the allegation had that particular game as its context.

Putting all these together, it's quite obvious for anyone who can understand what they are reading that Carlsen accused Niemann of cheating against him.

Carlsen has sit down to play with Niemann. He lost. Then he accused him of cheating. So, something happened between sitting down and playing Niemann and the accusation. And that something, as I see it is the loss he had to face. If Carlsen would have won that game, or Niemann would have spoiled his win, then the entirety of the scandal would not exist.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 8/30/2023 11:03
@Jack Nayer it's very difficult to sing the same song for month when comments are disabled at most articles. Unless you mean the times when Chessbase still allowed comments at all its articles.

Nevertheless, I am not arguing for the position of Niemann is not a cheater, because I do not know what actually happened. I think he has beaten Carlsen fairly and squarely because there was no compelling evidence that the cheating actually happened in that game. The basis of my position is that we should consistently apply the principle of "innocent until proven guilty", as elaborated in my earlier comment that I shall not repeat here.

You misquoted me. What I have actually written:

"And no, his past cheating in online chess while he was a teenager has nothing to do with this, that's a separate case."

And the quote you attributed to me

"Niemann cheated when he was young and it was online, so that is irrelevant."

I do not know where you take that quote from, but I surely did not say anything like that. I always specify that Niemann's past cheating is irrelevant to the recent allegations. The reason is the same as of why we don't assume a past thief who served his term already to have stolen recently without seeing convincing evidence. Not to mention anti-cheating measures. If Niemann was cheating against Carlsen, then the tournament's anti-cheating measures were inadequate as well, so you transitively accuse the organizers of willingly or unwillingly allowing players to cheat.
genem genem 8/30/2023 09:27
Perhaps Magnus did pay a small cash sum to Hans, their private non-disclosed settlement agreement. Further, the agreement might contain a clause that demands Hans REPAY Magnus back twice the sum IF Hans is ever again caught cheating at any chess, online or in-person.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 8/30/2023 12:54
Shivasundar, of course I just meant the arguments pro and con 'Niemann is a cheater'. Just repeating moves.
shivasundar shivasundar 8/30/2023 12:45
That Erik and Danny have not been responding to posts on reddit, a short while after the saga erupted - is also *telling* - the silence is deafening!
shivasundar shivasundar 8/30/2023 12:30
@Frits Fritschy, I noticed the same thing - well it is obvious chesscom's reputation has taken a beating, and nobody really likes it a lot... (r/chess again). So this is news they might as well 'not publicize' - note also that all the financial details are uber-secret. Another indication that the 'agreement' probably had some qualified apologies by both Magnus and chesscom. [Google's size of settlement claims - in one case paying out $50 mil+ for ONE wrongful termination lawsuit against a Stanford top hire who 'directly reported' to Larry Page, is revealing. So, size of settlement is also very revealing generally, and is seen as an admission of guilt - although to 'not set a precedent' they don't want to lose in court!]
Mamack1 Mamack1 8/29/2023 11:07
Miracles do happen, you know.

There are instances of that sort of thing happening even before computers were invented.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 8/29/2023 08:58
Jack Nayer,
Everybody here is singing the same song for months. Seems pretty useless to me.
Jack Nayer Jack Nayer 8/29/2023 08:14
Lajosarpad et al. have been singing the same song for months, being unaware, it seems, that Carlsen never accused Niemann of cheating during the game they played. As I said, but of course you won’t reckon with it, Carlsen is far from the only grandmaster who does not trust Niemann. You can paint Niemann’s picture as a saint as much as you like, the fact remains that he is a cheater, that he lied about it and Carlsen and other GMs do not trust him. Stop making silly distinctions. “Niemann cheated when he was young and it was online, so that is irrelevant.” I consider it very relevant! I have always thought that the issue was not what happened during the game that Carlsen lost in St Louis. The very strange thing is that a very rare variation occurred which, Niemann says, as by miracle he had on the board a couple of hours before the game. Seriously? Once you are a liar, no one believes you any longer, even if it is the truth. Niemann has no one but himself to blame, perhaps with the exception of this trainer and if you do not know what that means, look it up.
shivasundar shivasundar 8/29/2023 06:54
Magnus has still not said he will play him OTB. Also the FIDE report is needed for him to be rehabilitated into the premier tournaments. Curious for STLCC's take on this, since it appears Magnus is finally conceding.

Also, for those (including famous folks, and those online) who wonder he has "fallen" 40 rating points - consider the immense pressure he has been under. He likely was forced to play "a certain number" (say 100 or 150 games) "in 1 year" like it was suggested by some experts - to prove his absolute level, and that ne never cheated OTB. It should be noted that his losses have been far fewer, and rating drops are only because he is playing opposition 300-400 points lower than him!!

2660 is not demonstrably of a lower level than 2705 - as has been proved even with Nihal, etc.!
Mamack1 Mamack1 8/29/2023 06:30
I see that the blind Carlsen fanboyz are still blindly fanboying.

Ah well.
Albert Silver Albert Silver 8/29/2023 04:16
It is worth noting that just because no announcement was made regarding financial details in the agreement, it doesn't mean there were none. Niemann certainly did not have the financial clout to bankroll this entire deal, and it seems extremely unlikely his legal representatives shook hands with the other side in exchange for a thank you.
calvinamari calvinamari 8/29/2023 03:57
If this involved slander, as alleged, the worth of the $100 million claim would not be zero. This isn’t exactly a settlement involving “splitting the baby” and meeting in the middle. This is an humiliating surrender by Niemann. Instead of expending money on lawyers, it would have been more cost effective for Hans to set fire to his cash. Please excuse Magnus while he wipes away several tears of helpless laughter!
lajosarpad lajosarpad 8/29/2023 02:44
@Jack Nayer

There was simply no proof that Niemann was cheating. In free societies there is a concept of "innocence until proven guilty", which means that nobody should be punished for any alleged wrongdoing until the wrongdoing itself has been proven.

Niemann was already punished for a claimed wrongdoing by and Carlsen, by destroying his human dignity and restricting his access to tournaments. That's called slander and, a slander conducted in an abusive way as far as there is no solid proof for the allegation. So Niemann was absolutely right to sue these people who were acting in ill faith.

The assumption of innocence makes the difference between firing squads and fair trials. So, if Carlsen is accusing Niemann with cheating, then Carlsen absolutely must prove his allegations or risk being sued and obliged to apologize.

So yes, the morally sound position is to presume that Niemann has beaten Carlsen fairly and squarely in their game until the opposite is proven. And no, his past cheating in online chess while he was a teenager has nothing to do with this, that's a separate case. And Carlsen's fantastic chess has no relevance in the context of him being a sore loser and seeking to "explain" his loss by destroying the person who won against him.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 8/29/2023 02:33
Carlsen was a sore loser against his young opponent and made his capital in motion to destroy the life of the person who destroyed him over the board. He should not be allowed to do that and this article at least proves that he could not get away with that. An apology is missing, of course, but at least these people managed to amiably solve the issue. If Niemann was satisfied with this less-than-apology and Carlsen was compelled into doing it, then I'm happy the issue was resolved.
Jack Nayer Jack Nayer 8/29/2023 02:21
This episode showed a couple of things, namely that:
1) The methods of statistical analysis to determine cheating are lacking and in some cases laughable.
2) Several grandmasters other than Carlsen who had also been suspicious of Niemann’s behaviour never stood up publicly.
In a way, I hope it is not over, but in the meantime Carlsen is the best player on the planet and Niemann is a nobody. Hopefully nobody is going to make the point that he is not a cheater.
arzi arzi 8/29/2023 01:19
calvinamari:" Not that he agrees. Settling a $100 million dollar claim for this verbal methane shows just what a looser Niemann is. As Nakamura noted yesterday, it is curious how after Sinquefield and new FIDE anti-cheating rules, Niemann is not playing at the same rating level. Stressing that observation, and also noting that he is aware of other information that is not public, Hikaru tells you all you need to know."

Funny what you said. That big demand for money caused exactly what its purpose was in the beginning. and Carlsen were forced to publicly retract their claims. What else they have agreed on, e.g. money matters, is not publicly disclosed, but it has certainly been in Niemann's favor. With that money, he has paid e.g. his lawyers' fees and something has also been left at the bottom of his pocket for his own use.

Nakamura's stuff on his own internet show can be completely ignored. After all, he runs a lucrative online show for his audience. It is understandable that Nakamura tells things from his own perspective, because his name has also been involved in this nonsense, precisely because of his own stupidity. For some reason, the strength of Carlsen's classic format has dropped like a dog's tail. By the way, did Hikaru also tell the reason for that?
PhishMaster PhishMaster 8/29/2023 12:23
The online stuff aside, I never thought that Hans cheated against Magnus OTB, and thought that Magnus acted like a sore loser in response. Even his admission of this lacks any grace.

I have to say that I did not read it closely before, mostly because I did not want to read the negative comments, but that the only part of Hans' lawsuit that was dismissed was the anti-trust portion of it, not the defamation. I am willing to bet that if I went back, the negative comments would have been flying saying Magnus was right...well, he was not.
mrstillwater mrstillwater 8/29/2023 11:00
It's hard to know who comes off worst from all of this - Magnus, Niemann or Niemann has clearly been a prolific cheater on-line in the past, and has ultimately allowed him to simply create a new account and continue playing, even in cash tournaments. The fact they've done this with one person, let alone a number of other titled players is pretty shameful. Then we have Magnus who appears to have thrown out a serious and likely false accusation of cheating against an opponent simply because he lost a game and appears to have suffered no repercussions. Nothing has been resolved, nobody has admitted any fault and nothing has changed other than the chess world looking petty and amateurish on the world stage once again.
calvinamari calvinamari 8/29/2023 10:27
Niemann gets the bupkis he deserves from his lawsuit — a big fat nothing, not even an apology. “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.” This says nothing other than Magnus knows the report exists and comprehends its text. Not that he agrees. Settling a $100 million dollar claim for this verbal methane shows just what a looser Niemann is. As Nakamura noted yesterday, it is curious how after Sinquefield and new FIDE anti-cheating rules, Niemann is not playing at the same rating level. Stressing that observation, and also noting that he is aware of other information that is not public, Hikaru tells you all you need to know.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 8/29/2023 09:44 seems to think this item isn't important enough...
clkauto clkauto 8/29/2023 08:31
So, Carlsen is saying “there is no evidence that he cheated against me”, while before he was saying that he was a cheater. Basically, he admitted he was a liar. Well good, I agree.
arzi arzi 8/29/2023 06:38
As I have already mentioned before, if Carlsen had behaved like a grown man in the first place, and not a tantruming teenager, this event would never have happened. Now the chess world and its chess heroes were made into ridiculous clowns. If Carlsen had apologized for his stupid words the very next day, this stupid incident would have been forgotten in people's minds and Carlsen would have given a positive image of himself ... he is just only human.

Now, a year after the event, Carlsen says how happy he is to play chess with Niemann in future tournaments. JEEEEEE, how wonderful it is to live together in Chess World and The boring chess image was turned into an exciting one. All's well That ends well, right?
GR2 GR2 8/29/2023 06:08
Someone should organise a Magnus v Hans match. 12 classical games and then tiebreakers if required. Should get somw big money backers.
Jburstow Jburstow 8/29/2023 05:59
I notice Nakamura's signature is missing from the agreement. Does that mean Niemann's suit against him is still active?
HuntingWabbits0722 HuntingWabbits0722 8/29/2023 05:13
Hans can dream of candidates for now, his games are inconsistent. Maybe another year or 2 if he can improve his game and beat Nakamura, Caruana, Aronian & Dominguez Perez in his home turf :)
Green22 Green22 8/29/2023 03:47
Great video.

"There is no determinative evidence that Niemann cheated in his game against me at the Sinquefield Cup. "

Exactly as we all knew all along Magnus. Maybe just maybe Magnus had a bad game and totally blew it out of proportion.

It will be good to see them paired up soon.
Leavenfish Leavenfish 8/29/2023 03:42
That's about as close as Magnus is ever going to get to giving an apology.
shivasundar shivasundar 8/29/2023 03:00
Will FIDE at least deign to release the Ethics report now? And finally sanction Magnus? Interestingly the word he used is "I acknowledge and understand" - not agree! I don't see a lot of contrition in Magnus still!!
shivasundar shivasundar 8/29/2023 02:49
So Magnus finally accepts he was wrong: and that Niemann DID NOT cheat during their game! Wonder how much it cost him!

This simply demonstrates that nobody on earth can sue an oligopolic corporation, since it can never lose. It is never wrong, obviously. It can arbitrarily "drop" anybody at "the drop of a hat".

It can, for example, drop somebody from their platform if a 'majority boycott' is threatened. Or if some major powerful player - who happens to be a shareholder - does not want them. With simply flimsy evidence, and a viral tweet from some-billionaire idiot. All the while, never admitting to any wrongdoing. Just like, as an example, Google routinely settles wrongful termination lawsuits.
Just pay some money, and things go quiet.

What is also a loss for the chess community which the ugly, tortious, and self-serving, hedge-fund backed corporation claims to represent, is the fact that we do not - and will not ever - know Niemann's actual extent of cheating online. Also, since no list of cheaters, or other bans have come out officially (other than the unofficial leaks) - we will be none the wiser.

All in all, it all unfolded like I predicted: chess is the loser. The community as well.
aleenyc2015 aleenyc2015 8/29/2023 12:03
looking forward to their future first clash.
Zagliveri_chess Zagliveri_chess 8/28/2023 11:37
Imagine Hans winning the candidates while Magnus is still active :)
Sorgoth Sorgoth 8/28/2023 09:24