Hans Niemann takes a stand, “I’m not going to let Carlsen, Nakamura, and Chess.com slander my reputation.”
Hans Niemann responds to all allegations that have sparked following Carlsen’s withdrawal. He named Carlsen, Nakamura, and Chess.com as those that have slandered his reputation.
In arguably one of the biggest controversies in Chess, 19-year-old Hans Niemann found himself in a web of cheating insinuations by the world's elite Chess entities. A day after the cheating rumor emerged, Niemann gave a fervent speech to bring his side of the story and called out Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura, as well as the popular website, Chess.com.
Hans Niemann is a rising prodigy who entered the Sinquefield Cup as a replacement player. He was the lowest rated GM amongst a lineup of Super GMs, but against the odds, he claimed an unexpected victory against the world champion, Magnus Carlsen. Niemann became a huge sensation in the Chess world overnight, but not for the right reasons.
After his phenomenal victory, Magnus Carlsen withdrew and the community started speculating about possible false play by Niemann without a shred of solid evidence. Hikaru Nakamura pushes the theory further with his suspicions. Now Hans Niemann is taking a stand.
UPDATE: Niemann continues to call out his critics and specifically Nakamura in his recent tweet. "Is anyone going to take accountability for the damage they've done?" he stated.
Watch the full clip below:
If you are confused about what is happening, here is a more detailed breakdown of Magnus Carlsen's shocking withdrawal. We have also compiled reactions from GMs such as Hikaru Nakamura, Fabiano Caruana, and Levon Aronian.
About his peculiar accent
In a post-match interview during the ongoing Sinquefield Cup, Niemann addressed the elephant in the room. But first, he talked about his accent. Somehow, his distinct accent has sparked the curiosity of the community, considering that Niemann is a native English speaker. To this, he stated:
"This is not a facade. I'm sorry, I just don't socialize much because I work so hard in Chess. I delete all social media, I sit inside, study Chess, leave to pick up my delivery food twice a day. That is my life, I enjoy it. And if my English isn't as native as it is.. sometimes, if I speak with an American friend, it comes back, it's something subconscious."
Hikaru Nakamaru on Carlsen’s withdrawal: “He would never do this in a million years”, more GMs react
Top Grandmasters react to the Carlsen-Niemann issue from the Sinquefield Cup including Nakamura, Caruana, Aronian, and more.
Sarah "KZ" Zulkiflee
A past cheating record that continues to haunt Niemann
After the controversy sparked, the community, including Hikaru Nakamura, started talking about his bad record on the chess website, Chess.com. It was pointed out that Niemann was banned twice on the platform due to cheating. This further drove the community to believe that Niemann might have cheated during the Sinquefield Cup.
He said, "I noticed that throughout social media, a lot of people who I once had respect for, who I once looked up to, a lot of my heroes have hopped on this bandwagon. I'm the only one who knows the truth."
He talked about the first cheating incident. "This is what happened. When I was 12 years old, I was with a friend and I was playing Titled Tuesday. He came over with an Ipad and the engine, and he started giving the moves. I was a child, I had no idea what happened. This happened once in an online tournament."
Niemann then talked about what happened on Chess.com. "I wanted to gain some rating, I just wanted to get higher rates so I could play stronger players. So I cheated in random games on Chess.com. I was confronted, I confessed, and this is the single biggest mistake in my life. I'm completely ashamed and I'm telling the world because I don't want any misrepresentation or rumors. I have never ever cheated in an over-the-board game. Other than when I was 12, I would NEVER EVER cheat in a tournament with prize money. That is the worst thing I can do."
He then explained the aftermath of his previous cheating incidents. "I'm proud of myself that I learned from that mistake and now I have given everything to Chess. I have sacrificed for Chess and I do anything I can to improve. I'm deeply sorry for my mistakes and I know that my actions have consequences and I suffered those consequences."
Niemann continued, "I had stepped away from a lucrative streaming career, stopped playing at all events, lost a lot of close friendships and relationships that meant a lot to me. But I'm putting myself in public now."
Magnus Carlsen drops a cryptic message after losing undefeated streak to Hans Niemann
Magnus Carlsen just lost his first Classical game after a 53-game winstreak to 19-year-old prodigy, Hans Niemann. A day after, Carlsen withdrew and his cryptic tweet sparked a wave of controversy.
Sarah "KZ" Zulkiflee
Niemann calls out Chess.com, Carlsen, and Nakamura
In the final moments of the interview, Niemann addressed Magnus Carlsen's tweet and the wave of controversy it brought. He also called out Hikaru Nakamura, who live-streamed his reactions and suspicions against himself. But Niemann's biggest concern was how Chess.com reacted to the allegations, in which they decided to remove access to his account and uninvite him from the Chess.com Global Championship.
"Unfortunately, there has been a targeted attack. After the game with Magnus, he put out a tweet with some insinuations. I got an e-mail from Chess.com saying that they had privately removed access to my Chess.com account and that they have uninvited me from the Chess.com Global Championship. Because of what Magnus Carlsen said, they have decided to completely remove me from the website," Niemann stated. He was dumbfounded by the fact that Chess.com was initially looking forward to his presence at the Global Championship but it quickly changed after his win against Carlsen.
"I believe this is completely unfair, this is a targeted attack. If you look at my games, it has nothing to do with my games. They have only done this because of what Magnus and Hikaru have said and that the entire social media of the Chess world is completely attacking and undermining me."
Niemann is set on protecting his image and defending his reputation. It is clear that he won't let this upheaval shake him.
"I'm not going to let Chess.com, Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura, the three arguably biggest entities in Chess simply slander my reputation. Because the question is, why are you going to remove me from Chess.com right after I beat Magnus? What's with the timing?"
An unsolved chaos
The community took sides and some remain neutral. Carlsen's shocking withdrawal, something that has never happened, led the community to believe there is a strong reason.
However, the insinuations are indeed baseless as so far, as there is zero evidence that shows Hans Niemann cheated during the Sinquefield Cup. We have yet to see if Carlsen breaks his silence, if Chess.com explains its decisions, and if Niemann would take further action.
Sarah "KZ" Zulkiflee
Editor | Twitter @kayzeesarah
Born and grew up in Malaysia, but a citizen of the world. High-key addicted to everything Dota 2. Spams support heroes but Ancient Apparition is an all-time favorite (a 100% Ice Blast accuracy). Only PMA during the day.