Hans Niemann Kontroverse geht in die nächste Runde

Hans Niemann controversy enters the next round

Chess Tigers with full program Reading Hans Niemann controversy enters the next round 3 minutes Next Keymer defeats Niemann, loses to Caruana

At the end of August, news broke that the dispute between chess.com/Magnus Carlsen and Hans Niemann had been settled. But the issue seems to be moving into the next round.

In September 2022, Niemann won a classical game against Magnus Carlsen in the third round of an important round-robin tournament in St. Louis. Carlsen then dropped out of the tournament and indicated very clearly that he believed Niemann was a cheat. Chess.com then banned the 19-year-old American. The story made the headlines of all major news sites around the world.
Niemann draws a direct connection between the suspension at chess.com and the recently agreed takeover of the Play Magnus Group by chess.com. Nieman sued Magnus Carlsen, chess.com and Hikaru Nakamura, who was very critical of Niemann in his streams, for 100 million euros each for defamation.

The parties wanted to put all that behind them. The following was regulated in an agreement: Niemann is allowed to compete on chess.com again and waives his lawsuits. Carlsen and chess.com admit that Niemann has never cheated in a classical tournament.

Up to this point, the story wouldn't have been worth news on this site. But Vladimir Kramnik brought the topic back to the fore. When Niemann beat him in an online game, Kramnik wanted to be checkmated after 2 moves in the next game. Instead of checkmating, Niemann gave up!

Now the story has gone into overtime. Niemann appeared with his lawyer on the show of the well-known British news anchor Piers Morgan, "Uncensored". Morgan himself was fired from his job at "Good Morning Britain" because of controversial comments about Meghan Markle and now has his own very successful show in which he deals with controversial topics week after week.

It is unclear why Niemann chose to make this appearance now. He definitely did himself no favors. The presence of his lawyer also did not seem to have been agreed upon with a PR expert. Immediately after the accusations, he had reacted very convincingly and spontaneously to the allegations. Now it felt more like a bad court show.

In terms of content, the show didn't have much that was new. It repeated what everyone in the chess scene has known for a year.

However, Niemann's appearance on the Morgan show shows what importance chess has now acquired. Conflicts are played out in public, and even Tesla and X boss Elon Musk expressed his opinion on the entire conflict.

How should the chess scene deal with this new attention? Chess is in a stronger financial position than it has been in recent decades. The Queen's Gambit on Netflix, the Corona period and the incredible success of chess.com drive millions of people to the screen every day to play a game of chess. With more money and attention comes interest in scandals and disputes. The chess scene has so far sorted these out among itself. But that now seems to be over.

Media training and a more professional appearance of the top players will be necessary in the future. The time of niche sports without attention is over and that is great news!

You can find the full interview here

Photo: Lennart Ootes