World No 1 Magnus Carlsen has said that he is willing to play against American chess player Hans Niemann in the future after accepting the results of a probe from Chess.com which stated that there is “no determinative evidence” that Niemann cheated in his game against Carlsen at the Sinquefield Cup last year.
“I acknowledge and understand Chess.com’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,” Carlsen, who recently won the FIDE World Cup, was quoted as saying in a release published by Chess.com on Monday.
“I am pleased that my lawsuit against Magnus Carlsen and Chess.com has been resolved in a mutually acceptable manner, and that I am returning to Chess.com. I look forward to competing against Magnus in chess rather than in court,” Niemann said on his part.
Niemann will be allowed to play in all events via Chess.com, and will be treated no differently from any other player, the portal said.
The online portal, Carlsen and World No 2 Hikaru Nakamura had been sued by Niemann last year and all parties had been in negotiations since June to resolve their issues. Chess.com said that Magnus, Hans, Hikaru Nakamura and the portal itself “all have their own opinions about the events surrounding the controversy, and they agree they should each be able to talk openly about their views”. However, Chess.com added that they have resolved their issues and indicated that all litigation had ended.
On September 4 last year, Niemann had stunned Carlsen at the Sinquefield Cup following which Carlsen had withdrawn from the tournament. A week later, the then world champion had quit a game against the American at an online event after making just one move. Carlsen had followed that up by posting a statement in which he said he believed the 19-year-old “has cheated more — and more recently — than he has publicly admitted.” Niemann has previously admitted to cheating when playing online chess when he was 12 and 16, but has denied ever cheating over the board.
In the aftermath of the allegations, Chess.com had privately closed Niemann’s account and published an investigative report about Hans Niemann’s play. His account has now been reinstated, the portal said in the statement.
Niemann had then filed a federal lawsuit against the now-dethroned world champion, Chess.com and others seeking $100 million (£89m). He accused the defendants of libel, slander and unlawful boycott, and tortious interference with Niemann’s business.