© Reuters. Chess – 2018 World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships – Rapid Open – Saint Petersburg, Russia – December 26, 2018. Magnus Carlsen of Norway makes a move during a match against Adam Tukhaev of Ukraine. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov
By Jack Queen
(Reuters) – Norwegian world chess champion Magnus Carlsen and online platform Chess.com on Friday urged a U.S. federal court to file a $100 million libel suit brought against them by U.S. grandmaster Hans Niemann , whom Carlsen accused of cheating.
Chess.com executives Daniel Rensch and Carlsen said in their filings that Niemann is an “admitted” cheater who did not identify any defamatory statements by them in his trial in US District Court in Missouri.
“After years of trying to build a reputation as a chess bad boy, plaintiff Hans Niemann wants to cash in by blaming others for the fallout from his own admitted misconduct,” Carlsen’s filing said.
Niemann’s attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Niemann, 19, said in his trial that the defendants ‘colluded to blacklist him’ from professional chess and that he has been shunned by tournament organizers since five-time world champion Carlsen, 32 , accused him of cheating at the Sinquefield Cup in St Louis, Missouri in September.
Carlsen’s surprise loss and unusual decision to immediately withdraw from the tournament sparked a flurry of speculation in the chess world that Carlsen believed Niemann had cheated.
The rumor erupted into scandal later that month when Carlsen quit after a knock in a match against Niemann in an online tournament. Carlsen later released a statement saying he believed Niemann had cheated “more — and more recently — than he has publicly admitted.”
Chess.com, an internet chess server, banned Niemann after the first match against Carlsen and later released a report that he probably cheated more than 100 times in online games.
Niemann admitted to cheating in online chess matches when he was 12 and 16, but denied ever doing so in tournaments involving prize money. Tournament organizers say they found no evidence that Niemann cheated.