Hans Niemann is “likely” over after new cheating evidence

Hans Niemann is “likely” over after new cheating evidence


A 72 page report by chesscom, initially revealed by The Wall Street Journal, showed that Hans Niemann has “likely cheated” more than 100 times online, but there is still a lack of concrete statistical evidence that he cheated in his game with Magnus at the Sinquefield Cup 2022 or in any other over-the-board game.

Photo: Lennart Ootes

After Hans Niemann beat Magnus at the Sinquefield Cup 2022 and Magnus withdrew, Chesscom removed Hans from their upcoming Global Championship 2022 and withdrew his access to their site until they could conduct further review. “Other than when I was 12 years old, I have never, ever, ever – and I would never do that, that is the worst thing that I could ever do – cheat in a tournament with prize money.” Hans Niemann said in an interview given at the Sinquefield Cup after chesscom’s actions, adding: “I’m not going to let Chesscom, I’m not going to let Magnus Carlsen, I’m not going to let Hikaru Nakamura, the three arguably biggest entities in chess, simply slander my reputation”.

Chesscom publicly disagreed with Niemann and gave indications that he has cheated more than he stated to eventually release a 72 page report and findings to justify their recent actions.

Chesscom’s cheating detection methodology involves:
• Comparing the moves made to engine recommended moves
• Removing some moves (opening, some endgame)
• Focusing on key/critical moves
• Discussing with a panel of trained analysts and strong players
• Comparing player past performance and known strength profile
• Comparing a player’s performance to performances of comparable peers
• Looking at the statistical significance of the results (ex. “1 in a million chance of happening naturally”)
• Looking at if there are behavioral factors at play (ex. “browser behavior”)
• Reviewing time usage when compared to difficulty of the moves on the board

One of the most important findings of this report is that Hans has likely cheated in more than 100 online chess games, including several prize money events. He was already 17 when he likely cheated in some of these matches and games. He was also streaming in 25 of these games. On his over-the-board performance, the report described Niemann’s quick ascent as “statistically extraordinary”, and stated that it “merits further investigation based on the data”. Chesscom also presented various graphs on Niemann’s OTB strength score, rating progress, and strength by age, comparing him with his peers and other notable players. Twitter though noticed that there were significant players missing.

After this investigation, what’s missing is Niemann’s statement.


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