A federal judge has thrown out chess prodigy Hans Niemann’s $100 million defamation lawsuit against a fellow grandmaster who accused him of cheating in a tournament.
Niemann, 19, filed the suit last year in Missouri Federal District Court, accusing Norwegian world chess champion Magnus Carlsen of slandering him by accusing him of cheating.
Last year, Niemann sent the elite world of competitive chess into a tailspin when he defeated Carlsen in the prestigious Sinquefield Cup in St Louis, prompting Carlsen to publicly accuse him of cheating.
In an order issued Tuesday, Judge Audrey G. Fleissig dismissed the federal antitrust claims in Niemann’s lawsuit with prejudice, meaning they cannot be refiled, and declined to accept jurisdiction over the defamation and slander claims. Of demand.
Carlsen’s attorney, Craig M. Reiser, told DailyMail.com in a statement: “We are pleased that the court has rejected Hans Niemann’s attempt to recover an undeserved windfall in Missouri federal court, and that the attempt to Niemann to cool the discourse through strategic litigation in that forum has failed”. .’
A federal judge has thrown out chess prodigy Hans Niemann’s (above) $100 million defamation lawsuit against a fellow grandmaster who accused him of cheating in a tournament.
Niemann, 19, filed the lawsuit last year in the US District Court for Missouri, accusing Norwegian world chess champion Magnus Carlsen (above) of slandering him.
A lawyer for Niemann did not immediately respond to a DailyMail.com request for comment Tuesday afternoon.
Their suit also named online chess platform Chess.com, Chess.com executive Daniel Rensch, and chess streamer Hikaru Nakamura.
The lawsuit sensationally accused the defendants of “conspiring to blacklist” Niemann from professional chess, saying he had been shunned by tournament organizers since five-time world champion Carlsen accused him of cheating.
Judge Fleissig rejected the federal antitrust elements of the lawsuit for failing to file a claim, meaning that even if Niemann’s allegations were true, they did not constitute an adequate claim for relief under the law.
The other elements of the lawsuit, including libel and slander, would not normally fall under federal jurisdiction, and the judge declined to extend jurisdiction after ruling out the antitrust elements.
Lawyers Nima Mohebbi and Jamie Wine of Latham & Watkins, who represented Chess.com against the lawsuit, told DailyMail.com: ‘We are very pleased with the court order dismissing Hans Niemann’s claims.
“Our customers are happy to see the end of this saga and are grateful that all parties can now focus on growing the game of chess.”
The saga began at the Sinquefield Cup in St Louis in September, when Carlsen withdrew after being beaten by Niemann playing Black, a significant handicap at the highest levels of chess.
Carlsen’s surprise loss and unusual decision to immediately withdraw from the tournament triggered a flurry of speculation in the chess world that Carlsen believed Niemann had cheated.
Wild speculation and rumors swirled online, including a suggestion first launched by chess podcasters that Niemann had used vibrating anal beads to get advice from an accomplice.
The saga began at the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis in St. Louis, during which Carlsen sensationally retired after being beaten by Niemann (above) playing Black.
The rumor erupted into scandal later that month when Carlsen resigned after a move in a match against Niemann during an online tournament.
Carlsen then released a statement saying that he believed Niemann had cheated “more, and more recently, than he has publicly admitted”, although he did not speculate on how the cheating was carried out.
Chess.com, an Internet chess server, banned Niemann after the first match against Carlsen and later published a report saying that he had probably cheated more than 100 times in online games.
Niemann has admitted to cheating in online chess games when he was 12 and 16 years old, but has denied cheating during prize money tournaments or in off-board games.
Tournament organizers in St Louis say they have found no evidence that Niemann cheated.
Following the cheating allegations, a 72-page Chess.com report accused the “self-taught chess prodigy” of cheating “more than 100 times.”
“On October 5, 2022, Niemann was scheduled to begin competing in the US Chess Championship tournament which, due to repeated defamatory allegations and Defendants’ blacklisting, is quite possibly one of the last competitive chess tournaments in which Niemann will be able to participate”. play,” the lawsuit reads.
‘Niemann desperately hoped that he would be able to compete in that tournament, deliver an impressive performance, and lessen the impact of at least some of Defendants’ defamatory allegations. However, once again, Defendants had different plans.’
The extensive report showed that the prodigy privately confessed to Chess.com that he had cheated on numerous occasions, while also revealing that he was banned from the site, although this was never made public.
The report states that Niemann confessed to his cheating to Chess.com COO Danny Rensch during a Zoom call and later in writing during a Slack chat.
Many of the tournaments in which Chess.com said Niemann cheated included prize money, according to the report, including Chess.com prize events, Speed Chess Championship Qualifiers and the PRO Chess League.
As a result of the allegations, tournaments, including the Tata Steel Chess Tournament, have ceased contact with Niemann.
Meanwhile, Carlsen’s refusal to participate in tournaments where Niemann is present also prevents the 19-year-old from participating in “the vast majority” of them, he complained in his lawsuit.
Niemann admitted to cheating in online chess games when he was 12 and 16, but denied cheating during prize money tournaments.
The lawsuit alleges that Carlsen’s actions were financially motivated: His Player Magnus brand merged with Chess.com in an $83 million deal last August. Player Magnus is Carlsen’s chess training app.
Defendant Nakamura is one of Chess.com’s “influential broadcast partners” who posted content to amplify Carlsen’s allegations with “numerous additional defamatory statements,” the lawsuit says.
Meanwhile, Chess.com executive Rensch was accused of publishing the company’s “libelous report” to “bolster Carlsen’s unsubstantiated libelous allegations that Niemann cheated him in the Sinquefield Cup.”
In court documents, Rensch and Carlsen said Niemann is an “acknowledged” cheater who did not identify any defamatory statements by them in their lawsuit.
“After years of trying to heal a reputation as the bad boy of chess, plaintiff Hans Niemann wants to profit by blaming others for the consequences of his own admitted misconduct,” Carlsen’s filing reads.
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