American chess player Hans Niemann broke his silence Wednesday after he was accused in an investigation of cheating 100 times more than he previously admitted in online matches.
The Chess.com report that implicated Niemann came out before his first match at the US Championship, which is an over-the-board tournament.
Video from the event showed the 19-year-old being scanned around his backside and even on the snacks he brought for the day.
Niemann had been accused of using devices to help him cheat in matches, including anal beads. He defeated Christopher Yoo in his first-round match.
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He then spoke briefly about the Chess.com report after the match.
“I think that this game is a message to everyone,” he told the Saint Louis Chess Club. “This entire thing started with me saying chess speaks for itself. And I think that this game spoke for itself and showed the chess player that I am and also showed that I’m not going to back down. And I’m going to play my best chess here regardless of the pressure that I’m under. And that’s all I have to say about this game. Chess speaks for itself is all I can say.”
He cut the interview short after about 50 seconds.
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Chess24 noted that Niemann’s “chess speaks for itself” quip was reminiscent of his flare-up with Magnus Carlsen in Miami at the FTX Crypto Cup. After beating Carlsen in one match, Niemann told a reporter outside the playing area, “The chess speaks for itself.”
Carlsen, the No. 1 chess player in the world, flatly accused Niemann of cheating late last month. On Monday, Chess.com released its report.
Chess.com, an online platform with which anyone can play the game and study the rules and strategy, shared a report of its investigation with the Wall Street Journal. The report indicated Niemann “likely received illegal assistance in more than 100 online games” and as recently as 2020.
Some of the matches Niemann was accused of having cheated in involved prize money. Niemann reportedly admitted to the allegations and was banned from Chess.com for a period of time.
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Chess.com didn’t say whether Niemann had cheated in over-the-board contests. The website has cheating-detection tools and hasn’t been involved with any type of cheating detection for over-the-board games, according to the Wall Street Journal.