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Hans Niemann accuses Magnus Carlsen of paying another GM to scream ‘Cheat Hans’

Hans Niemann says Aryan Tari was paid €300 to chant ‘Cheat Hans’ by Magnus Carlsen at a tournament in October

Niemann accuses Carlsen of paying his compatriot Aryan Tari €300 to scream “Ukse Hans” at the European Club Cup.(Special illustration by Suvajit dey)
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Hans Niemann accuses Magnus Carlsen of paying another GM to scream ‘Cheat Hans’
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The Hans Niemann-Magnus Carlsen legal saga has got murkier. The US Grandmaster has accused the five-time World Champion of paying another GM, Aryan Tari to shout “Ukse Hans” which is Norwegian for “Cheater Hans” (Juske, pronounced Ukse), from the stands at the closing ceremony of the European Club Cup on October 9.

Niemann’s team amended their complaint on Tuesday for a second time, adding 13 pages to the original complaint.

Niemann accuses Carlsen of paying his compatriot Aryan Tari €300 to scream “Ukse Hans” at the European Club Cup.

If that’s not all, the complaint further states that “the entire Norwegian chess team, including Carlsen, were observed publicly chanting “Ukse Hans” in bars and the streets of the Austrian town where the European Club Cup was held. Any reasonable listener of these statements would interpret them as reiterating Carlsen’s false accusation that Niemann cheated when he defeated Carlsen at the Sinquefield Cup”.

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Hans Niemann, Samuel Sevian, Hans Niemann vs Samuel Sevian, US Chess Championship Hans Niemann and Samuel Sevian during US Chess Championship. (Screengrab)

In October last year, a month after being accused of cheating by Magnus Carlsen, Niemann filed a federal lawsuit against the reigning world champion, Chess.com and others.

The lawsuit, which seeks no less than $100 million (£89m), accuses the defendants of libel, slander and unlawful boycott, and tortious interference with Niemann’s business.

In his filing, Niemann accuses Carlsen of launching a smear campaign against him in collaboration with Carlsen’s online chess company Play Magnus, and Chess.com, which has agreed to buy Play Magnus.

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The entire debacle started on September 4, when Niemann stunned Carlsen at the Sinquefield Cup. The next day, Carlsen withdrew from the tournament. Next week, the Norwegian then quit a game against Niemann at the online Julius Baer Generation Cup after making just one move.

Magnus Carlsen then posted a statement on Twitter in which he said he believed 19-year-old American opponent Hans Niemann “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.

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He said he was prepared to “play naked” to prove his innocence.

However, an investigation into Niemann’s play by Chess.com found his cheating to be far wider and longer-lasting than he publicly admitted. More importantly, the matches in which he likely cheated included contests in which prize money was on the line. The report states that Niemann privately confessed to the allegations and that he was subsequently banned from the site for a period of time, which Niemann too admitted last month.

The report, which relied on cheating-detection tools including a comparison of a player’s moves to those recommended by powerful supercomputers, has offered data-driven evidence that contradicts Niemann’s statements that he’s cheated only twice. While the investigation made no conclusions regarding Niemann’s over-the-board games, it did flag contests from six of his stronger in-person events, stating they “merit further investigation based on the data”.

In December, Chess.com filed a motion to dismiss Hans Niemann’s lawsuit against it, claiming that his allegations of a conspiracy between the online chess company and other players to falsely portray him as a cheater were “plainly without merit” and could only be conceived as a “publicity stunt”.

First published on: 11-01-2023 at 11:41 IST
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