Chess.com may have released a damning report of an investigation that found American Grandmaster Hans Niemann has likely cheated in more than 100 online games, but the embattled player has remained defiant.
On Wednesday, in his first public appearance since an investigation, Niemann spoke for less than a minute in at the post-game interview, insisting he’s “not going to back down” amid the allegations of foul play.
In the opening round of the US Chess Championship, Niemann defeated 15-year-old Christopher Yoo with the unfavored black pieces, and after the game, said: “I think that this game is a message to everyone,” Niemann said. “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 am. It 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, that’s all I can say.”
Niemann then cut off the interviewer when he started into a question about the game against Yoo.
“I’m sorry, that’s it,” Niemann said before quickly exiting the studio. “You can leave it to your own interpretation, but thank you. That’s it. That’s all I’d like to say, because it was such a beautiful game I don’t even need to describe it.”
Fourteen players have convened at the Saint Louis Chess Club to compete for $262,000 in prize money and the title of US champion. The elite field includes holder Wesley So, former world title challenger Fabiano Caruana and Levon Aronian, a former World No. 2 who changed nationalities from Armenia to the United States last year.
Niemann has vehemently denied cheating in over-the board games while he did admit to cheating only twice in the past in online chess.
The report, however, says he cheated in more than 100 games, similar to what Carlsen had suggested.