Did Hans Niemann cheat playing versus Magnus Carlsen?

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Other topics: Chess
Short answer:
  • He "likely cheated", according to an analysis by Chess.com
  • Top chess players like Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura have accused Niemann
  • Niemann denies it, but admitted to cheating in the past
Wall Street Journal's article on the Chess.com report alleging Niemann likely cheated.

Hans Niemann likely cheated, according to an investigation by Chess.com[edit]

Chess.com published a 72-page report concluding that he "likely cheated" in 100+ games. He essentially played too similarly to a chess engine in these matches, suggesting that he had real-time assistance from an engine.[1]

Carlsen refused to play Niemann and accused him of cheating[edit]

On September 19, 2022, Norwegian World Champion Magnus Carlsen resigned from a game being played online with 49th-ranked U.S player Hans Niemann.[2] Niemann opened by moving a white pawn, to which Carlsen responded by moving a black pawn and then promptly resigning from the game. After winning the game, Carlsen issued a public statement, where he specifically charged Niemann with cheating during their Sinquefield Cup match.[3] He also suspected Niemann with cheating more frequently than he had admitted in public. He concluded by stating that he would no longer play any game with the 19-year-old American Grandmaster, claiming, “I don’t want to play against people who have repeatedly cheated in the past, because I don’t know what they are capable of doing in the future”. Niemann has not addressed Carlsen's allegations.[4]

Niemann strongly denies cheating versus Carlsen, but admits to previous cheating[edit]

Amid these allegations, Niemann acknowledged that he had violated online chess rules by using computer assistance during chess games in the past.[5] In a post-game interview with Saint Louis Chess Club after Round 5 of the same tournament, Niemann narrated two incidents where he had cheated online in random unrated games (games without prize money) but insisted that he had never cheated online or over-the-board since then.[6]

“When I was 12 years old, while I was playing Titled Tuesday, my friend came over with an iPad with an engine, sort of giving me the moves. Four years later, during my streaming career, in an unrated game…. other than that,” he said.

He added, “They were unrated games, and I’m admitting this. I have never, ever, ever, and I would never do that, cheat in a tournament with prize money. Now I made that mistake, and it’s not something I was doing consistently”. He admitted to being confronted by online chess game organizers Chess.com about the games and said that he stopped playing on Chess.com after admitting to his mistakes.[7]

Niemann also said, "I have never cheated in an over-the-board game," referring to in-person chess matches like the one he played against Carlsen in St. Louis.[8]

Some commentators claim there is statistical evidence of cheating[edit]

Levon Aronian and others came to Niemann's defense[edit]

Other players in the Sinquefield Cup have come to the defense of Niemann. Levon Aronian said in a brief postgame interview, “Well, I think it quite often happens when young players play very well. There are all these accusations against them. All of my colleagues are pretty much paranoid.” He added, “I always think that young players can play very well.”[9]

GM Aagaard is considered one of the top chess coaches today, having worked with promising juniors to players already past 2700. On September 6th he posted a long and detailed defense of Hans Niemann based on his personal interactions with the young player from precisely the moment he began his astonishing rise. It was titled 'Paranoia and insanity' and presented impressions of Hans Niemann as a person, as a player, and as a talent. His post served as a powerful testimony by a professional coach whose experience with players of all strengths and integrity is unquestioned.[10][11]

The internet called it Toiletgate, speculated about anal devices[edit]

Rumors spread on social media that Niemann might have used anal beads to cheat.[12] Niemann has been hit with accusations on social media that state that the only reason he won against the world’s top grandmaster Magnus Carlsen earlier this month is that the young player cheated using wireless vibrating anal beads.[13] The vibrating beads would have directed Niemann about which direction to move the pawns.[14] The netizens called it Toiletgate, referencing a previous world championship match, when Veselin Topalov accused Vlad Kramnik of analyzing games in the lavatory, in 2005.[15]


  1. Robinson, Andrew Beaton and Joshua (2022-10-04). "Chess Investigation Finds That U.S. Grandmaster 'Likely Cheated' More Than 100 Times". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2022-10-06.
  2. "MagnusCarlsen Twitter". twitter.com. Retrieved 2022-09-28.
  3. Williams, George (2022-09-27). "Magnus Carlsen accuses Hans Niemann of "cheating" and refuses to play against him anymore". Sports Finding. Retrieved 2022-09-30.
  4. "Chess world champion Magnus Carlsen accuses Hans Niemann of cheating". STLPR. 2022-09-28. Retrieved 2022-09-30.
  5. "HansMokeNiemann Twitter". twitter.com. Retrieved 2022-09-28.
  6. Karthikeyan, Suchitra (2022-09-27). "Explained | Carlsen vs. Niemann: The 'cheating' controversy rocking the Chess world". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2022-09-30.
  7. "Paranoia and insanity – by Jacob Aagaard". Killer Chess Training. 2022-09-06. Retrieved 2022-09-30.
  8. "What we know: How a cheating scandal has rocked the world of chess". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2022-09-30.
  9. Keener, Greg (2022-09-13). "The Chess World Isn't Ready for a Cheating Scandal". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-09-30.
  10. Reuters (2022-09-27). "Carlsen alleges Niemann has cheated more than he admits". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2022-09-30.
  11. "The chess world isn't ready for a cheating scandal". Deccan Herald. 2022-09-15. Retrieved 2022-09-30.
  12. "Elon Musk weighs on theory of Hans Niemann using 'vibrating anal beads' in Chess Championship". Firstpost. 2022-09-08. Retrieved 2022-09-30.
  13. Mouriquand, David (2022-09-27). "Chess scandal: Out with anal beads, in with cheating accusations". euronews. Retrieved 2022-09-30.
  14. "The Carlsen-Niemann Affair". Chess News. 2022-09-08. Retrieved 2022-09-30.
  15. Barden, Leonard (2006-09-30). "Kramnik's carry on over his own convenience". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2022-09-30.