HansNiemann is now facing accusations of foul play related to his previous online misconduct and other apparent flaws in his chess performance after his shocking victory over Magnus Carlsen. He has vigorously denied the accusations and retaliated against the main perpetrators.
Niemann, a 19-year-old American grandmaster, was chosen as a last-minute replacement for Richard Rapport at the prestigious invitational tournament. In classical play, he was ranked No. 40 in the world, and his defeat against Carlsen, with the Black pieces, no less, made his victory a remarkable one. Carlsen's 53-game unbeaten run ended.
Carlsen then shocked the chess world by withdrawing from the tournament for the first time in his career, implying in his tweet that Jose Mourinhos might be in hot water if I speak. He hasn't tweeted since.
I've withdrawn from the tournament. I've always enjoyed participating in the @STLChessClub, and I intend to return in the future https://t.co/YFSpl8er3u
As fellow players and commentators sifted through Niemann's interviews and previous performances, the chess world was immediately engulfed by the implications. Both Hikaru Nakamura and Ian Nepomniachtchi have both referred to Niemann's past acts of cheating in online play, despite having no concrete evidence.
In the last couple of days, Nakamura has dedicated a large portion of his streaming time to the topic, and he has significantly increased his subscriber count over the controversy. At the time of writing, his video on the subject has over 790,000 views, although it may have landed him in hot water with the Saint Louis Chess Club due to copyright concerns.
Nakamura has been accused of cheating for the first time. Brazilian grandmaster Luis Paulo Supi was previously barred from the Internet Chess Club after he defeated Nakamura in online play, a decision that was later reversed. The American later apologized for his actions.
Niemann invoked his post-match interview after the fifth round to vigorously refute the charges leveled against him, admitting to cheating at online play at the age of 12 and 16, while stating that he never cheated in over-the-board play. He said he'd even be willing to play naked to demonstrate that there's no foul play going on.
After his victory against Carlsen, he discussed his chess journey and the stress-related issues that he encountered at the analysis board. He resisted his sudden ban on chess.com, which was imposed after his defeat on Twitter.
The silence of my opponents speaks for itself. If there was any evidence, why not display it? @GMHikaru has continued to completely ignore my interview and is trying to sweep everything under the rug. Is anyone going to hold themselves accountable for the harm they've done?
Hikaru plays the victim but seems to forget about criticizing all of my interviews over and over with frivolous insinuations. Perhaps he deserves some credit and should take accountability for what he said. Now he has 42% more subshttps://t.co/CLh6CO7291
After a rest day, the players from the Sinquefield Cup are returning to the board. Niemann is seen playing tennis with members of the commentary team as well as other competitors.
The rest of the day will be spent playing tennis! #SinquefieldCup pic.twitter.com/i4i5ISX87g
More chess is coming up next. Meanwhile, the drama continues.