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Carlsen, Chess.com Makes First Moves in Niemann’s Fraud Lawsuit

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By Jack Regina

(RockedBuzz via Reuters) – Norwegian chess world champion Magnus Carlsen and online platform Chess.com on Friday urged a US federal court to file a $100 million defamation lawsuit brought against them by US teenage grandmaster Hans Niemann, whom Carlsen accused of cheating.

Chess.com executive Daniel Rensch and Carlsen said in their filings that Niemann is an “admitted” cheater who failed to identify any defamatory statements by them in his lawsuit in US District Court in Missouri.

“After years of trying to build a reputation as the bad boy of chess, plaintiff Hans Niemann wants to cash in by blaming others for the consequences of his own misconduct,” Carlsen’s statement said.

Niemann’s attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Niemann, 19, said in his lawsuit that the defendants are “colluding to blacklist him” from professional chess and that he has been shunned by tournament organizers since five-time world champion Carlsen, 32, accused him of cheating at the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis, Missouri in September.

Carlsen’s surprise loss and unusual decision to immediately withdraw from the tournament triggered a flurry of speculation in the chess world that Carlsen believed Niemann had cheated.

The rumor erupted into scandal later that month when Carlsen resigned after a move in a match against Niemann during an online tournament. Carlsen later released a statement in which he said he believed Niemann had cheated “more — and more recently — than he has publicly admitted.”

Chess.com, an Internet chess server, banned Niemann after the first game against Carlsen and later issued a report stating that he had probably cheated more than 100 times in online games.

Niemann admitted to cheating in online chess games when he was 12 and 16, but denied ever doing it during prize money tournaments. Tournament organizers say they have found no evidence that Niemann cheated.

(Reporting by Jack Queen in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Sandra Maler)

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