American chess grandmaster Hans Niemann has been cleared of claims that he cheated in a match last year using vibrating anal beads.
The dispute had scandalised the world of chess after world champion Magnus Carlsen implied that Niemann had cheated in a match in late 2022 when he beat Carlsen in the prestigious Sinquefield Cup.
Carlsen, who is considered one of the best players in history, quit the tournament immediately. A week later, he also refused to play Niemann in a live broadcast online game, instead choosing to immediately resign the match before making a move.
A rising star in the chess world, Niemann found himself a pariah. He filed a $100m lawsuit against Carlsen, as well as the website chess.com and another top grandmaster, American Hikaru Nakamura, who all appeared to support the allegations that he had cheated.
Niemann has admitted to cheating online when he was 12 and 16 – a serious offence when you become a top grandmaster – but insists he has never done so in a game over the board.
He even promised to play naked to prove his innocence after unfounded claims he may have used vibrating anal beads were amplified by Elon Musk.
Chess.com, the world’s most popular chess playing website with millions of users, published a 72-page report in October, claiming that Niemann had “likely cheated” between 2015 and 2020. Niemann denied the allegations.
Now, after a US judge dismissed Niemann’s suit in June, he appears ready to move on. On Monday, Chess.com said the parties had agreed to move forward without the threat of legal action.
“We are pleased to report that we have reached an agreement with Hans Niemann to put our differences behind us and move forward together without further litigation,” the website said in a statement.
“At this time, Hans has been fully reinstated to Chess.com, and we look forward to his participation in our events. We would also like to reaffirm that we stand by the findings in our October 2022 public report regarding Hans, including that we found no determinative evidence that he has cheated in any in-person games. We all love chess and appreciate all of the passionate fans and community members who allow us to do what we do.”
Carlsen said: “I acknowledge and understand Chess.com’s report, including its statement that there is no determinative evidence that Niemann cheated in his game against me at the Sinquefield Cup. I am willing to play Niemann in future events, should we be paired together.”
Niemann added: “I am pleased that my lawsuit against Magnus Carlsen and Chess.com has been resolved in a mutually acceptable manner, and that I am returning to Chess.com. I look forward to competing against Magnus in chess rather than in court,” he said.