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Chess Grandmaster Hans Niemann Sues Magnus Carlsen for $100M Over Cheating Allegations

Hans Niemann, Magnus Carlsen
Hans Niemann, Magnus Carlsen

Hans Niemann/Twitter; ARUN SANKAR/AFP via Getty

What started out as a chess cheating conspiracy is now moving to court.

American chess player Hans Niemann has filed a lawsuit against world champion Magnus Carlsen and others after he claims the parties defamed him and "unlawfully [colluded] to blacklist him from the profession to which he has dedicated his life."

"My lawsuit speaks for itself," 19-year-old Niemann wrote in a tweet that included a copy of his lawsuit.

In addition to Carlsen, Niemann is also suing online platform Chess.com; the company's chief chess officer, Daniel Rensch, and Hikaru Nakamura, a chess streamer and grandmaster, for slander, libel and other allegations.

The documents, filed in Eastern Missouri District Court, allege that Niemann is owed $100 million in damages for claims that he cheated during competitive matches. PEOPLE reached out to representatives of Carlsen and Nakamura on Friday.

The controversy between Niemann and Carlsen began in September when Niemann defeated Carlsen in a match at the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis. The loss ended Carlsen's 53-game winning streak in classical events and was quickly followed by Carlsen dropping out of the tournament altogether.

RELATED: Teen Chess Grandmaster Hans Niemann 'Likely Cheated' in More Than 100 Online Matches, Report Finds

But Carlsen dropped hints that he believed Niemann had cheated during the match. When announcing he would leave the tournament, Carlsen tweeted a video of Portuguese soccer manager José Mourinho telling reporters he preferred "not to speak" or he would be in "big trouble."

19 Year Old Chess Grandmaster Hans Niemann
19 Year Old Chess Grandmaster Hans Niemann

Hans Niemann/Twitter

The clip was filmed after Mourinho's team lost a match where officials were scrutinized for their decision-making, the New York Times reported.

"Enraged that the young Niemann, fully 12 years his junior, dared to disrespect the 'King of Chess,' and fearful that the young prodigy would further blemish his multi-million dollar brand by beating him again, Carlsen viciously and maliciously retaliated against Niemann," Niemann's suit contends.

Nakamura also published a 32-minute YouTube video that attempted to explain why he thought Niemann's strategy during Carlsen's match was unusual and did not rule out the possibility of him cheating.

RELATED: Chess World Champ Magnus Carlsen Accuses 19-Year-Old Hans Niemann of Cheating After Controversy

A unsubstantiated rumor that Niemann could have used a wireless anal sex toy to have a computer transmit what moves to make also started online. If there is evidence that Niemann cheated during the match, it has not been made publicly available.

However, Niemann has previously admitted to cheating in an online game when he was 12, and a report commissioned by Chess.com claimed Niemann likely cheated in online games more times than he has admitted.

He was since dropped from subsequent Chess.com tournaments.

RELATED VIDEO: Chess-Playing Robot Breaks 7-Year-Old Boy's Finger in Russian Tournament

In a statement posted online by Chess.com's legal team, the organization said the lawsuit "hurts the game of chess."

"We are saddened by Hans Niemann's decision to take legal action against Chess.com. We believe his lawsuit hurts the game of chess and its devoted players and fans around the world," they stated. "Chess.com is proud of its reputation within the chess community and beyond, and will always defend the game, the players, and their mission of both growing and protecting online chess."

They added: "Hans confessed publicly to cheating online in the wake of the Sinquefield Cup, and the resulting fallout is of his own making. As stated in its October 2022 report, Chess.com had historically dealt with Hans' prior cheating privately, and was forced to clarify its position only after he spoke out publicly. There is no merit to Hans' allegations, and Chess.com looks forward to setting the record straight on behalf of its team and all honest chess players."