Teenage chess grandmaster Hans Niemann has "likely cheated" in more than 100 online chess games hosted by Chess.com, according to a report commissioned by the popular online chess website.
On Tuesday, Chess.com, which says it hosts more than 10 million online chess games every day, published a 72-page report concerning its decision to ban Niemann, 19, from its platform and revoke his invitation to the Chess.com Global Championship in the wake of champion player Magnus Carlsen's September accusation that Niemann has cheated in various matches.
According to the report, Niemann "admitted to cheating in chess games on our site as recently as 2020." The company had also grown increasingly suspicious of Niemann's play after he shocked the chess world when he defeated Carlsen, 31, at the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis on Sept. 4, per the New York Times. The third-round loss ended Carlsen's 53-game winning streak in classical tournaments.
"Overall, we have found that Hans has likely cheated in more than 100 online chess games, including several prize money events," the report states. "He was already 17 when he likely cheated in some of these matches and games. He was also streaming in 25 of these games."
The report's findings directly contradict Niemann's own Sept. 6 statement in which he acknowledged he had cheated in online chess matches as a teenager but claimed he had never cheated "in a tournament with prize money," or any game during which he aired livestreams.
Niemann did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment Wednesday.
In the report, Chess.com published statistics showing Niemann's performance in numerous chess matches between 2015 and 2020, during which they found he had likely cheated. They also included internal messages between Niemann and Chess.com CCO Danny Rensch, sent in 2020 and 2021, in which Niemann acknowledged he had cheated in the past.
However, the report clarifies that the company "is not aware" of any evidence that proves Niemann has cheated in "over the board," or in-person, chess matches, which Carlsen publicly accused him of on Sept. 26. Chess.com does not run classical chess events and wrote in its report that the company "has historically not been involved" in decisions regarding fair play during in-person events.
Hans Niemann/Twitter; ARUN SANKAR/AFP via Getty
"We believe Hans is an incredibly strong player and a talented individual. That said, given his history on our site, we did not believe we could ensure that he would play fairly in our online events until we could re-evaluate the evidence and our protocols," the report states.
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"Nevertheless, and to be clear, it is not our position that Hans should be limited or banned from [over the board] chess," the report adds. "Hans' online and OTB behaviors may be completely different, and that should be taken into consideration."
"[Niemann's] over the board progress has been unusual," Carlsen wrote on Twitter on Sept. 26. "And throughout our game in the Sinquefield Cup I had the impression that he wasn't tense or even fully concentrating on the game in critical positions, while outplaying me as black in a way I think only a handful of players can do."
Chess.com's summary report states that it would like to "have a conversation with Hans" in the hope of "finding a resolution where Hans can again participate on Chess.com."
"We want the best for Hans. We want the best for Magnus. We want the best for chess," the report states. "We want stability, fairness and joy in the chess community, not turbulence, conspiracy and accusations."