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Carlsen and Niemann settle chess feud after cheating claims and lawsuit

The two grandmasters are open to playing future matches, announced

Chess grandmaster Hans Niemann waits for his turn against Jeffery Xiong at a tournament last year in St. Louis. (Tim Vizer/AFP/Getty Images)
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For almost a year, a stunned chess community watched as a bitter feud between former world champion Magnus Carlsen and Hans Niemann, an American teenager who upset Carlsen in a September tournament, escalated into a multimillion-dollar lawsuit and an investigation into allegations of cheating against Niemann., a leading online platform for the game, banned Niemann from its website in October. Niemann retaliated by suing the website and Carlsen. The standoff between Carlsen, a five-time world champion and established member of chess royalty, and his upstart challenger rattled the chess world. With the two grandmasters at odds, the threat of further scandal appeared to loom over future tournaments.

But the hatchet has been buried, announced Monday. The site said in a news release that, following a judge’s decision to toss Niemann’s lawsuit in June, Niemann will be reinstated on and that Carlsen and Niemann are open to competing against each other in future events, citing conciliatory — if stiff — statements from the two players.

“I am willing to play Niemann in future events, should we be paired together,” Carlsen said.

“I look forward to competing against Magnus in chess rather than in court,” Niemann said.

A spokesperson said the reconciliation was the best move for the chess community.

“We believe the same as other professional leagues and governing bodies: that everyone deserves a second chance,” the spokesperson said.

Representatives for Carlsen and Niemann did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday night.

Tensions began in September when Niemann defeated Carlsen in an upset in the Sinquefield Cup, a tournament in St. Louis. Carlsen withdrew from the tournament afterward and sparked speculation with an oblique tweet that suggested he had suspicions about his opponent.

In seeming protest, Carlsen abruptly resigned after his first move during a live-streamed match against Niemann later that month, shocking spectators. Carlsen then explicitly accused the then-19-year-old of cheating. During the Sinquefield Cup, Niemann “wasn’t tense or even fully concentrating on the game in critical positions,” Carlsen said, and outwitted him in a way “only a handful of players can do.”

Niemann denied the allegation, but Carlsen’s charge resurfaced previous instances of Niemann cheating on in his childhood, which the American admitted to. In October, published a 72-page report that detailed over 100 alleged instances of Niemann cheating in online games on the website but found insufficient evidence that he cheated in his tournament win against Carlsen, which was played in person. removed Niemann from its platform, barring the emerging talent from participating in competitions hosted on the website. Niemann took the issue to federal court, accusing and Carlsen — whose chess brand, Play Magnus, had been acquired by that year — of colluding to defame Niemann and shut him out of competitive chess in a $100 million lawsuit.

The two players continued to compete in tournaments, and the controversy seemed bound for a stalemate after a judge dismissed Niemann’s lawsuit in June.’s Monday news release announced that the legal dispute had been resolved for good after the three parties “negotiated privately in good faith.”

Niemann will be allowed to play in all events hosted on, the announcement said. It added that stood by its investigation but emphasized that it found no conclusive evidence that Niemann had cheated in any in-person games.

“I acknowledge and understand’s report, including its statement that there is no determinative evidence that Niemann cheated in his game against me at the Sinquefield Cup,” Carlsen said in a statement shared by

The International Chess Federation, the game’s governing body, has yet to weigh in on the controversy. It completed its own investigation on the issue in February but postponed the release of its report until at least October, it said in May.