Is Hans Niemann a cheater, or is Magnus Carlsen a sore loser?


Magnus Carlsen playing in the FIDE World FR Chess Championship 2019. Via Wikimedia Commons

On Sept. 26, arguably one of the best chess players in the world, Magnus Carlsen, tweeted about his withdrawal from the 2022 Sinquefield Cup. Carlsen tweeted that he believes Hans Niemann cheated in past chess tournaments, and Carlsen believes Niemann did it again in the Sinquefield Cup.  

Here’s where I stand on the current situation between Carlsen and Niemann. I believe that Niemann did cheat in the Sinquefield Cup and that Carlsen is not a sore loser. 

Carlsen is a 31-year-old grandmaster chess player, known to be the best chess player in the world and maybe the best to ever play chess. According to Yahoo Sports, he was 22 years old when he won the World Chess Championship and has defended it four times. Carlsen is also a three-time World Rapid Chess Champion and five-time World Blitz Chess Champion. 

Niemann is a 19-year-old chess player who became a grandmaster himself back in January 2021. According to, a website that describes itself as “the home of U.S. championship chess,”  Niemann has won multiple tournaments, including the 2016 North American Youth Championship U18, the 2018 National K-12 Blitz Championship, and the 2021 World Open.

I’ve learned a lot about chess in researching to write this article, as I am a basketball player. In my research, I’ve learned how competitive chess can get and how well-known chess is around the world. After reading several articles about Niemann and Carlsen, I believe that Niemann did cheat in the 2022 Sinquefield Cup.

 Niemann does have a past of cheating, and he openly admitted to cheating before in chess twice back when he was 12 and 16 years old, according to Yahoo Sports. I believe that if you cheated more than once, you’ll continue to cheat, especially if you can get away with it. 

On Twitter, Carlsen added that there’s more he wants to say about Niemann cheating, but he wrote: “Unfortunately, at this time I am limited in what I can say without explicit permission from Niemann to speak openly.” 

Niemann was playing as the black pieces during the game, which means that he had to react to the other player’s moves. Playing the black pieces means that he went second. This, combined with the fact that he supposedly did not have to concentrate or focus hard while playing arguably the best player in the world, doesn’t add up to me.  

According to CNN, “FIDE’s Fair Play Commission (FPL) has launched a three-member investigatory panel to examine Carlsen’s allegations and Niemann’s statement about cheating online.” 

Because Niemann openly admitted to cheating twice in his chess career, played out of character, and acted suspicious after the match, I believe that Carlsen’s allegations are true. If the cheating allegations were not true, I think fans would lose respect for Carlsen and would call him a sore loser.