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Opinion
Stephen L. Carter

Hans Niemann’s $100 Million Chess Lawsuit Will Be Tough to Win

The young player has sued Magnus Carlsen and others for accusing him of cheating, but other cases like his have failed.

Facing a tough battle.

Facing a tough battle.

Photographer: Tim Vizer/AFP/Getty Images

I won’t venture to guess what will happen in Hans Niemann’s $100 million defamation lawsuit against world chess champion Magnus Carlsen and grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura, who are among the many who’ve accused the young plaintiff of cheating. As others have pointed out, Niemann faces a number of straightforward legal challenges. Even if he meets them all, practical roadblocks abound.

The contretemps began in early September, when Niemann defeated the rarely beaten Carlsen in a game at a prestigious tournament in St. Louis, Missouri. Carlsen left the tournament and hinted that there were things he wanted to say but could not. Not long after, a number of players and journalists began to wonder aloud if the 19-year-old rising star might have cheated. Elon Musk tweeted on the controversy. Major papers covered the scandal. When Carlsen and Niemann faced off again at a different tournament, the world champion made a single move and then resigned.