Hans Niemann has played 47 games of classical (slow) chess and has risen to 36th in the world since champion Magnus Carlsen accused him of cheating without evidence on September 5th.
No one has found a solid indication of anything illegal in the game of the 19-year-old American, who has sued the Norwegian for more than $400 million.
But his behavior is unstable;
and his performance, irregular.
Yesterday the Rapid World Cup began in Almaty (Kazakhstan) with a victory and four boards.
Since Niemann does not speak to the press, it is difficult to know why one of those four draws, against the Russian Sergei Yudin, was signed after only six moves (something extremely rare in chess, and even more so in rapid games).
Some viewers agreed that the American was annoyed by the constant proximity of cameramen and photographers;
In addition to the usual ones, there is a team from the
New York Times
and another from ABC television that record images for documentaries about him.
A month ago, Niemann defended the first board of the United States in the Rapid World Cup of Nations in Jerusalem, with a weak performance: three draws and two losses.
There he flatly rejected an interview with EL PAÍS.
The above-signed observed him very closely for several days in the gaming room and in the restaurant: always very restless, he barely spoke to anyone, except his teammates;
Before the board he was correct with his rivals and gave the impression of understanding each position very quickly and of calculating variations at great speed, but his play was imprecise and irregular afterwards, as if nerves weighed much more than his talent .
But his results in slow games make it clear that this talent is enormous, because it is very significant that he has risen several places in the world list after 47 games (15 wins, 26 draws, 6 losses) despite tremendous media pressure. and emotional since he defeated Carlsen in the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis (USA) and the Scandinavian accused him the next day.
Niemann then admitted that he had cheated, but only in internet tournaments, up to the age of 17.
Of the eyewitnesses, his very irregular performance at the Marshall Spring in New York (March 2020) is striking, but without really solid indications of cheating, and even less since then.
Hans Niemann, during one of the games of the Rapid World Cup of Nations in Jerusalem.Dr.ML-Photo
After the World Cup in Jerusalem, Niemann played the important open tournaments in Sant Boi de Llobregat and Sitges (Barcelona).
He signed up for both at the last minute.
The organizer of Sant Boi, Xavier Pérez Llorca, remembers it like this: “It was correct during the nine days.
He didn't complain about anything.
He asked that we put him a chair with forearms.
The main referee, Hernán Siludakis, explained to him that, if we had it, we would have to do the same with the first twenty tables, which was impossible.
He said he understood it, and he complied ”.
He won four games, drew four and lost one, to finish 16th out of 175.
His result was much better a few days later at Sunway Sitges: 2nd out of 324, undefeated (six wins and four draws), despite the fact that he was seen enjoying the nocturnal entertainment intensely.
The organizer, Oskar Stöber, highlights: “His potential must be very high if he achieves a result like this despite not being the typical professional who locks himself in the room after each game and is not seen until the next.
Rather the complete opposite".
Niemann filed a defamation lawsuit against Carlsen on October 20 before a court in the state of Missouri (USA), one day after the end of the US Championship in its capital, St. Louis.
He is also suing the Play Magnus group of companies, whose main shareholder is Carlsen, the virtual chess club Chess.com, its director, Daniel Rensch, and the grandmaster and
Chess.com, which claims to have more than 90 million users, has bought Play Magnus for more than 80 million euros.
Niemann claims “not less than one hundred million” in compensation for each of these charges: defamation, libel, antitrust violation, and civil conspiracy;
and an amount not specified for "torticous interference."
Carlsen's lawyers reacted to that lawsuit by downplaying it.
He has not apologized or qualified her accusation or talked about her in recent interviews.
Given Niemann's shaky start at the World Rapid Championships in Kazakhstan, it is unlikely they will meet in the remaining eight rounds because the Norwegian is going fast, with four wins and one draw.
Carlsen has not clarified if he would agree to play the American or do the same as in the Julius Baer internet rapid tournament on September 19: against Niemann, Carlsen made a play and surrendered.
the weekly newsletter 'Maravillosa jugada',
by Leontxo García