On Friday, the news came that Hans Niemann will not be invited to any of the tournaments of the chess club Saint Louis Chess Club in 2024. In the justification, the chess club wrote, among other things, that it was due to damage to private property.
In a 20-minute video on X, Niemann confirms that he destroyed several items at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel in St. Louis in connection with the 2023 US Championship.
– It was an incident. After a very challenging tournament, I broke some things. The short story is that I apologized. I paid a fine. No one was injured. Of course it was a mistake and something for which I apologize.
In a further message, Niemann writes that he destroyed TV remote controls, a lamp and an ironing board. Furthermore, the glass frame of a painting was broken, after which the glass is said to have caused damage to the sofa in the hotel room.
Niemann claims he was told by the hotel that it was 99 percent certain that the hotel would accept the apology, but that his apology was rejected three days later. He further claims that he has received no response from the hotel afterwards, despite several attempts to make contact.
– They seem to have decided to destroy the career of one of America’s greatest talents. I have been attacked and blacklisted in absolutely every way, Niemann wrote Friday night about the decision to the Saint Louis Chess Club.
– It gets a bit strange when Niemann portrays himself as very badly treated, at the same time as he acknowledges this vandalism at the hotel, says NRK’s chess expert, Torstein Bae.
– Like a rock star
Niemann really made himself known in Norway when he beat Magnus Carlsen in the Sinquefield Cup in 2022, a tournament organized precisely by the Saint Louis Chess Club.
Carlsen withdrew from the tournament soon after and Niemann also admitted that he had cheated on a couple of occasions a few years earlier.
Just over two weeks later, they met again in an online tournament, where Carlsen withdrew after making his first move.
After the tournament, Carlsen stated that he believed Niemann had cheated more and more recently than he had admitted.
– We are led to believe that this was done out of emotion after a loss, but you sometimes feel that Niemann is cultivating his image as chess’ new “bad boy”. This goes very much into a story, where he is going to smash his hotel room a bit like a rock star, says Bae about Niemann’s hotel room.
– We can say that Niemann is a master at keeping himself in the forefront of people’s consciousness and a man who is in the wind for many different reasons, he says further.
Niemann has not yet responded to NRK’s inquiry regarding Bae’s comments.
Met Carlsen on Tuesday: – There are some who are afraid
Niemann sued Carlsen and several others for over one billion kroner following the cheating allegations. In August, it emerged that the legal dispute was over and that a settlement had been reached.
On Tuesday, the two met for the first time since the fall of 2022 in an online tournament on Chess.com. Carlsen won the tournament itself, with Niemann in third place. In the game in question they played against each other, it was a draw.
Niemann broadcast directly from the party on the platform Twitch, where he clearly expressed what he thought of the Norwegian’s strategy during the party.
After it became clear that it was heading for a draw after a number of pieces had been exchanged, Niemann said:
– There are some who are afraid. There are some who are afraid! There are some who are afraid!
Furthermore, he reacted to the fact that Carlsen, who was playing with white pieces, did not offer him a draw, but continued to play. In the end, it ended in a draw after the draw was repeated.
– Folks, this is a well-known theoretical draw. I play regular chess. He forces a draw. I have played the same draw many times. I have black pieces. So guys, just so you know, if I was such a terrible chess player and not talented, top players wouldn’t be afraid of me, Niemann said.
Later that day, he also won a corresponding online tournament, just ahead of chess star Hikaru Nakamura.
– Do you think Carlsen is afraid of Niemann, Bae?
– No, I do not think so. But I think Magnus respects the fact that he’s a competent player, so Magnus can’t just pick him up without further ado. To some extent, this party also shows that Magnus is a grown man who knows that he must take the task seriously.
– I understand very well that Niemann is very pleased to manage a draw against our great champion. And even more based on the bridal showers that have been around them, says Bae further.
NRK has sent an inquiry to both Niemann and Henrik Carlsen, Magnus Carlsen’s father, regarding the party, but without a reply.