In a Bitter Lawsuit, Chess Combatants Agree to a Draw

In the announcement of the settlement, Carlsen acknowledged that there was “no determinative evidence that Niemann cheated in his game against me at the Sinquefield Cup.” He added, “I am willing to play Niemann in future events.”

For his part, Niemann said he was pleased that the suit had been resolved in a “mutually acceptable manner” and that he would be allowed to play again on, adding, “I look forward to competing against Magnus in chess rather than in court.”

The announcement did not contain a statement from Nakamura.

The settlement is probably not the last word on the controversy. As the statement made clear, all parties in the litigation will now be allowed to “talk openly about their views,” meaning without fear of legal repercussions. It would not be surprising if people in the chess world, including Carlsen, Nakamura and Niemann, continued to weigh in.

In addition, there is a looming investigation from the International Chess Federation, the game’s governing body, into the matter. The investigation, which reportedly went beyond the events at the tournament in St. Louis, was put together by a special commission earlier this year. A report was to have been released in March, along with possible recommendations for sanctions against the players involved, but in May the federation postponed the release, citing its desire not to be entangled in the litigation. At the time, the federation said it would release the report in October.

Efforts to reach representatives of the federation were unsuccessful.

In an email, Erik Allebest, a co-founder of, wrote about the settlement and the decision to allow Niemann to once again compete on its site: “We believe the same as other professional leagues and governing bodies: that everyone deserves a second chance. We always strive to do what is best for chess, and we believe this decision to move forward together is good for the game.”

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