Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Amid an alleged cheating scandal, American chess grandmaster Hans Niemann sued Norwegian World Champion Magnus Carlsen, online platform Chess.com and others for slander and libel, and is seeking at least $100 million in damages.

As per reports, the lawsuit named Carlsen’s online chess platform Play Magnus, Chess.com executive Danny Rensch and American grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura as defendants.

In his lawsuit, filed at a US District Court in Missouri, Niemann alleged that the defendants are ‘colluding to blacklist’ him from the professional chess world. Moreover, he has been shunned by tournament organisers since five-time World Champion Carlsen publicly accused him of cheating.

Niemann’s lawsuit will be decided by the court. However, the most important question remains is it possible to cheat in chess?

Is it that easy to cheat in chess?

As per the latest research, tolls like digital chess engines, data clouds, personal server space, and high-tech miniature wireless devices are handy enough to hoodwink judges and arbitrators. The modern cheaters have come a long way since the days when Anatoly Karpov would allegedly be tutored about his next moves by the colour of the drink he would be delivered. While cheating in over-the-board chess remains difficult, more so since players are scanned by electromagnetic wands these days, the scrutiny in online tournaments is less intense. The easy availability of a free-to-download chess app that gives the ‘best moves’ option for all situations has sickeningly levelled the playing field. Now even a novice, aided by an app, can beat a World Champion 10 times in 10 games.

Notably, Carlsen’s surprise defeat to Niemann last September sparked a furore of comments and allegations. The 31-year-old Norwegian had quit the Sinquefield Cup in Saint Louis after the loss, saying he is unwilling to play against Niemann or any player who cheats.