A Missouri federal court on Tuesday (Jun 27) dismissed US chess prodigy Hans Niemann’s US$100 million defamation lawsuit alleging Norwegian grandmaster Magnus Carlsen and Chess.com falsely accused him of cheating, though his lawyers said they will pursue their claims in state court.
US District Court Judge Audrey Fleissig rejected Niemann’s claims that Carlsen and Chess.com broke antitrust laws by colluding to exclude him from lucrative tournaments. Fleissig also found she did not have jurisdiction over Niemann’s state law claims for defamation and breach of contract, among others.
Lawyers for Niemann, a 19-year-old whose defeat of Carlsen last year stunned the chess world, said in a statement that the decision has “absolutely no impact” on his ability to pursue his defamation claims in state court.
An attorney for Carlsen, the highest-ranked chess player in history, said in a statement that the court rejected Niemann’s bid to recover an “underserved windfall in Missouri federal court” and chill free speech “through strategic litigation in that forum.”
Lawyers for Chess.com said in a statement that the company is “happy to see an end to this saga” and “grateful that all parties can now focus on growing the game of chess.”