Earlier today, American chess grandmaster Hans Niemann took the internet by storm when he filed a defamation lawsuit against Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura and Chess.com.
Hans Niemann is reportedly suing the above parties for $100 million in damages after being accused by Magnus Carlsen of cheating during the 2022 Sinquefield Cup.
After details of the lawsuit went viral, catastrophic personal injury attorney and trial attorney Tom “AttorneyTom” reached out to esports personality Jake “JakeSucky” Lucky to offer his take on the matter:
“Hey Jake, for the sake of time I’ll skip over any potential jurisdictional issues I see. I’ll get right to the heart of the matter. I think Hans Neimann has the potential to win this lawsuit. Well, yes and no.”
Trial AttorneyTom shares his thoughts on the defamation lawsuit between Hans Niemann and Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura and Chess.com
After claiming that Hans Niemann had “potential to win,” Attorney Tom then pointed to some “particularly weak” claims in the $100 million defamation lawsuit.
He provided an example of a petition against Hikaru Nakamura, explaining that the latter was primarily a “reactor” who responded to underlying statements by Magnus Carlsen and Chess.com:
“Embedded in this petition are, I think, some particularly weak allegations. Against Hikaru Nakamura, for example. Hikaru is primarily a reactor. He has responded to the underlying statements by Magnus and the reports by Chess.com. And the original thoughts or Any statements he made beyond that were based on that basis.”
If the court found Hans Neimann a “public figure with a limited purpose,” he would have to prove that Hikaru Nakamura was aware that Magnus Carlsen’s and Chess.com’s statements were false:
“In particular, if the court finds that Hans is a public figure with a limited purpose, he will essentially assume that Hikaru knew that these statements by Chess.com and Magnus were false. He made them anyway. I think these claims are weak at best. “
Attorney Tom then shifted focus and commented on Hans Niemann’s lawsuit against Magnus Carlsen and Chess.com. He explained that these claims “might have some teeth” and mentioned what he calls “implicit libel”:
“Now on to Magnus and Chess.com. I think those claims might actually have some teeth. Even though Magnus didn’t come out and specifically say ‘Hans is a cheater’, he certainly implied it. And there’s something in the law , called implied libel.”
AttorneyTom mentioned the impact of the lawsuit on Hans Niemann’s career, saying that he was “basically banned from the chess world”:
“Now Magnus and Chess.com haven’t come up with any conclusive proof that Hans cheated. So where does that leave us? Well, if you’re Hans, you’ve basically been banned from the chess world. You can’t on Chess.com play. He can’t play in any of the major tournaments! So the potential damage is huge!”
The minute-long clip ended with AttorneyTom adding that discovery is everything in this case and that it would make Hans Niemann’s claims “good or bad”:
“So discovery will be everything in this case. She will confirm or break Hans’ claims. But at first glance he has the potential to assert himself.”
Fans react to the trial attorney’s attitude
The reaction thread on Twitter attracted more than 30 replies, with one Twitter user even asking if Call of Duty: Warzone streamer Nadia could also file a defamation lawsuit over the cheating allegations made against her:
Another user hoped the defamation trial would be live streamed:
Here are some more relevant fan reactions:
Hans Niemann is not only a chess grandmaster, but also a twitch streamer. He started broadcasting on Amazon’s own live streaming platform back in 2018 and has spent most of his time streaming and playing chess on his channel. He currently has 57,031 followers and an average of 198 viewers as of July 2022.