Hans Niemann, the American grandmaster who was in the eye of the storm not too long ago after being accused by former world champion Magnus Carlsen of cheating in games, has found himself in another controversy. This time, he has been banned by the influential St Louis Chess Club from participating in any invitational events it organises in 2024.
“After consideration of recent events, the Saint Louis Chess Club has made the difficult decision not to extend an invitation to GM Hans Niemann to participate in any invitational tournaments organized by the club in 2024,” a statement released by St Louis Chess Club (STL) reads. “This decision was based on GM Hans Niemann’s demonstrated inappropriate behaviour including damaging private property, rude comments and an uncooperative attitude resulting in a failure to fulfill contractual obligations.”
Niemann had caused damage to his hotel room after a game.
There has been plenty of conjecture online about what Niemann had done to his hotel room, with some claims that he had damaged mirrors and tiles at the Chase Park Plaza, where he was staying. There was also a claim that he was banned by the hotel for the damage.
The American grandmaster, ranked 53rd in the world at the moment, posted a series of tweets, including a 21-minute-long video refuting the claims. In one tweet, he admitted to causing some damage to his hotel room, but vehemently refuted other charges.
“I did break TV remotes, a lamp, an ironing board. Additionally, the glass frame of a painting was shattered which according to the hotel pierced the couch and caused damage,” Niemann said in a tweet.
“(But) No mirrors, tiles, or marble tables were damaged. I was told by the manager of guest relations at the Chase Park Plaza that were was a 99 percent chance that I would be allowed back and that official confirmation would be sent via email the next day. Surprising, three days later, my request was denied and they haven’t replied to me since. I’ve apologized many times to the club and hotel, I thought I could put this behind me.
“But let’s not forget that I received 0 invitations from the STL Chess Club before this incident. They are trying to make this about my supposed “pattern of behaviour”, when this is just their attempt at covering how they have not invited me to a single tournament in all of 2023 and won’t in 2024.
“For the entirety of 2023, STL ignored calls, emails and didn’t invite me to numerous tournaments that I would usually be invited to based on my rating. This shows that before any incident with the hotel, they had made up their mind about blacklisting me and this is only their newest excuse. They still have provided 0 reason for their action in 2023,” he added.
It must be noted that the Saint Louis Chess Club hosts the Sinquefield Cup, one of the world’s most prestigious tournaments, since 2013. It was here that in 2022 that Carlsen had pulled out after losing to Niemann, which had later escalated into a $100 million lawsuit.
The STL also organises the US Chess Championships.
Referring to Carlsen’s withdrawal mid-tournament in 2022, Niemann said: “I remember when one player didn’t fulfill their contractual obligations and then accused a player of cheating and proceeded to attempt to ruin their entire chess career based on a vendetta. Was that player ever punished for all of the damage they caused? See you at the US Championships. I will make sure to show my best chess there, considering how many opportunities I have been robbed of. It is time to let the chess speak for itself and rise above all the noise.”