On Wednesday, Chess-com published “Report of Hans Niemann”, in which it was revealed that the American may have cheated in over 100 games of chess. Among other things, this is said to have happened while he was part of the Norwegian team “Norway Gnomes”.
NRK can now reveal that the Norwegian chess president, Joachim Birger Nilsen, also admitted to cheating during a tournament with the “Norway Gnomes” team.
According to Nilsen, he played one game out of four in the group stage of the Pro Chess League online tournament with other people in the room, hidden from opponents. The case involved, according to Nilsen himself, the three warring parties.
It happened in the 2016/2017 season.
– It’s not legal, and I’m pretty clear about that. The fact that it was years ago has nothing to do with it. You shouldn’t be doing this at all, Nilsen told NRK.
He did not remember that it was presented as evidence or became a case, but said something illegal was suspected. Nilsen was cleared to play the tournament final a few weeks later.
Chess Federation with a statement
On Thursday afternoon, the Norwegian Chess Federation also came to the scene with a statement. They distanced themselves from cheating, but at the same time praised their president for his candor.
– We at the Norwegian Chess Federation are strictly against cheating. Cheating is unacceptable and has harmful ripple effects for sport and athletes, the union’s general secretary Kristine Marie Ganz wrote in a statement.
At the same time, they wrote that they appreciated Nilsen’s openness. They said he was sober and very orderly in his explanations, and made no attempt to explain his actions.
– The board is distancing itself from the 2016 incident, but will also acknowledge Nilsen’s openness. We look forward to becoming stronger from this as a union, the union wrote in a press release.
Norway star team
Nilsen represents the Bergen Chess Club. He was previously a board member and active member of Magnus Carlsen’s Offerspill club.
Now he describes the cheating as a big mistake.
– I played in the final and took 1 of 4 points for the team in the final, but we lost. It’s sad, of course, but I was allowed to play there, he explained.
Over the course of several seasons, the “Norwegian Gnomes” team consisted of a number of Norwegian chess profiles. Nilsen’s season was rigged, world number one Magnus Carlsen was part of the team. Finally St. Louis Arch Bishops, among others chess star Wesley So, who won the tournament ahead of Norway.
The American team thus earned 20,000 dollars in prize money, according to Chess.com.
The following season, Nilsen was no longer part of the “Norwegian Gnomes”. The chess president claims he has never cheated on the chessboard several times.
– I’m not an organized scammer, no. That, I don’t. But I have no problem taking responsibility for the mistakes and mistakes that I have made. Absolutely not.
He didn’t remember all the details of the three games where the rules of the game were violated. But it was clear that that wasn’t allowed, and he shouldn’t be playing with anyone else in the room.
– This is assisted play where I receive assistance during the game, and that is not allowed. You have to play alone, without help, says Nilsen.
– And you knew that before – that you have to play alone?
– Yes… Assistance during the game is not allowed, regardless of whether it comes from friends, machines, cell phones or books. It shouldn’t have happenedreplied the 29-year-old man.
Nilsen claims this is off topic in light of his position as chess president. Nor did he take it with the union.
Bae doubts his position
Chess expert Torstein Bae described the case as shocking and upsetting. He showed that Nilsen was not only a chess president, but also a top player.
– Dafter all, this cannot be considered a juvenile sin. SSometimes, you can compare him a bit to Niemann in terms of time perspective. It is clear that this is a serious tournament with significant prize money. It is clear that this is an unfortunate and sad case, Bae told NRK.
– What do you think the president of chess in Norway told about this?
– This is of course very unfortunate. It is clear that his position will be very difficult, perhaps untenable, as I see it. It’s clear that this is a very sad case for Norwegian chess, which I think underscores what we’ve been thinking about – that Niemann’s online cheating is just the tip of the iceberg.
He pointed out that reports to Chess.com indicated that there were about a thousand players caught cheating, and there may have been several Norwegians among them.
– Of course, it is very disappointing that Nilsen, who is the president, editor of the Norsk sjakkblad and leading player – and certainly a good and extraordinary man in many ways – then made the grave mistake of cheating during an important tournament.
– I completely agree with Torstein
Joachim Nilsen understands chess expert NRK’s reaction.
– I completely agree with Torstein, this is not good. I want to emphasize that this has never been done during my time as president or editor of Norsk Sjakkblad. Besides, what he said was completely true: it was a mistake, but it is a mistake I don’t want to hide, he said and continued:
– This happened in the 2016/17 season of the Pro Chess League, but since then I have made no misjudgments. It is good that the focus is on this. In recent years, I have focused on giving back to the sport and environment that has given me so much, and I hope to continue to contribute in the future for as long as possible.
Nilsen was elected president of chess in July. He took over from Simen Agdestein.
“Infuriatingly humble coffee guru. Travel practitioner. Freelance zombie fanatic. Certified problem solver. Food scholar. Student.”