Chess.com reaches conclusion on Hikaru cheating accusations by Vladimir Kramnik

Kramnik seemingly accused Hikaru of cheating on Nov. 20.
Hikaru wearing a black and yellow shirt, looking directly at the camera.
Screengrab via GMHikaru on YouTube

Chess.com released a statement today concluding that GM Vladimir Kramnik’s thinly veiled cheating allegations against GM Hikaru Nakamura “lack statistical merit” after a week of investigation into the matter.

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The drama began on Nov. 20 when Kramnik made a blog post titled “Informational” to Chess.com in which he remarked it was “interesting” that “a player” was capable of achieving an especially impressive win streak in Chess.com’s three-minute Blitz game mode. The allegation, which included stats that could be traced back to Hikaru, came just days after the GM set a record for a Blitz elo, according to a report by Dexerto.

As a back-and-forth ensued, Hikaru denied those allegations on Twitter, calling them “garbage” on the very same day Kramnik made his blog post. Chess.com began an investigation afterward and disclosed its findings in a brief report.

“In the case of the recent accusations against Hikaru Nakamura by Vladimir Kramnik, we can say that we have generated nearly 2,000 individual reports on Hikaru’s games in our Fair Play system and have found no incidents of cheating,” the post reads. “As to the allegations about Hikaru’s incredible performance streaks (including winning 45.5 games out of 46), we have also looked at the statistics behind this.”

Chess.com added its team did simulations to test the probability of Hikaru’s 45-game win streak and concluded that, as someone who has played more than 50,000 games, the streak was not out of the ordinary.

“We have found that not only is a 45 game winning streak possible, it is in fact likely given the number of games played,” the statement said. “We have confirmed these results with external statisticians, including a professor of statistics at a top-10 university. With the deepest respect for former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik, in our opinion, his accusations lack statistical merit.”

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Author

Max Miceli
Senior Staff Writer. Max graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a journalism and political science degree in 2015. He previously worked for The Esports Observer covering the streaming industry before joining Dot where he now helps with Overwatch 2 coverage.