Chess cheating controversy: Magnus Carlsen fires latest salvo, resigns after just one move vs Hans Niemann

After making his first move, the world champion Magnus Carlsen immediately resigned and disconnected from the online game.

FP Sports September 20, 2022 12:42:38 IST
Chess cheating controversy: Magnus Carlsen fires latest salvo, resigns after just one move vs Hans Niemann

File image of Magnus Carlsen. Image: Reuters

In the latest chapter of on-going drama in the world of chess, Magnus Carlsen resigned from an online match against Hans Niemann after making only one move, reigniting the controversial feud between the two players.

The two players were in competition in the Julius Baer Generation Cup, their first meeting since the American won at the Sinquefield Cup earlier this month. Both players were visible on video during the live broadcast on Chess24.

After making his first move, the world champion immediately resigned and disconnected from the game, with Niemann – who had started the game with Whites – following suit soon after.

Slightly taken aback, Chess24 commentator and grandmaster Tania Sachdev said, “Magnus Carlsen just resigned. Got up and left. Switched off his camera, and that’s all we know right now.”

“This is unprecedented. I just, I can’t believe it. Did that just happen?”

The latest altercation comes after 19-year-old Niemann had stunned Carlsen at the event in St Louis. The Norwegian then dramatically withdrew from the tournament.

He announced his decision to withdraw in a tweet, alongside a video of football manager Jose Mourinho saying: “If I speak, I am in big trouble.”

To fuel the rumours, Hikaru Nakamura, world’s best blitz player, claimed the withdrawal was because Carlsen suspected Niemann had “probably cheated”. Nakamura also revealed the American had been previously banned by Chess.com.

Niemann has denied allegations of cheating at the Sinquefield Cup but did admit he had duped opponents in the past. He had done it first as a 12-year-old and then as a 16-year-old.

“I’m not going to let Chess.com, I’m not going to let Magnus Carlsen, I’m not going to let Hikaru Nakamura, the three arguably biggest entities in chess, simply slander my reputation because the question is – why are they going to remove me from Chess.com right after I beat Magnus?”

This is arguably the most serious case of cheating allegations to hit the sport since Veselin Topalov accused Vladimir Kramnik of analysing World Championship game in the toilet in 2005.

Both players returned to play their next scheduled matches later on Monday. “Magnus [is] just refusing to play against Hans. He will play the tournament, but he is saying ‘I will not play the game against him’. That’s making a very big statement,” said Sachdev.

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