Chess world champion Magnus Carlsen explicitly accused rival and fellow chess grandmaster Hans Niemann of cheating in a shocking statement posted on social media Monday.
The statement comes after Carlsen withdrew from the 2022 Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis after his third-round loss to Niemann, a loss that ended Carlsen’s 53-match unbeaten streak. He subsequently opted to retire while playing the American after making just one move during the Julius Baer Generation Cup on 20 September.
Carlsen openly accused Niemann of cheating for the first time in Monday’s statement, claiming the 19-year-old’s progress over board chess – chess played face-to-face – has been “unusual”.
“When Niemann was invited at the last minute to the Sinquefield Cup 2022, I strongly considered withdrawing ahead of the event. I ultimately chose to play,” wrote the 31-year-old Norwegian.
He continued: “I think Niemann has cheated more – and more recently – than he has publicly admitted. His progress across the board has been extraordinary and throughout our play in the Sinquefield Cup I had the impression that he was not tense or even completely focused on the game in critical positions while playing me black in a way that I think only a handful of players can. This game helped change my perspective.”
Niemann responded to the cheating allegations in the days following the Sinquefield Cup, denying any wrongdoing in his match against Carlsen. The 19-year-old admitted to cheating at the ages of 12 and 16, but said in an interview with St. Louis Chess Club that he had never cheated in over-the-board games.
“I’m telling my truth because I don’t want any misrepresentation,” Niemann said. “I am proud of myself that I have learned from that mistake and now I have given everything to check. I have sacrificed everything for chess.”
In Monday’s statement, Carlsen noted that he has no intention of playing against a player who has cheated repeatedly in the past because he “doesn’t know what they are capable of doing in the future.”
“At this time, I am limited in what I can say without express permission from Niemann to speak openly,” he said. “So far I have only been able to speak with my actions, and those actions have made it clear that I am not willing to play chess with Niemann. I hope the truth about this case comes out, whatever it may be.”
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