Magnus Carlsen resigns from chess match against Hans Niemann

Magnus Carlsen resigns from chess match against Hans Niemann

World chess champion Magnus Carlsen surprisingly retired on Monday after performing a single move in a match against 19-year-old American Hans Niemann. The episode added a new chapter to a storyline that gripped the world of chess and beyond, which involves suggestions that Niemann cheated in a recent victory over the Norwegian grandmaster.

The two were playing an online match Monday in the Julius Baer Generation Cup, using the Chess24 platform via Microsoft Teams, when Carlsen’s webcam suddenly went blank while he was on the clock for his second move.

“What happened? Is that it?” exclaimed Peter Leko, a grandmaster who provided analysis on the stream.

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“We’ll try to get an update on that,” said fellow analyst and international master Tania Sachdev. “Magnus Carlsen has just resigned. I got up and left. He turned off his camera, and that’s all we know for now.

“Wow – speechless, yeah?” said Leko.

Carlsen, 31, was leading the tournament at the start at the time. The Julius Baer Generation Cup is the seventh event of the Champions Chess Tour in nine tournaments, which takes place from February to November. Carlsen takes first place in the series, while Niemann ranks 16th.

Carlsen and Niemann were competing this month in the Sinquefield Cup, an in-person event based in St. Louis on the Grand Chess Tour, when Niemann defeated the five-time world champion. Adding to the level of massive upset, Carlsen was on a 53-game unbeaten streak in over-the-board tournaments and held a significant advantage over Niemann.

The following day, Carlsen withdrew from the Sinquefield Cup, say in a tweet that he always enjoyed competing there and hoped to return in the future.

What has the chess world in turmoil, however, is that Carlsen added to his tweet a video clip of famous football manager José Mourinho saying in 2021: “I really prefer not to talk. If I talk, I’m in big trouble.

The tweet made it seem like Carlsen was hinting at nefarious behavior on the part of Niemann, who has had a meteoric rise in the sport. Speculation that Niemann was cheating only increased after Hikaru Nakamura, a 34-year-old American grandmaster who has huge success for his Twitch streams, offered his take shortly after Carlsen’s withdrawal.

“That’s probably something I shouldn’t say, but I’ll say it anyway, namely: there was a period of over six months when Hans didn’t play any tournaments with prize money on Chess.com,” Nakamura said. said. “That’s the only thing I’m going to say, and that’s the only thing I’m going to say on this subject.”

Nakamura added on his Twitch stream: “I think Magnus thinks Hans is probably cheating. … He is stepping down to make his point without doing so publicly.

Niemann, who was subjected to extensive analysis of devices that could help him cheat when he arrived for another match at the St. Louis tournament, later admitted to cheating several years prior on Chess.com.

In a September 5 interview with grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez that was shared online by the Saint Louis Chess Club, which hosted the Sinquefield Cup, Niemann said he cheated on Chess.com when he was 12 years old. years old – “I was just a kid” – and 16. Of this last episode, he said he wanted to earn higher ratings so he could “play stronger players” and that he was impatient at the time to “do anything to grow my stream”.

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Describing his unethical behavior as “an absolutely ridiculous mistake”, Niemann claimed that since then he has “never in my life” cheated.

“I’m proud of myself,” he said, “to have learned from that mistake and now have given my all in chess. … I was confronted, I confessed, and that’s the biggest mistake of my life and I’m completely ashamed.

“I won’t let Chess.com, I won’t let Magnus Carlsen, I won’t let Hikaru Nakamura – arguably the three greatest chess entities – simply slander my reputation,” Niemann added, “because the question is: why are they going to remove me from Chess.com right after I beat Magnus? What’s the timing?

Chess.com, which bills itself as “the #1 platform for online chess,” released a statement a few days later explaining its de-platforming of Niemann.

“We have shared detailed evidence with him regarding our decision, including information that contradicts his statements regarding the amount and severity of his cheating on Chess.com,” the website said. declared. “We have invited Hans to provide an explanation and response in hopes of finding a solution to allow Hans to participate again on Chess.com. We want nothing more than to see the best chess players in the world succeed in the biggest events. We will always try to protect the integrity of the game we all love.

The ‘tumultuous’ situation in the chess community, according to Chess.com Put theincreased further when Niemann offered to “get completely naked” if it would help prove he wasn’t using any contraptions to help him cheat.

Then came Monday’s long-awaited Carlsen-Niemann rematch. It ended quickly, but Carlsen’s quick resignation meant that this controversy was far from over.

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