In a shocking statement posted on social media Monday, chess world champion Magnus Carlsen explicitly accused rival and fellow chess grandmaster Hans Niemann of cheating.
Carlsen withdrew from the 2022 Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis following his third-round defeat against Niemann, which ended Carlsen’s 53-match unbeaten streak. After making only one move during the Julius Baer Generation Cup on September 20, he chose to withdraw while playing the American.
In Monday’s statement, Carlsen openly accused Niemann of cheating for the first time, claiming that the 19-year-progress old’s board chess—chess played face to face—has been “unusual.”
“When Niemann was invited last minute to the 2022 Sinquefield Cup, I strongly considered withdrawing prior to the event. I ultimately chose to play,” the 31-year-old Norwegian wrote.
He continued: “I believe that Niemann has cheated more—and more recently—than he has publicly admitted. His over-the-board progress has been unusual, and throughout our game in the Sinquefield Cup, I had the impression that he wasn’t tense or even fully concentrating on the game in critical positions while outplaying me as black in a way I think only a handful of players can do. This game contributed to changing my perspective.”
In the days following the Sinquefield Cup, Niemann responded to the cheating allegations, denying any wrongdoing in his match against Carlsen. The 19-year-old admitted to cheating between the ages of 12 and 16 but told the St. Louis Chess Club that he had never cheated in over-the-board games.
“I’m telling the truth because I don’t want to be misrepresented,” Niemann explained. “I am proud of myself for learning from that mistake and dedicating my life to chess.” “I’ve given up everything for chess.”
Carlsen stated in his statement on Monday that he has no intention of playing against a player who has cheated 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 explicit permission from Niemann to speak openly,” he said. “So far I have only been able to speak with my actions, and those actions have stated clearly that I am not willing to play chess with Niemann. I hope that the truth on this matter comes out, whatever it may be.”