Chess Champ Finally Unloads Cheating Allegations

Magnus Carlsen says Hans Niemann isn't owning up to extent of his trickery
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2022 6:37 AM CDT
Updated Oct 1, 2022 4:30 PM CDT
Chess Champ Magnus Carlsen Accuses His Rival of Cheating
Norway's World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen, takes a moment against Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia, during their game two of the FIDE World Championship at the Dubai Expo, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Nov. 27, 2021.   (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

After much speculation, world chess champion Magnus Carlsen officially accused fellow grandmaster Hans Moke Neimann of cheating on Monday. The Norwegian said the 19-year-old American, who's admitted to cheating twice in online matches at the ages of 12 and 16, had "cheated more—and more recently—than he has publicly admitted," per the BBC. He said his over-the-board loss to Neimann in the Sinquefield Cup earlier this month, which ended Carlsen's 53-game unbeaten streak in classical chess, was a wake-up call. "Throughout our game … I had the impression that he wasn't tense of 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."

As a result, Carlsen quit the first tournament of his career. When the 31-year-old met Niemann again in an online tournament last week, he quit the match after a single move, fueling speculation that cheating was the root cause, though Carlsen wouldn't say as much. "Unfortunately, at this time I am limited in what I can say without explicit permission from Niemann to speak openly," Carlsen wrote in Monday's statement. "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," he continued. "I don't want to play against people that have cheated repeatedly in the past, because I don’t know what they are capable of doing in the future."

Chess.com, which has banned Niemann for cheating, says it's shown the American evidence that "contradicts his statement regarding the amount and seriousness of his cheating on Chess.com," per the Wall Street Journal. Carlsen, who called for increased cheat detection measures, did not indicate how Niemann might have cheated in-person, though there was speculation that Carlsen's pregame analysis was leaked ahead of the Sinquefield Cup. Niemann said that "by some ridiculous miracle" he guessed what Carlsen's opening move would be, per the Guardian. He claims to have never cheated in over-the-board games and has offered to play naked or "in a closed box with zero electronic transmission" to prove he's "clean." (Read more Magnus Carlsen stories.)

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