World chess champ Magnus Carlsen has broken his silence on the 'cheating' furore surrounding his unprecedented move to resign against American Hans Niemann.
Carlsen and Niemann are at the centre of an ugly 'cheating' scandal, sparked by the latter's victory over the five-time world champion earlier this month.
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Carlsen, arguably the best chess player of all time, was beaten by the much lower-ranked Niemann at the Sinquerfield Cup on September 4, which saw the Norweigan grandmaster abruptly quit the tournament in mysterious circumstances.
Niemann has since been accused of cheating, with wild rumours circulating online that he has been using wireless anal beads to get signals about where to move his pieces.
Carlsen then faced Niemann again at the Julius Baer Generation Cup and turned his webcam off and resigned after one move against the American.
The resignation flamed even further rumours.
Having faced calls to break his silence on why he quit twice, rather than let accusations run wild within the chess world, Carlsen has now finally broken his silence.
"I know that my actions have frustrated many in the chess community. I’m frustrated. I want to play chess. I want to continue to play chess at the highest level in the best events," Carlsen said in a statement.
"I believe that cheating in chess is a big deal and an existential threat to the game. I also believe that chess organisers and all those who care about the sanctity of the game we love should seriously consider increasing security measures and methods of cheat detection for over the board chess.
My statement regarding the last few weeks. pic.twitter.com/KY34DbcjLo
— Magnus Carlsen (@MagnusCarlsen) September 26, 2022
"When Niemann was invited last minute to the 2022 Sinquefield Cup, I strongly considered withdrawing prior to the event. I ultimately chose to play.
"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.
"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," Carlsen added.
Carlsen finished claiming he couldn't speak more without Niemann's permission.
Some in the chess world were left wanting more info after the saga appears to continue.
okay but can you be clearer https://t.co/h5CbSAgQll
— MrDodgy unleashed (@ChessProblem) September 26, 2022
In addition to a loyal coach, reliable seconds, a super-computer, PR agents and a good chef, it seems that elite chess players nowadays must add a very good lawyer to the team too.
— Olimpiu Di Luppi (@olimpiuurcan) September 26, 2022
Hans Neimann denies cheating allegations
Since the allegations, Neimann has denied any wrongdoing.
"I have never cheated in an over-the-board game,” Niemann said, adding that he was now “clean”.
He has since offered to play in the nude if it helps dispel the rumours of how he is allegedly cheating.
"You want me to play in a closed box with zero electronic transmission, I don’t care," he added.
Speaking after Niemann's win over Carlsen at the Sinquerfield Cup, Hikaru Nakamura (the world's best blitz player) claimed Carlsen's withdrawal was because he suspected Niemann had “probably cheated”.
Nakamura also revealed that the American had previously been banned by the world’s most popular chess website, Chess.com.
Chess.com said it had “privately removed” Niemann’s account from its website, while the Global Championship in Toronto has since uninvited Niemann.
Niemann was the lowest-ranked of the 10 players at the Sinquerfield Cup, but become the first player to beat Carlsen in more than two years.
Last week, the world chess organisation admitted that it had an obligation to protect the sanctity of the sport after the recent drama.
"We strongly believe that the World Champion has a moral responsibility attached to his status, since he is viewed as a global ambassador of the game," FIDE said in a statement.
"We strongly believe that there were better ways to handle this situation."
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