World Chess Champion Carlsen Refuses to Clarify Cheating Claims

Norwegian chess player Magnus Carlsen takes part in the Energy Denmark Champions Battle 2019 at Circus Building, Copenhagen, Denmark, May 22, 2019. Claus Bech/Ritzau Scanpix/via REUTERS

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PARIS, Sept 22 (Reuters) – World chess champion Magnus Carlsen remained vague on Thursday about whether or not he thought Hans Niemann was a cheat after he abruptly relinquished his competition against the American in the Julius Baer Generation Cup online tournament. after a move.

This was the second time this month that the Norwegian has dropped games or withdrawn from a tournament in which Niemann also participated.

Carlsen, world champion since 2013, withdrew from the Sinquefield Cup in St Louis, Missouri, earlier this month after unexpectedly losing with the white pieces to Niemann, who is almost 200 ELO points behind him.

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It was the first loss with white pieces in a classic game for the world number one since losing to American Levon Aronian in October 2020.

The day after losing to Niemann, Carlsen explained his withdrawal from the tournament by tweeting a video of soccer coach José Mourinho saying, “If I talk, I’m in big trouble.”

The tweet sparked a furor of comments and accusations that the 19-year-old Niemann had cheated, including from American grandmaster and star streamer Hikaru Nakamura.

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“In response to recent rumors circulating in the chess world, I can confirm that we currently have no indication that any player has been playing unfairly in the 2022 Sinquefield Cup,” Sinquefield Cup Chief Arbiter Chris Bird said in a statement. a statement.

Niemann had previously been banned from chess.com for cheating online, having admitted that he had not played fair non-competitive games on the website in his youth.

However, he has denied any wrongdoing while playing games on the board.

“I’ve never cheated in a game on the board. If they want me to get completely naked, I’ll do it. I don’t care. Because I know I’m clean. You want me to play in a closed box.” with zero electronic transmission, I don’t care,” she said recently.

Asked about his surprise withdrawal in St. Louis and Monday’s surrender, Carlsen told Norwegian NRK television: “Unfortunately, I can’t talk about that in particular.

“But people can draw their own conclusions and they certainly have and I have to say that I am very impressed by Niemann’s game and I think his mentor Maxim Dlugy must be doing a great job.”

When asked if his decision had anything to do with him suspecting Niemann of cheating, Carlsen said, “I can’t comment on that.”

In July, Carlsen said he would not defend his world championship title in 2023 against Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi because he is not motivated to play another match.

Nepomniachtchi will face the runner-up of the recent Candidates Tournament, the Chinese Ding Liren.

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Reporting by Julien Pretot, Pritha Sarkar edition

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