Magnus Carlsen publicly accuses Hans Niemann of even more fraud

Magnus Carlsen has broken his silence on the scandal that has rocked chess by accusing Hans Niemann of cheating more – and more recently – than he has publicly admitted.

The world champion also questioned Niemann’s brilliant rise last year and described it as “unusual”. He admitted he was also suspicious of the 19-year-old American’s idiosyncrasies when he lost to him with the black stones in the Sinquefield Cup earlier this month.

Carlsen said this has led to his retirement from a tournament for the first time in his career – and last week the Norwegian once again stunned the sport by abandoning an online game after just one move against the same opponent.

Carlsen had only commented cryptically on the situation until Monday evening. but in a tweeted statementthe Norwegian made his feelings clear.

“When Niemann was invited to the Sinquefield Cup 2022 at the last minute, I seriously considered withdrawing before the event,” he revealed. “In the end I decided to play. I believe that Niemann has cheated more – and lately – than he has publicly admitted.

“His progress across the board was unusual and during our Sinquefield Cup game I got the impression that he wasn’t tense in critical positions or even fully focused on the game while in some ways he outplayed me as Black just think that a handful of players can do that. This game helped change my perspective.”

After Niemann’s win over Carlsen, he had said he had “by a ridiculous miracle” guessed his opponent’s unusual opening and prepared for it. “It must be embarrassing for the world champion to lose against me,” said Niemann. “I’m sorry.”

While Niemann admitted to cheating at online events as 12 and 16-year-olds, he has been vocal in denying the latest allegations, insisting he is now “clean”. He accused those who made allegations against him of trying to ruin his career and said he was even willing to play naked to prove his innocence.

However, believes Niemann cheated more frequently online and showed him evidence to support that conclusion. Niemann has been banned from the site and from events.

For his part, Carlsen suggested Monday night not to play again against Niemann or a player he believes cheated on him. “We have to do something about cheating and for my part I don’t want to play against people who have repeatedly cheated in the past because I don’t know what they are capable of in the future,” he said.

“I believe cheating in chess is a big deal and an existential threat to the game. I also believe that chess organizers and those concerned with the sanctity of the game we love should seriously consider increasing security measures and cheating detection methods for over-the-board chess.”

The Norwegian insisted he had more to say, but was limited in what he could do without Niemann’s express permission to speak openly. “Until now I could only speak with my actions, and those actions made it clear that I am not ready to play chess with Niemann.”

Carlsen added: “I hope the truth on this matter will come out, whatever it may be. I know my actions have frustrated many in the chess community. I am frustrated. I want to play chess at the highest level in the best tournaments.”

The Guardian has reached out to Niemann’s representative for comment.

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