Chess world champion Magnus Carlsen has accused 19-year-old American Hans Niemann of cheating.
Niemann beat Carlsen earlier in September, and Carlsen later abruptly quit a match against Niemann, rocking the chess world.
Carlsen questioned Niemann's growth as a player and his attitude during their match, though so far, there is no proof Niemann cheated against Carlsen.
World champion Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen broke his silence surrounding the cheating scandal involving 19-year-old American Hans Niemann.
In a statement, Carlsen said he believes Niemann "has cheated more — and more recently — than he has publicly admitted.
Carlsen lost to Niemann in a shocking result at the Sinquefield Cup in Missouri in early September.
Afterward, Carlsen took to Twitter to announce he had withdrawn from the tournament. He also linked to a YouTube video of Roma manager Jose Mourinho saying in a press conference, "If I speak, I am in big trouble. And I don't want to be in big trouble."
Many took Carlsen's tweet to imply that Niemann had cheated during their match, and it set off a flurry of wild, unsubstantiated rumors about the use of sex toys to wirelessly tip off moves.
Weeks later, Carlsen abruptly left an online match against Niemann after just one move during the Julius Baer Generation Cup.
Until now, Carlsen had not publicly spoken about withdrawing from the Sinquefield Cup and defaulting against Niemann, leaving the chess world in limbo. The situation has inspired hundreds of posts on Reddit's chess subreddit and dozens of analyses from chess experts.
—Magnus Carlsen (@MagnusCarlsen) September 26, 2022
In his statement, Carlsen said Niemann appeared too aloof during their match in Missouri.
"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," Carlsen said.
Niemann admitted to cheating in online chess matches on Chess.com as a teenager, but he has said he did not cheat at the Sinquefield Cup or during an over-the-board match.
Proving cheating during over-the-board matches can be difficult.
To cheat during an in-person match, a player would have to receive secret electronic communication from someone else watching the match, who is plugging the data into AI programs that can determine the best move to make.
There are statisticians who analyze chess performances for outliers: Are players suddenly playing in a different way? Are they making significantly different moves than they typically make?
Kenneth Regan, a University of Buffalo faculty member who is an expert in chess and identifying cheaters, said during Chess24's broadcast of the Julius Baer Generation Cup that he didn't see anything in Niemann's play at the Sinquefield Cup to suggest he cheated.
"Niemann played well. But not too well," Regan said.
Carlsen said he cannot speak openly without permission from Niemann.
In the meantime, Carlsen said, "So far, I have only been able to speak with my actions, and those actions have clearly stated that I am not willing to play chess with Niemann."
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