The two were playing an online match in the Julius Baer Generation Cup on Monday, using the Chess24 platform via Microsoft Teams, when Carlsen’s webcam suddenly went off while he was on the clock for his second move.
“What happened? That’s it?” exclaimed Peter Leko, a grandmaster who provided analyzes on the feed.
One injury, two struggles: how a football game had lasting effects
“We’re going to try to get an update on this,” said fellow analyst and international master Tania Sachdev. “Magnus Carlsen just resigned. Got up and left. He turned off his camera, and that’s all we know now.”
“Wow – speechless, yeah?” said Leko.
Carlsen, 31, led the tournament early on at the time. The Julius Baer Generation Cup is the seventh event of the Champions Chess Tour with nine tournaments, running from February to November. Carlsen is in first place in the series, while Niemann is in 16th place.
Carlsen and Niemann competed this month in the Sinquefield Cup, a personal event in St. Louis on the Grand Chess Tour, when Niemann defeated the five-time world champion. Adding to the massive level of upset, Carlsen had an unbeaten run of 53 games in over-the-board tournaments and had a significant rating advantage over Niemann.
The next day Carlsen withdrew from the Sinquefield Cup, say in a tweet that he always enjoyed racing there and hoped to come back in the future.
What confused the chess world, however, was that in 2021 Carlsen added a video clip of famous football manager Jose Mourinho to his tweet: “I prefer not to speak. When I speak, I have big problems.”
The tweet gave the impression that Carlsen was alluding to some nefarious behavior by Niemann, who has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the sport. Speculation that Niemann was cheating only grew after Hikaru Nakamura, a 34-year-old American grandmaster who has a huge following for his Twitch streams, offered his opinion shortly after Carlsen’s withdrawal.
“This is probably something I shouldn’t say, but I’ll say this anyway, which is, there was a period of over six months when Hans didn’t play any prize money tournaments on Chess.com,” said Nakamura. said. “That’s all I’m going to say, and that’s all I’m going to say on this subject.”
Nakamura added on his Twitch stream: “I think Magnus believes that Hans is probably cheating. … He backs off to make the point without making the point publicly.”
Niemann, who was subjected to a thorough scan for devices that could help him cheat when he arrived for another match at the St. Louis tournament, then admitted that he had cheated on Chess.com several years earlier.
In a September 5 interview with Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez shared online by the Saint Louis Chess Club, which hosted the Sinquefield Cup, Niemann said his cheating on Chess.com happened when he was 12 – “I was just a kid” – and 16. Of the last episode, he said he wanted to get higher ratings so he could “play stronger players” and at the time was eager to “do whatever it takes to grow my stream”.
How an aspiring math teacher created go-to prop betting advice
Niemann described his unethical behavior as “an absolutely ridiculous mistake”, Niemann claimed he has “never cheated in my life” since.
“I am proud of myself,” he said, “that I learned from that mistake and now gave everything to chess. … I was confronted, I admitted, and this is the biggest mistake of my life and I am ashamed fully.”
“I’m not going to let Chess.com, I’m not going to let Magnus Carlsen, I’m not going to let Hikaru Nakamura — the three arguably greatest entities in chess — just slander my reputation,” Niemann added, “because the question is: Why are they going to remove me from Chess.com right after I beat Magnus?What about the timing?”
Chess.com, which bills itself as “the #1 platform for online chess,” released a statement a few days later explaining Niemann’s de-platforming.
“We have shared detailed evidence with him regarding our decision, including information contradicting his statements about the amount and seriousness of his cheating on Chess.com,” the website said. stated:. “We have invited Hans to provide explanations and comments in the hope of finding a solution for Hans to participate again on Chess.com. We want nothing more than to see the best chess players in the world succeed in the biggest events. We will always try to protect the integrity of the game that we all love.”
The “tumultuous” situation in the chess community, such as Chess.com put itcontinued when Niemann offered to “strip completely naked” if it would help prove he wasn’t using contraptions to help him cheat.
Then came the long-awaited Carlsen-Niemann rematch on Monday. It was over quickly, but Carlsen’s quick, statement-making resignation meant that this controversy was far from over.