Magnus Carlsen has resigned from an online match against Hans Niemann after making just one move, rekindling the controversial feud between the two players.
The two players met on Monday in the Julius Baer Generation Cup, their first meeting since the American’s win over Carlsen in the Sinquefield Cup earlier this month. Both players were visible on video link during the live broadcast on Chess24.
After making his first move with the black pieces, the world champion promptly resigned and disconnected from the game, with Niemann—who had made two moves with white—following shortly after.
“Magnus Carlsen just resigned. Got up and left,” said Chess24 commentator and chess grandmaster Tania Sachdev. “He turned off his camera, and that’s all we know for now. We’re going to try and get an update on this .”
Niemann, 19, stunned Carlsen by beating him in the $500,000 event in St. Louis, but Carlsen withdrew from the tournament dramatically after that. He announced his decision in a tweet, alongside a video of football manager Jose Mourinho saying: “When I speak, I have big problems.”
The Norwegian has not commented further, but the world’s top blitz player, Hikaru Nakamura, claimed the withdrawal was because Carlsen suspected Niemann “probably cheated”. Nakamura also revealed that the American had previously been banned by the world’s most popular chess website, Chess.com.
Niemann has strenuously denied the allegations of cheating at the Sinquefield Cup, but admitted he had cheated at chess in the past — first as a 12-year-old in an online tournament, then as a 16-year-old playing unclassified played games while streaming.
“I’ve never cheated in an over-the-board game,” Niemann said, adding that he was now “clean” and even willing to play naked, in “a closed box with no electronic transmission,” to his innocence.
As both players returned on Monday to play their next scheduled matches, Carlsen’s unexpected move has already shaken up the chess world. “This is unprecedented. I just can’t believe it,” Sachdev added. “Did that just happen?”
“magnus” [is] just refuse to play against Hans. He will play the tournament, but he says ‘I’m not playing the game against him’. That is a very big statement.”