“He wasn’t even fully concentrating”
Magnus Carlsen has finally explicitly stated why he took two dramatic decisions in the last few weeks: to withdraw from the Sinquefield Cup after three rounds and to resign a game on move 2 against Hans Niemann at the Generation Cup.
It had to do, as we all suspected, with Hans Niemann’s alleged cheating.
The statement appeared on the same day that the US Chess Federation announced the field for the 2022 edition of the US Championships, with Hans Niemann in the lineup.
Dear Chess World,
At the 2022 Sinquefield Cup, I made the unprecedented professional decision to withdraw from the tournament after my round three game against Hans Niemann. A week later during the Champions Chess Tour, I resigned against Hans Niemann after playing only one move.
I know that my actions have frustrated many in the chess community. I’m frustrated. I want to play chess. I want to continue to play chess at the highest level in the best events.
I believe that cheating in chess is a big deal and an existential threat to the game. I also believe that chess organizers and all those who care about the sanctity of the game we love should seriously consider increasing security measures and methods of cheat detection for over the board chess. When Niemann was invited last minute to the 2022 Sinquefield Cup, I strongly considered withdrawing prior to the event. I ultimately chose to play.
I believe that Niemann has cheated more — and more recently — than that he has publicly admitted. 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. This game contributed to changing my perspective.
We must do something about cheating, and for my part going forward, I don’t want to play against people that have cheated repeatedly in the past, because I don’t know what they are capable of doing in the future.
There is more that I would like to say. Unfortunately, at this time I am limited in what I can say without explicit permission from Niemann to speak openly. So far I have only been able to speak with my actions, and those actions have stated clearly that I am not willing to play chess with Niemann. I hope that the truth on this matter comes out, whatever it may be.
Magnus Carlsen – World Chess Champion