World champion Magnus Carlsen stunned the chess world this morning by quitting in protest after just one move against Hans Niemann.
The Julius Baer Generation Cup clash on the Champions Chess Tour was the first meeting between the two players since a cheating saga erupted earlier this month.
The furore this time came to a head when Niemann, playing with the white pieces, started the game with d4 and Carlsen landed on Nf6 for his first move.
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But when Niemann played c4, Carlsen simply resigned and turned off his webcam, leaving commentators and the chess world stunned.
Announcer Tania Sachdev said: “Magnus Carlsen just resigned, got up and left. Switched off his camera and that’s all we know right now.
“This is unprecedented. I just, I can’t believe it,” Sachdev added. “Did that just happen, Peter? Magnus just refusing to play against Hans. He will play the tournament, but he is saying I will not play the game against him. That’s making a very big statement.”
“And what? No, what happened, that’s it?” Hungarian chess player Péter Lékó said on the Chess24 website, while commentating the match on Chess 24.
“Wow. Speechless, yeah?” Leko added. “What to say, what to say? And the story continues.”
Jamaican-American grandmaster Maurice Ashley wrote on Twitter: “This is shocking and disturbing. No one can be happy that this is happening in the chess world. Unbelievable!”
The incident continued the feud between both players when Carlson suddenly quit the lucrative Sinquerfield Cup tournament, after being soundly beaten by the much lower rated Niemann on September 4.
Following the loss, Carlsen then withdrew from the tournament without giving an explanation, apart from a tweet.
“I’ve withdrawn from the tournament. I’ve always enjoyed playing in the [Saint Louis Chess Club], and hope to be back in the future.”
Accompanied with the post was a video of Portuguese football manager José Mourinho saying: “If I speak I’m in big trouble, and I don’t want to be in big trouble.”
When Carlsen withdrew, speculation spread that Niemann was somehow cheating. What fuelled the fire even more was when Niemann admitted to cheating in online chess in the past, but adamantly denied ever cheating in person during an interview.
Niemann’s quick rise has split the chess world, with his increase in rating points causing suspicion, leading to calls for increased measures to detect computer assistance.
During an interview, Niemann said “the chess speaks for itself”.
Carlsen, who is in the process of selling his Play Magnus Group to powerhouse Chess.com, has not directly accused Niemann of cheating or produced any evidence to support any claims.
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