A puzzling case: World chess champion Magnus Carlsen surrendered after the first move

On Monday, the 31-year-old Norwegian met the 19-year-old Hans Niemann of the USA in the remote game of the Julius Baer Generation Cup tournament and decided to retire after making just one move with black – his opponent had managed to make two moves with white pawns.

“Magnus just gave up. Got up and left, turning off his camera. We will try to find out what happened”, said Tania Sachdev, commentator of the “Chess24” platform and chess grandmaster.

Although the outcome of the party is very unexpected, it has an intriguing backstory.

At the beginning of September, an incident that became widely known in the world of chess took place during the confrontation between Carlsen and Niemann, not on a virtual, but on a real chessboard.

In the prestigious Sinquefield Cup tournament (a $500,000 prize pool) held in St. Louis, M. Carlsen, playing in white, unexpectedly lost to his 19-year-old opponent, thus ending the Norwegian’s 53-game unbeaten streak against lower-ranked opponents.

Not only that, the day after the failure, the Norwegian announced his withdrawal from the tournament, sowing controversy. He posted a video with a football coach on Twitter Jose Mourinho quotes: “I choose to be silent. If I talk, I’ll be in big trouble.”

Although Mr. Carlsen did not say anything directly, another chess superstar spoke openly for the Norwegian.

Hikaru Nakamura, a Japanese representative of the USA, stated that the Norwegian’s withdrawal from the tournament was related to suspicions that H. Niemann was cheating. Lightning Chess Master H. Nakamura even revealed the fact that H. Niemann was previously banned from the world-famous platform due to unauthorized actions (using apps) Chess.com.

Niemann himself vehemently denied cheating in the Sinquefield Cup tournament, but admitted that he had been caught for it several times before – when he was 12 years old, he was caught cheating in an online tournament, and later, when he was 16 years old, he was caught playing unranked and online games.

“I’ve never done anything like that on a real board,” testified the American, who claimed to be completely “clean” and to prove his point that he could “play naked, put in a box without any electronic devices.”

However, the sudden and unexpected end of the new confrontation between the two chess players puzzled many.

“This is an unprecedented case. I can’t believe it. Did this really happen? – the already mentioned T. Sachdev asked rhetorically. – Magnus simply refuses to play against Hans. He wants to continue the tournament, but insists that he will no longer play with Niemann. That’s a really serious statement.”

M. Carlsen (ELO – 2856) is ranked 1st in the world, while H. Niemann (ELO – 2701) is 41st.

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