Crystal Fuller/Grand Chess Tour
The cheating controversy gripping the world of elite chess was already enigmatic — but it deepened even more on Monday, when world champion Magnus Carlsen abruptly resigned after making a single move in his highly anticipated rematch with Hans Niemann.
Carlsen, 31, and Niemann, 19, were facing off in the Julius Baer Generation Cup roughly two weeks after Niemann defeated Carlsen — a win that was immediately thrown into question by a cryptic tweet from Carlsen that seemed to suggest Niemann was cheating.
The drama threw chess into a tizzy, and fueled anticipation for Monday’s match between Carlsen and Niemann in the online tournament. But after Niemann made his first move as white, Carlsen responded with a single move as black and then quit.
“What?!” numerous commentators said in unison on video streams, as they struggled to grasp what had just happened. Carlsen offered no explanation, as he promptly turned off his video camera. But his resignation was quickly seen as a protest and a refusal to play Niemann, of the U.S.
Many involved in chess are now calling for Carlsen, the Norwegian who has ruled global chess for the past decade, to give a full account of his actions. Some also say the International Chess Federation should review the case, both to uncover any cheating and to address the damage done when one of the greatest players of all time refuses to play in a tournament he has entered.
“The implications of this are horrifying,” grandmaster Maurice Ashley told NPR. “It’s terrible.”
The fallout ranges from warping one tournament’s results to raising questions about other players’ legitimacy and also about the sport’s future, Ashley said.
First, some context
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