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Chess cheating scandal: Why did Carlsen quit the match against Niemann?

In early September, Hans Niemann defeated Magnus Carlsen in the third round of the Sinquefield Cup in a stunning upset. Now, Carlsen quit the game with just one move. Read more to find out why

BS Web Reports | CHESS | Chess Tournament

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

World chess champion Magnus Carlsen (File photo: Reuters)
Photo: Reuters

world champion Magnus Carlsen stunned everyone when he quit the game after just one move, turned off his webcam and quit against Hans Niemann, a 19-year-old American player. Carlsen and Niemann were competing in an online match at the Julius Baer Generation Cup. 


However, there is a story behind this.


Earlier in September, Niemann defeated Carlsen in the third round of the Sinquefield Cup in St Loius, Missouri, in a stunning upset. 


Post his victory, Niemann reportedly mocked Carlsen and told reporters, "It must be embarrassing for the world champion to lose to me. I feel bad for him!"


Carlsen quit the tournament and tweeted, "I've withdrawn from the tournament. I've always enjoyed playing in the @STLChessClub, and hope to be back in the future."



The controversy got bigger because, according to the Sunday Morning Herald, Carlsen's used a move called the "Fianchetto variation". It allowed him to take Niemann's bishop. However, Niemann used a rare counter move allowing him to win Carlsen's pawns and ultimately win the match. 


Justifying his move, Niemann said he watched footage of Carlsen from an earlier match where he used the same move. But it seemed difficult to imagine Carlsen losing to the lowest-ranking grandmaster in the tournament. 


Several theories have been making rounds on social media since Carlsen's surrender on Monday. 


One of the most prominent theories was also propelled by . It said that Niemann was using "Stockfish", the world's best computer program. It is being claimed that Niemann was using wireless vibrating anal beads to read signals from Stockfish about what moves he should make.


More so, Niemann has previously admitted to using a computer engine to cheat at online games in the past. 


The controversy has taken centrestage with Carlsen's move at the Julius Baer Generation Cup.

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First Published: Wed, September 21 2022. 17:02 IST