‘There were better ways to handle this situation’: FIDE criticises Carlsen for his conduct in the Niemann Saga, prepared to task Fair Play Commission

Two days after Magnus Carlsen resigned in his rematch against Hans Niemann after making just one move, The International Chess Federation (FIDE) has criticised the five time world champion for his conduct in the ongoing saga between the Norwegian and American GM.

In a statement made public, Arkady Dvorkovich, the FIDE President said, “We strongly believe that the World Champion has a moral responsibility attached to his status, since he is viewed as a global ambassador of the game.”

“His actions impact the reputation of his colleagues, sportive results, and eventually can be damaging to our game. We strongly believe that there were better ways to handle this situation.”

The world governing body of the sport however, did further add that they shared Carlsen’s concerns over cheating in the game and that the body is prepared to task its Fair Play Commission.

“We share his deep concerns about the damage that cheating brings to chess. FIDE has led the fight against cheating for many years, and we reiterate our zero-tolerance policy toward cheating in any form. Whether it is online or “over the board”, cheating remains cheating. We are strongly committed to this fight, and we have invested in forming a group of specialists to devise sophisticated preventive measures that already apply at top FIDE events.”

The statement further read, “FIDE is prepared to task its Fair Play commission with a thorough investigation of the incident, when the adequate initial proof is provided, and all parties involved disclose the information at their disposal. We are fully aware that, in some cases, uncertainty can harm players’ performance. It also can be damaging to a player’s reputation – that’s why we insist on the anti-cheating protocols to be followed.”

“It is our hope that this whole situation could have a long-term positive effect, if tackled properly. We propose to launch a dedicated Panel, that would include representatives of the leading chess platforms, Grandmasters, anti-cheating experts and FIDE officers, in order to fight this risk and prevent it becomes a real plague,” FIDE concluded.

31-year-old Carlsen grabbed the headlines when, for the first time in his career, he withdrew his name from a tournament after he lost to Niemann at the $500,000 Sinquefield Cup earlier this month. The Norwegian announced the same with a tweet of a video of Portuguese football manager Jose Mourinho saying, “If I speak, I am in big trouble. Big, big trouble”, Carlsen refused to give any further explanation. But the chess world started speculating about the fact that this was owing to Niemann cheating.

Niemann on the other hand, had condemned all the accusations against him and said that he was willing to play naked to prove his innocence.

The two met again, less than two weeks later in a rematch at the Julius Baer Cup, in an online match. A meeting that was cut short as Carlsen logged off before making his second move. Post this however, the five-time world champion did give a statement on his thoughts regarding Niemann.

“I think individual people will answer the question differently depending on their own experiences. I think regardless of whether it’s a massive problem or not, it’s I think fairly easy to cheat and, on a general basis, I think that cheaters in the future should not be taken lightly either online or over the board,” he had said to chess24.com.

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