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The ball is very clearly in Han’s court, says GM Nakamura after Carlsen’s statement


Norwegian World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen has made it clear that he withdrew and then resigned in tournaments after playing Grandmaster Hans Niemann because he believes the American has cheated more than what he has admitted to.

“I believe that Niemann has cheated more – and more recently – than he has publicly admitted,” Carlsen said in a statement on Twitter.

“His over the board progress has been unusual, and throughout our game in the Sinquefield Cup I had the impression that he wasn’t tense or even fully concentrating on the game in critical positions, while outplaying me as black in a way I think only a handful of players can do. This game contributed to changing my perspective,” Carlsen tweeted.

Carlsen’s silence had led to speculation that the world champion had withdrawn because he had felt that Niemann was cheating.

Regarding online chess, Niemann has admitted to having cheated twice on Chess.com, when he was 12 and when he was 16 years old, and that he regrets that. In a statement posted on September 9, IM Danny Rensch wrote on behalf of Chess.com: “We have shared detailed evidence with him concerning our decision, including information that contradicts his statements regarding the amount and seriousness of his cheating on Chess.com.”

Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura said ‘it is very clear now what the reality is in the situation’.

“Magnus thinks Hans cheated in the game they played in the Sinquefield Cup despite what was said by the organisers… This is the mike drop moment… I would also say it is extremely clear in this letter that Magnus put out that basically Magnus has something, who knows what he has… The ball is very clearly in Hans’ court now. What will Hans do here is the big question. If Hans does not say anything… If Hans is truly innocent in all this Hans should basically come out and say show what you have,” Nakamura said on his YouTube channel. “This is a very very strong statement from Magnus.”

Nakamura who is also a popular chess streamer had said at the time Carlsen had withdrawn from the Sinquefield Cup that the only reason the world champion would do so is because he felt Niemann was cheating.

“Magnus would never do this in a million years. He just doesn’t do that. He wouldn’t do this unless he really strongly believes Hans is cheating with a very strong conviction. I think he just thinks Hans is just cheating, straight out,” Nakamura had said.

Indian Grandmaster and coach of rising star R Praggnanandhaa, RB Ramesh, said he had immense respect for Carlsen for taking a principled stand.

“Immense respect for the world champion for taking a principled stand on an important issue, forcing the world to pay attention to it at a huge personal cost. Ideally the chess world and FIDE should have devised a good practical solution to the cheating problem years ago. Hopefully, a full enquiry will be conducted by FIDE & steps taken to avoid a similar scenario in future. A reasonably strong player does not need external help throughout the game, indication at a few (even 1) critical moments (s) is sufficient to tilt the game in his favour,” Ramesh tweeted.

Ramesh suggested a few steps to curb cheating like, jamming signals into the playing hall, delaying live relay, spectators should not carry gadgets into the venue.

“Of course, it is very easy to cast apprehensions on a player’s integrity by throwing unsubstantiated allegations. It has happened in the past. Innocent players were accused unfairly. So the accuser should be very responsible before making the accusation,” Ramesh tweeted.





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