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World Chess Champion Checks Tournament Opponent; Backs Up Claims Of Suspected Cheating

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World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen addressed the board game’s officials and fans Monday after making an unprecedented action during a tournament last week by resigning after one move against a player he suspected of cheating.

“I know that my actions have frustrated many in the chess community,” Carlsen said.” I’m frustrated. I want to play chess. I want to continue to play chess at the highest level in the best events.”

On September 4 at the Sinquefield Cup, Carlsen withdrew in his match against his 19-year-old opponent, Hans Niemann, leaving the chess world in a bit of a stalemate.

Carlsen, who had led the standings at the Julius Baer Generation Cup after the opening rounds, signaled his refusal to compete against Niemann after making two conventional pawn moves.

Niemann had previously admitted to cheating twice in online games when he was younger, calling them mistakes he made because he was young.

Carlsen said he believes Niemann has recently cheated more and called his board progress “unusual,” which has soared from 2484 in January to 2701 after his victory.

“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,” he said. “This game contributed to changing my perspective.”

Niemann denied such claims he had cheated against Carlsen and further bragged about his victory, saying, “it must be embarrassing for the world champion to lose to an idiot like me.”

“I feel bad for him,” Niemann added.

After Carlsen’s withdrawal, American grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura said it occurred because Carlsen thought Niemann was “probably cheating.”

Sinquefield Cup organizers implemented a 15-minute broadcast delay of games to interfere with any possible outside aid for players, adding extra scans to detect suspicious radio frequencies and using metal detectors to discover other gadgets players might use to cheat.

Carlsen’s resignation did not affect his play in other games at the virtual tournament.

Hank Berrien contributed to this report.

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