Carlsen Drops Hints About Chess Rival’s Play


Magnus Carlsen took questions about the suspicions consuming chess that Hans Moke Niemann cheated, but the answers from the world’s top-ranked player only raised more questions. On Monday, Carlsen resigned in protest after making one move against Niemann in an online game. The flap began when Niemann beat Carlsen in person earlier in the month in St. Louis, after which Carlsen quit the tournament. The star took questions from a newscaster with Chess24, Vice reports, which included, “I think the whole world is wondering, what is the reason you withdrew?”

In between the answers of “no comment,” “I will not say more about that subject,” and “Unfortunately I cannot particularly speak on that,” there were clues to be had. On why he withdrew, Carlsen said, “People can draw their own conclusion, and they certainly have.” And he added, “I am very impressed by Neiman’s play, and I think his mentor Maxim Dlugy must be doing a great job.” Dlugy, a grandmaster in his own right, has been dropped twice from tournaments, and though no one said why, one grandmaster said, “Generally that only means one thing.” Asked if chess is doing enough to stop cheating, Carlsen replied, “It’s hard to say really.”

The grandmaster, Benjamin Bok, said it’s not an accident that Carlsen dropped Dlugy’s name. “It means that he knows something we don’t know,” Bok said, adding that it’s probably something big. Asked why barred Niemann from its site after the Carlsen matches, its CEO also gave a “no comment.” Like Carlsen, Erik Allebest said he hoped to be able to say more soon. The No. 1 player did address cheating in general, saying he thinks it’s “fairly easy to cheat.” He said the issue should not be taken lightly in the future—”either online or over the board.” (Read more Magnus Carlsen stories.)