In a rematch of their round at the Sinquefield Cup earlier this month, which triggered one of the biggest recent debates in the sport of chess, reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen quit his preliminary matchup against Hans Niemann after just two moves in the Julius Baer Generation Cup on Monday.
The match took place virtually on Microsoft Teams, and was hosted by chess24.com, on which Carlsen appeared via webcam, made one move, disappeared, and simply quit the match.
Carlsen had turned heads earlier this month after he quit the $500,000 Sinquefield Cup following a defeat against Niemann, confirming his withdrawal by posting a video of a famous quote by football manager Jose Mourinho: “If I speak, I am in big trouble.”
‘I was shocked to see it. It’s his decision. I don’t have any opinion about it now,” Praggnanandhaa told Chess24.com.
Carlsen’s move sent the chess world speculating over whether or not Niemann had been cheating, a debate he will invariably reignite by his latest resignation, which is seen as a protest.
At the time, Carlsen’s withdrawal was followed by American Grandmaster and popular streamer Hikaru Nakamura’s claims that Niemann had likely cheated in their round, otherwise the Norwegian, who had never quit a major tournament like that before, would not have taken this step.
Niemann had responded to the claims in an interview at the Sinquefield Cup by saying he was willing to play naked to prove he was not cheating. He also came out on social media to publically address Nakamura.
No evidence of cheating has come out ever since Carlsen’s withdrawal, but chess.com, the world’s leading platform, banned Niemann following the controversy. Chess24, the second biggest platform in the world and the one being used on Monday, has allowed him to continue playing.