Magnus Carlsen: 'It's fairly easy to cheat in chess', says grandmaster amid Niemann scandal

·Freelance Writer
·3 min read

Watch: Magnus Carlsen quits Niemann rematch after one move

Chess champion Magnus Carlsen has spoken for the first time since resigning after one move in a game against a US teenager, amid claims his opponent had cheated.

The chess grandmaster has spoken out for the first time since being beaten by a 19-year-old – and said cheating in chess is “easy”.

Magnus Carlsen astonished the chess world when he resigned a game against US teenager Hans Niemann after just one move during a rematch between the pair on Monday – with some suggesting Carlsen’s actions were because he suspected Niemann was cheating.

But world number one Carlsen has told Chess24 that “people can draw their own conclusions” as to why he resigned the online game during the Julius Baer Generation Cup no sooner than it started.

Magnus Carlsen
Magnus Carlsen has suggested that cheating in chess is 'easy'. (Reuters)

And while he would not comment directly on the cheat accusations against Niemann, Carlsen insisted it was not difficult for a player to do.

He said: "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.”

Carlsen said he understood that cheating was “tempting” for younger players, but “wouldn’t recommend it”.

Magnus Carlsen (top right) resigned his game against Hans Niemann (top left) after just one move.
Magnus Carlsen (top right) resigned his game against Hans Niemann (top left) after just one move.

The Norwegian chess master, who is considered one of the greatest players of all time, had previously lost a game to Niemann at the Sinquefield Cup in St Louis, Missouri, before Monday’s match.

While careful not to accuse Niemann of cheating after that match, Carlsen nevertheless hinted of his suspicions on a Twitter post that linked to a YouTube video of Roma manager Jose Mourinho saying in a press conference: "If I speak, I am in big trouble. And I don't want to be in big trouble."

Magnus Carlsen hinted of Hans Niemann cheating on a Twitter post. (Twitter)
Magnus Carlsen hinted of Hans Niemann cheating on a Twitter post. (Twitter)

Niemann denied cheating at the Sinquefield Cup – but did admit to cheating twice using online assistance during online games when he was 12 and 16.

He said: ”I cheated on random games on chess.com. I was confronted. I confessed. And this is the single biggest mistake of my life. And I am completely ashamed.

World chess champion Magnus Carlsen said cheating was 'tempting' for younger players. (Reuters)
World chess champion Magnus Carlsen said cheating was 'tempting' for younger players. (Reuters)

“I am telling the world because I don't want misrepresentations, and I don't want rumours.

“I have never cheated in an over-the-board game. And other than when I was 12 years old I have never cheated in a tournament with prize money."

However, Niemann took a swipe at Carlsen following his first defeat of the world champion, telling journalists: “It must be embarrassing for the world champion to lose to an idiot like me. I feel bad for him.”