Feud: World Champion Carlsen prepares the next move
The feud between Magnus Carlsen and Hans Niemann is not over even after the world champion's first interview. Carlsen holds out the prospect of making specific allegations in the near future.
Magnus Carlsen is 31 years old, but in the first interview after the youngest Chess-The world champion looked like a stubborn teenager.
In the video call with the "chess24" portal, Carlsen avoided looking at the camerahe groaned slightly when the presenter Kaja Snare stubbornly asked and gave almost defiant answers to questions that the whole chess world is currently asking.
"I will not comment on that," said the Norwegian when asked specifically whether he was with his opponent Hans Niemann suspect fraud. After all, Carlsen promised to shed some light on the "Julius Baer Generation Cup" held online: "I hope to be able to say something more after the tournament."
Carlsen triggers speculation in the weak world
Since the world number one gave up after just one move in a duel against 19-year-old Niemann last Monday and demonstratively switched off his camera, the chess scene has been in turmoil. Even when he lost on the board against the US grandmaster Niemann two weeks ago in St. Louis, Carlsen had triggered speculation with his behavior that he suspected cheating on the part of his opponent.
Retiring from a tournament for the first time in his career, he tweeted an earlier statement by Portuguese football coach José Mourinho: "I prefer not to say anything. If I say something, I'll get in big trouble and I don't want to get in big trouble come."
Even in the interview with "chess24", the superstar remained vague - there was still a lot to be read between the lines. Carlsen was "impressed" by Niemann's game, but in passing he praised his mentor Maxim Dlugy, who apparently did a "great job". Carlsen avoided the moderator's specific question as to whether he thought the 56-year-old US grandmaster was giving his protégé hidden clues: "I won't say anything on the subject."
Niemann, who rose by 150 places in the world rankings in a short time during the pandemic, recently admitted to having cheated twice in online games as a teenager, aged twelve and 16, but never in person at the chessboard. For Carlsen there is no difference. Fraud should not be treated lightly, "neither online nor on the board," said the world champion.
He can understand that it's "tempting" in internet tournaments in particular, "but I wouldn't recommend it". Carlsen couldn't or didn't want to answer whether the organizers and the world chess association Fide would do enough against manipulation in his opinion: "It's difficult to say."
Houska: "He has to say: Here is my proof"
The fact is: the case and the hints will not improve the already tense relationship between Carlsen and the world association and large parts of the chess world. The chess genius, who won the title of grandmaster at the age of 13, has a history of claiming special paths, alienating many. Some even think that the chess king considers himself untouchable.
His current feud with Niemann, however, met with great criticism in the scene, especially since there was no evidence that his adversary had cheated. Carlsen couldn't just "provoke a witch hunt," said British grandmaster Jovanka Houska, demanding: "He has to say: Here's my proof."
Carlsen at least acts as if the criticism rolls off him completely. "I'm okay," he said, almost bored, "I live my life."