IMAGO/Sri Loganathan/IMAGO/ZUMA Wire
For weeks, there has been a serious scandal surrounding chess world champion Magnus Carlsen and his opponent Hans Niemann, which is about possible fraud.
Now, after a long silence, Carlsen has commented publicly, at least in part.
At the beginning of September, after a surprising defeat against the 19-year-old American Niemann, Carlsen suddenly left the renowned tournament in St. Louis without giving a reason.
Speculations ran high, Carlsen suspected Niemann of fraud.
There is no evidence of this.
When the two opponents met again in an online tournament last Monday, Carlsen gave up after one move and caused another scandal.
On the fringes of this online tournament, Carlsen – although he had actually ruled it out beforehand – was interviewed by »chess24«.
Presenter Kaja Snare asked Carlsen why he gave up on Monday.
"Unfortunately I can't comment on that, but people can draw their own conclusions from it and they did," said the world champion, fueling the suspicion of fraud against Niemann.
If it weren't for allegations of fraud, Carlsen would have had a chance to disagree.
He did not do it.
But Carlsen said otherwise: "I have to say I'm very impressed with Niemann's game and I think his mentor Maxim Dlugy must have done a great job".
Dlugy, a 56-year-old US grandmaster, was accused of cheating online chess on the chess.com platform a few years ago.
Niemann also recently admitted to cheating in online games on chess.com when he was 12 and 16, but on no further occasions.
In the game against Carlsen he did not cheat.
It is not known to what extent Dlugy is really meant to be a "mentor" of Niemann's.
When Snares asked, Carlsen didn't want to say more to Dlugy.
Carlsen wants to comment after Sunday
Carlsen has still not provided any evidence that could support possible allegations of fraud.
He was recently criticized for this by grandmasters and also by ex-world champion Viswanathan Anand.
But he may do so after the current tournament, which ends on Sunday.
"I hope to be able to say something more after the tournament," said Carlsen.
Moderator Snare asked Carlsen about his general stance on cheating in chess.
"In general, I don't think cheaters should be taken lightly in the future, either online or on the board," Carlsen replied.
The conflict between the world champion and the shooting star could flare up again in the current tournament.
Both are qualified for the knockout stages starting on Thursday and could meet again later in the tournament.