Carlsen comments on the Niemann affair in public for the first time

The insinuations continue.

The world champion offered a short and reserved response to the swirling discussion over the controversy hes ignited in the chess world. Though he said he couldnt say anything definitive about the matter, he fired further shots at Niemann in his interview on the Julius Bär Generation Cup tournament broadcast.

When asked about the controversy, this was what the world champion had to say:

Unfortunately, I cannot particularly speak on that, but people can draw their own conclusions and they certainly have. I have to say I am very impressed by Niemann’s play, and I think his mentor Maxim Dlugy must have been doing a great job.

This last remark is a significant shot across the bow by Carlsen. Dlugy has been banned from chess.coms Titled Tuesday events on two separate occasions for cheating, and hes been apparently working with Niemann on various occasions. The young American GM has been embroiled in a cheating scandal, and though he has admitted to past transgressions in online chess, there is as of yet no proof that his meteoric rise to #40 in the world rankings in over-the-board play involved anything untoward.

Carlsens full interview was an eight-minute affair, a wide-ranging discussion covering various aspects of the chess world. Supposedly, more is to come.

Other members of the chess elite have continued to weigh in. FIDE Director General Emil Sutovsky has confirmed that they are reviewing the matter and that FIDE will be making a statement in the near future.

Fellow grandmaster Fabiano Caruana has recently revealed on his podcast that Carlsen was already considering a withdrawal from the Sinquefield Cup as soon as Niemann was announced as Richárd Rapports replacement, far before hed lose to the young American in the third round of the event.

Meanwhile, American grandmaster Levon Aronian has also clarified his comments from yesterday about strange moves Niemann was making in their game on his way to victory, saying that if somebody is known to have a history of wrong behavior, even if hes not doing anything wrong, you tend to overthink it.

Amid all the drama, theres a chess event going on, and Carlsens been playing very well. Though hes normally somewhat reserved in the preliminary rounds of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, this was not one of those times. He topped the group stage with just a single lossthe game he resigned against Niemann after just two moves. As things stand, the world champion will only meet Niemann in the knockout brackets if they both make it to the grand final.

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