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Five-time world chess champion Magnus Carlsen has formally accused fellow chess grandmaster and Twitch streamer Hans Niemann of cheating. Carlsen’s allegations, released through a public statement via Twitter this week (see here), are at the center of one of the chess world’s biggest scandals in recent decades.
Carlsen, 31, is the best chess player in the world and has ranked No. 1 for more than a decade. Without offering details, Carlsen alleges that 19-year-old Niemann, an up-and-coming chess player who ranks No. 49 in the world, has cheated more recently than he has publicly admitted, adding that his progress in chess has been unusual. The accusation comes after Carlsen abruptly withdrew for the first time in his career from the annual Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis upon losing to Niemann. A week later, Carlsen resigned from an online match against Niemann after playing one move.
Chess officials have neither accused Niemann of cheating nor is an investigation underway, though theories of foul play have run rampant online.