The Magnus Carlsen vs Hans Niemann saga has taken a new turn with FIDE’s Fair Play Commission (FPL) has decided to act ex-officio and create an Investigatory Panel, the International Chess Federation said in a statement.
“Three members of the Commission will form this panel, and it will also have the possibility to call for a consultation with external experts wherever analysis is required. The focus of the investigation would be twofold: checking the World Champion’s claims of alleged cheating by Niemann and Niemann’s self-statement regarding online cheating,” FIDE said.
Earlier this week, Magnus Carlsen, the world champion and a player widely considered one of the greatest ever, posted a statement on Twitter in which he said he believed 19-year-old American opponent Hans Niemann “has cheated more — and more recently — than he has publicly admitted.”
“His over-the-board progress has been unusual,” Carlsen wrote about Niemann in his Twitter post late Monday, “and throughout our game in the Sinquefield Cup I had the impression that he wasn’t tense or even fully concentrating on the game in critical positions, while outplaying me as black in a way I think only a handful of players can do.
“This game contributed to changing my perspective.”
“The FPL is ready to examine the circumstances, compile and analyze all the data and evidence available, and ascertain the facts and allegations that have been made public. The panel will ensure a fair ruling, protecting the rights of both parties during the investigation,”said Fair Play Chairperson Salomeja Zaksaite.
“In the best interest of the chess community, we would kindly ask the public to refrain from speculations on the outcomes and potential sanctions until all available facts are well considered, and a proper investigation is finalized,” added Zaksaite.
However, Carlsen had offered no evidence of Niemann cheating.
“There is more that I would like to say,” Carlsen wrote. “Unfortunately, at this time I am limited in what I can say without explicit permission from Niemann to speak openly.”
Carlsen added he is “not willing to play chess with Niemann.”
Niemann has previously admitted to cheating when playing online chess when he was 12 and 16, but has denied ever cheating over the board.
“We must do something about cheating,” Carlsen said, “and for my part going forward, I don’t want to play against people that have cheated repeatedly in the past, because I don’t know what they are capable of doing in the future.”