World Champion Resigns After 1 Move Vs. Niemann, Erigaisi Leads

World Champion Resigns After 1 Move Vs. Niemann, Erigaisi Leads


On the second day of the Julius Baer Generation Cup, GM Magnus Carlsen sent waves through the chess world by playing only one move vs. GM Hans Niemann in their anticipated game before resigning.

GM Arjun Erigaisi leads the event with 17 points, followed by GM Praggnanandhaa R. tied with Carlsen on 15 points.

How to watch? The games of the Julius Baer Generation Cup preliminaries can be found here. The rounds start each day at 9 a.m. Pacific/18:00 CEST.

The Carlsen/Niemann drama fully reignited on Monday when the world champion resigned his game after making his first move, leaving commentators and fans in shock. The full game score reads 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4, 1-0.

The reactions from the chess world were less sympathetic toward Carlsen compared to when he dropped out of the Sinquefield Cup two weeks ago. While some pointed out that he was affecting other players in the tournament by giving his opponent a free point, others demanded that Carlsen finally comes with a statement. However, the Norwegian star has already decided not to give interviews during this tournament.

Included below are various reactions from Twitter:

GM Levon Aronian, who stood up for Niemann in St. Louis and called his colleagues “paranoid,” gave a rather different comment this time in the official broadcast: “I understand the frustration of Magnus. I really didn’t know much about a lot of things, and now I’m somewhere in the middle. I do believe that Hans has been not the cleanest person when it comes to online chess but he’s a young guy and hopefully this will be a lesson to him.”

Aronian added: “Since we had the chat with some online server people and we found out a lot of things about Hans, the multiple instances of him cheating, I think that creates a problem for Magnus. At this moment he’s just saying: OK, I will not play against this person, and that’s it.”

GM Anish Giri said about Carlsen’s refusal to play with Niemann: “It looks like he’s clearly insinuating something but until you catch someone you cannot do anything. It just looks very odd now. Clearly, it all makes sense if supposedly Hans is cheating and he doesn’t want to play him, but if he doesn’t, it is really very wrong.”

According to the Dutch GM, suspicions of cheating are more common among top players than the outside world realizes. “There are always issues. I’ve heard from my colleagues, many people telling that they are suspecting other colleagues of cheating, it’s always a thing. I guess in other sports they have that with doping or whatever. You just have to push these thoughts away because it’s very disturbing.”

“The show must go on,” were other words from Giri, and that’s what happened. Carlsen, who had drawn his first game of the day with GM David Navara, had dropped to fourth place in the standings but then won an excellent game against Aronian in round seven.

Giri: “It’s quite interesting that the game after that, he played so well. I was thinking you might be disturbed but he was just undisturbed. Really a special human being, for sure.”

Carlsen’s game with Praggnanandhaa in round eight was fascinating as well. The 17-year-old Indian player, who has beaten the world champion more than once online, sacrificed an exchange as early as move seven and was close to winning before the game eventually ended in a draw. Carlsen applauded on camera for Pragg’s quality play.

Carlsen applause Praggnanandhaa Julius Baer
Carlsen was impressed by Praggnanandhaa’s play. Image: Champions Chess Tour.

Meanwhile, the new tournament leader is another rising star from India: Erigaisi. On the second day, the 19-year-old from Warangal beat Niemann and Aronian before finishing with two draws, good enough for a two-point lead.

Julius Baer Generation Cup | Day 2 Standings

All Games Day 2

The 2022 Champions Chess Tour’s seventh event, the Julius Baer Generation Cup, takes place September 18-25, 2022 on chess24. The preliminary phase is a 16-player rapid (15|10) round-robin. The top eight players advance to the knockout phase which consists of two days of four-game rapid matches, which advance to blitz (5|3) and armageddon (White has five minutes, Black four with no increment) tiebreaks only if a knockout match is tied after the second day. The prize fund is $150,000.

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