World chess champion Magnus Carlsen has branded American teenager Hans Niemann a cheat and says he will never play against him again.
Mr Carlsen, the number one player in the world, deepened his ongoing public feud with Mr Niemann by releasing a fiery statement on Monday, attacking his rival.
Mr Carlsen alleged that 19-year-old Niemann “has cheated more — and more recently — than he has publicly admitted.”
Mr Carlsen withdrew from a tournament earlier this month after losing to Mr Niemann, then last week resigned from an online match against him after one move.
The 31-year-old won the Julius Baer Generation Cup despite resigning against Mr Niemann, and in his latest statement, Mr Carlsen said he understood that his “actions have frustrated many in the chess community.”
“I’m frustrated. I want to play chess. I want to continue to play chess at the highest level in the best events,” he stated.
“I believe that cheating in chess is a big deal and an existential threat to the game. I also believe that chess organizers and all those who care about the sanctity of the game we love should seriously consider increasing security measures and methods of cheat detection for over the board chess.”
Mr Carlsen stated that he had considered pulling out of the event when Niemann was invited to take part and was blunt in his allegations against his opponent.
“I believe that Niemann has cheated more — and more recently — than he has publicly admitted.
“His over the board progress has been unusual, 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.”
Mr Niemann has previously admitted to cheating in online chess matches on Chess.com as a teenager but has insisted he did not cheat Sinquefield Cup or during an over-the-board match.
But Mr Carlsen seemed to suggest that he will not play his rival again.
“We must do something about cheating, 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,” he stated.