Magnus Carlsen courted controversy in the Julius Baer Generation Cup — the seventh leg of the USD1.6 million Meltwater Champions Chess Tour — on Monday as he sensationally quit his game with American star Hans Niemann after playing just one move. The world champion caused a wave of shock when he pulled out of a match for the second time in two weeks, seemingly in protest at alleged cheating. Carlsen has yet to openly accuse Niemann of anything directly and the chess world is waiting on his next move. However, by quitting his Round 6 game in the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour event, he gifted Niemann three points, according to a statement from Meltwater Champions Chess Tour 2022.
Following a rocky day at the board in which he only picked up one more point, the US teenager stands two points behind Carlsen and is still in with a chance of making the knockouts. Leading the tournament at the midway point of the preliminary stage is Indian youngster Arjun Erigaisi on 17 points out of a possible 24.
Two points behind him are Carlsen and 17-year-old Indian R. Praggnanandhaa while Ukrainian veteran Vasyl Ivanchuk and Poland’s World Cup winner Jan-Krzysztof Duda are level with Niemann. In the final round of the day, Carlsen and Pragg played out a titanic battle which ended in a draw and the champion applauding the youngster for his positive approach.
The star-studded seventh leg of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour has been dominated by the speculation surrounding Carlsen and Niemann. The pair now won’t face each other unless both make it through to the knockouts and then they may still avoid each other. The chess world will be on tenterhooks to see if that happens.