World Champion Chess Player Resigns Game Rather Than Play Teen Who Beat Him Earlier

Norwegian grandmaster Magnus Carlsen refused to compete against Hans Niemann in the most passive-aggressive way possible.
More drama is shaking up the chess world.
More drama is shaking up the chess world.
Catherine Lane via Getty Images

A world champion chess player who recently lost to a teenage player who was accused of cheating in the most bizarre way possible refused to compete against the teen in the most passive-aggressive way possible.

It happened Monday at the Julius Baer Generation Cup during a match between Norwegian grandmaster Magnus Carlsen, 31, and 19-year-old Hans Niemann.

Carlsen, who is rated the top player in the world by the International Chess Federation, made his first move with the black pieces and then promptly quit the game, leaving Niemann to do the same a short time later, according to The Guardian.

There is history between the two players: Earlier this month, Niemann beat Carlsen at the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis, an upset victory so unexpected that it inspired at least one unsubstantiated theory that Niemann used a computer program that secretly communicated winning moves via a “prostate massager” or “wireless anal beads.”

However, Niemann insists that he won fair and square and that he was willing to “strip fully naked” to debunk the anal beads theory.

No one has proved that Niemann cheated at the Sinquefield Cup, but he had also been accused of cheating in prize-money matches on and was banned from the site, though he is allowed to compete at

After Niemann’s upset victory, Carlsen abruptly withdrew from the Sinquefield Cup. His only comment at the time was a cryptic tweet of a 2020 speech by Portuguese soccer manager Jose Mourinho: “I prefer not to speak. If I speak, I am in big trouble ... and I don’t want to be in big trouble.”

Carlsen’s actions on Monday were called out by other chess players, including grandmaster Jon Ludvig Hammer, his fellow countryman, who called for sanctions against Carlsen, saying, “It’s the most unacceptable behavior to lose on purpose. The most unsportsmanlike [thing] you can do,” according to

Neither Carlsen nor Niemann has commented on Monday’s game, but noted that Carlsen’s actions were especially shocking since his own organization is hosting the tournament, which means he “effectively invited his apparent nemesis to his virtual home and then walked out the back.”

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