An investigation will be launched into allegations of fraud by world chess champion Magnus Carlsen, FIDE – the sport’s global governing body – announced on Thursday.
On Monday, Carlsen accused master Hans Niemann of cheating, saying his rival’s progress was “unusual”.
Carlsen pulled out of the Sinquefield Cup after losing to Niemann earlier this month, then pulled out of the next match against the American after making just one move in the Julius Baer Generation Cup.
“He wasn’t tense or completely focused on the game in critical positions, while he outplayed me in a way that I think only a few players can do,” Carlsen said after losing to Niemann in the Sinquefield Cup.
Niemann has admitted that he cheated at online chess between the ages of 12 and 16, but insists that he has never cheated at table games.
FIDE’s Fair Play Commission (FPL) has launched a three-member commission of inquiry to look into Carlsen’s allegations and Niemann’s statement about online cheating.
“For the good of the chess community, we would ask the public not to speculate about the results and possible penalties until all available facts have been thoroughly analyzed and a proper investigation completed,” said FPL President Salomeja Zaksaite. .
According to FIDE, the committee has the possibility to consult with external experts if necessary.
“FPL is ready to investigate the circumstances, collect and analyze all available data and evidence, and verify the facts and allegations that have been made public,” the federation said in a statement.
“The court will ensure a fair resolution, protecting the rights of both parties during the investigation.”
CNN has previously contacted Niemann and Carlsen about the fraud allegations.
Speaking to CNN earlier this week, FIDE CEO Emil Sutovsky said cheating is a “big problem” in online chess, but added that tabletop games have long had cheat-detection measures in place.
“It started with all kinds of scanners and checks, and it’s not like the metal scanners you use at airports,” Sutovsky said.
“We use them too, but they are only part of a global picture. We use non-linear scanners, we use delays in the broadcast to minimize the possibilities. [of cheating], [and] we use fair play officials who would physically monitor what the players are doing.’