Garry Kasparov on Magnus Carlsen: "his behavior was unacceptable"

by Albert Silver
10/4/2022 – There is a sense of frustration at this stage by parties wide and large, and while the quote in the headline will hit closer to home for chess players, the venerable British newspaper 'The Guardian' also took an unprecedented step by declaring their own official position regarding the entire scandal.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


It was somewhat unexpected to see Garry Kasparov appearing in a short interview granted to Carl Fredrik Johansson of Uppsala Chess+ Academy in Sweden, but a welcome surprise as it goes without saying that after his initial Tweet on the topic, the question burned on what he thought of the ongoing Carlsen-Niemann Affair. Kasparov did not mince words.

The quotes below were edited for clarity.

On Carlsen's loss to Niemann

"I understand his frustration and his anger after losing the game and finding other reasons than his own poor play in his game to blame for his loss"

Regarding his actions

"...leaving the tournament was unacceptable. Even if he had proof, and as to the specific game Magnus lost there was no evidence of any wrongdoing, I think that was really bad for chess, it was bad for St. Louis. It's one of the most important tournaments, if not the most important tournament in in the world."


"... I think that his behavior was unacceptable and it creates some sort of precedence. There are many things you could do without violating your contractual obligations."

The Guardian makes a statement

Over the weeks, we have seen this topic brought up pretty much everywhere by now, and papers with a tradition of chess coverage such as the British newspaper 'The Guardian' have done so more than once. However, they took the rather unusual step of stating their official position on the matter, not as an article signed by one writer or another, but as an Opinion piece representing the newspaper as a whole.

"Niemann has acknowledged cheating online as a teenager, but insists he has never done so in an over-the-board game and angrily denies the new claims. “Once a cheat, always a cheat,” chorus his detractors, but Niemann should surely not be condemned for youthful misdemeanours in games where little was at stake. There is no evidence that he cheated when he beat Carlsen."


"But he (Carlsen) is wrong to muddy the waters around Niemann without substantive evidence. Britain’s former world title contender Nigel Short says that the young American is at risk of suffering “death by innuendo”. Experts reckon Carlsen played unusually poorly in his defeat to Niemann. Maybe it was just a bad day at the office. Or perhaps it was the result of paranoia: once a player believes their opponent is cheating, that inevitably affects their own play. Carlsen needs to produce concrete evidence – ideally as part of the inquiry announced on Thursday by the International Chess Federation – or let Niemann get on with his career."

Link to full article



Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register