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Leon Watson

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Magnus Carlsen's FIRST INTERVIEW since cheating scandal: Every word

Finally, it happened. Two days on from sensationally resigning after he made just one move against the American teenager Hans Niemann, Magnus Carlsen has broken his silence on the issue that is dividing the chess world.

Fans, players and pundits have all been calling for the World Champion to shed some light on the incident amid swirling allegations of cheating levelled at Niemann.

Moments after topping the Julius Baer Generation Cup's prelim stage leaderboard with a stunning 34/45pts - a record in a Meltwater Champions Chess Tour event, Carlsen spoke to chess24's Oslo broadcast host Kaja Snare.

Carlsen didn't reveal much, but he did make several hints. Here's every world Carlsen had to say on the subject:

What was the reason you withdrew from the Niemann game?

"Unfortunately, I cannot particularly speak on that but people can draw their own conclusions and they certainly have. I have to say I'm very impressed by Niemann's play and I think his mentor Maxim Dlugy must be doing a great job."

Can you confirm whether or not you resigned on Monday due to suspecting Niemann of cheating?

"I will not comment on that."

It's been a dramatic time, how are you doing in all this?

"I'm OK, just living my life and trying to do well in the tournament. People who know me and followed, for instance, the tournament in Zagreb in 2019 know that I can shut things out."

How have you been able to stay focused?

"I'm happy to play chess and that usually makes me happy. As I said, I have a lot of experience and generally it makes me... the score in the preliminaries is nice but now I'm facing a very strong opponent already in the quarters, so it doesn't necessarily mean anything at this minute."

Will you make a comment in the future to clarify events?

"I hope to say a little bit more after the tournament."

Is cheating in general a problem in chess?

"I think individual people will answer the question differently depending on their own experiences. I think regardless of whether it's a massive problem or not, it's I think fairly easy to cheat and, on a general basis, I think that cheaters in the future should not be taken lightly either online or over the board."

Do you have a message for youngsters thinking about cheating?

"I understand it's tempting but, yeah, I wouldn't recommend it."

Are FIDE and organisers doing enough?

"It's hard to say really. I will probably say a bit more after the tournament."

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