It's the scandal centering around cheating allegations that has engulfed the chess world and led many to believe Magnus Carlsen and Hans Niemann will never play in the same tournament again.
But two weeks on from the moment Norway's World Champion sensationally sparked the furore by pulling out of an event after losing to Niemann, both are set to face each other today in Round 6 of the Julius Baer Generation Cup.
The 19-year-old American has been vociferous in his denials. Carlsen, meanwhile, has remained silent on social media.
It will be one fascinating battle with both players seemingly with a score to settle. Yet how has it happened? Did both players agree? How do we know allegations won't surface again?
In the interests of transparency, Tour Director Arne Horvei joined the broadcast on the opening day of the Julius Baer event to explain.
Here is every word he said:
That's plain and easy, due to the Tour regulations. In the regulations it says that if you are amongst the top eight players from the last tournament you are automatically invited to the next tournament. In Miami, we had eight players there and Hans participated. So he was automatically sent an invite to this event. That invite was sent well before the tournament in St Louis started so it means that we sent that invite to him. After the commotion, which of course we have been following closely, we saw that there has been no indication of Hans Niemann being involved in any sort of cheating in the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour so there was no reason for us whatsoever based on allegations back and forth to revoke his invitation. So that invitation stood and he is participating in this tournament.
We have been closely analysing many games in the Tour so far and there has been no indication in his games that he has been involved in any cheating.
We take a lot of measures and we are doing this with the best players, we are trying to be, we probably are, the most important online tour in the world, and we do very much more than other events. Of course we start with the basics, that all players have to share the screen, all players have to be alone in the room, no players can leave their desk while they're playing and we have cameras pointing from the back to the desk so that we can see the entire area that the players are playing from, the sound has to be on, we have arbiters following each game either at home with the players or digitally. The players have to show their ears into the arbiter cameras and also we have some of the best analytics tools that can do analysis after the rounds and also we have some elements in addition to this that we want to keep for ourselves so that we have tools that are not known to the world as well.
We know that technology is constantly innovating and we have to be in the forefront there as well. We have to take the measures needed, together with the players, that chess and in particular this tour is looked upon as a clean sport. It is our responsibility, together with the players, that everyone who plays and watches and follows our tour, and chess in general, should feel safe that this is a fair sport and it is the best chess player that wins each game. That is something we take very seriously.
We have had dialogue with all players in the lead up to this event and of course there has been a lot of emotions, meanings, opinions and statements in the chess world, also amongst the players as well. Of course, there has been feedback to us leading up to this, but all players were informed of the line-up before it was made public and everybody is playing.
Play in Round 5 is due to start at 18:00 CEST today, with Niemann and Carlsen facing each other in Round 6 at 19:00 CEST. Don't miss it!
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