But FIDE rules of chess are designed contrary to this perception. Hence it’ s no surprise that majority stakeholders in the game are not too critical of Mangus Carlsen‘s decision to resign after just one move against Hans Niemann in the league phase of the ongoing online rapid tournament for the Generation Cup.
Carlsen seems to be holding the value of fair play by creating an instance of unfair play.
Carlsen’s training partner and Anand’s former second, Peter Heine Neilsen of Denmark, said during a live broadcast: “It is up to Magnus (whether to play or not; or whether to explain his position or not). I am not planning to ask him.”
But there are voices in disagreement too.
International Master (IM) and Olympiad player V Saravanan said, “What Carlsen did was unethical, unsportsmanlike and unacceptable. If he was not comfortable playing against Niemann, he should not have entered the tournament. Resigning against one player after one move, continuing to play the tournament normally against other players and keeping silent about it is just irresponsible behaviour. Carlsen owes at least an explanation to others about his actions. In my mind, it is a clear case of bringing the game to disrepute. If the FIDE can take action – and severe action of banning a player (Sergey Karjakin) from the Candidates tournament – for glorifying Russia’s war against Ukraine, I am sure the y can intervene.”
Neither GM and coach Abhijit Kunte nor FIDE director general GM Emil Sutovsky are in agreement. Kunte said, “Rules and regulations is a FIDE matter. But we are talking about an incident in an online unapproved tournament. Will BCCI intervene if there is a controversy in tennis-ball cricket? At a larger level, I agree that a permanent solution about the resignation rule is required. There should atleast a discussion on it as such incidents have a negative impact on the sport.”
Sutosky tweeted: “People wonder whether @FIDE_chess should review the case. Not sure must be checked.” Saravanan was more forthright. “Chess’ governing bodies the world over have a tendency not to act. Overall, they are not just bothered.”
Seven-time national champion Pravin Thipsay said, “I don’t know if chess fraternity is interested in changing rules and regulations. The FIDE takes cognizance of any problem only after the top players complain. There is a Fairplay Committee for each tournament. But they adjudicate only on the cheating matters, and not on the spirit of the game.
“I have no problem if they do away with agreed draws or resignations. That way a full game can be seen over the board. If football match can continue if one team is four goals down with 5-10 minutes to go; or tennis set continues even if someone is leading 5-0, I am sure chess games can reach its logical end without agreed draws or defeats in huge majority of cases.
“But that also means more work for players and arbiters when the majority of them want less work and more pay. Of course, the draw by agreement or farcical resignations is not fair. Any movement in chess is not possible without the national federations or top players pushing for it. And a majority of chess community believes that there is not much to be gained for fighting the battle for fairness.”
Nielsen said, “Allegations of cheating are not new to chess. It’s an ongoing theme, and it’s going to be bigger and bigger with computers becoming stronger and smaller.”
Nielsen also hinted that Prof Kenneth Regan, who has devised chess’ anti-cheating formula and has given clean chit to Niemann based on his games over two years, is not perfect. “We do face a problem that no one i s a full expert on every aspect. Regan is an amazing stats guy and leading expert. But some of the chess thoughts that he has, I believe, are not genuinely accurate. We lack expertise in this field that covers all angles together.”