Magnus Carlsen withdrew from events where he played Hans Niemann ©Getty Images

The International Chess Federation (FIDE) has announced it is "prepared" to investigate the ongoing cheating controversy between five-time world champion Magnus Carlsen and Hans Niemann.

Carlsen, who is ranked number one in the world, rocked the sport by withdrawing from two events this month after being matched against his American opponent on both occasions.

Niemann handed the Norwegian a shock defeat - his first since October 2020 against American Levon Aronian - in an over-the-board contest at the Sinquefield Cup, before Carlsen withdrew.

The 31-year-old then pulled out from the online Meltwater Champions Chess Tour's Julius Baer Generation Cup after just one move.

The incidents have caused the FIDE to intervene, despite the competitions not being under its jurisdiction, and affirm that it is ready to investigate the situation.

"FIDE is prepared to task its Fair Play commission (sic) with a thorough investigation of the incident, when the adequate initial proof is provided, and all parties involved disclose the information at their disposal," the statement read.

"We are fully aware that, in some cases, uncertainty can harm players' performance.

FIDE has said it is "prepared" to investigate into the controversy between Magnus Carlsen and Hans Neimann ©Getty Images
FIDE has said it is "prepared" to investigate into the controversy between Magnus Carlsen and Hans Neimann ©Getty Images

"It also can be damaging to a player's reputation - that's why we insist on the anti-cheating protocols to be followed.

"It is our hope that this whole situation could have a long-term positive effect, if tackled properly.

"We propose to launch a dedicated Panel, that would include representatives of the leading chess platforms, Grandmasters, anti-cheating experts and FIDE officers, in order to fight this risk and prevent it becomes a real plague."

The FIDE also said it "strongly believe that there were better ways to handle this situation" but conceded it shares "his deep concerns about the damage that cheating brings to chess".

Niemann's stunning win over Carlsen at the Sinquefield Cup prompted speculation that the American used foul play to win.

After withdrawing, Carlsen posted a cryptic video clip of Portuguese football manager José Mourinho on Twitter saying, "If I speak, I am in big trouble".

Niemann has admitted to cheating in online matches with the help of computer assistance when he was younger.

Sinquefield Cup chief arbiter Chris Bird said "no indication" of cheating by any player was found at the event.

Niemann denied any form of cheating in over-the-board contests.

The next incident at the Julius Baer Generation Cup has been interrupted as a show of protest, but Carlsen refused to provide a clear reason for his withdrawals to Chess24.

"Unfortunately I cannot particularly speak on that," Carlsen said.

"But, you know, people can draw their own conclusion and they certainly have.

"I have to say I'm very impressed by Niemann’s play, and I think his mentor Maxine Dlugy must be doing a great job."