Magnus Carlsen has confirmed that he will not defend his world chess championship title against Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi.
— Oluwadamiloju Saliu (@damilojusaliu) July 20, 2022
“I simply feel that I don’t have a lot to gain…I’ve spoken to my team, FIDE, and Ian. I don’t have any inclination to play & I will simply not play the match,” he said on the first episode of The Magnus Effect podcast.
“I am not motivated to play another match. I simply feel that I don’t have a lot to gain, I don’t particularly like it, and although I’m sure a match would be interesting for historical reasons and all of that, I don’t have any inclination to play and I will simply not play the match,” he was quoted as saying on chess24.com.
31-year-old Carlsen claimed his fifth world chess crown in Dubai in December 2021 with a crushing 7.5-3.5 victory against Nepomniachtchi. Thereafter he stated he is ‘unlikely’ to defend his world title
Meanwhile, Nepomniachtchi won the Candidates Tournament in Madrid and earned the right to play for the world title.
— chess24.com (@chess24com) July 20, 2022
With this development, Candidates runner-up GM Ding Liren will face Nepomniachtchi for the world championship.
In an interaction with the Indian Express chess legend Viswanathan Anand had spoken about Carlsen opting out of defending his world championship title and what kind of impact will it have on the Classical format.
“We have not had a situation like this since Bobby Fischer. Fischer quit the game and ran away. Carlsen, as I understand it, still wants to play other events but he won’t play this one,” said Anand
“My tendency is to believe him that he is serious but also when the moment comes to actually do it, he will hesitate because it is a big step. It will hurt the game for a while because after all you are losing a champion and it is a very strange transition. But eventually people will move on and the game will go on,” he added.
However, Carlsen did reiterate that he is not retiring from the game.
“Just so there is not ambiguity here: I’m not retiring from chess, I’m gonna be an active player, I’m leaving later today to go to Croatia to play the Grand Chess Tour. From there on I’m gonna go to Chennai to play the Olympiad, which is gonna be a lot of fun and the Norwegian team is seeded as number four there. And to Miami which is gonna be one of the real highlights of the year—the FTC Crypto Cup which is gonna be awesome. And right after that the Sinquefield Cup.”