Chess world champion Magnus Carlsen will not defend his title again. The Norwegian announced this on Wednesday in a podcast by betting provider Unibet. The 31-year-old, who became world champion in 2013, justified the step with a lack of motivation. According to a statement by Carlsen after his last World Cup duel, the decision does not come as a surprise.
After his comfortable victory over the Russian Jan Nepomnjaschtschi last December, Carlsen let it be known that he was not interested in a new edition. The Norwegian declared at the time that he only wanted to play in the World Cup again if the Franco-Iranian prodigy Alireza Firouzja were his opponent.
However, since Nepomnyashchi earned this right by winning the Candidates Tournament in Madrid in early July, there would have been a repeat of the duel between Carlsen and the Russian challenger. After Carlsen’s resignation, Nepomnyashchi would now normally play a World Cup duel against the Chinese Ding Liren in 2023, who came second in the World Cup elimination round.
Carlsen reported that he had been in Madrid for talks with the world chess association Fide. He came without demands or suggestions, but to communicate his renunciation. “We had a little discussion. You made a few suggestions. I liked some, I didn’t like others. But my decision stands,” emphasized Carlsen. He had been thinking about this for a year and a half. Overall, he won five World Cup duels.
The Norwegian did not rule out a return to world chess and emphasized that he would continue to play chess. Among other things, he will represent his home country at the Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India, this year.
Most recently, Carlsen, a passionate poker player, took part in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas in early July. However, the world chess champion was eliminated on the first day of the tournament with around 1,800 participants.