The Norwegian Magnus Carlsen, world number one in chess, announced this Wednesday that he is giving up defending his title at the 2023 World Cup. “I am not motivated by the idea of ​​playing another game. I simply think that I do not have much to gain,” he declared. in the first episode of his podcast “The Magnus Effect”.

In recent months, Carlsen had hinted on several occasions that, tired of a title he has held for almost ten years, he might leave his throne without a fight. He spoke of this possibility in December, shortly after being crowned double world chess champion, after beating Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi 7.5-3.5.

“Although I am sure that a game would be interesting for historical and other reasons, I have no desire to play and I will not play just for the sake of it,” said the Norwegian.

Had he achieved new successes in 2023, Carlsen would have been able to match the German Emanuel Lasker (champion 1894-1921) and the Soviet Mijal Botvinnik (champion 1948-1963), although in that time he had lost twice.

“Overall, I have the impression that it is time for me to leave the World Cup games. I do not exclude a return in the future,” added the number one, specifying that retirement is not yet considered. “So that there is no ambiguity, I am not retiring from chess; I will continue to be an active player,” he assured.

Carlsen’s resignation benefits the second of the Candidates Tournament, the Chinese Ding Liren, probable future opponent of Ian Nepomniachtchi for the world crown.

The president of the International Chess Federation (FIDE), Arkady Dvorkovich, did not hide his disappointment with Carlsen’s decision, which he described in a statement as “bad news for the show”.

“Since Magnus publicly expressed his doubts, FIDE has been open to dialogue and to studying specific proposals aimed at modifying the format of the World Cup,” explained Dvorkovich.

“Some of those doubts were discussed in May with the Norwegian and other high-level players. In Madrid we had a meeting in which all the concerns were discussed openly and in detail. Unfortunately, that did not make him change his mind,” he said. the leader of the international body.

“Chess is now stronger than ever, thanks in part to Magnus, and the World Cup game, one of the oldest and most respected traditions in the world of sport, will continue.”

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