Magnus Carlsen will not defend his World Cup title in chess in 2023 |  Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen will not defend his World Cup title in chess in 2023 | Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen says he will not defend his World Cup title in chess in 2023 against Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi. The five-time winner does not withdraw, but promises “to be the best in the world” even if it means that he does not take part in the chess showpiece event.

China’s world No. 2, Ding Liren, will now go up and meet Nepomniachtchi, who Carlsen beat last year in Dubai.

The 31-year-old Norwegian grandmaster, who has spent over a decade as the top-ranked player in the world, said in a podcast for his sponsor Unibet: “I am not motivated to play another match. I just feel like I do not have much to win, I do not like it very much, and although I’m sure a match would be interesting for historical reasons and all that, I have no desire to play and I’m coming simply not to play the game.

“Ultimately, the conclusion is, one that I’m pretty comfortable with, one that I’ve been thinking about a lot for a long time now, I would say more than a year … since long before the last match” [in which he beat Nepomniachtchi without losing a game].

“And I’ve talked to people on my team, I’ve talked to [governing body] Fide, I talked to Ian too. And the conclusion is, it’s very simple, that I’m not motivated to play another match.

Bobby Fischer in 1975 was the last grandmaster to relinquish the title instead of defending it in a match. However, Carlsen’s decision is more like in 1993 when Garry Kasparov broke away from Fide, and for more than a decade it was rival world champions.

Fides president Arkady Dvorkovich said Carlsen deserved nothing but respect. “Only a handful of people in history can understand and assess the enormous strain it takes to play five games for the title,” Dvorkovich said in a statement. “His decision not to defend his title is undoubtedly a disappointment for the fans, and bad news for the play. It leaves a big void.

“But chess is now stronger than ever – thanks in part to Magnus – and the world championship, one of the longest and most respected traditions in the world of sport, will continue.”

Carlsen had previously said he would be ready to relinquish his world title unless his next opponent was Iranian-French teenager Alireza Firouzja, who is world number 3. Instead, Nepomniachtchi set up a rematch by winning the candidate tournament in Madrid previously. this month with a round to spare. Liren won chess youtuber Hikaru Nakamura from the USA for second place in the candidate tournament by beating him in the last round.

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