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Magnus Carlsen will not defend World Championship title

Baku, July 21, AZERTAC

GM Magnus Carlsen will not defend his world championship title against GM Ian Nepomniachtchi next year, according to chess.com.

Carlsen announced his decision on a podcast on Tuesday. According to current regulations, FIDE Candidates tournament winner Nepomniachtchi will now play the world championship against Candidates runner-up GM Ding Liren.

"I’ve spoken to people in my team, I’ve spoken to FIDE, I spoke to Ian as well. The conclusion is very simple: I’m not motivated to play another match," said Carlsen. "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, I don’t have any inclinations to play and I will simply not play the match."

Carlsen thus confirmed the earlier doubts he had expressed on December 14, 2021 and later repeated: after playing five world championship matches, he is not enjoying them anymore.

"It’s been an interesting ride since I decided to play the Candidates in 2013, which was to be honest on kind of a whim. I just decided it could be interesting, and ever since the World Championship title has given me a lot and opened a lot of doors, and I’m happy about that. The matches themselves have been at times interesting, at times a little bit of fun."

The Norwegian star leaves the door open to return for a match one day, but it's not likely: "I don’t rule out participation in the future, but I also wouldn’t count on it."

During the FIDE Candidates tournament, Carlsen had a meeting with FIDE's President Arkady Dvorkovich and Director-General Emil Sutovsky, which apparently didn't have enough effect to convince Carlsen to defend his title a fifth time.

Dvorkovich told Chess.com that he respects the world champion's decision and confirmed that according to the rules, there will now be a Ding-Nepomniachtchi match.

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