Magnus Carlsen is a world chess champion and recognized as one of the best chess players in history.
But on Wednesday he said he would not play in next year’s World Cup, voluntarily relinquishing the title he won in 2013 as a 22-year-old.
Now 31 years old and five-time world champion Carlsen He said he was He was “quite comfortable” with the decision, which he said he had been “thinking about for more than a year.”
“I am not motivated to play another match; I just feel like I don’t have much to gain,” he said on the first episode of his new podcast, The Magnus Effect.
“While I’m sure the match will be interesting for historical reasons and all that, I’m not inclined to play and I just won’t play.
Carlsen made a statement in connection with the International Chess Day.
Carlsen was scheduled to defend his title against Russian Jan Nepomniacht in 2023. Now, instead of Nepomniachtchi, he will face Chinese Ding Liren, and the winner will claim the vacant title.
Carlsen said he didn’t particularly enjoy playing in the World Cup, which is one of 12 to 14 matches over several weeks. He won his last title by defeating Nepomniachtchi in Dubai in December.
“The matches themselves were sometimes interesting, sometimes a little fun,” Carlsen said. “But overall, I feel it’s time to step away from World Cup matches.”
Carlsen said he will continue to play competitive chess.
“I really enjoy playing tournaments,” he said on the podcast. “Obviously, I enjoy them more than the World Championships, and to be honest, I don’t see myself as a chess player stopping anytime soon.” He said he will leave for the tournament in Croatia on Wednesday.
Carlsen became a grandmaster at 13 and the world’s top-ranked player at 19. He won the world title in 2013, dethroning Viswanathan Anand and defended it four times, beating Anand again, then Sergey Karjakin, Fabiano Caruana and finally Nepomniachtchi.
Carlsen’s absence will leave a huge hole at the top of the chess world. He is the game’s biggest star by a wide margin, and his name is probably the only one known to many with a casual interest in the game. This recognition allowed him to expand his brand and fortune through a series of ventures teaching and selling the game.
His rating of 2882 is the highest he has ever achieved. Chess.com ranked him this year as the second greatest player of all time behind Garry Kasparov and one place ahead of Bobby Fischer.
“Magnus is not tired, but I think he will be tired from too many matches,” Kasparov told the St. Louis Chess Club earlier this month.
Carlsen became interested in poker in recent years and He played in the main event Last week at the World Series of Poker. Indeed, his podcast on Wednesday began with a discussion of poker and Las Vegas, and he saved his announcement about giving up his world title until the 50-minute mark.
Carlsen is one of the few top sports figures to depart while at the top of their game. Many of them eventually returned.
“I don’t rule out a return in the future,” he said on Wednesday. “But I wouldn’t particularly count on it.”