Carlsen has held the title since 2013, when he snatched the title, at the age of 22, from Indian chess expert Viswanathan Anand. Carlsen has won every World Chess Championship since then but has already expressed his frustration with the format of the competition.
Carlsen, 31, said on Wednesday that winning the championship for the fourth and fifth time “means nothing” to him. “I was satisfied with the work I did. I was glad I didn’t lose the match. But that’s it.”
While fans Chess officials lamented Carlsen’s decision, which is not unprecedented. Carlsen joins many other chess champions who have left the competition ahead of their game, including Garry Kasparov.
Arkady Dvorkovic, president of the International Chess Federation (FIDE), said staying motivated can be difficult for those at the top.
“Many other great champions, in other sports, have gone through something similar: as the years go by, it becomes difficult to find the incentive to train and compete at the highest level, while the reward for winning does not seem as strong as the first day.”
Psychologists They argued that it may be difficult for people to remain motivated after a major accomplishment if they do not have a sense of constant growth, or if they are experiencing fatigue.
Chess officials said they offered to modify the format of the tournament in discussions with Carlsen in Madrid last month. But the player cannot swing – leaving two other chess masters, Ian Nepomnyashchi of Russia and Deng Liren of China, Battle for the title in 2023.
Carlsen may also have been affected by the lack of enthusiasm for his opponents. He had previously said he was not interested in the upcoming world championship match unless his opponent was Alireza Firouzja, currently ranked third in the world, as the 19-year-old’s rapid rise impressed him. However, Firouzja was knocked out by Nepomnyakhchi, whom Carlsen had previously defeated, in the Candidates Tournament in Madrid in June.
Every dominant champion has quit at some point: Murphy, Lasker (he quit the title in 1920 and insisted on playing the 1921 game as a competitor), Fischer, Kasparov. No Intention, Weak Vid, Strong Vid. Did not matter. As sadly as it is, Carlsen gets along with his great predecessors.
– Emilchis (@EmilSutovsky) 21 July 2022
FIDE said in statement That Carlsen has yet to officially withdraw, as preparations for the championship match – including deadlines and Carlsen’s contract – have yet to be finalised. However, the World Chess Authority said it knew the player’s decision was final.
Dvorkovic said Carlsen’s departure would leave a “big void” and would be “a disappointment for the fans and bad news for the spectacle”, though he emphasized that the sport remained “stronger than ever” and that the championship would continue.
However, fans may be happy to know Carlsen won’t be retiring from the sport – in fact, he said on Wednesday that he was heading to Croatia to compete in the Grand Chess Tour and that he enjoyed playing chess tournaments “much more” than tournaments.
He also left open the possibility that he might one day return to the World Chess Championship – although he didn’t seem particularly excited. “I wouldn’t rule out a return in the future, but I wouldn’t particularly count on it,” he said on the podcast.
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