In a shocking turn of events, world chess champion Magnus Carlsen has revealed that he is not motivated to defend his title in 2023 against Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi. The Norwegian five-time champion confirmed the news in a podcast on Wednesday by stating that he does not have any inclination to play.
While speaking on the podcast for his sponsor Unibet, Carlsen claimed that the match against Ian Nepomniachtchi will be a historical but he admitted that he does not have any inclination to play and 'will not play' the match.
"Ultimately, the conclusion stands one that I am pretty comfortable with one that I have thought a lot about 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," Carlsen said. He further stated that he has spoken to people in his team, and after lot of thorough discussion, Carlsen concludes that he is not motivated and inspired to play anymore.
During the FIDE Candidates tournament, Carlsen had a meeting with FIDE's President Arkady Dvorkovich and Director-General Emil Sutovsky, but both failed to convince the top-seeded player to defend his title. Talking about his meeting in Madrid, Carlsen said he did not have any demands or suggestions for that meeting. "They did have a couple of suggestions, but the gist of it was that I was there to tell them that I would not defend my title in the next WCC match."
FIDE's President Arkady Dvorkovich told Chess.com that he respects the world champion's decision and confirmed that as per the rules, there will be a Ding-Nepomniachtchi match. Carlsen earlier said that he would be ready to let go of his world title unless his next opponent was third-seeded Iranian-French teenager Alireza Firouzja. Instead, Nepomniachtchi set up a rematch by winning the Candidates Tournaments in Madrid earlier this month with a round to spare.