Carlsen’s Renunciation: The Reaction of the Chess World


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It wasn’t a bolt from the blue, but GM Magnus Carlsen’s decision not to defend his world title still shocked many. The day after the news was released, published an overview of the reaction of the chess world.

GM Vishy Anand, FIDE World Champion from 2000 to 2002 and overall 15th World Chess Champion from 2007 to 2013, told in a voice message:

“Magnus, of course, did not surprise anyone in the sense that he talked for quite some time about, say, his hesitation or confusion about this. I think he will cross this bridge.

But I fully understand his decision. In a way, I also got tired of playing matches every year or two years several times in a row. In a way, since I lost, this problem solved itself. The problem with Magnus is that he doesn’t lose.

Look, I understand his decision. I think we can only respect his accomplishments and I wish him the best with 2900!”

Anand: “I wish him all the best with 2900!” Photo: Peter Doggers/

GM Vladimir Kramnik, the 14th World Chess Champion from 2000 to 2007, is currently recovering from Covid – the reason why he unfortunately had to cancel his participation in Dortmund at the last moment. He responded by email: “This is a very rational decision, which was expected. Whether this is good or bad for chess itself, who knows at the moment? Let’s see”.

GM Garry Kasparov, 13th World Chess Champion from 1985 to 2000, published a series of tweets on a thread on Twitter:

My first thought was that I wish my mother was still alive to see someone else doing what I did, or something like that! Moving away from what everyone expects or demands takes courage. My sympathies are with Magnus.

Of course, Magnus will still play, he is currently playing in Zagreb. But he does what he thinks best suits his goals, not only to personally live his creative life, but also to promote chess without arguing with the FIDE guys about how he spends your time.

I’m not a psychiatrist or a telepath, I just sympathize with even the world champion in need of change, and I want to see changes in the chess world. And it is necessary. FIDE has been a direct and indirect tool of Russian intelligence for decades and looks set to continue as long as it is useful.

I’m still working on developing and popularizing chess around the world through sponsorship, education and technology, and I’m sure Magnus is too. Does anyone believe that this is what FIDE does? As I finally agreed in 2014 after running for FIDE President, its structure makes it hopeless.

Magnus was a great champion and will continue to be. Perhaps there was no way to reconcile his need for creative expression and the classic match format that I prefer. May it be so. Towards new challenges and big chess instead of politics!

Staying on top is harder than getting to the top because you compete with the feeling that you have already reached your life’s goal. Staying motivated after climbing Chess Olympus is like climbing Everest for the second or sixth time. People need a purpose.

In a comment to local television, Kasparov made a more political comment: “History repeats itself. Almost 30 years ago I decided to leave FIDE. I understand that Magnus probably has many reasons for making such a drastic decision. dissatisfied with FIDE as an organization and I have been saying for many decades that this is not an organization that can guarantee the professional development of the chess game, it is still controlled by Russia and I think that in the current international conditions this is probably not a good sign for the future organizations.”

GM Nigel Short co-founded the Professional Chess Association with Kasparov back in 1993 and played the first of three PCA title matches in it. He emailed: “It’s sad because Magnus is such a brilliant player and we all enjoy watching him. However, I can understand his decision: I only played one World Championship match and it was quite physically and emotionally exhausted. one after the other must be colossal. However, the game is much more than one person and we will move on. There will be new champions with great performances and we will admire them one by one.”

GM Hikaru Nakamura believes his performance in the final round of the Candidates (where there was enough of a draw to finish second, but he lost instead) mattered. He commented while discussing the news on stream:

“The catch-22 here is that I actually finished second, I’m pretty sure Magnus would have played. (…) After all, the two players who are most recognizable in the world of chess at the moment are Magnus and me. Also, the idea of ​​a world where I could be the world chess champion and Magnus is not the world champion in chess, Magnus could not possibly agree with that, at least from my understanding of the situation.”

On Twitter, Nakamura jokingly offered to stop streaming:

Carlsen’s (re)tweet response:

“At first I thought he would play, but in the last few days it has become clear that Magnus will not play,” said general manager Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who cited “internal sources” for this insider information. In an interview in Zagreb, where he plays in Super United Croatia Rapid & Blitz, the Frenchman continued: “Anyway, it’s Magnus’ decision. For me it doesn’t change anything yet. change [the world championship] loop this time, but maybe the next loop, really. Then the best thing is to get everyone at the table, Magnus and other players to think about what we want. Maybe we don’t change anything, but of course it’s a pity that the number one in the world and the world champion for 10 years are no longer part of the cycle. So we’ll see in the next few years.”

Asked if he thinks the world champion is less important now, Vachier-Lagrave replied: “Honestly, I thought he was already worth less, because I think he is not adapted to our time. So I think there are probably better ways to design the World Cup. Of course, this is already a tradition, and many people disagree with me on this. But I still think maybe it’s time for a change and maybe this move by Magnus will be the catalyst.”

GM Wesley So also commented from Zagreb: “Definitely shocking. Magnus is still the big favorite. He is clearly the strongest player, so this is very shocking. I understand that he has already played a lot of world championship matches and he doesn’t want to play, I think 14 classical games, and also practice a lot. Maybe he wants to do other things.

At the same time, I feel that it will give other players more chances and more initiative. I think Magnus has been number one for 11 years so it’s very depressing for other players! [Laughs.] Now that he is not participating in the World Championships, I breathed a sigh of relief. But it’s definitely interesting because he’s very young and he still has a lot of gas in his tank. Let’s see what happens.”

Wesley So chess
Wesley So: “I think Magnus was number one for 11 years, so it’s very depressing for other players!” Photo: Maria Emelyanova/

GM Ruslan Ponomarev, FIDE World Champion from 2002 to 2004, said: “Magnus’s decision shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as it was circulated in the media earlier, and Magnus has already explained his reasons. Do we really want more speculation on this topic?”

Asked how bad the new situation is for the chess world, he replied: “Is it really bad for the chess world? I think the world is in such a deep crisis right now that some things, like who is playing chess with whom, don’t seem important to me at all. This too shall pass.” commentator GM Daniel Naroditsky: “There’s no doubt that Magnus’ decision has disappointed every chess fan. However, it’s important to keep things in perspective: Magnus was confirming and reaffirming his dominance over the chess world, and his unwillingness to be punished by yet another “The match is clear. Watching him play is a pleasure and I look forward to seeing him reach his remaining chess goals and hope to see him in the 2024 Candidates Tournament!”

General manager Jesse Kraay made his thoughts quite clear in a short but compelling tweet:

GM Jacob Aagard, author and co-owner of chess publisher Quality Chess, commented on the proposed devaluation of the World Championship:

GM Nigel Davis, writer and coach, puts things in perspective:

Agadmator, one of the biggest streamers in the business, added some historical perspective:

WFM Alexandra Botez, commentator and streaming superstar, said: “This is obviously a very personal decision for Magnus. that the chess world will no longer see someone from GOAT compete at this peak.”

Leoncho Garcia, famous Spanish chess journalist who has been covering world championship matches since 1984: “Carlsen is rowing backwards, while the whole chess world has to row forward to catch the important moment. He has a moral responsibility that he does not fulfill despite the fact that FIDE, a conservative organization, is proposing very innovative changes to him. Chess will lose at least two years at a key moment.”

FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich issued a statement saying: “Magnus Carlsen deserves nothing but respect from FIDE and the entire chess community, whatever decision he makes regarding his career. Only a handful of people in history can understand and appreciate the huge losses that have to be played in five title games.”

Arkady Dvorkovich
Dvorkovich: “Magnus Carlsen deserves nothing but respect from FIDE.” Photo: Maria Emelyanova/

In yesterday’s news release, we already included the first reaction of GM Ding Liren and Yang Nepomniachtchi. Dean spoke of a “new era” and said he was “very excited to be able to play a world championship match to fight for the crown next year.” Nepomniachtchi said he respected Carlsen’s decision, but also called it “very disappointing” for him personally.

What about Carlsen himself? Also in an interview in Zagreb, where he plays Super United Croatia Rapid & Blitz in Zagreb, the world champion commented:

“I have been this way for over a year now. Obviously when it’s official it seems a bit odd, but I’m fine with that. I will continue to play and try to do the same. as far as I can. I haven’t been as competitive as I used to be for a few years now, but I still want to play chess and I still want to do well. I don’t have the same drive, but that doesn’t mean I will play much worse!”

When asked if he thought the World Cup was worthless when the best player wasn’t in it, he replied, “Yes, I think so, but that’s not exactly my problem.”

#Carlsens #Renunciation #Reaction #Chess #World



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