Carlsen’s Concession: Feedback from the Chess World


It wasn’t just a thunderbolt, but GM Magnus Carlsen’s decision not to defend his world title came as a shock to many. A day after the news broke, Chess.com is providing an overview of the reactions from the chess world.

General Manager Vichy Anand, FIDE World Champion between 2000 and 2002, and 15th Undisputed World Chess Champion between 2007 and 2013, told Chess.com in an audio message:

“Magnus certainly hasn’t surprised anyone in the sense that he’s been talking about, let’s say his hesitation or turmoil on the subject for a while. I think the decision is still a mild surprise in the sense that you hardly think he’ll cross that bridge.

But I fully understand his decision. In a way, I was also getting tired of playing matches every year or two a few times in a row. In a sense, because I lost, this problem solved itself. Magnus’ problem is that he doesn’t lose.

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

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

GM Vladimir Kramnik, the 14th World Chess Champion between 2000 and 2007, is currently recovering from Covid – the reason why he unfortunately canceled his participation in Dortmund at the last minute. He replied in an email, “It’s a very rational decision, which was to be expected. Whether it was good or bad for chess itself, who knows at this moment? We’ll see.”

GM Garry Kasparov, the 13th World Chess Champion between 1985 and 2000, posted a series of tweets at route On Twitter:

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

Of course, Magnus will continue to play – he is now playing in Zagreb. But he does what he decides is best to achieve his goals, not only to live his creative life personally, but to promote chess without fighting with the FIDE guys about the way he spends his time.

I’m not a shrink or a mind reader, just sympathetic even to a world champion who needs a change, and I’d like to see change in the chess world. And she needs it. FIDE has been a direct and indirect instrument of Russian intelligence for decades and looks forward to continuing as long as it is useful.

I’m still working on developing and promoting chess globally through sponsorship, education and technology, and I’m sure Magnus will too. Does anyone think this is what FIDE does? As she was finally accepted in 2014 after she ran for president of FIDE, her structure makes her out of redemption.

Magnus was and always will be a great hero. Perhaps there was no way to reconcile his need for creative expression with the classic match format that I prefer myself. Let it be. To new challenges and more cool chess instead of politics!

Staying on top is harder than getting to the top because you compete with the feeling that you’ve already achieved your life goal. Staying motivated after climbing Chess Olympus is like climbing Mount Everest a second or sixth time. Humans need purpose.

Commenting on local television, Kasparov gave a more political comment: “History is repeating itself. Almost 30 years ago I decided to move away from FIDE. I realize that there are probably many reasons why Magnus would make such a drastic decision. I think he is not happy with FIDE as an organization, And I have been saying for many decades, it is not an entity that can guarantee the professional development of chess. It is still under the control of Russia and I think that under the current international conditions it is probably not a good sign for the future of the organization.”

GM Nigel Short co-founded the Professional Chess Association with Kasparov in 1993 and played it in the first of three matches. He emailed: “It’s sad because Magnus is such an amazing player and we all enjoy watching him. I can understand his decision though: I’ve only played one World Championship game, and that was stressful enough both physically and emotionally. One by one it must be amazing. And with That said, the game is so much bigger than one individual and we’ll move on. There will be new champions, great matches, and we’ll admire them as well.”

General Manager Hikaru Nakamura feels that the result of his final round match in the nominees (a tie was enough to finish second, but lost instead) made a difference. Comment while discussing the news in streaming:

“The Catch-22 here is that I actually finished second, and I’m sure Magnus would have played. (…) At the end of the day, the two most famous players in the chess world at the moment are Magnus and I. Moreover, the idea of A world where I could be a world chess champion and Magnus isn’t a world chess champion, and there’s really no way Magnus could be OK with that, at least, based on an understanding of the situation.”

On Twitter, Nakamura jokingly suggested he would stop broadcasting:

Reply (re) Carlsen’s tweet:

“At first I thought he would play, but in the last few days it was clear that Magnus won’t,” GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave told GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who cited “inside sources” for this inside information. In an interview in Zagreb, where Super United plays Croatia Rapid & Blitz, the Frenchman continued: “In any case, this is Magnus’s decision. For me, it does not change anything at the moment. The question, of course, will not provoke a change [the world championship] Cycle this time but maybe for the next cycle, actually. Then, the best thing is to get everyone at the table, Magnus and the other players, to think about what we want. We might not change anything, but of course it’s unfortunate that the world number one and 10-year world champion isn’t part of the course anymore. So we’ll see in the next few years.”

When asked if he feels the world champion now is less valuable, Vachier-Lagrave replied: “To be honest, I thought it was really less valuable because I think it didn’t adapt to our times. So I think there are probably better ways to design a world championship.” Of course, it’s been a tradition and a lot of people don’t agree with me on that. But I still think it’s time for a change and maybe this move by Magnus could help.”

GM Wesley So also commented from Zagreb: “It’s definitely shocking. Magnus is still the favourite. He’s obviously the strongest player so it’s very shocking. I can understand he’s played a lot of world championship matches already and he doesn’t want that I think He plays 14 classic games, and there’s also a lot of training involved.Maybe he wants to do other things.

At the same time, I feel that this will give the other players more opportunities and more initiative. I think Magnus has been number one for 11 years, so it’s very frustrating for other players! [Laughs.] Now that he wasn’t part of the world championship course, it’s a huge sigh of relief. But that’s definitely interesting because it’s very small and has a lot of gas left in its tank. We’ll see what happens.”

Wesley So Chess
Wesley So: “I think Magnus has been number one for 11 years, so it’s really frustrating for the other guys!” Photo: Maria Emelyanova / Chess.com.

GM Ruslan Ponomariov, FIDE World Champion from 2002 to 2004 said: “Magnus’ decision should not be surprising as it has been reported in the media before and Magnus has already explained his reasons. Do we really want more speculation about it?”

When asked how bad the new situation is for the world of chess, he replied, “Is this really bad for the world of chess? I think the world is going through a deep crisis right now, to the point where some things like who’s playing who’s playing chess now don’t seem to matter at all to me at all.” All this will pass.”

Chess.com commentator GM Daniel Naroditsky: “There is no doubt that Magnus’ decision comes as a disappointment to every chess fan. However, it is important to set the record straight: Magnus asserted and reasserted his dominance in the chess world, and his reluctance to undergo the punishment process in a match Others are understandable. It is a pleasure to watch him play, I look forward to watching him pursue his remaining chess goals and hope to see him in the 2024 Candidates Tournament!”

GM Jesse Cray made his thoughts clear in a short but powerful tweet:

General Manager Jacob Agard, author and co-owner of chess publisher Quality Chess, commented on the proposed devaluation of the World Championships:

General Manager Nigel Davis, author and coach, put things in perspective:

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

WFM commentator and star Alexandra Botiz said, “It’s clearly a very personal decision for Magnus. I’m sure it’s been a long time coming and I can’t imagine he underestimated him. While I respect him, I am sad that the world of chess will no longer experience seeing a single one.” Than the goats compete at this peak.”

Leontxo Garcia, famous Spanish chess journalist who has covered world championship matches since 1984: “Carlsen falls backwards when the entire chess world steps forward to seize the big moment. He has a moral responsibility, which he fails to fulfill despite the fact that FIDE, a conservative body, It offers him very innovative changes. Chess will lose at least two years at a crucial moment.”

FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich issued a statement saying: “Magnus Carlsen deserves nothing but respect from the FIDE, and from the entire chess community, in any decision he makes about his career. Only a handful of people in history can understand and assess the massive loss it takes to play five Title matches.

Arkady Dvorkovich
Dvorkovic: “Magnus Carlsen deserves nothing but the respect of FIDE.” Photo: Maria Emelyanova / Chess.com.

In yesterday’s breaking news report, we already included the first reactions of GM Deng Liren and Ian Nepomnyashchi. Deng spoke of a “new era” and said it was “very Excited for a World Championship match to fight for the crown next year. Nepomnyasci said he respected Carlsen’s decision but also described it as ‘extremely frustrating’ for him personally.

And Carlsen himself? The world champion was also interviewed in Zagreb, with Super United playing Croatia Rapid & Blitz in Zagreb, and commented:

“I’ve been in this mindset now for over a year. Obviously, when it’s official it feels a little weird but I’m fine with that. I’ll keep playing a group and just try to do it as well as I can. For a few years now I haven’t I’m as competitive as I used to be, but I still want to play chess and I still want to do well. I don’t have exactly the same motivation, but it’s not. It means I’ll play much worse!”

When asked if he thinks the World Championship goes down when the best player doesn’t participate, he replied: “Yes, I think so, but that’s not really my problem.”





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