Breaking News: Magnus Carlsen won't defend his title!

by ChessBase
7/21/2022 – Ending months of speculation, Magnus Carlsen has officially announced he will not be defending his title in a rematch against Ian Nepomniachtchi come the end of 2022. As a result, the second-place winner of the 2022 Candidates Tournament, Ding Liren, will face the Russian to determine the new World Champion. (Photo: Albert Silver)

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Although this was not the first time he had voiced reservations about the World Championship matches, many did not fully believe it would come down to this. Even Garry Kasparov recently expressed his doubts it would happen. 

"[...]If Magnus plays, and I can hardly believe he will not, we’ll probably see a tougher match."

Yet in a podcast that aired Tuesday, Magnus Carlsen ended the speculation once and for all as he explained he had already met with FIDE and made his decision known.

The decision

"[...]I’ve spoken to people in my team, I’ve spoken to FIDE, I spoke to Ian as well. And the conclusion is, yeah, it’s very simple, that I am not motivated to play another match. I simply feel that I don’t have a lot to gain, I don’t particularly like it, and although I’m sure a match would be interesting for historical reasons and all of that, I don’t have any inclination to play and I will simply not play the match."

He did go further to explain that the stress of the matches, more than even boredom, as many have opined, Magnus included, has weighed down on it. The many books on past matches certainly lend credence to this. Readers will recall the tales of hypnotists and coded yogurts in Karpov-Korchnoi, the endless behind-the-scenes battles in the 1972 match between Fischer and Spassky, and the Toiletgate scandal between Kramnik and Topalov in their reunification match in 2006 to name but a few.

"But the matches themselves have been at times interesting, at times a little bit of fun. The most fun match probably was the one in 2018. At least that was the most interesting one, and probably also for me it had the least stressful moments [...]"

Not retirement

Magnus Carlsen was quick to assure this was not a repeat of the Fischer incident nearly 50 years ago. While he won't defend his title, nor is he resigning it as Bobby Fischer did, and more importantly he is neither retiring from chess, nor even taking a step back from active play.

"Just so there’s no ambiguity here, I’m not retiring from chess, I’m still going to be an active player. I’m leaving later today to go to Croatia to play the Grand Chess Tour. From there on I’m going to go to Chennai to play the Olympiad, which is going to be a lot of fun [...] Obviously, I enjoy them a lot more than I enjoy the World Championship, and frankly I don’t see myself stopping as a chess player any time soon."

The forthcoming title match

Ultimately this means that per the FIDE rules, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Ding Liren will face each other for the next title bout and the winner of it will become the new World Champion. What does this mean should the World no.1 and World Champion not be the same person? This is not a unique situation, and even after the 2000 match loss to Vladimir Kramnik, who now held the title, Garry Kasparov was still the Elo dominant player for the years to come.

Statement by FIDE President Arkadij Dvorkovich

As published on the official FIDE website

While Magnus Carlsen has not officially withdrawn yet, as he has not been sent the contract for the match and a deadline has not been formally set, at FIDE we understand his decision is final.

In view of that, FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich has issued the following statement:

Magnus Carlsen deserves nothing but respect from FIDE, and from the whole chess community, in whatever decision he makes regarding his career. Only a handful of people in history can understand and assess the tremendous toll that it takes playing five matches for the title.

Many other great champions, in other sports, have experienced something similar: with the passing of the years, it is more difficult to find the motivation to train and compete at the highest level, while the reward for the victory never feels as intense as the first day.

We had hoped that after some deserved rest, Magnus would look at this differently. Sports legends like him always strive for goals and records. He is still young and could possibly have added more classical titles to his already outstanding career, as he will surely try in the Rapid and Blitz modalities, which he favours.

Since he first expressed his doubts publicly, FIDE has been open to dialogue and to consider specific proposals to change the format of the World Championship. Some of these ideas were discussed in May with Carlsen and other top players, and in Madrid, we had a meeting where all the concerns were discussed openly and in detail. Alas, it did not change his mind.

His decision not to defend his title is undoubtedly a disappointment for the fans, and bad news for the spectacle. It leaves a big void. But chess is now stronger than ever —in part, thanks to Magnus— and the World Championship Match, one of the longest and most respected traditions in the world of sports, will go on.

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njg149Chess njg149Chess 8/3/2022 04:12
Carlsen is afraid to risk losing the title to a player he's defeated before, something countless past champions have done. If this was before FIDE, he would have held his title endlessly, facing only those inferior challengers he knew he could beat.

He is not motivated to do the work required to keep the title. It would not be fun. He has something to lose and there is a real possibility he might lose it. He wants to keep his claim to be the best (the highest rated player) without risking the title. I understand and accept this.

He is letting his fans (like me) down. I wanted to see him demonstrate his dominance, and beat Nepo. Instead, he skips out on the match, without retiring from the game. He does not care about his fans or about the game, and it's his right. It's also my right not to be one of his fans any more.

I wonder how it will go if/when he wins tournaments, and if/when he plays games against Nepo. Whoever Carlsen plays, I will be rooting for his opponent.
SKAcz SKAcz 7/28/2022 10:09
In general something is bad on this format of so called worlds championships match into which advance winner of round-robin tournament. Maybe if will be winner of match tree could be winner in same discipline? Anyway its clear that from long term this format is not good, cos soon or later starting be boring and not motivating for top player who dominates. It cannot be random that this repeats by Kasparov, Carlsen etc.. Did FIDE some analysis of other options of systems? Something to make chess best advertisement among other sports? I have to say try play a bit faster chess in hot summer and try not call it sport ;)
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/28/2022 12:52

"If he honestly don't get motivated by it, and don't find it fun to prepare for 6 months before every WC, and the match itself is pure stress and no fun, then how can anyone think it's fair to demand he play?"

Nobody "demands" him to play. This is again a product of your fertile imagination. We, chess enthusiasts expect him to play the match. If he does not play it, then we are disappointed and we voice our critical remarks. And, if he defaults in a dishonorable manner, displaying arrogance towards the chess world, then we may criticize that as well. That's all. Nothing was "demanded".

"Magnus obviously doesn't care about what some people think is needed to be called the best."

Actually, he does care. If he didn't care about whether he is considered to be the best, then he would have played against Nepo without investing too much energy into the preparation, he would have lost the match gracefully and would have moved on. Instead, he choosed to chicken out from the match and behaving arrogantly, to keep being considered the best without having to prove anything. Poor sportsmanship.

"Now that you got my permission, move on. "

Frankly, I do not care about your permission.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/28/2022 12:52

"LJets say Magnus beats Ian for the second time, and a new candidate would emerge, lets say Ding, then people would say the same thing, that Magnus should defend title."

Nobody says that Carlsen should defend his title. It goes without saying that the rules are that if you are a world champion, in order to defend your title you need to prove that you are still the best. If Carlsen is tired of all this and wants out, he has a right to do so and nobody questions his right to do so. But, if he decides not to defend his title - which is already disappointing, by the way -, then he could give a less arrogant reason for it. He could say that he is no longer psychologically ready to defend his title. Instead, he says that the match is uninteresting. Which is a large middle finger being shown towards the whole chess world, the very community that fed him and made him a millionaire. It is ungrateful, disrespectful and arrogant conduct on his part.

Not defending his title is his own fault. So, if he makes such a decision, at least he should be humble about it.


Because he is the world champion. He wanted (!) to become one. He knew (!) that he has to defend his title as a world champion well before getting into the cycle and winning it. And the dream of aspiring chess players is to become world champion one day. And now the world champion says that their dream means nothing. And the world champion says that the 30$ or so that enthusiasts would have to pay just to see the match is wasted money spent on something uninteresting. That's why. He has to defend his title if he wants to be considered the best. If he does not defend his title, then he should accept that he is no longer viewed as the best player. A world championship title is not a lifelong title. It is a temporary title that has to be defended periodically if one wants to keep it.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/28/2022 12:52

"Magnus never humiliated Ian, he said he possibly would get motivated to defend the title vs Firjouza, LONG before Ian won the candidates."

This means that nobody else would be "worthy" to face the almighty Carlsen. Since Nepo displayed excellent chess and Carlsen is still "unmotivated", this is a very humiliating situation for Nepo, caused by Carlsen. Nepo worked hard for a year to earn the right for a rematch and then the rematch does not materialize and even if Nepo becomes a world champion (the best-case scenario for him), even in that case doubts will arise about him being a world champion. So, Carlsen deprived the winner of the candidates - who turned out to be Nepo - from the possibility to succeed (or fail) achieving an undisputed world championship title.

"Why do people think Magnus should be lying, just to be nice? "

Nobody said Magnus should lie. So, the basis of your statement above is only your fertile imagination.

"Ian and everybody else has had almost a decade to prove they are better than Magnus, but haven't been able to, at some point Magnus gets tired of defending the title, and withdraws."

Lasker was world champion for decades, but at the end he was still beaten by a challenger. Because Lasker had the guts to face his challenger.
imdvb_8793 imdvb_8793 7/28/2022 09:00
This, again, from a selfish perspective. For chess and its image, it's definitely not good.
imdvb_8793 imdvb_8793 7/28/2022 08:59
I do hope Carlsen comes back and gets into the candidates and wins, so that he can play against whoever wins this next match (hopefully, Ding, although I can't say I make any of the two a favorite over the other) - and the direct line of champions is thus restored, whether he wins that match or not. But I'm glad he's skipping this cycle, given who won the Candidates.
imdvb_8793 imdvb_8793 7/28/2022 08:56
In a "the main thing are my needs and my image" sense I get his decision 100% and could see myself doing the same thing in his position. But if I thought about it more and included the good of the chess world in the decision-making process... Maybe I would do the other thing, instead. And some people would think that was even worse, but, really, objectively, it wouldn't. Because that will have been the level of interest and preparation he would have been willing to put in at that time, for the reasons he gave, so it would in fact be a fair reflection of his strength as a title contender at that particular moment, even if it would be vastly inferior to the strength displayed in previous matches. Also, honestly, I'm far from certain he wouldn't beat Nepo anyway, even approaching things like that. He would be giving a slight handicap but would also invalidate much/all of Nepo's prep in the process, play with a lot less stress (which is often a good thing) and general chess understanding would still likely be the deciding factor, over 14 games. (And a playoff.) Then, in another two years, having effectively skipped a match, preparation-wise, his capacity and desire to prepare seriously for his next opponent might return, anyway.

That said, I'm glad he did what he did. A second Carlsen-Nepo match would have held very little to no interest for me, even allowing for the possibility that Nepo now win the match. I'm not a fan, so that wouldn't do anything for me, to put it mildly.
imdvb_8793 imdvb_8793 7/28/2022 08:56
"What would be the point in having Magnus play a WC match, unmotivated, unprepared and uninterested, and basically lose the match willingly? How exactly would that prove who is the best?"

It kind of would, though, because motivation and preparation are a huge component of one's overall chess strength. He did have this option, of skipping the intense preparation part he hates so much and just choosing some weird, unexpected openings he could prepare in a few days, just before the match or even before each game - he certainly has enough experience doing that -, and playing the match like it was just another tournament. He enjoys tournaments, he's said so. This way, he would better fulfill his duties as World Champion, in my opinion. And, since he deosn't care if he loses the title, there should be no stress, he could just play, and if he lost, shake hands and say "congratulations" and move on - but of course he DOES care about not losing a title match. Especially to an opponent he's beaten before. Which is why he didn't do this. I get it. But it IS somewhat cowardly. And it IS breaking the classical line, to an extent, which isn't that good for chess. He doesn't care about that, I suppose, but maybe he should...
Phanto Phanto 7/27/2022 07:06
Magnus never humiliated Ian, he said he possibly would get motivated to defend the title vs Firjouza, LONG before Ian won the candidates.

Why do people think Magnus should be lying, just to be nice?

Ian and everybody else has had almost a decade to prove they are better than Magnus, but haven't been able to, at some point Magnus gets tired of defending the title, and withdraws. LJets say Magnus beats Ian for the second time, and a new candidate would emerge, lets say Ding, then people would say the same thing, that Magnus should defend title. And so on and on and on for the next billion years, WHY? If he honestly don't get motivated by it, and don't find it fun to prepare for 6 months before every WC, and the match itself is pure stress and no fun, then how can anyone think it's fair to demand he play?

It's nonsense.

Magnus obviously doesn't care about what some people think is needed to be called the best. If you think being WC is needed to be called the best, then Magnus says "sure, you believe what you want, I'm withdrawing anyway".
You are free to say the WC is best, even if it's not Magnus. Now that you got my permission, move on.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/27/2022 06:35
Carlsen does not have to give his opponents a chance. The rules are simple: you become the world champion by beating the world champion in a match. After that, in order to defend your title, you need to play a match against the challenger and prove that you are still the best.

One can default the world championship title, like Fischer or Carlsen did and the chess world acknowledges this decision and respects the right of the world champion to do so.

However, we do not have to like such a decision, especially if the champion - Carlsen in this case - displays disinterest in the world championship in an arrogant manner.

Some of us - including me - expect a champion to be eager to defend his title and we are disappointed if that's not the case. However, if the champion, instead of being humble when stepping back says that the match is not interesting or challenging and against Firouzja he would play, that's quite an arrogant approach to the matter. Not only he damages chess as an organized sport, but he also humiliates Nepo, who would deserve a lot of respect for his second win in the candidates.
Phanto Phanto 7/27/2022 06:16
Why do some people think it would be better to give opponents a "chance" to be the best by beating Magnus in a match, or else Magnus is being a bad sport? That would mean Magnus, if he gave his best, possibly would have to defend the title for the next 50 years. Is that fair? Should we demand WC to defend the title, and give their best, for as many years as it takes, until they lose or die?

What would be the point in having Magnus play a WC match, unmotivated, unprepared and uninterested, and basically lose the match willingly? How exactly would that prove who is the best? You seem to demand that Magnus should be motivated, prepared, interested and play his very best chess forever by command, humans don't work like that.

The only WC match I want to see with Magnus is if he is TRULY motivated and prepared, not some theatre to give his title away by losing it because he didn't really want to be there. But that's not going to happen.

Second best thing is to have it like it seems to be, Magnus doesn't play, Ian and Ding has a match for WC. That's what we will get, any other option, without Magnus actually wanting to play, would be ridiculous.
njg149Chess njg149Chess 7/27/2022 01:06
I don't think it's fair to call Carlsen names ("cry baby" etc.), but he is certainly being a poor sport. Yes, it is like Fischer was a poor sport, although he had rule-related reasons for that, protesting the power balance in the world chess community. (I was around then, and believe me it was HUGE disappointment & Fischer was resented by many - including me.) Carlsen has only his own mental/emotional reasons to back out, no big protest like Fischer.

Sad that there are champions in any popular game (or sport) who are poor sports.

I had considered Carlsen to be a great champion, one of the most active chess champions we've ever had -- perhaps THE most active? A fierce, determined and courageous competitor to be admired. But his refusal to defend his title damages that image. He is just another champion, not so determined and courageous after all.

I don't believe him when he says he already beat Nepo and therefore doesn't need to play him again. He only wants to play when he's sure he can win, and this time he's not so sure. Great champions are not ruled by their fears, but by their ability & drive.

It's his right, of course. But look at Kasparov & Karpov & Kortchnoi, as well as Tiger Woods, Serena Williams and so many other legends, who keep (kept) competing even after their peak was (arguably) behind them. IMHO, it's a shame he couldn't be more like them. Then, we'd get a more complete picture of his competitive nature - his "greatness" from all angles.
MauvaisFou MauvaisFou 7/26/2022 04:57
lajosarpad 7/24/2022 07:17
I completely agree with all what you said, every word of it
Mamack1 Mamack1 7/24/2022 09:25

You may not have been around then, but rest assured there was *plenty* of resentment at Fischer for not defending his title (and by no means just in the US)

Very few are "demonising" Carlsen, we are entitled to express our disappointment however.
imdvb_8793 imdvb_8793 7/24/2022 08:48
"The rating system is a much better measure of who the best chess player is."

Highly debatable. Some players are extremely strong in general yet, despite many attempts, never get anywhere near a World Title - Ivanchuk, Aronian... Geller... Because, for whatever reason (one can always speculate but it's probably safer not to), they can't quite seem to perform to the best of their ability in those key, high-pressure spots. This has always been a thing, and it's one that's hardly reflected in the ratings, if at all, because those only measure overall performance over X tournaments (often containing several players outside of even the top 10 or 20, let alone top 5), not performance under the utmost pressure vs. the absolutely strongest opposition. That's why, to me, a World Championship - as long as the format, whatever it is, allows for enough play so that variance (in form, luck, luck of the draw, etc.) isn't too big a factor - is the more relevant tool to determine who the very best player is at a given moment.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/24/2022 07:17

"Hardly true nowadays. The rating system is a much better measure of who the best chess player is."

I understand that you do not consider the world championship to be a good and reliable way to determine who the best player is. But, nevertheless, even though you have this opinion, I don't see why do you say that it's hardly true that the aim of the world championship is to determine who the best player is. I think it is quite obvious that the aim is this.

You say that the Élő system is better to determine who the best is. If player1 is better than anyone else, including player2, while player2 is better than anyone else, except for player1, but player2 takes more risks and achieves a higher rating, then the higher rated player will not be the very best in the world. This is why I find it much more convincing if someone actually beats the other top players in matches. Carlsen managed to do so in 2013 and 2014 and also in 2021, but his wins in 2016 and 2018 were less than convincing about his dominance. So, with his great result in 2021, he has decided to chicken out with a high note. He is still #1 in terms of rating, but given his unwillingness to prove his might against the challenger, I think about Carlsen as an ex-champion.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/24/2022 07:17
@lopezpj33 Carlsen was dominating against Nepo in 2021, true. But a year passed since then and Nepo had a lot of opportunities to improve his chess and - more importantly - his psychological strength. In a Carlsen - Nepo match Carlsen would be the favorite, but a Nepo win could not be ruled out either. Such a mach would be interesting, as Nepo would be hungry to prove himself against Carlsen, while Carlsen would fight to keep his dominance over the chess world. But Carlsen has chickened out from this match.

Also, Nepo has won the candidates tournament displaying an outstanding, excellent and effective game and fully deserved to be the challenger again. Chickening out because the winner was not Firouzja is unfair to Nepo.

"It's funny how many people will demonize him for this but where was this animosity when Bobby Fischer didn't defend his title?"

I'm fortunate-enough to be younger than that, but I was never a fan of Fischer's chickening out from that match. I view Fischer's decision as a displaying of poor sportsmanship, depriving us from an epic Fischer-Karpov match. Now Carlsen did the same and I'm perfectly consistent with my position about Fischer's decision.

"He owes the complainers nothing."

No, as a world champion he owes the whole chess world, including, but not limited to the complainers to represent this game. He has done a poor job representing chess with his latest decision and it is quite possible that his current decision will cast a shadow over his earlier, fantastic performances.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/24/2022 07:16
@lopezpj33 Euwe has beaten Alekhine in 1935, but in a rematch Alekhine has beaten Euwe in 1937. Botvinnik has won the 1948 tournament, became a world champion, even though Smyslov was also playing, then drew his match against Smyslov in 1954. But then Smyslov has won against Botvinnik in 1957. So, was Smyslov better than Botvinnik? In the very next year, Botvinnik won the rematch against Smyslov. Then, Tal convincingly won a match against Botvinnik in 1960. So, was Tal better than Botvinnik? Well, Botvinnik won the rematch in 1961. Petrosian has beaten Spassky in 1966. So, was Petrosian better than Spassky? Well, Spassky qualified again in 1969 and this time he has beaten Petrosian. Then, in 1984 Karpov won 5 games against Kasparov, while Kasparov only won 3. So, was Karpov better than Kasparov? Well, the very next year the match was restarted and this time Kasparov won it. And then in 1986 Kasparov won another match against Karpov. So, was Kasparov better than Karpov? In 1987 they played another match where Karpov had the upper hand up until the very end, when Kasparov played the game of the year and won the very last game, earning a tie.

What does all this teach to us? For starters, a top match is very interesting, even if the world champion is much better than the challenger. Lasker played the rematch against Janowsky and was absolutely dominating again, but nevertheless, the match was very interesting and confirmed that Lasker was the very best player at that point.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/24/2022 07:16
@njg149Chess I agree with your points about Carlsen, he has chosen to cop-out on a high note, when the challenger is a player who was dominating against in the last match. Yet, it is perfectly clear that the Carlsen - Nepo match was a close call in the first phase of the match and it was game 6 which has broken the will of Nepo, which ultimately led to a dominating win for Carlsen. If one has a mental break and psychological collapse during a world championship match, then it is extremely difficult to recover from that before the end of the match. Also, I'm pretty sure that Nepo analyzed the reasons of his failure and has some improvements now to cope with his weaknesses. As about Kasparov being the GOAT, I understand your points, yet, one could argue for Capablanca, Alekhine, Botvinnik, Kramnik or even Carlsen or Fischer. After all, Carlsen's and Fischer's poor attitude does not nullify their greatness over the board.


"cry babies" quite an offensive remark towards those who disagree/dislike Carlsen's current decision.

"He's already proven he's better than Nepo."
Ajeeb007 Ajeeb007 7/24/2022 03:25
"The aim of a chess world championship is to determine who the best chess player is." (lajosarpad)

Hardly true nowadays. The rating system is a much better measure of who the best chess player is.
Cajunmaster Cajunmaster 7/24/2022 11:07
Spoiled brat. If that is how he feels, quitting chess and working on the world's real problems would seem the logical and moral choice.
lopezpj33 lopezpj33 7/24/2022 01:54
Look at all these cry babies. Whining about Magnus' decision. I applaud him for sticking to his guns. He said this a while back that unless it were a new challenge he wouldn't participate. He's already proven he's better than Nepo. Even their last tournament proved it that or at least the last one I saw. It's funny how many people will demonize him for this but where was this animosity when Bobby Fischer didn't defend his title? He owes the complainers nothing. I don't blame him, those WC matches and their preparations are so exhausting they're practically life draining. I think when Magnus is ready to prove himself to a new challenge we may see him emerge as WC yet again.
njg149Chess njg149Chess 7/23/2022 03:26
I think it's a cop-out. He wants to remain the highest rated player without proving he's the BEST player. He wants to have it both ways. It's a real demonstration of his poor sportsmanship, not letting the next champion prove his dominance.

Perhaps it's good for Carlsen, but it's bad for chess. In chess, you play to keep the championship until someone wins it from you. The next champion will have a weak claim to the title thanks to Carlsen's choice, it will be as if he won by default. In 1975, at least Karpov was clearly the best of the rest, an undisputed champion after Fischer's default. But now, it's just a mish-mosh of very strong players, and any one of them could end up on top on a given day - not a real champion.

So now we have the answer to the longstanding question - who is the GOAT? It was Kasparov, a real champion who took all challengers and played his best until he was eventually defeated by a new champion. A long-enduring, blazing light in the historical landscape of chess. Carlsen was just a brief shooting star.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/23/2022 02:52
@Physica However I strongly dislike Carlsen's decision, I hope he will not be discriminated because of it. Chess should be an opeb place where everyone is allowed to enter, high-level tournaments should allow high-level players to play. We should not let politics take the better off chess. We should allow everyone to play, independently of their attitude to the world championship, political views, religion, skin color, gender, sexual orientation, veteran status or disability. This is why I strongly disagree with discriminating people based on non-chess criterias and this is why I speak up against this kind of thing. So, I disagree with Carlsen's decision and I hope he will lose every game he plays, but I'm strongly convinced that he should be allowed to play and should get the rewards accordingly fo good performances.

@Jacob Woge

"If the vision of being seeded directly into a final match 12, 14, or 16 of classical games is too scary, may I suggest to play them all at the same time. A one-on-one clock simul, played at a very long table. All settled in one day. Now that would be a sporting event."

A good doze of sarcasm :D
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/23/2022 02:52
@arzi "One match between Kasparov and Karpov ended also draw but Kasparov retained the title. Nobody wrote then that it was unconvincing win for Kasparov because everybody knew the rules who would win the title in case of draw."

I think it is clear that Kasparov's win in 1987 against Karpov was unconvincing, he levelled the score in the very last game. We should not mix the level of convincingness of a match with the acceptance of its result. I of course accept Carlsen as the winner of the 2016 and 2018 matches, but even though I do not dispute the fact that he won them, the mathes themselves did not prove that he is better than the challengers at those points.

"Actually, WC matches don´t tell us who is the best player of the year."

Again you suggest that it should be a yearly event. But there are other sports where a not-yearly world championship is also widely accepted. In football the World Cup is played every four years. And nobody has any problem with that as far as I know.

"Maybe Fide should use a similar system to that used in tennis and completely stop the world championship matches"

Erasing the most interesting and anticipated chess event of the calendar does not seem to be a very good idea.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/23/2022 02:51
@arzi "Of course if they would use 24-game format and it would still end draw, then we could say it was "unconvincing"."

So, was Carlsen's 4-0 win against Nepo last year equally convincing to his win in 2016 against Karjakin, where he very nearly lost his title? It is easy to answer this question. No, Carlsen's win against Nepo was much more convincing than his win against Karjakin. So, Carlsen's win against Karjakin was unconvincing in comparison to his win against Nepo. This is easy to admit to anyone how views this question objectively. Carlsen fared better against Anand than against Karjakin. His way of very nearly losing the match, the fact that Karjakin gained the advantage after game 8 and that Carlsen has got into a dire situation, from which, with great difficulty he managed to balance the match and reach a tie were no display of anything remotely close to domination. He won the rapid playoff brilliantly, that's part of the truth, so he won the match after all, but I do not concider the existence of a rapid playoff to be a reliableway of who the better player is. So I (and many others) had reasons to doubt about Carlsen's superiority over Karjakin in 2016 or Caruana in 2018.

"However, even then Carlsen would be a WC because of the draw option."

I assume that you've meant "draw odds" in response to my earlier point. No, I have no proof :D

Indeed, if Carlsen had draw odds in 2016 and 2018, then after the ties he would have retained his title. But a tied match is a draw. Yet, it would have been clearer with the draw odds that the match was level in 2016 and 2018 and also, Karjakin and Caruana, respectively would have known in advance that a tied match would disfavor them and they would have been willing to take more risks and create imbalances. The current system, without the draw odds allows both contestants to have a safety-first approach, which can result in a drawfest, as it was the case in 2018.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/23/2022 02:51
@arzi "They have been CONVINCING wins because of the system they are using."

That's a fallacious argument. If the system would be a coin toss (I'm using this extreme example to illustrate the absurdity of the argument above) and one of the player would win that coin toss, then, given the system in place, we would have to accept the winner to be the champion. But, since a coin toss does not have any connection to chess abilities, this would be an unconvincing way to determine who the best chess player is. Luckily, the current system has something to do with chess and whenever a match is decided due to chess abilities, the result is convincing, at least for me. Whenever the result is less determined by chess abilities, I find the result less convincing.

You have criticized the use of rapid and blitz playoffs in the current system and I agreed with you that this is a problem indeed. Yet, you find the rapid playoffs of 2016 and 2018 to be convincing. So, if winning a rapid match against Karjakin in 2016 and against Caruana in 2018 convinces you - as you claim - that Carlsen was better than his challengers in these matches, then why do you bother raising the existence of such playoffs as a problem? The only reason I can think of for being opposed to the use of rapid playoffs is that they are too random to determine who the better player is. If they are not random for you, as you find their result to be convincing, then on what grounds do you criticize this?
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/23/2022 02:49

"This format they are using in WC -match does not allow too many mistakes."

True, but since 12 > 2, the current format allows much more mistakes and accidents than a World Cup, where if you blunder away a game of a 2-game match, then you already are in a must-win situation in the next game. Carlsen was eliminated from such a match in this exact manner. So, we have two options: either we assume the World Cup to be a reliable system, in which case we would have to conclude that Bu was better than Carlsen in 2019, or we recognize the World Cup as an unreliable means to determine who the best participant is.

"Also, this format includes both a rapid and a blitz option if the games cannot be solved in the classic time format."

I agree with you on this. This is indeed a problem in the current format. But rapid playoffs are also part of the World Cup system, so that system is not better than the current one from this point of view.

"That is why it is quite silly write about unconvincing wins."

It is not silly at all to rate the level of how convincing a win was. Carlsen's win against Anand in 2013, with 3 wins and no losses was very convincing. His win against Anand in 2014 was also very convincing, even though he had a loss in that match. Yet, the ties in 2016 and 2018 were very unconvincing, because the decision of the match was delegated to the rapid playoff, which is less than convincing. I find it very easy to believe that Carlsen was better than Anand in 2013. However, in his narrow match against Karjakin in 2016, he was far from dominating. Also, he fell behind after game 8 and he had a very difficult time equalizing that match.
Firsov Firsov 7/23/2022 12:30
MC likes to think, WC-match is only his decision.
NO! Its tradition.
So far, (1-10), he is 9-. But now 5-.
Firsov Firsov 7/23/2022 12:11
What a shame! Looser!
Jacob woge Jacob woge 7/23/2022 09:54
If the Candidates’ had been match format, the matter would have been settled by now.

If the vision of being seeded directly into a final match 12, 14, or 16 of classical games is too scary, may I suggest to play them all at the same time. A one-on-one clock simul, played at a very long table. All settled in one day. Now that would be a sporting event.
Tedz Tedz 7/23/2022 09:14
Oh dear, i was so looking forward to a highly politicised match between Carlsen, Champion of the West, and Nepo backed by a highly motivated Russian team, with i assume Karjakin being part of it.
physica physica 7/22/2022 11:17

This will be my last post.

But if Fide lets Magnus continue playing at these tourneys gatekeeping certain people from reaching the Candidates or simply hog spots preventing newcomers to enter the top, I'm sure the competition will start to complain about the situation. So basically he is freelancing. If his influence/job as the strongest player is to attract sponsors and funds, the tournaments he's not participating lose significance. The situation will become so perplexed when he's not WC anymore.

Why would Fide consent to this without consequences? They could afford to waste Bobby and Garry... In NHL, the conference champions don't count nearly as much as the Stanley Cup winner. MC is turning this analogy upside down not taking part in the WC cycle (and not being the WC).
arzi arzi 7/22/2022 11:09
To Lajosarpad: cup system has it's problems, every system has, but the best side of it is that you do not need months of preparations. Everybody is telling that chess is becoming boring, too much draws. Yes, because of all that preparations to the WC match. They play only those lines they have learnt in their preparations. In cup system it is not possible. There are too many different opponents. After the first game everybody knows your new variation. In cup system you can try something fishy, odd, because they can not prepare for your opening.
arzi arzi 7/22/2022 10:26
Can anybody explain to me why so much hate kind of feeling against MC can be seen in these writings? This is just a chess, not for example a war in Ukraine.
arzi arzi 7/22/2022 09:51
By the way, JanneKejo, has Nepo already won the title? Do you see to the future?
arzi arzi 7/22/2022 09:48
JanneKejo, what do you mean about rogue state? Do you mean Nepo or Liren? Actually, Nepo was against the war, Karjakin not.
arzi arzi 7/22/2022 07:19
To maxharmonist: MC does not need to be recognized as best. If he is winning most of the tournaments in a year and having lot's of money because of those wins is it not oblivious who is the best?
arzi arzi 7/22/2022 07:12
To physica: I'm sure that MC is not going to repeat the mistake Kasparov did. I'm also sure that Fide is not going to do any stupid decidsions about MC. This is actually quite simple situation. King is dead, long live the new King. It is useless to start the war before even know why to have to fight.