It's official: Carlsen will not play in the Candidates

by André Schulz
1/4/2024 – As expected, Magnus Carlsen has now announced on his X account that he won't be playing in the Candidates Tournament in Toronto in April, even though he qualified by winning the World Cup 2023 and by being the world's number one on the rating list. GM Nijat Abasov from Azerbaijan, who lost to Carlsen in the semifinals of the World Cup, will get Carlsen's place in the Candidates. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


Following the publication of the World Ranking List from 1 January 2023, FIDE has announced the list of participants for the Candidates Tournament and the Women's Candidates Tournament.

The latest players to be added are Alireza Firouzja as the highest rated player on the list who is not already qualified and Gukesh for his second place in the FIDE Circuit - Fabiano Caruana, the winner of the FIDE Circuit, was already qualified. Humpy Koneru qualified for the women's tournament thanks to her rating.

Here are the players who qualified for the Candidates:

On X, FIDE has published a list with the qualified players and invited them to the Candidates.

Carlsen immediately replied via X, where he thanked for the invitation but declined it by quoting Groucho Marx:

This seems to be the end of the classical World Championship for the 17th World Champion, at least for the time being. After a rocket-like rise to the top of the world rankings, the Norwegian won the title at the 2013 World Championship in Chennai by defeating Vishy Anand.

In 2014, Anand won the Candidates Tournament and the match was repeated under different circumstances, with Magnus Carlsen as the defending champion and Anand as the challenger.

Carlsen defended his title and had to play again in New York in 2016, this time against Sergey Karjakin. It was a very close match. Carlsen was nominally the better player but fell behind. He then managed to equalise and then the play-off by a clear margin.

In the 2018 World Championship match in London against Fabiano Caruana, the US Grandmaster proved to be an equal opponent. All the games ended in draws, but Carlsen again won in the play-off.

In 2021 Carlsen defended his title again, this time against Ian Nepomniachtchi. The Russian challenger initially held his own, but collapsed after losing the crucial sixth game of the match, longest game in World Championship chess history (136 moves). During the match Carlsen had already indicated that he did not want to play another World Championship match in the current format.


The participants of the Candidates

André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.