Magnus Carlsen has struck the world of chess by stating that he doesn’t want to defend his world champion title. It has brought to everyone’s mind the question “Will Magnus play the next world championship?”
We will analyze the context and the possible reason for this statement made by Magnus. Also, we will analyze the possible scenarios that could happen if Magnus resigns to not play.
Magnus has changed the story many times, and it gives a lot for us to speculate about. Essentially, he had said before that He wouldn’t play in the world championship if his opponent wasn’t Firouzja.
Now, the story is that he won’t defend his title unless it is on its terms. We all know that Magnus has quite a personality.
In a press conference after game 11 of the candidates’ tournament he was asked the following question:
Is it possible that you simply prefer to lose your title your way than losing it to a new challenger?” Magnus’ response was a little odd, “First of all is a good question, but I can’t answer right now”
It might not be the first time we see this; Bobby Fischer (casually the player Magnus admires the most) did something similar…
This makes you answer the “will Magnus Carlsen play the next championship?” with an obvious no. However, many players of the top level don’t buy the possibility that Magnus will avert from the championships.
What does Magnus Carlsen want?
Magnus Carlsen stated that he would not play for the world championship match unless some changes were applied, why?
There are a couple of theories, but there are a couple of things we have to clarify before we continue:
- Magnus Carlsen wants to defend his title: If that absolute lack of interest that Magnus is trying to show us was true, he wouldn’t have discussed the terms with FIDE.
- Is Magnus capable of not playing the candidates: Different from other chess players, Magnus Carlsen is not dependent on his chess career. We have seen in winning poker tournaments, and working as a model, so Magnus could spare chess if he wanted to.
- FIDE seems to be more scared than Carlsen: Of course, losing the show of a dominant champion like Carlsen is not good business for them.
Magnus wants to change the format of the world championship to something more dynamic, including rapid and blitz games.
So, will Magnus play the next world championship?
Of course, there is no right answer to this question 100% secure, but I think Magnus will defend his title. The most likely scenario is Magnus Carlsen and FIDE reaching a balanced decision that leaves all parts happy.
Everyone wants to see Magnus Carlsen playing, and I’m sure Magnus won’t give up the crown easily. So, yes, I think Magnus should, and will defend his title against Nepo.
Being the world chess champion of course has many benefits, which is a huge factor to consider. Although Magnus surely can still live a happy life not being the champion, it would be stupid to throw those benefits without a fight.
Many people of high status in FIDE and the chess world state that Magnus Carlsen will play the next championship. However, we should not underestimate Magnus and his ability to surprise everyone.
It would be the third time in history a world chess champion decides not to defend his title. But you have to admit, Magnus Carlsen’s public image would increase in popularity a lot.
What would happen if Magnus doesn’t defend his title?
If Magnus Carlsen decides to not defend his title in the championships, this would happen:
The second place in the candidates’ tournament would play the match against the first place. In this case, that would be GM Ding Liren vs GM Ian Nepomniachtchi.
This is trying to avoid what happened when Anatoly Karpov became the world champion. Bobby Fischer did not defend his title against Karpov, so he had to earn the reputation of a champion by himself.
This also brought a lot of controversy in FIDE, as some players were not happy with this result.
That’s why, as FIDE would do all in the possibilities to have Carlsen play if it doesn’t happen, they have a good solution. Among the worst options, this is probably the best so the championships are still celebrated.
Also, this way at least it is fair, as two of the best players would be competing for the title. If this happened, it would be very interesting to have Magnus Carlsen regain his title in future years!
However, we have to wait to know, will Magnus Carlsen play in the next world championship?
Will FIDE accept the terms proposed by Magnus?
Everything indicates that yes, FIDE will probably accomplish all of Carlsen's wishes. As always, when a world champion threatens not to play, it means a risk for the entire industry of chess.
As probably FIDE is the leading authority, but the world chess champion is the max image of international chess. That’s why, players like Kasparov, and Bobby Fischer wanted to change the rules so badly.
Once they reached the condition of world champion, they saw the opportunity to make changes. And FIDE has suffered a lot from these events, they don’t want to repeat it.
The last time something similar happened with Garry Kasparov, he ended up creating his chess federation. This simply went to complete disaster and anarchy by some players; it divided international chess into two parts.
I don’t believe FIDE or Carlsen want something like this to happen again, so they will surely make a deal.
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