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Leon Watson

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"Alas, it did not change his mind": FIDE rues Magnus Carlsen's decision

Magnus Carlsen joined Garry Kasparov, Ian Nepomniachtchi and more players in giving a simul in Zagreb before the start of the SuperUnited Rapid & Blitz | photo: Lennart Ootes, Grand Chess Tour

Magnus Carlsen joined Garry Kasparov, Ian Nepomniachtchi and more players in giving a simul in Zagreb before the start of the SuperUnited Rapid & Blitz | photo: Lennart Ootes, Grand Chess Tour

As the chess world reels from Magnus Carlsen's bombshell announcement today, world governing body FIDE has issued its reaction.

In a carefully-worded statement, FIDE's Russian president Arkady Dvorkovich paid tribute to the five-time World Champion who said earlier today that he would not defend his title.

However, it is clear that the event organiser is still holding out hope that Carlsen will return.

Speaking from Laussane, Dvorkovich said: "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 also 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."

Dvorkovich has previously spoken about what it would mean if Carlsen vacated the world title.

In an interview with chess24, he said: "Well, it would mean we have a new champion. But we have big markets. We have the United States, India and China. Well, Russia is a bit out of it now because of the politics, but we also have Europe.

"These markets will boom if a player from that region will win. Interest will rise sharply. I will be happy with any outcome. Any of those markets is great for us. The US market is potentially the largest.”

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