Maxime Vachier-Lagrave talked about Magnus Carlsen not defending his title on the official broadcast of the SuperUnited Rapid & Blitz. | photo: Saint Louis Chess Club
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is one of the first top players to react to Magnus Carlsen announcing he will not defend his World Championship title.
The French World #11 was interviewed on the official broadcast after the first round of the SuperUnited Rapid & Blitz in Zagreb.
"It's a pity of course, that the world number and the world champion for 10 years is not a part of the cycle anymore," he says.
"By then I was not surprised anymore. At first I thought he would play, but in the last few days it was clear Magnus wouldn't play," he says, referring to "internal sources".
Vachier-Lagrave talks about proposed changes in the format of the World Championship.
"For me it doesn't change anything for now. The question now is, of course, it will not provoke a change of cycle this time, but maybe for the next cycle. The best thing is of course to get everyone at the table, Magnus and all the players, to think about what we want."
Earlier today FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich made a statement and 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."
chess24 also spoke to Ding Liren, who replaces Carlsen and gets to play a World Championship match against Ian Nepomniachtchi. "It's hard to believe! I need to calm down a little bit," Ding said minutes after friends gave him the news.
"These days I was a little bit nervous. I thought the news might come today," he said.
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