On Wednesday, August 16, Chess Grand Master Magnus Carlsen announced his withdrawal from Candidates 2024.
Carlsen expressed his unwillingness to compete at Candidates next year after recently defeating India's D. Gukesh in the quarterfinals of the FIDE World Cup 2023 in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The Norwegian suggested that he had made up his mind, meaning that the rest of the semifinalists at the ongoing tournament were guaranteed a spot in the eight-player tournament. Candidates is set to be played from April 2 to 25 next year in Toronto.
Speaking to Chess24.com, the 32-year-old said:
"Under the current format, there is no chance. I think everybody should operate under the assumption that I will not play at the Candidates and that everybody else who’s in the semifinals is qualified for the Candidates."
India's R Praggnanandhaa beat compatriot Arjun Erigaisi in the quarterfinals to ensure his participation in the Candidates Championship. Other than Carlsen and Praggnanandhaa, the two semifinalists at the ongoing FIDE World Cup are USA’s Fabiano Caruana and Azerbaijan’s Nijat Abasov, who will compete at Candidates.
Magnus Carlsen also opted against defending his world title in 2021
Magnus Carlsen's decision holds considerable weight, especially given his place in the chess world. Even the reigning Candidates champion Ian Nepomniachtchi has confirmed his participation in the forthcoming event.
Further contributing to the elaboration of the tournament ledger, Nijat Abasov of Azerbaijan assured his berth at the Candidates by confounding Vidit Gujrathi in the quarterfinals.
Carlsen's decision not to defend his world title in 2021, citing "no motivation," serves as a forerunner to his recent withdrawal.
In 2021, the validation of Magnus Carlsen's conclusion came through the video podcast 'The Magnus Effect,' where he engaged in an open conversation with his close companion Magnus Barstad. Embellishing his stance, Carlsen shared:
"Ultimately, the conclusion stands, I am not motivated to play another match. I simply feel that I don’t have a lot to gain. Although I’m sure a match would be interesting for historical reasons and all of that. But, I don’t have any inclination to play, and I will simply not play the match."