© Illustration. FIDE Magnus Carlsen / Jan Nepomniachtchi
MOSCOW, 21 July – Chinese grandmaster Ding Liren said he was surprised by the decision of the reigning world champion Norwegian Magnus Carlsen to refuse to participate in the match for the world chess crown against Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi.
Carlsen on Wednesday announced his refusal to play the match for the world title. Nepomniachtchi won the Candidates Tournament in Madrid in early July and won the right to play Carlsen again in 2023. Now Nepomniachtchi must fight for the title against Ding Liren, who came second in the Candidates Tournament.
“I’m full of different emotions, but I’m very happy to play the world title match and compete for the crown next year. I knew Carlsen had his doubts, but I still thought he would defend the title. But I also understand his decision. The title of world champion imposes a burden of responsibility, you have to cope with many things,” Ding Liren was quoted by chess.com.
The Chinese grandmaster noted that he opposes a split in professional chess. “It’s not an ideal situation where the best player doesn’t defend the title, it’s also not good to create your own organization. The best option for the fans is when the best players fight for the championship among themselves, and Magnus, of course, has been the best for many years. We entered into a new era,” said the chess player.
Carlsen became world champion in 2013 and defended the title four times. The last time he beat Nepomniachtchi was in 2021.