Magnus Carlsen will not defend his world championship in 2023 against Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi as he is not motivated to play another match, the Norwegian five-time champion said in a podcast on Wednesday.
If Carlsen does not defend his title, Nepomniachtchi is likely to face the runner up in the recent Candidates tournament, China's Ding Liren.
"I feel I don't have a lot to gain, I don't particularly like (the championship matches), and although I'm sure a match would be interesting for historical reasons and all of that, I don't have any inclination to play and I will simply not play the match," he said on the podcast for his sponsor Unibet.
"Ultimately the conclusion stands, one that I'm pretty comfortable with, one that I've thought a lot about for a long time now, I would say more than a year... since long before the last match" in which he beat Nepomniachtchi without losing a game, Carlsen said.
"And I've spoken to people in my team, I've spoken to FIDE, I spoke to Ian as well. And the conclusion is, it's very simple, that I am not motivated to play another match," said Carlsen, who has spent over a decade as the top-ranked player in the world.
Carlsen had previously said he would be ready to let go of his world title unless his next opponent was Iranian-French teenager Alireza Firouzja, who is the world number three currently.
Instead, Nepomniachtchi set up a rematch by winning the Candidates Tournament in Madrid earlier this month with a round to spare.
Liren edged out chess YouTuber Hikaru Nakamura of the United States for second place in the Candidates Tournament by beating him in the final round.