Magnus Carlsen, considered by many to be one of the greatest players in the history of chess and who has recently defended his World Champion crown against the Russian Ian Niepomniachtchi in a very forceful way, said in a postcast carried out together with Unibet, one of its sponsors, that if the challenger was not the French / Iranian Alireza Firouzja, he wouldn't defend his title.

Undoubtedly a piece of news that shakes the chess world and takes us back to the year 1975, when the great American, Robert James “Bobby” Fischer gave up defending his title won three years before against Boris Spassky against another of the most brilliant minds who gave the history of chess: Anatoly Karpov.

If finally Magnus's words would be true (and according to his father, Henrik Carlsen, the translation that was made of his son's Norwegian words was not a misinterpretation), he would be repeating the same story that happened more than 45 years ago, when Fischer decided not to defend his title, and he disappeared from public life.

Exhaustion or lack of motivation?

Magnus Carlsen has been the absolute and undisputed chess champion for 8 years and has been number 1 in the world for more than 10 years. It should be remembered that the champion is not necessarily number 1 in the world since to be champion you must beat the reigning champion in a match, while to be number 1 in the world, you must have a higher Elo score than the rest, something that requires a lot constancy and yes, that entails a lot of mental exhaustion.

Or as the Norwegian genius explains in his own words: “I've been thinking all year that this duel would be the last. The joy I felt when I won it is much less than in the first ones. The positive part of achieving it does not outweigh the negative”. The momentum to reach the top is often greater than the strength to hold there seems to be indicating Carlsen.

And he also added: “Honestly, I don't enjoy the World Championships as much as I do the tournaments on the international circuit. In the World Cup it is basically about keeping the crown. I admit that this is very challenging, but it is also tremendously demanding. It's nice to be here, with all the paraphernalia that surrounds a World Cup. But honestly, I could live without it”.

This would be the end of Magnus's career?

Everything would seem to indicate that no. Magnus Carlsen has made it very clear that his objective, in case Firouzja was not the challenger, is to step aside. It is not in his plans to abandon professional chess practice: “My intention is to continue playing chess for many more years, even if I'm not the world champion. In that case, keeping number one would be the fundamental objective”.

Magnus, in addition, would have set two goals that really seem unattainable: to be number 1 in the world for more than 20 years, surpassing the Garry Kasparov mark; and surpassing the barrier of 2,900 Elo points, something that would force him to practically win all the tournaments that he will play from now on.