FIDE: 'Carlsen Never Demanded A Concrete Format'
Magnus Carlsen. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

FIDE: 'Carlsen Never Demanded A Concrete Format'

| 133 | Chess Players

A report in Russian media that GM Magnus Carlsen has agreed to defend his world championship title against GM Ian Nepomniachtchi under a new match format with fewer classical games is "totally inaccurate," according to FIDE Director General Emil Sutovsky.

On July 4, the Russian website Sport-Express reported that Carlsen is ready for his fifth title defense vs. Nepomniachtchi in a match with a new format. Similar to tennis, it would be divided it into three sets. Each set would consist of four classical games and in case of 2-2, a rapid and blitz tiebreak would be played.

According to Sutovsky, the news "has nothing to do with the truth." The FIDE Director General, who is the main official responsible for the world championship cycle, thinks that the Russian website may have been confused with one of the proposals FIDE had sent to players.

"But also that was very different from what is described, and it was just a proposal we asked top-10 players to give feedback on," said Sutovsky. "The matter is sensitive and I don't want to go into details, but Magnus never demanded any concrete format."

A report from Chess24 which translated the Sports-Express article was retweeted by Carlsen with the comment: "fake news."

Shortly after beating Nepomniachtchi in the 2021 world championship in Dubai, Carlsen shocked the chess world by saying that he might be letting go of his world title in classical chess unless GM Alireza Firouzja will be his opponent for the next match. "If someone other than Firouzja wins the Candidates Tournament, it is unlikely that I will play the next world championship match," the world champion said in a podcast in December last year.

In April of this year, Carlsen reiterated his statement in an interview with Norway's biggest newspaper VG: "If anyone expects or hopes that I will say yes, I have to prepare them for disappointment."

Three days ago, Nepomniachtchi won the Candidates Tournament. On the day of the penultimate round, Carlsen had a meeting in Madrid with Sutovsky and FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, where the three discussed potential changes to the match format.

Carlsen was given an "informal deadline" of July 20, International Chess Day, to make a decision about his title defense.

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