Magnus Carlsen has announced that he would not defend his World Chess Championship title against Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi in 2023.
The five-time champion is not retiring, but instead vows to "be the best in the world," even if that means skipping chess's grand prix.
Ding Liren, China's world No. 2, will now take the court against Nepomniachtchi, whom Carlsen defeated last year in Dubai.
The 31-year-old Norwegian grandmaster, who has held the world number one ranking for nearly a decade, stated in a podcast for his sponsor Unibet: "I am not inspired to play another match."
I don't particularly like it, and while I'm sure a match would be interesting for historical reasons and all of that, I don't have any desire to play and will thus not play the match.
"Ultimately, the conclusion stands, one that I'm very comfortable with, one that I've been thinking about for a long time, more than a year...
since long before the last match" [in which he defeated Nepomniachtchi without dropping a single game].
"I've spoken to members in my squad, I've spoken to [governing body] Fide, and I've also spoken to Ian."
The conclusion is straightforward: I am unmotivated to play another match."
Bobby Fischer was the last grandmaster to relinquish the championship rather than defend it in a contest, in 1975.