Magnus Carlsen dubbed 'king of chess’ after claiming sport’s top title aged 22
It has garnered him fame, fortune and international acclaim, but at the age of 31 the undisputed king of chess, Magnus Carlsen, is stepping away from the game. And his reason? He’s just not that into it.
Speaking on International Chess Day, the five-time world champion said his experience had been “an interesting ride” but ultimately he isn’t motivated to play another three-week championship match.
“I simply feel that I don’t have a lot to gain,” Carlsen said. “I don’t particularly like it, although I’m sure a match would be interesting for historical reasons. I don’t have any inclination to play and I will simply not play the match.”
Carlsen, who has dominated the game for more than a decade, has had a long love/hate relationship with the World Chess Championship and yet his decision will still rock the chess world.
Since becoming World Champion in 2013, Carlsen has been credited with encouraging a wave of popularity that has seen millions take up the game worldwide.
He has also sought to popularise the game for spectators with the launch of his own simplified cycle of world-class tournaments, the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour.
Outside of chess, Carlsen spent time modelling for fashion label G-Star Raw and has launched a business empire, founding the Play Magnus Group in 2013 which provides online platforms designed to teach chess.
Carlsen is also an avid football fan and hit the headlines in 2019 when he led seven million players in the Premier League’s official fantasy football game.
The former child prodigy first won the chess title nine years ago when he ended Indian legend Vishy Anand’s six-year reign. Carlsen’s victory was heralded by Garry Kasparov and others as the start of a new era in chess with the then 22-year-old being the first champion to develop his game in the age of chess computers.
Carlsen has said he will now focus on new goals such as becoming the first player to reach the 2900 rating mark.
Telegraph Media Group Limited