According to FIDE Director-General Emil Sutovsky, 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 less classical games, “complete Kind of wrong”.
On 4 July, Russian website Sport-Express reported that Carlsen is gearing up for his fifth title defense versus Nepomniachtchi in a match with a new format. Like tennis, it will also be divided into three sets. There will be four classical games in each set and in the case of 2-2, a fast and blitz tiebreak will be played.
According to Sutovsky, the news “has nothing to do with the truth.” The director general of FIDE, who is the chief official responsible for the world championship cycle, thinks the Russian website may be confused with one of the proposals sent by FIDE to players.
“But it was also very different from what was described, and it was just a proposal that we asked the top-10 players to respond to,” Sutowski said. “The matter is sensitive and I don’t want to go into details, but Magnus never asked for a concrete format.”
A report by Chess24 which translated the Sports-Express article retweeted With comment by Carlson: “Fake news.”
Soon after defeating Nepomniachtchi at the 2021 World Championships in Dubai, Carlsen stunned the chess world by saying that he might give up his world title in classical chess unless GM Alireza Turquoise would be his opponent for the next match. “If a candidate other than Firoza wins the 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 this year, Carlsen reiterated his statement in an interview with Norway’s largest newspaper VG: “If anyone expects or expects that I will say yes, I must prepare them for disappointment.”
Three days ago, Nepomniachtchi won the Candidates tournament. On the day of the final round, Carlsen held a meeting with Sutovsky and FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovic in Madrid, where the trio discussed possible changes to the match format.
Carlsen was given an “unofficial deadline” of 20 July, International Chess Day, to make a decision about his title defence.