Magnus Carlsen, world No 2 chess player and believed to be a World Champion in waiting, has pulled out of the race to find a challenger to take on reigning champion Viswanathan Anand in 2012.
“Yes, he has withdrawn from the World Championship cycle,” Carlsen's agent Espen Aqdestein told HT.
Carlsen made the stunning announcement in a letter to FIDE, the sport's governing body, on Friday. He pulled out citing the frequent changes made by FIDE in the World Championship cycle and protesting the World Champion's privilege to get a direct seeding into the final.
“After careful consideration I've reached the conclusion that the ongoing 2008-2012 cycle does not represent a system, sufficiently modern and fair, to provide the motivation I need to go through a lengthy process of preparations and matches to perform at my best,” Carlsen wrote in his letter.
Carlsen was among the eight players including Veselin Topalov, Vladimir Kramnik, Levon Aronian who will play a series of Candidates matches between March and May 2011 with the winner meeting Anand.
Carlsen's withdrawal from the Candidates matches means that he can't take part in the five-year World Championship cycle unless FIDE accedes to his demands and change rules.