After Kramnik's recent announcement, Nakamura also said in a chess.com interview that he will retire from chess at age 40.

I am curious why a super GM feels the need to "officially retire" from chess (or a format of chess). Why not just stop playing but keep the door open for future events? Who knows, maybe you'll feel different after a break.

To be clear, I am not asking for speculations specific to Kramnik or Naka's mindset. I want to know what concrete, practical reasons there may be for a top GM to announce retirement, like sponsorship or contractual reasons as an example.

Update based on comments and whoever voted to close: I'm specifically not asking for guesses or opinions, but for insight from someone who have knowledge of a super GM's unique situation (be it legal, social, practical or otherwise) to elaborate why it is beneficial to announce retirement rather than simply stop playing.

  • Chinese chess GM Liu Dahua (age 69) is still playing at top level. On the other hand, there is a Chinese chess master Yu Sihai who basically retired from playing professional Chinese chess at the age of 19. There are different stories and different motivations behind every player.
    – Zuriel
    Feb 2 '19 at 13:56
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    Not sure there is a good answer to this question. Seems more like asking for guesses to me and as pointed out, reasons might be very different for different people. If anything, retirement (and thus its announcement) would be of interest to tournament organizers and sponsors who would then perhaps not take that player into account anymore. Feb 2 '19 at 22:07
  • Sorry, don't agree with the "opinion based" votes. I think there are possible objective answers to this question.
    – firtydank
    Feb 3 '19 at 17:40

I don't know about the practical reasons that you suggest, but I imagine retirement is a way to tell your fans and the world "stop bugging me!". :-) Super-GMs probably retire when they feel they are past their peak and would rather retire at the top of their game than have the world see them decline.

That said, retirement is not irreversible! For example look at Kasparov, who "retired" in 2005 and yet has reappeared in tournaments from time to time: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garry_Kasparov#Retirement_from_chess.


It's like any other profession. For example, just because someone retires from working as a software developer doesn't mean they can't do programming anymore. It's just that their official line of work won't involve software development anymore.

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