Magnus Carlsen: A profile of the world’s best chess player

Once again, the FIDE world rankings are led off by Magnus Carlsen. In the currently released ranking list of July 2013, the 22 year-old Norwegian remains number one.

First contact with chess at five years old

Magnus Øen Carlsen was born in Tønsberg, November 30th 1990. At only five years he was taught to play chess by his father, but didn’t like it too much apriori. In 1999, he participated in his very first chess tournament and won the Norwegian U11 Championship in 2000. After competing in his first international event, he came off 2nd with 9 points out of 11 rounds at the U12 World Championship 2002 in Iraklio. One year later he made it to 3rd rank at the European Junior Championship. In 2004, the Norwegian young talent achieved all three grandmaster standards through outstanding performances at tournaments in only four months at an age of thirteen years and three months. It was an international sensation when he defeated former World Champion Anatoli Karpov in Reykjavik in March 2004. In a following rapid chess tournament against the world’s number one, Garri Kasparov, he achieved a draw in the first duel, but was defeated in the second.

The following years brought many successful performances at international tournaments

In 2004, Magnus Carlsen was already part of his first FIDE Chess World Championship in Tripoli, but dropped out after the first preliminary round. In the summer of the following year he shared the first rank at the Norwegian National Championship with no other than his own coach Simen Agdestein, but a play-off decided against his favor. The following years were shaped by many more great performances: In 2006 he beat Visvanathan Anand in Reykjavik at a lightning tournament and also obtained the title of Norwegian Champion after finally winning against Agdestein. Carlsen hasn’t competed in the Norwegian National Championship ever since. Also, he won 2007’s Grandmasters’ tournament in Biehl and made it to the semi-finals at the FIDE World-Cup to compete against Gata Kamsky. The year after that, he won gold at the Aerosvit Tournament in Foros. 2009 was characterized  by the victory at the Super-Tournament of Nanjung, the 2nd place at Moscow’s Tal Memorial, winning the World Championship in Lightning Chess and a 1st place at the London Chess Classic.

Taking the lead of the world rankings in 2010

As the youngest chess player of all time, Magnus Øen Carlsen jumped to the top of the FIDE world ranking in January 2010. Many victories followed in the year of this great success, but came along with a first crisis due to poor performances at the Chess Olympics in Khanty-Mansisk ans the Grand Slam Final Masters in Bilbao. At least he triumphed at the London Chess Classics. In 2011, however, the Norwegian continued his carreer with victories at the chess tournaments in Bazna, Biel, the Final Masters, the Tal Memorial and, further on, the Grand Slam Finale and the London Chess Classics 2012. In February 2013, Carlsen reached an Elo of 2872 points – the highest rating ever achieved in the history of chess! As the victor of the Candidates’ Tournament of London he will challenge current World Champion Visvanathan Anand at the World Championship 2013.

written by Michael, translated by Birthe