Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen

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Magnus Carlsen

carlsen_chemise_bleue2


Naissance 30 novembre 1990 (20 ans)
Tønsberg, Norvège
Nationalité Drapeau de Norvège Norvégien
Profession Joueur d’échecs

Note : cette biographie date 2011, Magnus Carlsen est bien sûr devenu champion du monde en 2013.

Magnus Øen Carlsen, né le 30 novembre 1990 à Tønsberg en Norvège, est un joueur d’échecs norvégien. Il est grand maître international et no 2 mondial avec un classement Elo de 2815 derrière l’indien Viswanathan Anand qui a lui un classement Elo de 2817 au 1er mars 2011.

Il a attiré l’attention du monde des échecs par sa victoire au tournoi C du Tournoi de Wijk aan Zee en janvier 2004 à l’âge de 13 ans. Il est le 3e grand maître le plus précoce de l’histoire des échecs, seulement devancé par Sergueï Kariakine et Parimarjan Negi. En 2006, il se qualifie pour le tournoi des candidats 2007 dans lequel il est éliminé en 8e de finale par Levon Aronian lors des parties de départage.

En novembre 2009, après avoir obtenu un résultat exceptionnel au tournoi de Nankin, il atteint le classement Elo de 2801, il est alorsle 5e joueur à dépasser le seuil de 2800 Elo depuis l’utilisation du classement par la Fédération internationale des échecs.

En janvier 2010, il est le no 1 mondial avec un classement de 2810 alors qu’il a 19 ans, battant le record de précocité.

Sommaire

carlsen_enfant

L’enfant prodige

Carlsen vit à Lommedalen, Bærum, près d’Oslo. Il a joué son premier tournoi à l’âge de huit ans et était entraîné par le grand maître international Simen Agdestein. En 2003, Carlsen finit 3e au championnat d’Europe des moins de 14 ans.

Le résultat qui réellement attira l’attention sur lui fut sa victoire au tournoi C de tournoi de Wijk aan Zee avec 10,5/13, ne perdant qu’une seule partie (contre le mieux classé du groupe Dusko Pavasovic), gagnant sa première norme de grand maître, et réalisant une performance Elo de 2 702. En particulier, sa victoire dans l’avant-dernière ronde contre Sipke Ernst dans laquelle Carlsen sacrifia du matériel au 18e coup pour finir par mater au 29e est remarquable. Cette partie gagna le prix du public de la meilleure partie de la ronde, incluant toutes les parties jouées dans les tournois A et B, alors que les 23 premiers coups avaient déjà été joués dans la partie Almagro Llanas-Gustafsson, Madrid 2003 (qui avait fini par une nulle).

La victoire de Carlsen dans le groupe C le qualifia pour le groupe B en 2005, et fit écrire à Lubomir Kavalek dans le Washington Post qu’il était le «  Mozart des échecs ». D’après une interview avec son mentor Agdestein, lui-même grand maître à 18 ans, Carlsen est meilleur que lui au même âge. Carlsen est réputé pour avoir une excellente mémoire et utiliser un large répertoire d’ouvertures.

Grand maître à 13 ans (2004)

Carlsen obtint sa seconde norme de grand maître international (GMI) à l’open Aeroflot de Moscou en février 2004. Au 6e open international de Dubaï, en avril 2004, Carlsen obtint sa 3e norme de GMI, suffisante pour obtenir le titre, après 4 victoires et 4 nulles. Il devint ainsi le plus jeune GMI en activité du moment et le second plus jeune à obtenir le titre après l’Ukrainien Sergueï Kariakine, qui obtint le titre en 2002 à l’âge de 12 ans et 7 mois.

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La route vers les sommets (2005—2008)

Carlsen était le plus jeune participant du championnat du monde 2004 et fut battu au premier tour par Levon Aronian.

En juillet 2005, il finit deuxième du championnat de Norvège derrière Berge Østenstad.

À la fin de l’année 2005, Carlsen participa à la coupe du monde FIDE à Khanty-Mansiïsk en Russie. Dans ce tournoi à élimination directe, au premier tour, il se défait du 44e joueur mondial, le Géorgien Zurab Azmaiparashvili, en gagnant 2–0 en semi-rapide, après avoir fait 1–1 dans les parties longues. Ensuite, il a battu le Tadjik Farrukh Ammonatov et le Bulgare Ivan Chéparinov, pour se qualifier dans les seize meilleurs du tournoi. Ces joueurs étaient mieux classés que Carlsen. Il fut battu 1,5-2,5 par Ievgueni Bareïev, l’empêchant de finir dans les huit premières places. Il gagna ensuite contre Joël Lautier 1,5-0,5 et Vladimir Malakhov 3,5-2,5, s’assurant ainsi une place dans les dix premiers, ce qui le qualifie pour le prochain tournoi des candidats.

C’est le meilleur résultat jamais obtenu par un joueur norvégien dans un championnat du monde d’échecs. Cela fait également de Carlsen le plus jeune candidat officiel de l’histoire à un championnat du monde (devant Bobby Fischer et Garry Kasparov).

En 2006, il bat deux fois Aleksandr Morozevitch au tournoi de Bienne.

En 2007, il est invité dans deux super-tournois. Au tournoi de Wijk aan Zee, il termine à une peu reluisante 13e place sur 14, sans aucune victoire à son actif. En revanche, il réalise une très bonne performance au tournoi de Linares, où il termine troisième sur huit, avec une victoire contre Morozevitch, deux victoires contre Vassili Ivantchouk et une victoire contre Veselin Topalov. De retour à Bienne, il remporte le tournoi des grands maîtres en battant Alexander Onischuk (2650 Elo) au départage.

En janvier 2008, il remporte le tournoi de Wijk aan Zee, ex æquo avec Levon Aronian. Puis, il termine à nouveau 2e du tournoi de Morelia-Linarés, pour sa deuxième participation consécutive à ce super-tournoi.

En avril-mai 2008, il est premier ex æquo avec Vugar Gashimov et Wang Yue au Grand Prix FIDE de Bakou de catégorie 19 (moyenne Elo de 2717), avec 8 points sur 13, réalisant une performance Elo de 2800.

En mai 2008, il bat en match semi-rapide, par 5 points sur 8 (2 gains et 6 nulles) Péter Lékó alors 10e meilleur joueur mondial.

En juin 2008, il remporte le tournoi Aerosvit en Ukraine, de catégorie 19 (moyenne Elo de 2711), invaincu avec 8 points sur 11 et réalisant une performance Elo de 2877. Il est à ce moment-là virtuellement le deuxième joueur mondial derrière Anand avec un Elo anticipé de 2 791,5, mais ce tournoi n’est pas comptabilisé dans le classement Elo de juillet 2008.

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De juillet 2008 à juillet 2009, sa rapide progression connaît un certain ralentissement. Régulièrement bien placé dans les tournois auxquels il participe, il perd régulièrement les parties décisives (par exemple, la dernière partie face à Alexeï Chirov au MTel de Sofia, contre Wang Yue à Wijk aan Zee et contre Vladimir Kramnik à Dortmund) et ne parvient à remporter aucune de ces compétitions (Festival de Bienne, finale du grand chelem de Bilbao, Wijk aan Zee, Linares, MTel Sofia, Dortmund).

En octobre 2008, il voit pour la première fois son classement Elo baisser depuis janvier 2007.

Dans une note de son blog datée du 5 décembre 2008, Magnus Carlsen et son père rendent publique la décision de se retirer du Grand Prix de la FIDE en protestation contre le changement brutal des règles de qualification du cycle du championnat du monde 2009-2011.

Le plus jeune numéro un mondial (2009 – 2010)

En septembre 2009, la collaboration avec Garry Kasparov en tant qu’entraîneur de Magnus est rendue publique. Le mois suivant, Magnus Carlsen remporte le tournoi de Nankin avec huit points sur dix et réalise une performance exceptionnelle de plus de 3000 points Elo en étant invaincu et après avoir battu chacun des cinq autres participants. Il devance le numéro un mondial Veselin Topalov, deuxième du tournoi, de deux points et demi.

Le 1er novembre 2009, Carlsen atteint le classement Elo de 2801, ce qui fait de lui le cinquième et le plus jeune joueur de l’histoire à passer la barre des 2800.

Pour sa première sortie en tant que no 2 mondial, il finit en novembre 2009, deuxième ex æquo au Mémorial Tal avec 5,5 pts/9 (derrière Kramnik). Au passage, il réussit à gagner des points Elo et devient virtuellement le no 1 mondial.

Le 18 novembre 2009, il devient champion du monde de blitz avec 31 points sur 42 à Moscou ; il est le plus jeune joueur à avoir obtenu ce titre.

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Le premier janvier 2010, Carlsen occupe la première place du classement Elo.

Depuis 2010

Le 31 janvier 2010, Carlsen remporte la 72e édition du prestigieux tournoi de Wijk aan Zee, seul premier avec un score de 8½ (+5 =7 -1) sur 13, devant Vladimir Kramnik (8/13) et Alexeï Chirov (8/13). Sa défaite de la 9e ronde contre Kramnik met fin à une série de 36 parties où il est demeuré invaincu.

En mars 2010, il atteint le classement de 2813, soit le 2e meilleur de tous les temps après celui de Garry Kasparov. La fin de la collaboration avec Kasparov est annoncée.

Le 25 mars 2010, il finit 1er ex æquo avec Vassily Ivanchuk au tournoi Amber avec 8/11 en parties rapides et 6½/11 en parties à l’aveugle.

Fin juin 2010, il gagne le Bazna Kings Tournament de Bucarest par 7½/10 (5 gains et 5 nulles), devançant Radjabov et Guelfand de deux points au classement final. Il réalise une performance à 2 920 dans ce tournoi.

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Fin août, il remporte un tournoi de partie rapides à Kristiansund en Norvège devant Anand, réalisant un score de 3½/6 dans la phase qualificative et battant Anand 1½-1 dans les départages.

Le 10 septembre 2010, il remporte une partie en ligne organisée selon le principe de la partie majoritaire, c’est-à-dire que le coup le plus souvent suggéré sera retenu. Trois grands maîtres de haut niveau, le Français Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, l’Américain Hikaru Nakamura, la Hongroise Judith Polgar, ont aidé les participants en suggérant des coups.

Au cours de l’Olympiade de Khanty-Mansiysk, de septembre à octobre, il réalise un score de 4½/8 et concède trois défaites face à Baadur Jobava, Michael Adams et Sanan Sjugirov.

En octobre, au Grand Slam Chess Masters de Bilbao, un tournoi à deux tours avec une moyenne Elo de 2789, il essuie deux défaites, contre Kramnik et contre Anand. Il finit 3e, le tournoi est remporté par Kramnik.

En octobre 2010, il remporte le fort tournoi de Nankin (moyenne Elo 2766) devant Anand et Bacrot, réalisant une performance de 2901 Elo.

Au classement de novembre, il perd 24 points Elo suite à ses résultats à l’Olympiade et à Bilbao. Le tournoi de Nankin n’a pas été comptabilisé pour ce classement.

Lors de la cérémonie d’ouverture de Championnat du monde de Blitz à Moscou, il se voit décerner l’Oscar des échecs pour l’année 2009.

En décembre Carlsen gagne le London Chess Classic avec 4.5/7 (+4, =1, -2) devant Anand et Luke McShane qui font le même score mais ont moins de parties gagnées.

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Classements

Exemples de parties

La partie suivante est la partie Carlsen-Ernst, du tournoi C de Wijk aan Zee en 2004

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Cc3 dxe4 4. Cxe4 Ff5 5. Cg3 Fg6 6. h4 h6 7. Cf3 Cd7 8. h5 Fh7 9. Fd3 Fxd3 10. Dxd3 e6 11. Ff4 Cgf6 12. O-O-O Fe7 13. Ce4 Da5 14. Rb1 O-O 15. Cxf6+ Cxf6 16. Ce5 Tad8 17. De2 c5!? (diagramme) 18. Cg6! fxg6? 19. Dxe6+ Rh8 20. hxg6! Cg8 21. Fxh6 gxh6 22. Txh6+! Cxh6 23. Dxe7 Cf7 24. gxf7 Rg7 25. Td3! Td6 26. Tg3+ Tg6 27. De5+ Rxf7 28. Df5+ Tf6 29. Dd7# 1-0

Magnus Carlsen- Étienne Bacrot, 3e Pearl Spring, Nankin, 2010 (annotations de Jean-Pierre Mercier dans son blog, où il commente la partie très en détail)

1. e4 e5 2. Cf3 Cc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Cxd4 Fc5 5. Cb3 Fb6 6. Cc3 Cf6 7. De2 0-0 8. Fg5 h6 9. Fh4 a5 10. a4 Cd4 11. Dd3 Cxb3 12. cxb3 Te8 13. 0-0-0 d6 14. Dc2 Fd7 15. Fc4 Fe6!? (« Pour jouer un coup pareil, Étienne a dû calculer très loin » écrit Jean-Pierre Mercier) 16. The1 De7 17. e5! dxe5 18. Txe5 Df8 19. Fxf6 gxf6 20. Te2 Dg7 21. Fxe6 Txe6 22. Txe6 fxe6 23. Td3! (« Carlsen a vu plus loin ! ») Rh8 24. Tg3 Dh7 25. Dd2 Fc5! 26. Ce4! Fe7 27. Th3 Rg7? 28. Dd7 Rf7? 29. Cg5+!! fxg5 30. Tf3+ Rg8 31. Dxe6+ Rh8 32. Tf7 Fd6 33. Txh7+ Rxh7 34. Df7+ Rh8 35. g3 Ta6 36. Rb1 Fb4 37. f4! gxf4 38. gxf4 1-0

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Magnus Carlsen
MCarlsen.jpg
Magnus Carlsen, 2008
Full name Sven Magnus Øen Carlsen
Country Norway
Born 30 November 1990 (age 20)
Tønsberg, Norway
Title Grandmaster
FIDE rating 2815
(No. 2 in the May 2011 FIDE World Rankings)
Peak rating 2826 (July 2010)

Sven Magnus Øen Carlsen (born 30 November 1990) is a Norwegian chess Grandmaster and chess prodigy who is currently the number-two ranked player in the world. In January 2010 he became the seventh player ranked number one in the world on the official FIDE rating list. His peak rating is 2826, the second highest peak rating in history to Garry Kasparov.

On 26 April 2004 Carlsen became a Grandmaster at the age of 13 years, 148 days, making him the third-youngest Grandmaster in history. On 1 January 2010 the new FIDE rating list was published, and at the age of 19 years, 32 days he became the youngest chess player in history to be ranked world number one, breaking the record previously held by Vladimir Kramnik. Carlsen was also the 2009 World blitz chess champion.

His performance at the September–October 2009 Nanjing Pearl Spring tournament has been described as one of the greatest in history [3] and lifted him to an Elo rating of 2801, making him the fifth player to achieve a rating over 2800 – and aged 18 years 10 months at the time, by far the youngest to do so.

Based on his rating, Carlsen qualified for the Candidates Tournament which will determine the challenger to face World Champion Viswanathan Anand in the World Chess Championship 2012. However in November 2010 he announced he was withdrawing from the Candidates tournament; he was replaced by Alexander Grischuk.

Contents

Childhood

Born in Tønsberg, Vestfold, Carlsen currently lives in Haslum, Bærum, near Norway’s capital, Oslo. He played his first chess tournament at the age of eight and was later coached at a Norwegian high school (for athletes) by the country’s top player, Grandmaster (GM) Simen Agdestein. Agdestein introduced his civil worker Torbjørn Ringdal Hansen, currently an International Master, to Carlsen, and they had one training session every week, along with one of Carlsen’s close friends. Becoming an International Master, Carlsen was given a year off from elementary school to participate in international chess tournaments during the fall season of 2003. In that same year, he finished third in the European Under-12 Boys Championship.

Chess career

2004

Carlsen playing simultaneous chess in Molde in July 2004

Carlsen was brought to the attention of the international chess world after his victory in the C group at the Corus chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee. He had a score of 10½/13, losing just one game (against the highest rated player of the C group, Dusko Pavasovic). As a result of the victory, he took his first Grandmaster norm and achieved a performance rating of 2702. Particularly notable was Carlsen won the Audience Prize for that game, as the best game of the round (including the games played in the A and B groups). The first 23 moves in that game had already been played in another game Almagro Llanas-Gustafsson, Madrid 2003 (which ended in a draw), but Carlsen’s over-the-board novelty immediately led to a winning position. Carlsen’s victory in the C group qualified him to play in the B group in 2005, and it also led Lubomir Kavalek, writing for the Washington Post, to give him the title « Mozart of chess ». Agdestein, who was once a young GM at 18, said in an interview that Carlsen was a significantly better player than he was himself at the same age. He also said that Carlsen had an excellent memory and played an unusually wide range of different openings. Carlsen’s prowess caught the attention of Microsoft, who became his sponsor.

Carlsen obtained his second GM norm in the Moscow Aeroflot Open in February 2004. In a blitz chess tournament in Reykjavík, Iceland, Carlsen defeated former world champion Anatoly Karpov on 17 March 2004.The blitz tournament was a preliminary event leading up to a rapid knockout tournament beginning the next day, where Carlsen achieved one draw against Garry Kasparov, who was then the top-rated player in the world, before losing to Kasparov after 32 moves of the second game, thus being knocked out of the tournament.

In the sixth Dubai Open Chess Championship, held 18–28 April 2004, Carlsen obtained his third Grandmaster norm (enough for getting the GM title), after getting four wins and four draws before the last game was to be played. As a result of this he was at the time the world’s youngest Grandmaster and the second youngest person ever to hold GM status, after Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine who attained the feat at 12 years and 7 months of age in 2002.

Carlsen was the youngest player ever to participate in the FIDE World Chess Championship 2004, but was knocked out in the first round on tie breaks by Levon Aronian.

In July 2004, Carlsen and Berge Østenstad (then the reigning Norwegian champion) tied for first in the Norwegian Chess Championship, each scoring seven out of nine possible points. A two-game match between them was arranged to decide the title. Both games were drawn, which left Østenstad the champion because he had superior tiebreaks in the tournament.

2005

In Smartfish Chess Masters at the Drammen chess festival 2004–05 (Norway) Carlsen defeated Alexei Shirov, ranked number 10 in the world. In June 2005 in the Ciudad de Leon rapid chess tournament Carlsen played a four-game semi-final against Viswanathan Anand, who was ranked second in the world at the time. Magnus lost 3–1. Carlsen was invited to the tournament as the most promising young chess player in 2005.

In the 2005 Norwegian Chess Championship, Carlsen again finished in a shared first place, this time with his mentor Simen Agdestein. A playoff between them was arranged between 7 November and 10 November. This time Carlsen had the better tiebreaks, but the rule giving the player with better tiebreaks scores the title in the event of a 1–1 draw had been revoked previously. The match was closely fought, Agdestein won the first game, Carlsen won the second, so the match went into a phase of two and two rapid games until there was a winner. Carlsen won the first rapid game, Agdestein the second. Then followed a series of three draws until Agdestein won the championship title with a victory in the sixth rapid game.

At the end of 2005 he participated at the World Chess Cup 2005 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. In the knock-out tournament, Carlsen upset the 44th-ranked Georgian Zurab Azmaiparashvili in round one, winning 2–0 at rapid chess after a 1–1 tie in the normal length games, and proceeded to beat Tajik Farrukh Amonatov and Bulgarian Ivan Cheparinov (also after rapid chess) to reach the round of 16. There he lost 1½–2½ to Evgeny Bareev, which prevented him from finishing in the top eight. He then won against Joël Lautier 1½–½ and Vladimir Malakhov 3½–2½ securing him at least a tenth place and therefore a spot in the Candidate Matches. Carlsen became the youngest player to be an official World Championship Candidate.

In October 2005 he took first place at the Arnold Eikrem Memorial in Gausdal with eight out of nine points and a performance rating of 2792 at the age of 14.

2006

In the January 2006 fide list, at the age of 15 years and 31 days, he officially attained 2625 elo rating, which made Carlsen the youngest person to break the 2600 elo barrier. In 2008, Wesley So broke that record. Carlsen qualified for a place in the Corus B group from his 2005 first place in Corus group C. His shared first with Motylev with 9/13 (+6 -1 =6) qualified him to play in the Corus A group in 2007.

In the 2006 Norwegian Chess Championship, Carlsen was close to winning outright, but a last round loss to Berge Østenstad again tied him for first place with Agdestein. The last-round loss deprived Magnus of beating Agdestein’s record of becoming the youngest Norwegian champion ever. Nonetheless, in the play-off 19–21 November Carlsen won 3–1. After two draws in the initial full time games, Magnus won both rapid games in round two, securing his first Norwegian championship.

Magnus won the 2006 Glitnir Blitz Tournament in Iceland. He won 2–0 over Viswanathan Anand (2003 FIDE World Rapid Chess Champion, 2004 Amber Rapid Chess Champion, 2007 FIDE Classical World Champion) in the semi finals. Carlsen also won 2–0 in the finals.

Magnus scored 6/8 in the 37th Chess Olympiad in 2006 against opponents averaging 2627 Elo, gaining 18 Elo (a rating performance of 2820 points). One of his notable wins was against top English grandmaster Michael Adams.

In the Midnight Sun Chess Tournament, Carlsen had some misses and came in second, beaten by Sergei Shipov (FIDE-Elo: 2576).

In the 2006 Biel grandmaster tournament he achieved second place, after having beaten the eventual winner Alexander Morozevich twice (once with each color).

In the NH Chess Tournament held in Amsterdam in August 2006, Carlsen participated in an ‘Experience’ v ‘Rising Stars’ Scheveningen team match. The ‘Rising Stars’ won the match 22–28 with Carlsen achieving the best individual score for the youngsters, 6½/10 and a 2700 Elo performance, thus winning the right to participate in the 2007 Melody Amber tournament.

In the World Blitz Championship at Rishon LeZion, Israel in September 2006, he was number 8 of 16 participants with 7½/15 points.

In the rapid chess tournament Rencontres nationales et internationales d’échecs in Cap d’Agde, France he got to the semifinal, losing to Sergey Karjakin.

Carlsen achieved a shared eighth place of 10 participants in the Mikhail Tal Memorial in Moscow with two losses and seven draws. In the associated blitz tournament Tal Blitz Cup he received 17½/34 points and ninth place in a group of 18 participants.

2007

In the 2007 Corus chess tournament Carlsen, playing in group A for the first time, had to settle for the last place after nine draws and four losses, scoring 4½ points in 13 rounds.

Magnus Carlsen vs. Levon Aronian at Linares 2007

In the prestigious Linares chess tournament Carlsen met the following top-rated players: Veselin Topalov, Viswanathan Anand, Peter Svidler, Alexander Morozevich, Levon Aronian, Peter Leko, and Vassily Ivanchuk (replacing Teimour Radjabov). With the significantly lowest Elo rating, he achieved a second place (on tiebreaks) with 7½ points after four wins, seven draws and three losses, and an Elo performance of 2778.

In March 2007, Carlsen played for the first time in the Melody Amber blind and rapid chess tournament in Monte Carlo. In the 11 rounds he achieved eight draws and three losses in the blindfold, and three wins, seven draws and one loss in the rapid part. This resulted in a shared ninth place in the blindfold, shared second place in the rapid (beaten only by Anand), and an eighth place in the overall tournament.

In May–June 2007, he participated in the Candidates Tournament for the FIDE World Chess Championship 2007. He was paired with the top seed Levon Aronian. The six-game match was drawn (two wins, two draws, and two losses), with Carlsen coming from behind twice. The four-game rapid playoff was drawn as well (one win, two draws, and one loss), with Carlsen winning the last game to stay in the match. Finally, Aronian won both tiebreaker (blitz) games, to eliminate Carlsen from the Championship.

In the July 2007 FIDE list, at the age of 16 years and 7 months, he officially attained 2710 Elo rating, which made Carlsen the youngest person to break the 2700 Elo barrier. As of January 2011, this record has not been broken.

In July–August 2007, he won the Alexander Onischuk and by the tie-breaker rule of the tournament, they played a tie-breaker match to determine the winner. After drawing two rapid and two blitz games, Carlsen won the armageddon game. He became the youngest person ever to win a category 18 tournament.

Immediately after the Biel tournament, Carlsen entered the open Arctic Chess Challenge in Tromsø, but his +5=4 and fourth place result was somewhat disappointing. In the first round, Carlsen surprisingly conceded a draw to his classmate Brede Hagen (rated 2034) after having a lost position at one point. A game which attracted some attention was his sixth round win over his own father, Henrik Carlsen.

In December 2007, he reached the semi-final round of the World Chess Cup 2007, after defeating Michael Adams in the round of 16, and Ivan Cheparinov in the quarter-finals. In the semi-final, he was eliminated by the eventual winner Gata Kamsky, ½:1½.

2008

Carlsen in Bilbao, 2008

Playing for the second time in the top group A of the Corus chess tournament, Carlsen showed a big improvement over his 2007 performance. His final score was eight points in 13 rounds, an Elo performance of 2830. Carlsen scored five wins (including as Black against former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik), two losses and six draws. He shared first place with Levon Aronian, becoming the youngest person ever to win a category 20 tournament.

At the 2008 Linares chess tournament, Carlsen had another 2800+ Elo performance, scoring eight out of fourteen (five wins, three losses and six draws). He finished in sole second place, ½ point behind the winner, world champion Viswanathan Anand.

In March 2008, Carlsen played for the second time in the Melody Amber blind and rapid chess tournament, which was held in Nice for the first time. In the 11 rounds he achieved four wins, four draws and two losses in the blindfold, and three wins, six draws and two losses in the rapid part. This resulted in a shared fifth place in the blindfold, shared third place in the rapid and a shared second place in the overall tournament.

Carlsen was one of 21 players in the six-tournament FIDE Grand Prix 2008–2009, a qualifier for the World Chess Championship 2012. In the first tournament, in Baku, Azerbaijan, in April–May 2008, he finished in a three-way tie for first place, with another 2800 Elo performance. Carlsen later withdrew from the Grand Prix cycle despite his initial success, citing « dramatic changes to … regulations. »

Carlsen won a rapid match against Peter Leko held at Miskolc, Hungary, scoring 5:3 (two wins, six draws).

In June, Carlsen won an annual Aerosvit event. In his strongest tournament performance at that point in his career, he finished undefeated with eight out of eleven (five wins, six draws) in a category 19 field. His Elo performance was 2878.

Playing in a category 18 Biel tournament, Carlsen finished third with six points out of ten (three wins, one loss, six draws), with Elo performance of 2741, his first sub-2800 performance of 2008.

In the Mainz World Rapid Chess Championship, Carlsen finished in second place after losing the final to defending champion Anand 3:1 (two losses, two draws). To reach the final Magnus played against Judit Polgár scoring 1½ point out of two (one win, one draw), against Anand scoring one point out of two (two draws) and against Morozevich scoring one point out of two (two draws).

In the category 21 Bilbao Masters, Carlsen finished second with a 2768 performance rating (three wins, three losses, four draws).

2009

Playing in Group A of the Corus chess tournament, Carlsen tied for fifth with a 2739 performance (two wins, one loss, ten draws).

In the Linares chess tournament, Carlsen finished third with a 2777 performance (three wins, two losses, nine draws). In this tournament, he defeated World Champion Viswanathan Anand and the eventual winner Alexander Grischuk for the first time under classical time controls.

Carlsen tied for second place with Veselin Topalov at the M-Tel Masters (category 21) tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria. He lost to eventual winner Alexei Shirov in their final game, dropping him from first.

Carlsen won the category 21 Nanjing Pearl Spring tournament, 2½ points ahead of second-place finisher Topalov, the world’s highest-rated player at the time. [28] He scored 8/10 (six wins, four draws, no losses), winning every game as White (against Topalov, Wang Yue, Leko, Radjabov, and Jakovenko), and also winning as Black against Jakovenko. By rating performance, this was one of the greatest results in history, with a performance rating of 3002. This lifted his FIDE rating to 2801, making him the 5th and youngest player to ever surpass 2800.

In the Tal Memorial 2009, played from 5 November to 14 November, Carlsen started with seven straight draws, but finished with wins over Ruslan Ponomariov and Peter Leko. This result put Carlsen in shared second place behind Kramnik and equal with Ivanchuk.

After the Tal Memorial, Carlsen won the 2009 World Blitz Championship, played from 16 November to 18 November in Moscow, Russia. His score of 28 wins, 6 draws and 8 losses left him three points ahead of Anand, who finished in second place.

Carlsen entered the 2009 London Chess Classic as the top seed in a field including Kramnik, Hikaru Nakamura, Michael Adams, Nigel Short, Ni Hua, Luke McShane and David Howell. He defeated Kramnik in round one and went on to win the tournament with 13/21 (three points were awarded for a win, and one for a draw; using classical scoring he finished with 5/7) and a performance rating of 2844, one point ahead of Kramnik. This victory has propelled him to the top of the FIDE rating list, surpassing Veselin Topalov.

Carlsen’s average rating from the July 2009 and January 2010 FIDE lists will enable him to qualify for the Candidates Tournament of the World Chess Championship 2012 cycle.

In early 2009 Carlsen engaged former world champion Garry Kasparov as a personal trainer. In September 2009 their partnership was confirmed in Norwegian newspapers.

He won the Chess Oscar for 2009. [36] The Chess Oscar is awarded to the year’s best player according to a worldwide poll of leading chess critics, writers, and journalists conducted by the Russian chess magazine 64.

2010

Ahead of 2010, Carlsen said that he would be playing in fewer tournaments the coming year. The cooperation with Kasparov continued until March that year.

Carlsen won the Corus chess tournament played January 16–31 with 8½ points (five wins, seven draws, one loss). His ninth-round loss to Kramnik ended a streak of 36 rated games undefeated. Carlsen appeared to struggle in the last round against Fabiano Caruana, but saved a draw leaving him half a point ahead of Kramnik and Shirov.

The March 2010 FIDE rating list showed Carlsen with a new peak rating of 2813, a figure that only Kasparov has bettered. In the same month it was announced that Carlsen had split from Kasparov and would no longer be using him as a trainer, although this was put into different context by Carlsen himself in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel stating that they would remain in contact and that he would continue to attend training sessions with Kasparov.

Carlsen shared first place alongside Ivanchuk in the Amber 2010 blindfold and rapid tournament. Carlsen scored 6½ points in the blindfold and 8 points in the rapid, giving 14½ points from a possible 22 points.

In May 2010 it was revealed that Carlsen had helped Viswanathan Anand prepare for the World Chess Championship 2010 against challenger Veselin Topalov, which Anand won 6½-5½ to retain the title. Carlsen had also helped Anand prepare for the World Chess Championship 2007 and World Chess Championship 2008.

In his first tournament since his announced departure from Kasparov, Carlsen played in the Bazna Kings Tournament in Romania from June 14 through June 25. The tournament was a double round robin event involving Wang Yue, Boris Gelfand, former FIDE world champion Ruslan Ponomariov, Teimour Radjabov, and Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu. After drawing his first three games, Carlsen won his next four and set a personal livechess rating peak of 2825. He finished with 7½/10 and a 2918 performance rating, winning the tournament by two points over Radjabov and Gelfand. The victory ensured that Carlsen remained at the top of the Elo rating list. His official rating hit 2826, a figure exceeded only by Kasparov and just 25 points shy of tying Kasparov’s all-time record.

Carlsen then played in a rapid tournament from August 28 to August 30 at the Arctic Securities Chess Stars tournament in Kristiansund, Norway. The field featured world champion Viswanathan Anand, female world #1 Judit Polgar, and Jon Ludvig Hammer. In the preliminary round robin, Carlsen scored 3½/6 to qualify for the final, second behind Anand. In the final, Carlsen defeated Anand 1½-½ to win the championship.

Following this event, Carlsen suffered setbacks in his next two tournaments. In the 39th Chess Olympiad from September 19 to October 4, he scored 4½/8, losing three games, to Baadur Jobava, Michael Adams and Sanan Sjugirov; these were his first losses with the black pieces in more than a year. [48] His team, Norway, finished 51st out of 149 teams.

Carlsen’s next tournament was the final of the Grand Slam Chess Masters supertournament in Bilbao from October 9 to October 15, 2010, which he had qualified for automatically by winning three of the previous year’s four Grand Slam chess events (2009 Nanjing Pearl Spring, 2010 Corus, 2010 Bazna Kings). Along with Carlsen, the finals consisted of World Champion Viswanathan Anand and the highest two scorers from the preliminary stage held in Shanghai in September, which featured Vladimir Kramnik, Levon Aronian, Alexei Shirov, and Wang Hao; Shirov and Kramnik qualified. The official September 2010 ratings of Carlsen, Anand, Kramnik and Shirov made the Grand Slam final the strongest tournament in chess history, with an average ELO of 2789. In the first round, Carlsen lost on the black side of the Queen’s Indian Defense to Kramnik; this was Carlsen’s second consecutive loss to Kramnik, and placed his hold on the world #1 ranking in serious jeopardy. In his second round, Carlsen lost with the white pieces to Anand in the Ruy Lopez; this was his first loss as white since January 2010, and dropped him to world #2 in the live rankings behind Anand. Carlsen recovered somewhat in the latter part of the tournament, finishing with 2½/6, including a win over Shirov; the tournament was won by Kramnik with 4/6. Carlsen finished this tournament with a rating of 2802, two points behind Anand at 2804 who officially ended Carlsen’s reign at world #1. These setbacks called into question from some whether Carlsen’s activities outside chess, such as modelling for G-Star Raw, was distracting him from performing well at the chess board. Carlsen said he did not believe there was a direct connection, and that he was looking forward to the Pearl Spring tournament, where he had scored 8/10 in 2009.

Following the Grand Slam Chess Masters final, Carlsen’s next tournament was the 2010 Pearl Spring chess tournament, from October 19 to 30 in Nanjing, China, against Anand, world #2 Veselin Topalov, Vugar Gashimov, Wang Yue, and Etienne Bacrot. This was the only tournament in 2010 to feature Anand, Carlsen and Topalov, at the time the top three players in the world, and was the first tournament in history to feature three players rated at least 2800. With early wins over Bacrot, Yue, and Topalov with white, Carlsen took the early lead, extending his winning streak with white in Nanjing to eight. This streak was halted by a draw to Anand in round seven, but in the penultimate round Carlsen secured first place by defeating Topalov with the black pieces. This was his second victory in the tournament over the former world #1, and improved his score to 6½/9. The victory clinched Carlsen a place in the 2011 Grand Slam Chess Masters final, his final score of 7/10 (with a performance rating of 2903) was a full point ahead of runner-up Anand, and moved him back to world #1 on the live rankings.

Carlsen next played in the 2010 World Blitz Championship, in Moscow from November 16 to 18, attempting to defend his 2009 title. With a score of 23.5/38, he finished in third place behind Teimour Radjabov and winner Levon Aronian.

Carlsen won the 2010 London Chess Classic from December 8 to 15 in a field comprising world champion Viswanathan Anand, former world champion Vladimir Kramnik, American number one Hikaru Nakamura, and British players Michael Adams, Nigel Short, David Howell, and Luke McShane. Carlsen had a rocky start, losing his Black games to McShane and Anand in rounds 1 and 3, but winning with White against Adams and Nakamura in rounds 2 and 4. He joined the lead with a Black win over Howell in round 5, and managed to stay in the lead following a harrowing draw with Black against Kramnik in round 6, before defeating Short in the last round with White. Since the tournament was played with three points for a win, Carlsen’s +4=1-2 score put him ahead of Anand and McShane who scored +2=5 (a more traditional two-points-for-a-win system would have yielded a three-way tie, with Carlsen still on top having the better tiebreaker due to four games with black – Anand and McShane had to play only three times with black).

2011

Carlsen competed in the GM-A group of the Tata Steel Chess (Corus) tournament from January 14 to 30 in Wijk aan Zee in an attempt to defend his title (Viswanathan Anand, reigning world blitz champion Levon Aronian, former world champion Vladimir Kramnik, Alexander Grischuk, Hikaru Nakamura, and former FIDE world champion Ruslan Ponomariov among others. Despite losing games with White against Anish Giri and reigning Russian champion Ian Nepomniachtchi, Carlsen finished with 8.0/13, including victories over Kramnik and tournament winner Hikaru Nakamura. Although Carlsen’s performance raised his rating from 2814 to 2815, Anand’s 8.5/13 score elevated his rating to 2817, making him the official world #1 for the March 2011 FIDE rating list.

Playing style

As a teenager, Carlsen became known for his attacking playing style. His win over Sipke Ernst in the 2004 Wijk an Zee C-group which ended with an epaulette mate was an example of the play that was admired by several other chess players. As he matured, Carlsen found that this risky playing style was not as well suited against the world elite. Around 2005 Carlsen was struggling against more experienced grandmasters, and had trouble getting much out of the opening. To progress, Carlsen became a more universal player, capable of handling all sorts of positions well. In the opening, Carlsen has alternated between various opening moves. Instead of specializing in either 1.d4 or 1.e4, Carlsen has alternated between them, thus making it harder for opponents to prepare against him.

Since the announcement that he was coaching Carlsen, Garry Kasparov has repeatedly stated that Carlsen has a positional style, similar to that of past world champions such as Anatoly Karpov, Jose Capablanca and Vassily Smyslov, rather than the tactical style of Alexander Alekhine, Mikhail Tal and himself.

Rating

In the October 2006 FIDE Elo ratings, Carlsen advanced to world number 22 with a rating of 2698. In the January 2007 ratings he dropped to 2690 and rank 24. In the July 2007 ratings, after a series of strong results, Carlsen advanced to become world number 17 with a rating of 2710. On the January 2008 FIDE rating list he was rated at 2733, and on October 2008 he reached 2786 Elo rating. He was placed sixth in the July 2008 list, but if his Aerosvit result had been included he would have been ranked second. The omission of the Aerosvit result, which finished after the cut-off date for the July 2008 list, caused some controversy.

On 5 September 2008, after winning round 4 in the Bilbao Grand Slam chess championship, Carlsen, still under 18, briefly became number one on the unofficial live ratings list.

Carlsen’s September–October 2009 victory in the Nanjing Pearl tournament raised his official rating to 2801, making him at age 18 the youngest player ever to break 2800. The youngest before him was Vladimir Kramnik at age 25. Besides Carlsen, only Kasparov, Topalov, Kramnik, and Anand had achieved a 2800 rating ( Levon Aronian later accomplished the feat in October 2010). Carlsen said that he hoped his victory would mark the « beginning of a new era. »

After the Tal Memorial (November 2009) he became number one in the unofficial live chess rating list with his new peak rating of 2805.7, 0.6 point over the number 2, Veselin Topalov.

The official FIDE rankings were published on 1 January 2010, and the 16 games played at the Tal Memorial and the London Chess Classic were enough to raise his rating by 8.6 rating points to 2810. This meant that Carlsen started 2010 by being the official (and, at the age of 19 years, 32 days, the youngest ever) world number one, and also the first player from a western nation to reach the top in the FIDE rating list since Bobby Fischer in 1972. The press coverage of this feat included an interview and article in Time magazine.

Standing on each top 100 FIDE list

Magnus Carlsen Elo rating evolution since 2001.

  • bold, new peak rating

Books and films

[Top page]

  • Valaker, O; Carlsen, M. (2004). Lær sjakk med Magnus. Gyldendal Norsk Forlag. ISBN 9788205339637.
  • Agdestein, S. (2004). Wonderboy: how Magnus Carlsen became the youngest Chess Grandmaster in the world: the story of the games. Interchess. ISBN 90-5691-131-7.
  • The Prince of Chess, a film about Magnus Carlsen (2005) Directed by Øyvind Asbjørnsen.

Beyond chess

Magnus Carlsen modeled for G-Star Raw’s Fall/Winter 2010 advertising campaign.

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