Saturday, April 19, 2008

Magnus Carlsen : Chess Profile

Magnus Øen Carlsen (born November 30, 1990 in Tønsberg, Norway) is a Norwegian chess Grandmaster and chess prodigy.

On April 26, 2004 Carlsen became Grandmaster at the age of 13 years, 4 months, and 27 days, the third youngest Grandmaster age in history.

Since then, he has established himself as an elite Grandmaster. In the April 2008 FIDE list, he has an Elo rating of 2765, making him Norway's number 1, World Juniors' number 1 and World's number 5.

Chess Biography

Sometimes nicknamed the ‘Mozart of chess’, wunderkind Magnus started playing competitive chess at the age of 8, and by the age of 13 and 3 months became a grandmaster – a record second only to Karjakin. Carlsen lives in Lommedalen, Bærum, near Norway's capital, Oslo. He played his first tournament at the age of eight and was coached at the Norwegian high school for top athletes led by the country's top player, Grandmaster (GM) Simen Agdestein. Agdestein put his civil worker and master player Torbjørn Ringdahl-Hansen, currently a FIDE master with IM and GM norms, as his coach and they had one training session every week, together with one of Magnus' close friends. The young International Master was given a year off from elementary school to participate in international chess tournaments during the fall season of 2003. In that year, he finished third in the European Under-12 Boys Championship.

Chess career


Corus 2004

The result that brought him to the attention of the international chess world, however, was his victory in the C group at the Corus chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee with 10.5/13, losing just one game (against the highest rated player of the C group, Dusko Pavasovic), taking his first Grandmaster norm, and achieving an Elo tournament performance rating of 2702. Particularly notable was his win in the penultimate round over Sipke Ernst in which Carlsen sacrificed material to mate Ernst in just 29 moves. This game won Carlsen the Audience Prize for best game of the round (including all the games played in the B and A groups), though the first 23 moves had already been seen in the game Almagro Llanas-Gustafsson, Madrid 2003 (which, however, was a draw).

Carlsen's tournament victory in the C group qualified him to play in the B group in 2005, and led to Lubomir Kavalek, writing in the Washington Post, to describe him as the "Mozart of chess". According to an interview with mentor Agdestein, himself once the world's youngest GM at 18, Carlsen is a significantly better player than he was himself at the same age. Carlsen is said to have an excellent memory and plays an unusually wide range of different openings.

[edit] Moscow Aeroflot Open 2004

Carlsen obtained his second GM norm in the Moscow Aeroflot Open in February 2004. In a blitz chess tournament (where players have much less time for their moves than in normal chess) in Reykjavík, Iceland, on 17 March 2004, Magnus Carlsen defeated former world champion Anatoly Karpov. The blitz tournament was a preliminary event leading up to a rapid chess knock out 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.

[edit] Dubai Open Chess Championship 2004

In the 6th Dubai Open Chess Championship, held 18 April to 28, 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. Resulting from this he was at the time world's youngest GM 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.

World Championship 2004

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

[edit] Norwegian Championship

In July 2004, Carlsen finished second place behind Berge Østenstad in the Norwegian Chess Championship. Since the scores of these two players were equal (each got 7 points out of 9 but Østenstad had better tiebreaks) a 2-game play-off match between the two was arranged. Due to Østenstad's superior tiebreak score he would win the title should this match end with a 1-1 tie. The match did end with a 1-1 tie after two draws, so Østenstad retained his Norwegian championship title.


Smartfish Chess Masters 2004-05

In Smartfish Chess Masters at the Drammen chess festival 2004-05 (Norway) Carlsen defeated Alexei Shirov, ranked number 13 in the world. In June 2005 in the Ciudad de Leon rapid chess tournament Carlsen played a four-game semi-final against Viswanathan Anand, former FIDE World Champion and number 1 ranked player in the world. Magnus lost 3-1. Carlsen was invited to the tournament as the most promising young chess player in 2005.

[edit] Norwegian Chess Championship

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 November 7 and November 10. 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.

World Chess Cup

At the end of 2005 he participated at the World Chess Cup 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 1.5-2.5 to Evgeny Bareev, which prevented him from finishing 1st to 8th. He then won against Joel Lautier 1.5-0.5 and Vladimir Malakhov 3.5-2.5 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 8 out of 9 points and a performance rating of 2792 at the age of 14.


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 November 19-21, 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 [1] 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. [2]

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.[3]

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/Bienne 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, 6.5/10 and a 2700 ELO performance, thus winning the right to participate in the 2007 Melody Amber tournament.[4]

* In the World Blitz Championship at Rishon LeZion, Israel he was no. 8 of 16 participants with 7.5/15 points.

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

* Carlsen achieved a shared 8th place of 10 participants in the Mikhail Tal Memorial in Moskow with 2 losses and 7 draws. In the associated blitz tournament Tal Blitz Cup he received 17.5/34 points and 9th place in a group of 18 participants.


* In the 2007 Corus chess tournament Carlsen, playing in group A for the first time, had to settle for the last place after 9 draws and 4 losses, scoring 4.5 points in 13 rounds.
* 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 2nd place (on tiebreaks) with 7.5 points after 4 wins, 7 draws and 3 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 8 draws and 3 losses in the blindfold, and 3 wins, 7 draws and 1 loss in the rapid part. This resulted in a shared 9th place in the blindfold, shared 2nd place in the rapid (beaten only by Anand), and an 8th 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 6-game match was drawn (2 wins, 2 draws, and 2 losses), with Carlsen coming from behind twice. The 4-game rapid playoff was drawn as well (1 win, 2 draws, and 1 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 July-August 2007, he won the International Chess Festival Biel Grandmaster Tournament 2007, with a +2 record (an ELO performance of 2753). His score was equalled by 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.
* 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, 0.5:1.5.


* Playing for the second time in the top group A of the Corus chess tournament, Carlsen showed big improvement over his 2007 performance. His final score was 8 points in 13 rounds, an ELO performance of 2830. Carlsen scored 5 wins (including beating former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik with the black pieces), 2 losses and 6 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 8 out of 14 (5 wins, 3 losses and 6 draws). He finished in sole second place, 1/2 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 4 wins, 4 draws and 2 losses in the blindfold, and 3 wins, 6 draws and 2 losses in the rapid part. This resulted in a shared 5th place in the blindfold, shared 3rd place in the rapid and a shared 2nd place in the overall tournament.

* Between April 20 and May 6, 2008 Carlsen will be first seed in the first Grand Prix Tournament in Baku, Azerbaijan.


In the October 2006 FIDE 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 April 2008 he reached 2765 ELO rating, reaching fifth place in the world rankings.