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did you mean: what are Carlsen's strengths?
I'll answer your question: his rating!
I think his age is definatly a strength for him.
Carlsen has unbelievably strong intuitive powers that exceed Capablanca and Anatoly Karpov.
1.legendary endgame tehnique
3.tenacious defensive ability
4.strong intuition and positional understanding
5.excellent time management
6.superb physical conditioning
Chess BBQ, how does being phsyicly fit adhere to chess? Unless you are referring to a strong body strong mind type reference.
Spassky was once asked about the young players of the day (maybe 5-6 years ago), and he said that he really liked Carlsen's always looking for, and usually also finding, ways to put the opponent under pressure no matter how dry the position looked.
Carlsen's endgame technique is certainly one of his greatest strengths. There have for example been some games against Kramnik (who is quite strong in the endgame himself) where Carlsen drew from lost positions or won from drawn positions:
"Where's the number 2?""sitting on the otherside of the board to carlsen"
2.He is Norwegian
He often wins games where his opponents make mistakes after five hours or so, and he doesn't. He is able to stay extremely concentrated for the entire game. You need to be physically fit to do that.
Can you stop to smoke during that type of length, 5-6 hours?
Yes, but few top players smoke, and the smoking zone may be outside the playing area so at top level you might need to get an arbiter to accompany you each time.
Grishuk had to go outside to smoke during the recent Candidates, and although the other players agreed he didn't need to call an arbiter, it was probably still a disadvantage.
Maybe it's easier to point out where he's not the best player around today?
IMHO, Carlsen is not the best when the position calls for a direct attack to the opponent King: maybe he's relatively hampered by his amazing board vision, hence having the tendency to look for more whole-position ways to the advantage, but sometimes (VERY rarely) he delays the attack by a move or two, when a more naturally attacking player of somewhat lesser overall ability would probably jump on the occasion.
Mind that this is just wanting to look for the smallest of the little imperfections, and I'm not saying that Carlsen cannot attack the King: I'm just saying that I think he's the absolute best in everything else but that area, in which more direct top players show sometimes more familiarity.
(Also many pointed out his opening "errors", but I think Carlsen results demonstrate his approach as being very much appropriate for him to benefit the most by his strenghts while avoiding the opponents' preparation)
Tough luck for Aronian 5.5 hour game!!!
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