Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen

Dec 13, 2009, 5:12 AM |

Magnus Øen Carlsen (born Sven Magnus Øen Carlsen on 30 November 1990) is a Norwegian chess Grandmaster and chess prodigy.

On 26 April 2004 Carlsen became a Grandmaster at the age of 13 years, 4 months, and 27 days, making him the third youngest Grandmaster in history. Carlsen has since become one of the world's leading players. His performance at the September-October 2009 Nanjing Pear Spring tournament was described as one of the greatest in history, and lifted him to an Elo rating of 2801, second in the world. He is the fifth player, and at age 18 is by far the youngest, to achieve a rating over 2800. He is also the 2009 World Blitz chess champion, the youngest in history.

In 2004 The Washington Post dubbed him the "Mozart of chess".


  • Playing in Group A of the Corus chess tournament, Carlsen tied for fourth 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, 2.5 points ahead of second-place finisher Topalov, the world's highest-rated player. He scored 8/10 (6 wins, 4 draws, no losses), winning every game as white (against Topalov, Wang Yue, Leko, Radjabov, and Jakovenko), and also winning as black against Jakovenko. This was described as one of the greatest tournament results in history. Jeff Sonas considers Carlsen's result the best performance ever by a teenager, and tied for the 13th best tournament result in history. His performance rating for the tournament was 3002.
  • 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.
  •  Magnus Carlsen started cooperating with former world champion Garry Kasparov in early 2009. In September 2009 their cooperation was confirmed in Norwegian newspapers.



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, Magnus Carlsen, still under 18, briefly became #1 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 have achieved a 2800 rating, and it has been pointed out that these four were all world champions. 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 two, Veselin Topalov.