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Carlsen, Magnus

Magnus Carlsen, Norwegian child chess prodigy, was born Nov 30, 1990, and gained the Grandmaster title (2004) at the age of 13 years, 4 months and 27 days.   He became the 2nd youngest GM in chess history, behind only  Sergey Karjakin and Parimarjan Negi.  He started playing chess at 8 and was trained by Grandmaster Simen Agdestein, Norway’s top chess player.  He took 10th in the 2005 FIDE World Cup, becoming the youngest player ever to qualify for the Candidates. In 2006, he won the Norwegian Championship.  His Elo rating's peak is 2882, the best of ever (live 2889).

As a youth, Carlsen had an aggressive style of play, and, according to Agdestein, his play was characterised by "a fearless readiness to offer material for activity". As he matured, Carlsen found that this risky playing style was not as well suited against the world elite. When he started playing in top tournaments, he was struggling against top players, and had trouble getting much out of the opening. To progress, Carlsen's style became more universal, capable of handling all sorts of positions well. In the opening, Carlsen starts with both 1.d4 and 1.e4, as well as 1.c4 and 1.Nf3 on occasion, thus making it harder for opponents to prepare against him. Evgeny Sveshnikov has criticised Carlsen's opening play, claiming in a 2013 interview that without a more "scientific" approach to preparation, his "future doesn't look so promising".

Carlsen has been known to say that he isn't all that interested in opening preparation; his main forte is the middlegame, in which he manages to outplay many of his opponents with positional means. ... Carlsen's repertoire is aimed at avoiding an early crisis in the game. He invariably aims for middlegames that lend themselves to a strategic approach.

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