Carlsen on Reddit: “I always kept a very positive mindset”

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 3/20/14, 4:39 AM.

Just like Hikaru Nakamura last month, on Wednesday Magnus Carlsen did an “AMA” (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit, the social news and entertainment website where registered users submit content in the form of links or text posts. Again the result was a interesting “interview” with the world number one and World Champion, who wasn't too shy to present his sense of humor! Below is a selection of questions and answers; you can read the full Reddit AMA here.

Update: Carlsen also made a video, together with his manager Espen Agdestein, in which they comment on the first six rounds of the FIDE Candidates’ Tournament. It was posted a day after the Reddit interview:

Do you ever log onto sites like, as an anonymous player, and just crush people for fun?

Magnus Carlsen
Once in a while I've used some of my friends accounts and won a couple of games... or a lot... (...) You'll be amazed at the people i've lost to while playing online...

Hi Magnus! Even though you were International Master and Grandmaster early on, did you ever feel like you have plateaued with your game, that you did not think you could get better, or did you always know that you could be the best player ever? And if you did think you could not get better, how did you get better?

Magnus Carlsen
Times when I was struggling, I always kept a very positive mindset. I thought that things would turnaround in the next game, or the next tournament. Eventually it did.
As for plateaued, I still feel that I have plenty to learn. It's just about translating more knowledge into better play and better results.

What is your favorite chess game of all time?

Magnus Carlsen
Anand - Kamsky Candidates Match 1994

do you ever struggle playing yourself age 23 in the Play Magnus app? I personally pride myself in beating you at 8 years old.

Magnus Carlsen
I always struggle playing against Magnus 23. When playing younger "Magnuses" I'm occasionally successful.

How many beers would you need to drink for a Master to be able to beat you?

Magnus Carlsen
There is no answer to this question... even extremely intoxicated my chess strength and knowledge is still in my bones.

I noticed on your Twitter account that you are closely following the 2014 Candidates tournament. Are there any games or positions that have struck you as particularly interesting or beautiful?

Magnus Carlsen
I was impressed by Anand's win against Aronian in the first round. It's not often that you beat the number 2 player in the world purely by technique.

Hi! What do you think of Nakamura joking with calling you Sauron on Twitter?

Magnus Carlsen
I've never actually watched Lord of the Rings... if I had, and Nakamura had been a better chess player, I might have been more insulted.

What do you think made you the strongest man in the world?

Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen
My coach Peter Heine told me that he saw me play as a ten year-old, and gained the impression of someone who knew a lot of theory but couldn't play that well on his own. So, it has been a long process and gradually I have learned more and more about the game.

[Username hidden for explicit language]
I've always wondered; now that you are the best in the world. How can coaches help you get better? Or don't they at all? Is it just up to yourself now to improve?
Ignorer brukernavnet mitt, hehe!

Magnus Carlsen
Most of all it is up to myself to improve because even the best coaches don't fully understand what's going on in my mind - haha

What's your favorite chess book? Favorite non-chess book?

Magnus Carlsen
Chess book: Kramnik: My Life & Games made a strong impression on my as a child
Non-chess book: close race between several Donald Duck comics (seriously).

How has your life changed since winning the World Championship? Has it become more difficult to stay motivated?

Magnus Carlsen
My approach to tournaments has not changed that much, even before the World Championship I was the best player in the world, so in that sense it's the same and I am the one to beat. I have the confidence that I can always do well.

What is your favorite meal, and what do you eat before a match?

Magnus Carlsen
I don't have a favorite meal, but before the match I would usually eat an omelette or a some yogurt with fruit.

Hello Magnus,
What are your thoughts on the ongoing Candidates 2014? Does Vishy winning make it easier for you or do you have another favourite in the tournament? I ask because judging from your tweets, you don't really hold Anand in the highest regard :)
What is your response to the general idea that you are too much of a grinder? A great many number of people have said that you specialize in squeezing out dry positions rather than playing attacking chess. Many GMs have called your style of chess as its death in some aspects.

Magnus Carlsen
No, it didn't have anything to do with Anand, I'm very impressed by his level of preparation and general play both tactically and technically so far in the Candidates.
I think it's an important trait of a good player to be able to have the same level of focus and creativity in simple positions as well as more complicated ones and thus create chances at any point in the game. I don't think making few mistakes and playing very accurately for a long time should be a negative.

18642 reads 43 comments
16 votes


  • 3 years ago


    He wasn't referring to one game in particular - he was referring to the whole match

  • 3 years ago

    NM ozzie_c_cobblepot

    Seems like Carlsen might not appreciate what drinking 15 beers might do to him.

    Also, which game from Anand-Kamsky is he referring to?

  • 3 years ago


    I agree, MSC. I was not impressed at all. Nakamura spent hours doing his AMA and answered all kinds of questions candidly, even the tough ones. He even admitted to nightmares after his last encounter with Carlsen. Carlsen is a better player but he is extremely boring. I also find his cheap shot at Nakamura to be telling. A real champion doesn't need to poke fun at his lessers.  And for those bashing Nakamura, go take a look at his profile page, he is very popular here and you are in the minority. At least he plays with his fans on a regular basis. Magnus act like he is some kind of god. Nakamura is one of us.

  • 3 years ago


    Like Carlsen said, Anything Can Happen. 

  • 3 years ago


    It seems that Nakamura should keep his ridiculous monnikers to himself. Carlsen really just wants to play good chess, trying to avoid meaningless confrontations.

  • 3 years ago


    To be honest, Carlsen's AMA was pretty lame, comparing to Nakamura's. Should have been a few minutes longer. Nice to see GMs on Reddit though. 

  • 3 years ago


  • 3 years ago


    Maybe I ought to feel even more insulted I watched Lord of the Rings and didn't know whom Sauron was and I am not a very good chessplayer either.

  • 3 years ago


    Which Anand Kamsky 1994 game is Magnus talking about ?


  • 3 years ago


    Tongue Out

  • 3 years ago


    Has anyone seen the 60 minutes episode on Magnus?  Is it on Youtube?  My brother told me about it. 

  • 3 years ago


    Great Q and A. Even though I'm a Nakamura fan. Magnus earn every right to trash any player, who trys to insult him. Until you beat him or win the world title. Keep your jokes and negative comments to yourself.

  • 3 years ago


    Nice interview on Reddit ... and enjoyed the commentary on the Challenger's Tourney as well.  Thanks.  :)

  • 3 years ago


    Is Carlsen calling Naka a bad chess player? Wow. Naka may have been a level below before, but right now I think that he can actually challenge Carlsen in a match. Good "interview"!

  • 3 years ago



    Magnus fired back at you today :

  • 3 years ago


    That was the name of one of those who asked a question.

  • 3 years ago


    "I've never actually watched Lord of the Rings... if I had, and Nakamura had been a better chess player, I might have been more insulted."


  • 3 years ago


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