Carlsen: “I Would Beat Tal And Fischer”

Carlsen: “I Would Beat Tal And Fischer”

| 247 | Chess Event Coverage

Magnus Carlsen thinks he would beat Mikhail Tal (“pretty easily”) and Bobby Fischer too, but the latter “would be more difficult.” It's one of several great quotes in an interview published by The Telegraph.

The Telegraph's Nigel Farndale interviewed Carlsen 11 years ago, when the Norwegian was aged 13. Recently he spoke to him again, at Carlsen's new home near Oslo.

The result is a fine portait of the world champion, published a week before the London Chess Classic — the final stage of the Grand Chess Tour. It is the perfect moment for Carlsen to end a bad year on a high note. 

Farndale's interview is perhaps more of a player's profile than an in-depth interview. It deserves a special mention in our news section because of its high quality, which we don't always see when chess hits mainstream media.

An example. The interviewer meets Carlsen at his new house near Oslo, which is currently taken care of by his parents.

“My parents are living here at the moment. When they least expect it, I will throw them out on the streets,” said Magnus, and Farndale added: “He gives a slow-burn, lopsided smile, to show he is joking.”

It is typical of Magnus's special kind of humor which is often misunderstood. Once he joked that it was “obvious” that he was autistic, and he needed to do quite some explaining after that.

The Magnus Carlsen profile in The Telegraph.

For chess players there is a nice bit about previous world champions.

He has always been interested in the history of chess and has had the chance to play both Karpov and Kasparov, two legends of the game. But if he could play anyone in history who would it be? “I think the top ones would be Fischer and Capablanca, maybe Mikhail Tal, but I think I would beat Tal pretty easily. Fischer would be more difficult, but I think I could beat him too.”

It is an endless source of speculation and imagination: what if top player X meets top player Y from the past? Usually the answer is along the lines of “one cannot compare, there are too many factors...” and so it is nice to see Carlsen's two cents.

Carlsen admits that it's an advantage to him that he gets a lot of attention, and thereby he seems to subscribe to the theory of some top GMs who feel that players often play worse against Magnus than against other players.

“I think it’s a huge advantage. My opponents are inevitably a little more timid when they play me. Now I just need to reassert myself and get back to a level of play that justifies their attitude.”

You can read the Magnus profile here. Recommended!

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