Carlsen on working with Kasparov, and other topics

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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0 | Chess Event Coverage

In the comments below our recent article about the end of the cooperation between Nakamura and Kasparov, several of our readers pointed out an interview with Magnus Carlsen which was conducted by Evgeny Atarov just after the Tal Memorial and published a few days ago at ChessPro. Indeed it's one of the most interesting interviews with the world's number one published in a while, and definitely worth mentioning here.

The tireless ColinMcGourty doesn't have too much time for Chess in Translation these days but luckily he still translates lots of material from Russian into English for WhyChess. We give a few quotes and recommend reading longer excerpts.

How much time do you devote to chess?

It’s hard for me to count. When I’m at a tournament chess takes up all my time. At that point I’m 100% focussed on the game. I switch off the television and telephone, I don’t exist for anyone… When I’m at home? If I don’t have a training session and there’s no upcoming tournament then I don’t study chess at all.
(...)
 
How much slower do you think your chess development would have been if you didn’t have a computer at hand?
I don’t know. I never thought about it. It seems to me (stopping to think), that the computer didn’t have any kind of fundamental influence on me personally.
That’s hard to believe… You stand out precisely for being ready to play any position “on sight”, for being ready to defend positions where “ugly” machine moves are required…
But that’s how it was. I can tell you that for the first few years I didn’t use the machine’s help at all, even as a database! Back then I simply put a board in front of me, took the books I was studying at the time and looked at everything on that. And the first time I needed a computer for chess was when I started to play on the internet.
 
(...)
 
What was the main benefit you got from working on the game with him?
Thanks to him I began to understand a whole class of positions better. It’s clear that he knew much more than me… At times it was difficult to keep up with the speed and depth of his analysis, but more often than not we were on the same wavelength. What can I say: it was a unique experience for me. Kasparov gave me a great deal of practical help.

You can read longer excerpts here (and the original in Russian here).

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