Magnus Carlsen: "My job is to improve my chess"

PeterDoggers
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Magnus CarlsenAs we reported earlier today, Magnus Carlsen has started working with former World Champion Garry Kasparov. In a brief interview conducted by phone, Magnus Carlsen tells ChessVibes what it's like to work with The Boss. “Yes, I always feel tired at the end of the day. But that’s good.”

Thanks to sponsors which haven't been disclosed yet, Magnus Carlsen has started working with Garry Kasparov to try and become the number one chess player in the world. For the moment the collaboration will last two years; the two started working together about six months ago and will continue to do so until the end of 2010, with a possibility of extension.

This afternoon we talked to Magnus briefly on the phone about this wonderful news.

First, congratulations with getting yourself a coach that has been quite a decent chess player himself. "Thanks. It's a great opportunity."

How did it all start, how did you get in touch with Kasparov? “He took the initiative. We heard that he was interested to cooperate, and I decided that this was something I really wanted."

When was this? "Around the start of 2009."

You have already worked in Moscow and in Croatia. What have you done so far? "We’ve had a few sessions and we’ve done some work. I cannot tell you too much, but obviously we worked on openings. As you know there are of course a lot of hidden treasures."

He’s happy to share his analysis stored in his famous laptop with you? "Yes. And it's much easier to understand when he explains his notes himself. When you look at a certain position, anyone can explain you the main ideas, but many of the opening ideas and concepts of this day were actually developed by him so it makes a big difference to actually have the person who actually created this to discuss with."

Kasparov is known for his energy. Is it hard working with him? "Yes, I always feel tired at the end of the day. But that's good."

Magnus Carlsen

How often do you plan to meet? "A few sessions each year. Sometimes for several days, but sometimes longer. In Croatia it we worked for two weeks."

You're about to play to strong tournaments - the Pearl Spring in Nanjing and the Tal Memorial in Moscow - to what extend will he be involved in your specific tournament preparation? "I discuss things with him during and before tournaments. We have regular contact, not only during the training sessions."

Why do you think Kasparov wants to do this? I mean, it cannot be just for the money. "Well, you should ask him, of course. But I don’t think money is his motivation. I think it’s about legacy – he wants to do something for the chess world, and for someone in the chess world."

According to the newspaper Verdens Gang the goal is to “make you the world's best during the course of the coming year”. That sounds a bit vague; rating wise you have to close the gap of 41 points with Topalov. What are you striving for exactly? "Well... since we started worked together, things haven’t gone a hundred percent according to plan. I didn’t win Dortmund and Sofia while I could well have won them with a bit more luck. We’re working towards this goal and just try to improve."

Magnus Carlsen

Obviously you want to try and qualify for the Candidates Tournament, either by rating or as the nominated player by the organizers. Do you also have this in mind? "I'm not thinking about the World Championship very much, or the cycle in general. I think one thing is to qualify for the Candidates Tournament, but another thing is to do it in a proper way. My job is to improve my chess, which is also his job to some extend."

Does this mean you have finally decided that you want to become a professional chess player? "It certainly means that I will be a professional for some time. I think that if I will start studying it will be in quite some time from now."
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