Young Superstars:  Magnus Carlsen

Young Superstars: Magnus Carlsen

| 12 | Chess Players

Magnus Carlsen, born November 30, 1990, learned chess at the age of eight and lives in Baerum, Norway, just outside Oslo.  He received the title of International Master in 2003.  The next year, he gained 300 rating points.  In Corus that year, he scored 10.5 out of 13 and earning a Grandmaster norm and a performance rating of 2702.  Lubomir Kavalek wrote for the Washington Post, that Magnus was the 'Mozart of chess'.  At the Moscow Aeroflot Open that year Magnus earned his second norm and later beat Anatoly Karpov in a blitz tournament and drew a game with Garry Kasparov.  Carlsen earned his third norm at the Dubai Open Chess Championship that same year with four wins and four draws becoming the second youngest to gain the GM title, next to Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine.  He completed the year with 7 points of 9 in the Norwegian Championship.  Magnus tied with Berge Østenstad, the champion of 2003.  A playoff was arranged between the two which ended in a 1-1 tie so Østenstad retained his title.

In 2005, Magnus had a four game match with Viswanathan Anand, the then second ranked player in the world.  Magnus lost 3-1.  In the Norwegian Championship that year, Carlsen tied with his teacher, Simen Agdestein and, this time lost after a series of six tiebreak games.  In the World Chess Cup, Magnus beat Zurab Azmaiparashvili, Farrukh Ammonatov and Ivan Cheparinov before losing to Evgeny Bareev.  Having finished in 10th place, he secured a spot in the Candidates Matches, becoming the youngest player to be a World Championship Candidate.  He took first place at the Arnold Eikrem Memorial with a performance rating of 2792.

In the 2006 Norwegian Championship, Magnus once again tied with Agdestein and won the tiebreaks 3-1.  He scored 6 of 8 in the 37th Olympiad in 2006 with a performance rating of 2820.  At the Biel/Bienne grandmaster tournament, he came in second but beat the winner Alexander Morozevich with both colors.

This year, he played in group A in the Corus chess tournament.  At Linares, he scored 7.5 out of 14 with an ELO performance of 2778.  At the Melody Amber tournament, Magnus drew 8 and lost 3 in the rapid section and 3 wins, 7 draws and a loss in the blind section.  In the International Chess Festival Biel Grandmaster Tournament, Magnus tied with Alexander Onischuk and after a grueling round of tiebreaks, became the youngest player ever to win a category 18 tournament.

With White, Magnus plays 1.e4 nearly 2/3s of the time, 1.d4 one third and 1.Nf3 every tenth game.  With the black pieces, Magnus plays c5 two thirds of the time against 1.e4 (Alapin, Rossolimo or Kan Variations) with e5 the rest of the time (Petrov or Two Knights Defenses).  Against 1.d4, he almost always plays Nf6, prefering the Queen's Indian or transposing into a Queen's Gambit Declined (Ragozin or Slav).

Inteview with Magnus after Linares (English subtitles):

 All puzzles are White to Move and Win except where noted.  35 more Carlsen puzzles can be found at


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