Even the most ardent chess fanatic would be hard-pushed to name a chess player that has had such a spectacular and glowing history as Magnus Carlsen. Unmistakably a child chess prodigy, Carlsen - full name Sven Magnus Øen Carlsen - has collected some astounding achievements that are unbelievably impressive, even with the jam-packed CVs that come as standard in the chess world. From being ranked the current Number 1 player in the world and his 2013 and 2014 World Chess Cup victories to his exploding onto to the world stage in 2004 when he became a grandmaster at the early age of 13, Carlsen continues to impress professionals and inspire those aspiring to themselves become professional chess players.
Magnus Carlsen In Numbers
Magnus Carlsen was born November 30th 1990, making him 24 years old at the time of writing. He is currently (in 2015) the reigning chess champion, having won the 2013 and 2014 World Chess Cup events. It was in 2004 that Magnus Carlsen achieved grandmaster status, being second-youngest to achieve this in history at the time (though he is now the third-youngest at the time of writing). At the time of writing, Carlsen is ranked Number 1 in the world for all three chess categories (classic, rapid, and blitz)
Avid chess fans will be more interested in Carlsen’s Elo rating, however. His highest-achieved Elo rating of 2882 was reached in May 2014. Thanks to 2700Chess.com, you can view live updates of Elo rankings of the world’s best players. Carlsen is currently at 2850.1, 2847.0, and 2914.0 in classic, rapid, and blitz categories respectively.
From 2009 to 2013, Carlsen was honoured by the Russian Chess Oscars, earning an Oscar on and between the aforementioned dates. This is quite a high honour since consideration and winning of a Chess Oscar is based on a worldwide poll of leading chess players, journalists, and writers. More information about his honours and accolades can be viewed online at the official Magnus Carlsen website.
Reigning World Champion
Perhaps one of the most impressive events of Carlsen’s career to date is his victory over reigning champion Viswanathan Anand in 2013. Before being beaten by Carlsen, Anand had enjoyed an impressive 6 years at the top, having won 6 successive World Chess Cup titles since 2007. Carlsen is perhaps the most qualified player to have taken down Anand; his decorations speak for themselves and he appears to have a bright future ahead of him.
Anyone that has followed Carlsen’s career since he was younger will know that in his earlier years he had a very aggressive playing style. However, as he became more experienced the realisation arose that a chronically aggressive style wasn’t well-balanced enough allow him to prosper against the world’s elite chess players. His playing style became more well-rounded as time went on, allowing him to get more out of the opening of each game as well as facilitating success from virtually any position on the board. Carlsen has himself claimed that he doesn’t believe that he adheres to any particular playing style.
Lead-Up to World Chess Cup 2015
The World Chess Cup 2015 will most definitely be a more entertaining event due to Carlsen’s presence. Before June 2015, Carlsen had enjoyed a rather successful run of tournaments throughout the year. January saw Carlsen emerging as the victor in the Tata Steel Chess Tournament, though he did so after having a poor start but turning it around to pull ahead by half a point, attaining a 9/13 score.
February saw another victory for Carlsen, this time in the 3rd Grenke Chess Classic. This victory wasn’t a steamroll however: the tournament was filled with neck-and-neck play as well as a large number of errors, though Carlsen managed to break the five-game tiebreaker against German player Arkadij Naiditsch. Shamkir Chess is another tournament that Carlsen managed to win, attaining a 7/9 score in order and attaining a 2981 performance rating, his third-best score of his entire career.
Unfortunately, Carlsen won’t have had a perfect run coming into the World Chess Cup 2015 championship. He suffered from some poor performances in the Norway Chess event in June, being unlucky enough to lose on time after securing himself a winning position against Topalov. He couldn’t quite muster up his best performance in the 2nd round either, succumbing to Caruana’s superior play here and lost the final round, losing to Jon Ludvig Hammer.