A sponsoring agreement has been agreed between Arctic Securities and Magnus Carlsen.
Magnus became an International Grandmaster at the age of 13, the youngest at the time. In October 2009, during the Nanjing Pearl Spring tournament, he became the fifth chess player in the history to achieve an Elo-rating over 2800 Ė by far the youngest to do so. That year he also became The World Blitz Chess Champion. On January the 1st of 2010 the new FIDE list was published and at the age of 19 Magnus became the youngest ever chess player to be ranked World Number One. Carlsen is the best representative for top excellence within both analysis and implementation.
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|Magnus Carlsen`s Blog|
|Sinquefield Cup 2014 Half way|
In the first half we saw 10 decisive games out of the 15 exciting games, and Caruana cruising through the field with a highly impressive 5/5.
In round one as black against Vachier-Lagrave I accepted his invitation to play a sharp line. Unfortunately he seemed better prepared, but I managed to find the right continuation. The ensuing battle was tense and sharp all through the game. He found a perpetual at the end. If felt great to play in St.Louis once again!
I was black again against Nakamura in round two, where I went for an unusual sideline. My opponent chose the safe rather than risky continuation both in the opening and in the middle game. I allowed the awkward looking pawn structure in the centre with my pawns on d4 and d6, with just enough time to create a king side attack before he could round up my d4-pawn. He wisely allowed a perpetual, and in lack of any better alternative for me, we drew well before the time control. Caruana won against Vachier-Lagrave with a novelty in a sharp Caro-kann and Aronianís bishops came alive to finish off Topalov after the latter won an exchange out of the opening.
With white against Caruana I made several mistakes in the opening, and by the time I understood I was worse I was already in trouble. When he allowed the interesting bishop sacrifice on f7 I felt the game could go either way. Despite the ensuing complications, he played the rest of the game very accurately. Having missed his great Nd3 resource I ended up a pawn down without much hope of salvation, when I even blundered horribly just before the time control losing immediately.
In round 4 with white against Topalov I had a strong initiative in the middle game with ample compensation for the sacrificed pawn. My e4-plan was dubious as he could sacrifice back a pawn to reach an equal ending. I seemingly tried very hard to lose the game, over-pressing well beyond being in control. If he had seen Rc5 I would have had to find some really accurate defensive moves to save the draw. He didnít, and we swapped all pieces and drew with kings and one knight left each.
Despite playing below par in round 3 and 4, it didnít feel as if I was doing as bad overall as the meager 1.5/4 would indicate, and it felt great to win with black in round 5 against Aronian. A fairly decent game by me, but winning with black usually requires some assistance from your opponent as well. A pawn down he seemed to be defending. His Nb3 was a mistake, and maybe the 5 against 4 pawn-ending can be held for white but it is pretty difficult. Instead of pushing g6 he could have chosen the 3 versus 2 pawn ending where I would have had a passed pawn in the e-file. That might also be a theoretical draw, but in practice it is very difficult to defend. Finally I got my first victory in this event, and Topalov and I are an ocean of points (2.5) behind Caruana with 5 rounds to go.
On the rest day today we played golf at the excellent 1904 Olympic course at Glen Echo, and later there was The Burning Boards event at the World Chess Hall of Fame in the evening. Tuesday at 2 pm local time Iím white against Vachier-Lagrave.
Magnus Carlsen, St.Louis, September 1st, 2014
|Sinquefield Cup 2014 in St. Louis|
It was not only about chess. Iíve looked forward to coming back to St. Louis and the Sinquefield Cup for some time, having had lots of good experiences during the visit last year. The people, excursions, sport activities, restaurants, the nearby park and even some sightseeing are fond memories. And it was no drawback that I won and gained confidence prior to the Chennai match.
The hospitable Sinquefields hosted a nice dinner yesterday and today we had signing and photo sessions, done interviews and of course the opening ceremony with the drawing of lots.
For once Iíll start with two black games against M. Vachier-Lagrave and H.Nakamura. The rest of the historically high-rating-field averaging above 2800 consists of L.Aronian, F.Caruana, V.Topalov and me.
The chess Olympics in Tromso wasnít a great success for the Norwegian top team as lost a critical match against Croatia in the penultimate round. Until then we had had many good results merged with the occasional disappointing result. In the last round my teammates won 4-0 as expected, and it was enough for 29th place. In the past, being the best Scandinavian country was an ambitious goal. This time this achievement did not feel as much of a consolation.
Iíd like to congratulate the Open group winners China, and the silver and bronze medalists from Hungary and India with their impressive results. Especially when considering that none of them were rated top three in advance and both China and India played without several of their highest rated players.
Hopefully the Olympics and the broad Norwegian media coverage contributed further to an (even) broader national chess interest.
The Sinquefield Cup will be covered live on TV2 starting tomorrow at 2 pm local time in St.Louis.
Magnus Carlsen, St.Louis, August 26th, 2014
|Tromsoe Chess Olympiad update|
I started with a decent win against Caruana after the rest day. Since then my play has been unusually erratic.
Spoiling a much better position against Najditsch and even losing in the end was pretty tough, especially as we lost the match against Germany 2.5-1.5.
I wasnít happy with my play yesterday against Borki Predojevic either, but it was enough to win.
Today we faced Turkey and in the NRK live studio after the game one of the reporters questioned my inspiration. The problem today was rather too much inspiration. In a topical Slav set-up I went for a g4-g5 plan, while missing the strength of Solakís counterplay a pawn down. Without a safe haven for my king I chose to castle long. He maintained a strong initiative but seemed to panic in time trouble, and after his a3-check I was finally calling the shots and managed to win the tricky ending. With two draws and a loss on the other boards we drew against Turkey and needs to win tomorrow against Croatia in the penultimate round.
Norway2 came close to another sensation today but lost 2.5-1.5 against Russia in the end.
I look forward to the rest day after tomorrow!
Magnus Carlsen, Tromsoe, August 11th, 2014 "
|Tromsoe Chess Olympiad 2014 R5-6|
The favourites start to float to the top in the Open section with Azerbaijan and Cuba at 11 match points ahead of Russia, China, Armenia ++ at 10.
After nice summer weather early in the Olympiad, weíve had a few days of tropic rain hopefully making travellers from afar feel at home. Unfortunately, a heavy rainfall on the rest day yesterday coincided with our daily football session. Fortunately, I avoided catching a cold, and the football session might even have helped me stay focused during the game today.
In my second black in a row against a 2800 player, Caruana this time, I was slightly worse out of the opening, without any real compensation for his bishop pair. The flip side was that the unusual Scandinavian variation brought us out of known territory and he spent much time in the early middle game.
At one point I had to calculate precisely to avoid real problems, but when he played e4 I was starting to get ambitious. I did not like his Nd6 plan. (Well I guess I liked facing it, but it wasnít the best plan available for white.) Later he could have entered a drawish position by returning to e4 with his knight in time, but after c5 his position quickly deteriorated, and I followed in the footsteps of my compatriots Lie (18-move victory) and Hammer to secure a solid and strong Norwegian 3-1 victory against Italy to reach 9 match points.
This was just what we needed after the 2.5-1.5 loss to Armenia in round 5 (where Agdestein lost a difficult ending, and the rest of us drew.)
The Norwegian top female team outclassed the strong Venezuelan team 4-0, and things look quite promising for the home teams with 5 rounds to go.
Tomorrow we face Germany.
Just now hurtigruten (MS Trollfjord) docked 50 meters from my balcony at Rica Ishavshotel. Got to go!
Magnus Carlsen, Tromsoe, August 8th, 2014
|Tromsoe Chess Olympiad 2014 R2-4|
In round 2 on Sunday our team drew all the games against Finland despite a clear rating advantage on every board. After finally having equalized with black against Nyback in the late middle game I blundered with a6, and was fortunate not to get into real trouble.
Our 2nd team in the Open group made the headlines holding the strong Ukrainian team to 2-2 with the reigning Norwegian champion Frode Urkedal beating Ivanchuk on board one!
After a less than optimum start, the Norwegian team has turned the trend with two strong victories in round 3 against Montenegro and today against (15th ranked) Polen.
With the white pieces Iíve won both my games. Yesterday Hammer won as well and today both Hammer and Agdestein had good winning chances at some point.
In my game against Anand-second Wojtaszek I chose an unusual opening to get a complex structure and a game outside theory from early on. As I was hoping I managed to outplay him in the middle game and won quite comfortably.
Tomorrow I expect much more difficult opposition as weíll face Armenia (with World no 2 Levon Aronian on board one). Rating-wise they are only a slight favourite, but their Olympiad merits are simply astonishing having won 3 of the last 4 Olympiads!
The team spirit and general mood in the Norwegian team is excellent. We are playing football nearly every night and the location and quality of the (Rica Ishavs-) hotel is good. My teammates even have two of my main sponsors Arctic Securities and Simonsen Vogt Wiig on their shirts as these firms are sponsoring the Norwegian team in the Olympiad.
From the impressive opening ceremony onwards, it is fair to say that the organizers have done a good job so far, and I look forward to the continuation!
Magnus Carlsen, Tromsoe, August 5th, 2014
|Tromsoe Chess Olympiad 2014|
The Rapid and Blitz World Championships in Dubai in June had high priority for me this year. I hoped the Dubai Chess & Culture centre would continue to be a successful venue for me 10 years after scoring my final GM norm down there.
A month later it has resided into the background, but at the time winning the Rapid and Blitz titles resembled the feelings after round 10 in the World Championship match against V.Anand in November last year! The tense, sometimes nerve-wracking swings within games and in the standings during the tournaments made it exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. I look forward to similar events in the future.
With the titles in my belt, it is good to have a variety of challenges ahead. Having dropped the 2012 Chess Olympiad, Iíve looked forward to playing on home soil in the Tromsoe Olympiad together with the great bunch of GMís (Agdestein, Hammer, Johannessen and Lie) on the Norwegian team.
We did some chess training and team-building at the Krageroe resort last week where I successfully prepared for the World Championship match last August.
And, Iíve already achieved one of my ambitions during the Olympiad having trekked the Tromsdalstind (1238 meter above sea level) with my parents earlier today☺
In my absence the Norwegian 1st team won 2.5 Ė 1.5 against Yemen in Round 1, and we will gradually meet stronger opponents in the days ahead. Finland is next.
Magnus Carlsen, Tromsoe, August 2nd, 2014
|Dubai next after Norway Chess|
I arrived in Dubai late last night with my main coach Peter Heine Nielsen for the Rapid and Blitz World Championship 2014. Dubai brings back fond memories as I secured my third and decisive Grandmaster norm here 10 years ago. The venue is the same; The rook-shaped Dubai Chess & Culture Club.
Norway Chess in Stavanger finished Friday and Karjakin won as last year at 6/9. I came second half a point behind, with Grischuk in clear third at 5 points. Karjakinís 3 out of 3 finish was as impressive as his start last year, winning from equal middle and endgame positions.
A week ago I would have said that a missed win would never be as painful as an outright loss, but my penultimate game against Svidler came close. He botched up the opening and with the black pieces I had perfect coordination and could win material in many ways. Instead I went for an illusionary mate, having missed his Rg3 defense. Winning round 9 against compatriot Simen Agdestein did not help as leader Karjakin exploited mistakes by Caruana just before the time control.
The organizers headed by Kjell Madland and his board and large group of volunteers, and the sponsors deserves unconditional praise for staging a great event and for being helpful in every way. Thank you!
Iím reasonably happy with the +2 score. I was doing fine from the opening in most games, but my middle and endgame play was too uneven this time for me to be really satisfied. Fortunately the initial Blitz went fine and I look forward to the WC Rapid and Blitz starting Monday.
Magnus Carlsen, Dubai, June 15th 2014
|Shared lead in Norway Chess 2014|
The way I spent May, with two busy weeks with events in Norway, Nederlands and New York followed by two relatively quiet weeks at home, felt like a reasonable preparation for the Norway Chess 2014. And I did feel great both during the initial blitz tournament that I won with a somewhat flattering 7.5/9 out at the magnificent Flo & Fjaere island and in the first few main rounds. After the first rest day I have not been in my best shape although I donít really know why. My play has been somewhat questionable while the results are just fine fortunately.
In round 4 against Topalov I snatched a pawn on a2 but underestimated his counterplay. He had more than adequate compensation for the pawn. It was not obvious how he should continue, and running low on time he chose to force a repetition of moves. The alternative for me of giving up an exchange to play on would leave me fighting for a draw and nothing more.
Against Aronian I was outplayed in the middle game despite the white pieces, but the position was complicated, and in time trouble he went astray. He thought the ending after exchanging queens would be better for him, but it was white that could play for two results. I found a reasonable plan and managed to gradually improve my position. With a few inaccuracies from my opponent I managed to bring home the full point on a long and difficult day.
Todayís draw with black against Karjakin finished quickly and was uneventful. That was somewhat of a pity as I really like the playing facilities out at the Aarbakke factory!
Thanks to losses by the leaders in both round 5 (Caruana lost to Kramnik) and today when Kramnik lost to Topalov, Iím suddenly in shared lead with Caruana and Kramnik at +1, and all players are within 1 point before the last three rounds.
After the short game today there was time for some football with friends in the nice summer evening. I look forward to playing white against world no 3 Alexander Grischuk Tuesday at 3:30 pm back at Scandic at Forus.
Magnus Carlsen, Stavanger, June 9th 2014
|No Logo Norway Chess 2014|
Despite the strong tournament last year, the organizers headed by Kjell Madland have managed to put together an even stronger field this year in a top notch event. Iím up against most of the world elite - Aronian, Grischuk, Caruana, Kramnik, Topalov, Karjakin, Svidler, Giri and Simen Agdestein who qualified by beating Jon L. Hammer in a rapid match late April.
On the rest day today we all visited a school team competition held at Science factory (Vitenfabrikken) in Sandnes. 29 local schools participated - not bad at all!
The favorite attraction among the top players was a two-player mindgame measuring brain waves with a headband. Aiming at total relaxation, the lower activity will drive the ball into the court of your opponent. Most of the grandmasters did well. Iím not sure if weíre just a lazy bunch or good at controlling brain activity:)
In the first edition of Norway Chess in 2013 I started with four draws. This time Iíve started with three draws. The first two games were pretty decent. My opponents Anish Giri and Vladimir Kramnik defended well. Yesterday I got a promising position from the opening against early leader Caruana, but blew it all in a few moves having missed his a5 resource. Fortunately I managed to draw a difficult endgame a piece down.
Caruana is playing well and is sole leader with 2.5 points ahead of Grischuk and Kramnik at 2 points. The main revelation so far has been my former trainer Simen Agdestein who has three draws but managed to put a lot of pressure on both Aronian and Karjakin with the black pieces!
The media coverage is quite amazing, and after each game we visit two live studios and make several TV interviews onsite at the Forus venue before heading back to the hotel in Stavanger.
Tomorrow at 3:30 pm local time Iím playing black against former World Champion Veselin Topalov in round 4.
Magnus Carlsen, Stavanger, June 6th 2014
|Shamkir Chess 2014 Ė great event!|
With a busy schedule this week and next, Iíve enjoyed a few days off after returning from Shamkir last Thursday.
After the upís and downís in both quality of play and results, the last round victory made all the difference. Outright victory with 6.5/10 after sharing the lead (with Fabiano Caruana) before the last round, was just what I needed: Finishing on an upbeat note with a decent result overall.
Looking back at ĎShamkir Chess 2014 Ė in memory of Vugar Gashimoví, there are several reasons to be uplifted. The tournament was flawlessly organized at the highest level in an amicable atmosphere. Many of the strongest players in the world under age 30 participated and in addition there was a very strong B-group. The event took place in the homeland of Vugar, and the uncompromising fighting chess in his style seen throughout the event was a worthy way of honoring him.
During the tournament I was frustrated with making too many blunders. In retrospect my overall level of play was probably okay. Five wins, and some very good games compensate significantly for the weaker days, and in my two losses my opponents Caruana and Radjabov after all played more or less flawlessly. Apart from Mamedyarov, who seemed to lack the level of energy needed for his uncompromising style as displayed more successfully in the Candidates, most players are probably reasonably happy with their result. Importantly for Azerbaijan, Radjabov seems to have done a lot of good work recently and has definitely reversed the downward trend and rating loss experienced in 2013.
In addition to thanking the organizer Synergy Group, all the individuals involved one way or another, and the family of Vugar, Iím grateful to my coach Peter Heine as well as my father Henrik and the Ďsecurityí man Bjorn for their support. I hope the Shamkir Chess tournament will become a tradition.
Tuesday 6th there is a media day, followed by an event in Trondheim for Nordic Semiconductor on Wednesday and an internet match against ĎNorwayí on Thursday 8th, organized by VG. Later on the 8th Iím playing a simul at a Simonsen Vogt Wiig event.
My next tournament is Norway Chess in Stavanger early June!
Magnus Carlsen, Oslo, May 5th, 2014