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Magnus Carlsen's Biography

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Magnus Carlsen was born in Tønsberg in Norway on 30 November 1990.

He learnt chess at 5 from his father Henrik, an engineer with Exxon.

At that young age he had already displayed a great memory and powers of concentration and could name nearly all the countries of the world, their capitals and populations.

Initially Carlsen was more interested in football and skiing than chess, but, partly inspired by a determination to beat his older sister, he improved at chess, and at 13 years, 4 months, 27 days, he became the second youngest International Grandmaster at that time, only beaten by Sergey Karjakin.

In an interview given when he was still a youngster, Magnus Carlsen explained that he would sometimes use his chess playing as an excuse:

" ...there has been a little too much culture for my taste, but I always seem to find a way to sneak myself out of it. I just say I have to work on some chess preparations."

Magnus went on to become the youngest person to top the world ratings, when he was just 19.

For a while, Magnus Carlsen trained with Gary Kasparov, but, he told the FT:

" ...I learnt an enormous amount, but there came a point where I found there was too much stress. It was no fun any more. Outside of the chessboard I avoid conflict, so I thought this wasn't worth it."

For his part, Kasparov writing in Time 100, commented:

"I had the opportunity to train Carlsen in 2009, and his intuitive style conserves the mystique of chess at a time when every CPU-enhanced fan thinks the game is easy. Carlsen is as charismatic and independent as he is talented. If he can rekindle the world's fascination with the royal game, we will soon be living in the Carlsen Era."

In 2012, Magnus Carlsen was featured on CBS's 60 Minutes as the Mozart of Chess.

The Dutch GM Jan Tinman, wrote in New in Chess 2013 issue 2 about Carlsen's style:

"Carlsen wants to avoid an early crisis in the game, relying on his unequalled skill in making seemingly harmless middlegame positions work to his advantage."

In 2013, Magnus Carlsen won the FIDE World Chess Candidates tournament in London, just pipping Vladimir Kramnik for the chance to take on Vishy Anand to be the next world champion.

On 22 November 2013, Carlsen completed a 6.5-3.5 series triumph over Anand in Chennai to become the new world chess champion, at just 22 years old.

In November 2014, Magnus Carlsen defeated Anand again, this time by 6.5 to 4.5, to retain the title in Sochi in Russia.

The next world title match was scheduled for November 2016 in New York, with Magnus Carlsen playing Sergey Karjakin.

The match between Carlsen and Karjakin finished level and so it came down to rapid games to be played on Carlsen's 26th birthday, Wednesday 30 November 2016.

Magnus Carlsen beat Karjakin in the tie-break 3-1.

In November 2018, Carlsen once again defended his world title - this time against Fabiano Caruana. The long play matches were all drawn, which meant that the title was once again decided on a tie-break of shorter time controls and again Magnus Carlsen won.

In 2019, he gave credit in a tweet to Kaido Kulaots for inspiring him when he was a 9 year old.

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