Topalov
2812, BUL
Carlsen
2770, NOR
Ivanchuk
2746, UKR
Shirov
2745, ESP
Wang
2738, CHN
Dominguez
2721, CUB
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Magnus Carlsen

Born in Tonsberg, Vestfold, Carlsen currently lives in Lommedalen, Barum, near Norway's capital, Oslo. He played his first tournament at the age of eight and was coached at the Norwegian high school for top athletes led by the country's top player, GM Simen Agdestein. Agdestein put his civil worker and master player Torbjorn Ringdahl-Hansen, currently a FIDE master with IM and GM norms, as his coach and they had one training session every week, together with one of Magnus' close friends. The young International Master was given a year off from elementary school to participate in international chess tournaments during the fall season of 2003. In that year, he finished third in the European Under-12 Boys Championship.

 

Chess career

2004

The result that brought him to the attention of the international chess world, however, was his victory in the C group at the Corus chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee with 10.5/13, losing just one game (against the highest rated player of the C group, Dusko Pavasovic), taking his first Grandmaster norm, and achieving an Elo tournament performance rating of 2702.

Particularly notable was his win in the penultimate round over Sipke Ernst in which Carlsen sacrificed material to mate Ernst in just 29 moves. This game won Carlsen the Audience Prize for best game of the round (including all the games played in the B and A groups), though the first 23 moves had already been seen in the game Almagro Llanas-Gustafsson, Madrid 2003 (which, however, was a draw). Carlsen's tournament victory in the C group qualified him to play in the B group in 2005, and led to Lubomir Kavalek, writing in the Washington Post, to describe him as the "Mozart of chess". According to an interview with mentor Agdestein, himself once a young GM at 18, Carlsen is a significantly better player than he was himself at the same age. Carlsen is said to have an excellent memory and plays an unusually wide range of different openings.

Carlsen obtained his second GM norm in the Moscow Aeroflot Open in February 2004. In a blitz chess tournament (where players have much less time for their moves than in normal chess) in Reykjavík, Iceland, on 17 March 2004, Magnus Carlsen defeated former world champion Anatoly Karpov. The blitz tournament was a preliminary event leading up to a rapid chess knock out tournament beginning the next day, where Carlsen achieved one draw against Garry Kasparov, who was then the top-rated player in the world, before losing to Kasparov after 32 moves of the second game, thus being knocked out of the tournament.

In the sixth Dubai Open Chess Championship, held 18 April to 28, 2004, Carlsen obtained his third Grandmaster norm (enough for getting the GM title), after getting four wins and four draws before the last game was to be played. Resulting from this he was at the time world's youngest GM and the second youngest person ever to hold GM status, after Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine who attained the feat at 12 years and 7 months of age in 2002.

Carlsen was the youngest player to participate in the FIDE World Chess Championship 2004, but was knocked out in the first round on tie breaks by Levon Aronian.

In July 2004, Carlsen finished second place behind Berge Ostenstad in the Norwegian Chess Championship. Since the scores of these two players were equal (each got 7 points out of 9 but Ostenstad had better tiebreaks) a two-game play-off match between the two players was arranged. Due to Ostenstad's superior tiebreak score he would win the title should this match end with a 1-1 tie. The match did end with a 1-1 tie after two draws, so Ostenstad retained his Norwegian championship title.

2005

In Smartfish Chess Masters at the Drammen chess festival 2004-05 (Norway) Carlsen defeated Alexei Shirov, ranked number 13 in the world. In June 2005 in the Ciudad de Leon rapid chess tournament Carlsen played a four-game semi-final against Viswanathan Anand, who was ranked 2nd in the world at the time. Magnus lost 3-1. Carlsen was invited to the tournament as the most promising young chess player in 2005.

In the 2005 Norwegian Chess Championship, Carlsen again finished in a shared first place, this time with his mentor Simen Agdestein. A playoff between them was arranged between 7 November and 10 November. This time Carlsen had the better tiebreaks, but the rule giving the player with better tiebreaks scores the title in the event of a 1-1 draw had been revoked previously. The match was closely fought, Agdestein won the first game, Carlsen won the second, so the match went into a phase of two and two rapid games until there was a winner. Carlsen won the first rapid game, Agdestein the second. Then followed a series of three draws until Agdestein won the championship title with a victory in the sixth rapid game.

At the end of 2005 he participated at the World Chess Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. In the knock-out tournament, Carlsen upset the 44th-ranked Georgian Zurab Azmaiparashvili in round one, winning 2–0 at rapid chess after a 1–1 tie in the normal length games, and proceeded to beat Tajik Farrukh Amonatov and Bulgarian Ivan Cheparinov (also after rapid chess) to reach the round of 16. There he lost 1½-2½ to Evgeny Bareev, which prevented him from finishing in the top eight. He then won against Joel Lautier 1½-½ and Vladimir Malakhov3½-2½ securing him at least a tenth place and therefore a spot in the Candidate Matches. Carlsen became the youngest player to be an official World Championship Candidate.
In October 2005 he took first place at the Arnold Eikrem Memorial in Gausdal with 8 out of 9 points and a performance rating of 2792 at the age of 14.

2006

In the 2006 Norwegian Chess Championship, Carlsen was close to winning outright, but a last round loss to Berge Ostenstad again tied him for first place with Agdestein. The last-round loss deprived Magnus of beating Agdestein's record of becoming the youngest Norwegian champion ever. Nonetheless, in the play-off 19-21 November Carlsen won 3-1. After two draws in the initial full time games, Magnus won both rapid games in round two, securing his first Norwegian championship.

Magnus won the 2006 Glitnir Blitz tournament in Iceland. He won 2-0 over Viswanathan Anand (2003 FIDE World Rapid Chess Champion, 2004 Amber Rapid Chess Champion, 2007 FIDE Classical World Champion) in the semi finals. Carlsen also won 2-0 in the finals.

Magnus scored 6/8 in the 37th Chess Olympiad in 2006 against opponents averaging 2627 Elo, gaining 18 Elo (a rating performance of 2820 points). One of his notable wins was against top English grandmaster Michael Adams.
In the Midnight Sun Chess tournament Carlsen had some misses and came in second, beaten by Sergei Shipov (FIDE-Elo: 2576).

In the 2006 Biel/Bienne grandmaster tournament he achieved second place, after having beaten the eventual winner Alexander Morozevichtwice (once with each color).

In the NH Chess Tournament held in Amsterdam in August 2006, Carlsen participated in an 'Experience' v 'Rising Stars' Scheveningen team match. The 'Rising Stars' won the match 22-28 with Carlsen achieving the best individual score for the youngsters, 6½/10 and a 2700 Elo performance, thus winning the right to participate in the 2007 Melody Amber tournament.
In the World Blitz Championship at Rishon LeZion, Israel he was number 8 of 16 participants with 7½/15 points.
In the rapid chess tournament Rencontres nationales et internationales d'échecs in Cap d'Agde, France he got to the semifinal, losing to Sergey Karjakin.

Carlsen achieved a shared eighth place of 10 participants in the Mikhail Tal Memorial in Moskow with two losses and seven draws. In the associated blitz tournament Tal Blitz Cup he received 17½/34 points and ninth place in a group of 18 participants.

2007

In the 2007 Corus chess tournament Carlsen, playing in group A for the first time, had to settle for the last place after nine draws and four losses, scoring 4½ points in 13 rounds.

In the prestigious Linares chess tournament Carlsen met the following top-rated players: Veselin Topalov, Viswanathan Anand, Peter Svidler,Alexander Morozevich, Levon Aronian, Peter Leko, and Vassily Ivanchuk (replacing Teimour Radjabov). With the significantly lowest Elo rating, he achieved a second place (on tiebreaks) with 7½ points after four wins, seven draws and three losses, and an Elo performance of 2778.

In March 2007, Carlsen played for the first time in the Melody Amber blind and rapid chess tournament in Monte Carlo. In the 11 rounds he achieved eight draws and three losses in the blindfold, and three wins, seven draws and one loss in the rapid part. This resulted in a shared ninth place in the blindfold, shared second place in the rapid (beaten only by Anand), and an eighth place in the overall tournament.

In May-June 2007, he participated in the Candidates Tournament for the FIDE World Chess Championship 2007. He was paired with the top seed Levon Aronian. The six-game match was drawn (two wins, two draws, and two losses), with Carlsen coming from behind twice. The four-game rapid playoff was drawn as well (one win, two draws, and one loss), with Carlsen winning the last game to stay in the match. Finally, Aronian won both tiebreaker (blitz) games, to eliminate Carlsen from the Championship.

In July-August 2007, he won the International Chess Festival Biel Grandmaster Tournament 2007, with a +2 record (an Elo performance of 2753). His score was equalled by Alexander Onischuk and by the tie-breaker rule of the tournament, they played a tie-breaker match to determine the winner. After drawing two rapid and two blitz games, Carlsen won the armageddon game. He became the youngest person ever to win a category 18 tournament.

In December 2007, he reached the semi-final round of the World Chess Cup 2007, after defeating Michael Adams in the round of 16, and Ivan Cheparinov in the quarter-finals. In the semi-final, he was eliminated by the eventual winner Gata Kamsky, ½:1½.

2008

Playing for the second time in the top group A of the Corus chess tournament, Carlsen showed a big improvement over his 2007 performance. His final score was 8 points in 13 rounds, an Elo performance of 2830. Carlsen scored five wins (including beating former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik with the black pieces), two losses and six draws. He shared first place with Levon Aronian, becoming the youngest person ever to win a category 20 tournament.

At the 2008 Linares chess tournament, Carlsen had another 2800+ Elo performance, scoring 8 out of 14 (five wins, three losses and six draws). He finished in sole second place, ½ point behind the winner, world champion Viswanathan Anand.
In March 2008, Carlsen played for the second time in the Melody Amber blind and rapid chess tournament, which was held in Nice for the first time. In the 11 rounds he achieved four wins, four draws and two losses in the blindfold, and three wins, six draws and two losses in the rapid part. This resulted in a shared fifth place in the blindfold, shared third place in the rapid and a shared second place in the overall tournament.

Carlsen is one of 21 players in the six-tournament FIDE Grand Prix 2008-2009, a qualifier for the World Chess Championship 2011. In the first tournament, in Baku, Azerbaijan, in April-May 2008, he finished in a three-way tie for first place, with another 2800 Elo performance.

Carlsen won a rapid match against Peter Leko held at Miskolc, Hungary, scoring 5:3 (two wins, six draws).
In June, Carlsen won an annual Aerosvit event. In his strongest tournament performance to date, he finished undefeated with 8 out of 11 (five wins, six draws) in a category 19 field. His Elo performance was 2878.

Playing in a category 18 Biel tournament, Carlsen finished third with 6 points out of 10 (three wins, one loss, six draws), with Elo performance of 2741, his first sub-2800 performance of 2008.

Playing in Mainz Rapid Chess world championship, Carlsen finished in second place after losing the final to world classic and rapid champion Vishy Anand 3:1 (two losses, two draws). To reach the final Magnus played against Judit Polgar scoring 1.5 point out of two (one win, one draw), against Vishy Anand scording one point out of two (two draws) and against Morozevich scoring 1 point out of two (two draws).

Playing in the category 21 Bilbao Masters, Carlsen finished in second place with a 2768 performance rating (three wins, three losses, four draws).

2009

Playing in Group A of the Corus chess tournament, Carlsen tied for fourth with a 2739 performance (2 wins, 1 loss, 10 draws).

In the Linares chess tournament, Carlsen finished third with a 2777 performance (3 wins, 2 losses, 9 draws). In this tournament, he defeated World Champion Viswanathan Anand and the eventual winner Alexander Grischuk for the first time under classical time controls.

 

Rating

In the October 2006 FIDE Elo ratings, Carlsen advanced to world number 22 with a rating of 2698. In the January 2007 ratings he dropped to 2690 and rank 24. In the July 2007 ratings, after a series of strong results, Carlsen advanced to become world number 17 with a rating of 2710. On the January 2008 FIDE rating list he was rated at 2733, and on October 2008 he reached 2786 Elo rating.

He was placed sixth in the July 2008 list, but if his Aerosvit result had been included he would have been ranked second. The omission of the Aerosvit result, which finished after the cut-off date for the July 2008 list, caused some controversy.
On 5 September 2008, after his round 4 win in the Bilbao Grand Slam chess championship, while still under 18 years of age, Magnus Carlsen temporarily became the virtual number 1 on the unofficial Live ratings list. In the most recent official FIDE list (January 2009) he is placed fourth.

 

Best results 

Place
Category
Score
Rank
Wijk aan Zee NED 2004
9
10,5/13
1
Gausdal NOR 2005
Open
8/9
1
Torino ITA 2006 37th Olympiad
Team
6/8
 
Tromso NOR 2006
Open
7/9
2
Biel SUI 2006
17
6/10
2-3
Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP 2007
20
7,5/14
2-3
Biel SUI 2007
18
5,5/9
1-2
Gausdal NOR 2007
12
7/9
1
Wijk aan Zee NED 2008
20
8/13
1-2
Baku AZE 2008
19
8/13
1-3
Foros UKR 2008
19
8/11
1
Linares ESP 2009
21
7,5/14
3


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