In January 2010, Magnus became the seventh player ranked number one in the world on the official FIDE rating list. His peak rating is 2835, the second highest in history after Garry Kasparov.
On 26 April 2004, he became a Grandmaster at the age of 13 years, 148 days, making him the third-youngest Grandmaster in history. On 1 January 2010, the new FIDE rating list was published, and at the age of 19 years, 32 days he became the youngest chess player in history to be ranked world number one, breaking the record previously held by Vladimir Kramnik. Magnus was also the 2009 World blitz chess champion.
Time Magazine wrote in an article 11 January 2010 about Magnus (extract):
A Bold Opening for Chess Player Magnus Carlsen
Genius can appear anywhere, but the origins of Carlsen’s talent are particularly mysterious. In November, Carlsen, then 18, became the youngest world No. 1 in the game’s history. He hails from Norway — a ‘small, poxy chess nation with almost no history of success,’ as the English grand master Nigel Short sniffily describes it — and unlike many chess prodigies who are full-time players by age 12, Carlsen stayed in school until last year. His father Henrik, a soft-spoken engineer, says he has spent more time urging his young son to complete his schoolwork than to play chess. Even now, Henrik will interrupt Carlsen’s chess studies to drag him out for a family hike or museum trip. ‘I still have to pinch my arm,’ Henrik says. ‘This certainly is not what we had in mind for Magnus.’
Even pro chess players — a population inured to demonstrations of extraordinary intellect — have been electrified by Carlsen’s rise. A grand master at 13 (the third youngest in history) and a conqueror of top players at 15, he is often referred to as the Mozart of Chess for the seeming ease of his mastery. In September, he announced a coaching contract with Garry Kasparov, arguably the greatest player of all time, who quit chess in 2005 to pursue a political career in Russia. ‘Before he is done,’ Kasparov says, ‘Carlsen will have changed our ancient game considerably.’
In conversation, Carlsen offers only subtle clues to his intelligence. His speech, like his chess, is technical, grammatically flawless and logically irresistible. He dresses neatly but shows a teenager’s discomfort with formality. (He rarely makes it through a game without his shirt coming untucked….Editor‘s Note: This was before Magnus became a fashion model for Dutch fashion brand G-star Raw) He would seem older than 19 but for his habit of giggling and his coltlike aversion to eye contact.————
His performance at the September–October 2009 Nanjing Pearl Spring tournament has been described as one of the greatest in history and lifted him to an Elo rating of 2801, making him the fifth player to achieve a rating over 2800 – and aged 18 years 10 months at the time, by far the youngest to do so.
Based on his rating, Carlsen qualified for the Candidates Tournament which determined the challenger to World Champion Viswanathan Anand in the World Chess Championship 2012. However in November 2010 he announced he was withdrawing from the Candidates tournament; he was replaced by Alexander Grischuk.
See the World Chess Federation (FIDE), top 100 men players rating here.
For more information about Magnus, see his fanpage.
Photos: on top:unknown, below: Anette Broteng Christiansen
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