A teenage chess star from Lommedal, just west of Oslo, finally secured the top chess ranking that’s been expected for months now. Magnus Carlsen, who turns 19 later this month, is now the best chess player in the world.
Carlsen just wrapped up a major tournament in Russia, the Tal Memorial in Moscow, and was plagued by a sore throat and fever for much of it. He avoided losses, though, and the young chess genius had a clear goal of winning enough points to push top-ranked Veselin Topalov off his perch.
Carlsen ended up getting well and aggressive, winning his last two matches. He beat former world champion Peter Leko from Hungary in the last battle of the tournament over the weekend.
That left him in third place, but with as many points as the second-place finisher and enough based on his performance in earlier tournaments to sail into the unofficial top world ranking.
The next official world chess ranking will be released in January, and that means he needs to perform well in the upcoming London Chess Classics in mid-December.
The tournament in Moscow, though, attracted nine of the world’s 13 best players.
Carlsen has been on a roll for months, with his performance at the Nanjing Pearl Spring tournament in China last month rated as one of the greatest in history. The Norwegian chess prodigy became one of the youngest Grand Masters in history at an age of 13.
He recently took on Garry Kasparov as his coach and secured a financial sponsorship from a securities firm in Oslo, which calls for him to face off against several of Norway’s top businessmen. They’ve already said they’re sure they’ll lose.
For earlier news on Magnus Carlsen, see our sports briefs section.