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Monday, June 17, 2024

Norway’s chess star makes history

Magnus Carlsen, the Norwegian chess progidy who rose to be ranked tops in the world, now seems to have made history as well. His victories in a chess tournament in London this week have given him a live rating of 2857.4, surpassing the record of 2851 set by the legendary Garry Kasparov in 1999.

Magnus Carlsen at the London Chess Classic in 2010. Now, two years later, he’s making history at the same tournament. PHOTO: Pawel Grochowalski/Wikipedia

“This is fantastic, almost unreal,” Carlsen’s manager, Espen Agdestein, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) Tuesday night.

Kasparov has held the record for being ranked the World’s #1 chess player the most times (23). Carlsen already holds the record for being ranked the World #1 Junior the most times (15). Now Carlsen is closing in on Kasparov’s ratings honour as well.

The official ratings will be published January 1 and that’s what will mean most to the still-young Norwegian chess star. Carlsen, who turned 22 last Friday, is poised to set a new record, and the prospects for winning the London Chess Classic looked good, too.

His rating has been climbing throughout the tournament in London and he achieved a new goal after a match on Tuesday against Gawain Jones. Carlsen was declared the winner after around three hours of play, telling reporters afterwards that he tried to maintain a solid position from the start and felt he had firm control.

Agdestein said Carlsen would take a day off on Wednesday and prepare for the rest of the tournament. Dag Danielsen, a former secretary general of the Norwegian chess federation who has followed Carlsen for years, called his latest achievement “a milestone.”

“Magnus Carlsen has a fundamental understanding of chess that perhaps no one else has had before him,” Danielsen told NRK. “It’s a god’s gift. He is often called ‘the Mozart of chess.'”

Agdestein said Carlsen probably wouldn’t be celebrating with champagne, joking that “he’s a bit boring in that regard.” But Carlsen was surely pleased because he’s long been intent on remaining at the top of his game. NRK reported that he said before he left for London that breaking the record had also been a goal for a long time: “I think it also means a lot that I’m so far ahead of the others in the ratings. Then I send out a message about who’s running the show.”

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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