Norwegian Chess World Champion Magnus Carlsen has managed to remain exactly that. After 11 matches at the World Chess Championships in Sochi, Russia, Carlsen won Sunday’s game against challenger Vishy Anand, and acquired the full point needed to retain his title.
“I’m happy and relieved,” Carlsen said with a smile when it was all finally over after nearly another four hours of play. Carlsen used 45 moves to sweep Anand off the board and win the tournament by a score of 6.5 points compared to Anand’s 4.5.
Tensions had been high and commentators had claimed that things looked “very, very scary” at one point for the 23-year-old chess genius from the suburban valley of Lommedalen west of Oslo. Their descriptions of Carlsen’s play soon changed to “overwhelming, cynical” and “incredibly impressive.”
Carlsen also had reportedly picked up a cold and was thus sick when he headed into Sunday’s match after a day off on Saturday. “This was one of the toughest days,” he said., “I’m so happy I managed to pull through.”
Asked how he planned to celebrate his latest international chess victory, he answered that he mostly just wanted to relax. “I am really exhausted now,” he said.
Anand had mounted a surprisingly offensive performance on Sunday but Carlsen fended him off, and then Anand was said to have taken “a bit too many chances.” A former world champion himself, Anand won applause from the audience when he said he wasn’t planning to retire from competitive play.
Carlsen also won massive applause on his way up to the podium after the competition was over. He also has generated huge interest in chess back home in Norway, and he thanked everyone who has supported him along the way.
“Chess is now really big in Norway,” he said. “I have registered the great interest in the championships last year and this year, and really value it. So thanks to everyone, both in Norway and around the world, who’ve been following me. It really means a lot.”