Norway’s World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen pulled it off again. “I never felt I was in danger,” he told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) after winning his fourth World Championship title in a row over challenger Fabiano Caruana on Wednesday night.
“It was alpha and omega that I won,” Carlsen said when it was all over and his championship title was in the box once again. “It was a tough fight. Before today I felt I wasn’t close to winning, but fortunately I was the best.”
After 12 remis (ties), the battle between Carlsen and Caruana went into overtime and extra games that started off with rapid chess. Carlsen went on the attack straight away. He won the first two games and only needed another remis to secure his title.
“I was very glad,” Carlsen told NRK. “It was a very, very good day on the job.” He called the first game “even and exciting,” the second “complicated, but I had a good feeling.” By the third game, “I was more nervous, but never felt I was in danger.”
He acknowledged that Caruana was “the strongest player I have met.” Carlsen thinks he still has “a lot to work on” in order to maintain his title as World Champion.
Caruana, meanwhile, said he had “a bad day” and thinks he didn’t play well. “I wasn’t even close to playing at his (Carlsen’s) level today,” he said, adding that he thought Carlsen’s victory was well-deserved.
Congratulations were pouring in Wednesday evening, with Carlsen’s victory even uniting Norway’s two rival politicians, Prime Minister Erna Solberg of the Conservatives and Jonas Gahr Støre, leader of the Labour Party. They snapped a selfie together and wrote on Facebook that “we stand together in hailing you, our world champion!”
Carlsen’s manager Espen Agdestein said it was great relief when Carlsen won. “The threat of losing has been been hanging over us for a long time,” Agdestein told NRK when the world championship tournament was over in London. “Now we’ll celebrate a bit this evening. I think this (victory) meant very, very much for Magnus. He can’t imagine losing, but now he’s aware that he’s the best when it means the most.”