Norwegian chess king Magnus Carlsen didn’t do so well in his own Chess 24 platform’s Banter Blitz Cup this week, losing to a young rising star from Iran. Carlsen has, however, won title to a luxurious condominium in Oslo with a fine view down the Oslo Fjord.
Carlsen, whose sport has moved online during the Corona virus crisis, had advanced to the finals of the Banter Blitz tournament after beating Sanan Sjugirov of Russia. There he met 16-year-old Alireza Firouzja of Iran, who’s been referred to by some chess experts as “the new Magnus Carlsen.”
State broadcaster NRK reported that Firouzja may someday challenge Carlsen for the World Championship, if Carlsen continues to hang on to it for several more years. The two had a memorable encounter right after Christmas, when Firouzja was doing well but tipped over a chess piece that cost him a victory that Carlsen nailed to become triple world champion. Firouzja claimed Carlsen has sworn, thus disturbing him, and he filed a protest but it wasn’t accepted.
On Wednesday, the two faced off again, not over traditional chess face-to-face but blitz chess online. The action was described as even, standing at 7.5-7.5 before the final game. Firouzja was strongest and won 8.5-7.5.
Carlsen described himself as playing “incredibly” badly. “Game over … congratulations,” was his brief comment, according to news bureau NTB. A smiling Firouzja said it was “50-50 between us … in this duel,” adding that he got a “bit lucky.” He won the equivalent of NOK 143,000, while Carlsen won NOK 92,000 for placing second.
The Norwegian chess champion clearly doesn’t need to worry about his personal economy, however. Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported this week that after years of chess winnings and earnings from business ventures including his Play Magnus company that owns Chess24, Carlsen has bought a second home in Oslo. Without selling the house in the hills near Holmenkollen that he bought in 2015 for NOK 19.5 million (around USD 3 million at the time), Carlsen also bought a waterfront condominum in downtown Oslo’s high-priced Tjuvholmen complex.
DN reported that Carlsen paid NOK 21 million for the 127-square-meter (roughly 1,200 square-foot) condo with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and two balconies plus a parking space in the basement. “It was snapped up,” real estate broker Anders Kvernberg told DN. “There were many people at the showing and lots of interest.” The residential building called Dyna Brygge also offers a staffed service department with a meeting room, dining room and exercise room available.
The condo was advertised as “exclusive” and “finely appointed,” with a “high-quality” interior and “harmonious choice of colours so that even the most demanding owner shall be able to relax.” In addition to its fjord view, it also has a view up to Holmenkollen.