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30 Unknown Facts About Norwegian Chess Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen

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Sven Magnus Øen Carlsen, a Chess Grand Master and reigning World Chess Champion, was born on November 30, 1990 in Tonsberg, Norway. Here are 30 interesting facts about him:

  1. He has won the Chess Oscars five times. The Oscars is conducted by Russian Chess Magazine 64 and is awarded to the best player of the year voted by leading chess critics, writers and journalists.
  2. At a very young age he was able to solve jigsaw puzzles and enjoyed assembling Lego toys with instruction, intended for older children. He has extreme memory, recalling the areas, population numbers, flags and capitals of all countries by the age of five.
  3. Although he was introduced to chess by the age of 5, he took to chess when his sister Ellen started playing seriously. He beat her once when he was 8 years old, after which she quit chess for four years. According to him losing at chess game does not bother him. He gets upset at losing at other things like losing at Monopoly.
  4. He first participated in the age group competition at 8 years and 7 months in the 1999 Norwegian Chess Championship. He scored 6 ½ out of 11 points. He was coached at the Norwegian College of Elite Sport by the country’s top player Grandmaster Simen Agdestein and Torbjorn Ringdal Hansen.
  5. His breakthrough came in the 2000 Norwegian Junior Championship where he scored 3 ½ out of 5 points playing against top junior players of the country. His rating rose from 904 in June 2000 to 1907.
  6. He had played around 300 rated tournaments and minor events before being placed sixth in the European Under-12 Championship in Peniscola. In 2002 World Under -12 Championship in Heraklio, he was tied for first place with Ian Nepomniachtchi before being placed second on tiebreak.
  7. He obtained customary three International Master norms between January 2003 and July 2003. He scored 7/10 in Gausdal Troll Masters, 6/9 in Salongernas IM-Tournament, Stockholm and 8/11 in the Politiken Cup in Copenhagen. He was awarded IM Title on August 20, 2003.
  8. He took off from his studies for a year after completing primary school to participate in tournaments. During this period, he was tied for third position in the 2003 European Under-14 Championship.
  9. He earned his first GM norm while playing in the 2004 Corus Chess Tournament in Wijk aan Zee, Holland. He scored 10 ½ /13 in the group C in the process earned his right to play in group B in the following year.
  10. His win against Spike Ernst where he converted a game from a position of draw to victory with his novelty. He was hailed for his victory and Washington Post gave him the title ‘Mozart of chess,’ for his wide range of opening and excellent memory.
  11. He earned his second Grand Master norm in the Moscow Aeroflot Open in February 2004 and his third G.M norm in the sixth Dubai Open chess tournament in April that year, to become the youngest Grand Master in the world then.
  12. In 2005 he defeated Alexei Shirov then ranked no 10. In the world in the Drammen International Chess Festival. He also took a game of Viswanathan Anand in the semifinal of the Ciudad de Leon rapid chess tournament. Anand was ranked world no. 2 and was also the 2003 Rapid Chess Champion then.
  13. At the 2005 Chess World Cup in Russia, he finished creditable 10th in a field of 128 players. He was 97th seed. He thus became the youngest world championship candidate.
  14. In the NH Chess Tournament at Amsterdam in August 2006, representing ‘Rising Stars’ against ‘Experienced,’ he achieved his best individual score of 6 ½ /10 and helping Rising Stars to win the match 28-22. This performance earned him the right to participate in 2007 Melody Amber Invitational Tournament.
  15. Participating in his first Candidates Tournament for ‘2007 FIDE World Chess Championship,’ he drew with Levon Aronian in a six game match. He eventually lost after series of rapid playoff and tiebreak blitz games.
  16. In August 2007 he played in the Arctic Chess Challenge tournament in Tromso, where he finished disappointing fourth. In this tournament he played his father Henrik Carlsen in the sixth round and prevailed over him.
  17. Carlsen after playing in the Baku, Azerbaijan part of the FIDE Grand Prix 2008-09, a qualifier for the World Chess Championship 2012, withdrew citing change of rules in the middle of the championship cycle as the reason.
  18. In June 2008, he achieved his best performance rating of 2877 at that time, when he won the annual Aerosvit chess tournament. He scored 8/11 points in a category 19 field and remained undefeated.
  19. His performance in the category 21 Nanjing Pearl Spring Tournament, was rated as one of the greatest and 20 best tournament performance of all time by a teenager. He won the tournament with a score of 8/10 and PR of 3002 while remaining undefeated.
  20. In December 2009, he entered the London Chess Classic as the top seed and lived up to it by winning it. He scored 13 out of possible 21 points in Bilbao scoring system. With this victory he was ranked world no.1 in the January 2010 list.
  21. Although he qualified for the Candidates Tournament to determine the challenger to world champion Viswanathan Anand, he withdrew for the reason, that the five year cycle is not sufficiently modern and fair.
  22. Carlsen does not engage chess set when studying on his own, but engaged former world champion Garry Kasparov as a personal trainer in early 2009. He described his time with Kasparov was a great deal of practical help, when he learnt complex positions. In March 2010 it was announced he split with Kasparov.
  23. Carlsen had helped Anand to prepare for the World Chess Championship 2010 against Vaselin Topalov. Anand retained the title defeating Topalov 6 ½ to 5 ½.
  24. In October 2010, he participated in the Grand Slam Masters Final, the strongest chess tournament in history. He scored 2 ½ /6 with a rating of 2802 in process losing his world no. 1 ranking temporarily. This loss of form raised a question of his modeling assignment with G-Star Raw.
  25. In the Pearl Spring Chess Tournament, the world’s top three players Anand, Carlsen and Topalov with a rating of around 2800 participated in 2010. Carlsen won the tournament with 7 points.
  26. In November 2012 he took part in chess festival at Mexico City in the ‘Segunda Gran Fiesta Internacional de Ajedrez.’ He played an online audience and a knockout exhibition event. He won both the events.
  27. Carlsen became the new World Chess Champion in 2013, when he beat Anand 6 ½ -3 ½ in Chennai.
  28. On May 8, 2014 he played an exhibition match at Oslo City against people of Norway assisted by panel of Agdestein, Johannessen and Hammer. Panel member proposes a move and the public will vote over the proposed move. Carlsen forced a perpetual check to draw the match.
  29. Carlsen defended his world chess championship at Sochi, Russia defeating Anand 6 ½ to 4 ½ in 11 game on November 23, 2014.
  30. He won his fifth title at Wijk Aan Zee on January 31, 2016, scoring 9 points out of 13. The tournament is sponsored by Tata Steel in its 78th edition.

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