On Sunday World Champion Magnus Carlsen will start playing his first big event since he won the Zurich Chess Challenge in February. Right now he's preparing in Oman, a place where he also spent time just before his world title match last year. Last week the 23-year-old Norwegian was in Moscow where he gave simuls and talked in front of an audience.
On April 8th Carlsen visited the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, where he was interviewed on stage by Tina Kandelaki, a Georgian-born TV host. Below you can watch the full interview.
For chess fans the interview didn't contain many surprises, but some of Carlsen's answeres were quite interesting. For example, he once again stated that he studied Vladimir Kramnik's games when he was young:
“I don't think there was any particular grandmaster of the past or the present that I wanted to model my game after. I think if you try to be like someone then it's hard to be the best – at some point you have to create your own style, your own identity. But one of the players I studied the games of when I was young was Vladimir Kramnik, the strongest Russian player. His play when he was young impressed me quite a bit, when I was little. I think also both for him and for others it would be useful to study the games when he was young.”
Carlsen likes to do other sports (more on that below), and, interestingly, even for his chess career he fears getting injured physically: “One of my first coaches, Simen Agdestein, who is a Norwegian grandmaster and the best Norwegian player for a long time, he was a football player who played for the national team. When he got injured in his knee and had to end his football career he also said that his chess career also went wrong after that, because he didn't have the same energy when he could not play football every day.
I have heard the same about Hungarian grandmaster Peter Leko, who was a world championship finalist some years ago, he also injured his knee playing football. He loved to do sports every day, and once he could not do that he did not have the energy anymore to play chess well. So I think that maybe for me as well to injure something would not be so good.”
After the interview, Carlsen perfomed two simultaneous exhibitions. In the first, against university students and teachers mostly, he scored 10 wins and 3 draws. GM Sergey Shipov was commentator during this simul. Later, Carlsen also played a simul against kids and he won all his games in that one.
On the same day the following video was posted on Carlsen's YouTube channel. It's a game between him and his manager Espen Agdestein, who is a strong FM rated 2372 himself. The two played a fune game at a sponsor meeting for the Norway Chess tournament, where Agdestein got three minutes on the clock, against 30 seconds for Carlsen. See what happened:
But it isn't the latest video on that YouTube channel. Yesterday the one below was posted, in which we see Carlsen preparing for the Gashimov Memorial which starts Sunday. He's having a good time together with his family and his second Peter Heine Nielsen in what looks like quite a nice resort!
Carlsen's accompanying text on his Facebook page was “I’m always getting asked how I train for upcoming tournaments. Here’s a peek at what I’ve been up to in Oman while training - and relaxing - before the next tournament in Azerbaijan.”
The tough life of a chess player!