Magnus Carlsen on the FIDE Candidates Tournament
Frederic Friedel: Magnus, I know that after the Tata
Steel Chess event you have been busy promoting the Stavanger
2013 super tournament, and also appeared on a major Norwegian talk show.
What are your tournament plans for the near future?
Magnus Carlsen: As you know I’m having a break from
chess tournaments at the moment. Normally I would go to Amber, but unfortunately
this wonderful tradition ended last year. I’m not sure if Linares will
take place this spring. I certainly hope so, otherwise the break will be quite
long. I think the Tal Memorial in June could be my next tournament. At the moment
the fall and winter are the high season for top level tournaments.
That's exactly when FIDE plans to stage the Candidate tournament this
year, isn't it? In October/November. As far as I know the Tal Memorial was
moved to June in direct response to this. Would you like to share your thoughts
on this with our readers?
Last year I played the Grand Slam Final in Sao Paulo and Bilbao, in September
and October, and the Bilbao organiser has already publicized similar dates for
the 2012 final. I really enjoyed playing the Grand Slam Final last year. It’s
well organized and the combination of Sao Paulo and Bilbao suited me very fine.
I have qualified for this year's Final as well, and my plan is to go there.
Normally I don’t comment upon FIDE rumours, but news reports indicating
that the next Candidates will take place just after the Grand Slam Final worries
me. If the rumours are correct, there will be ten days only between the two
tournaments, and that is obviously too tight. I know how hard the top level
tournament organizers struggle to get everything in place for their event, and
the obvious choice for FIDE would be to avoid the fourth quarter for their Candidate
events. The Tal Memorial has already been moved, but the Candidates would still
have serious consequences for the Grand Slam Final and probably for London Chess
Classic as well.
FIDE must have a very good reason to schedule the Candidates in the fourth
quarter instead of for instance the late first quarter or the second quarter
of 2013. I’m really curious to know what would drive FIDE to schedule
the candidates in the middle of the high season of top level tournaments.
Frankly, I sincerely hope that FIDE will reconsider the schedule for the Candidates.
Times are tough, financially, in Europe, and every step should be taken to protect
and support the efforts of the top level tournament organisers.
Apart from the schedule problem are you satisfied with the format of
the Candidates? It is, I believe, pretty much what
you proposed to FIDE?!
Assuming it will be a double round robin with eight players I think that is
a good format, much better than the 2011 Candidates.
We await the comments of the other six candidates and of
whose tournament schedule may be affected by the Candidates scheduling.
Magnus in a Norwegian TV2 talk show
On Sunday Magnus was on the talk show Senkveld med Thomas og Harald, where
he played a blitz game against outdoor man Lars Monsen. The game was played
with time odds: Monsen got three minutes, Magnus 30 seconds. You should take
three minutes off to watch this interesting game
Click on the above image to watch the video on the Norwegian TV2 web site.
Switching to HD and full screen will make the game visually spectacular, but
the comments will still be quite unintelligible – unless you are Norwegian.
Lars Monsen became famous as a wildlife expert more than 20 years ago, having
spent several years outdoors at a young age. He is the author of 14 books and
producer of several TV series on wildlife and wildlife expeditions. His latest
series "Ingen Grenser" (Beyond Boundaries) involving the combined
effort of a group of physically handicapped travelling 30 days from the Swedish
boarder in Femundsmarka to Snoehetta (2286 metres) was a resounding success.
Lars participates in sledge races (with dogs) and recently finished Femundlopet
(600 km) in temperatures going down to minus 40°C. On a humorous "fact
page" (analogous to the ones on Chuck Norris) it says:
- Wolves make a fire to keep Lars Monsen away.
- Lars Monsen was bitten by a rattlesnake. After five hours of excruciating
pain the snake died.
- Eskimos have a hundred words for different types of snow. Lars Monsen has
a hundred words for different types of Eskimos.
- Death once had a near Lars Monsen encounter.
- There are no echoes in the mountains. It's Lars Monsen screwing with you.
- Lars Monsen went on a Marine Corps survival exercise, and came back fifteen
- ... and Lars Monsen is mightier than the pen.
In chess Lars is no patzer. He is one of Norway's top 400 players (amongst
2500 nationwide) and won the 4th highest group in the Norwegian Championship
(Elo 1500 to 1750) some years ago, in style. You can see in the game above that
Magnus is not taking anything lightly.
Still, as Ole Valaker, a chess journalist who has published book together with
Magnus, put it: "To play blitz with Magnus Carlsen is like facing Mike
Tyson in the boxing ring. It does not help that Tyson is handicapped with less
time. He just needs one blow to take you out." In the game Carlsen-Monsen
the decisive moment came when Lars played ...Qd7 (2 minutes and 45 seconds into
the video). If he had managed to keep a cool head there and played, for example,
...Qe8 he could have had chances to actually win on time. Magnus was clearly
better, but he needed to checkmate his opponent in just 13 seconds.