Press release – March 4th, 2010
The cooperation between former World Champion Garry Kasparov and Norwegian chess prodigy Magnus Carlsen began in early 2009. Kasparov, arguably the greatest player in the history of the game, and the 18-year-old Carlsen, one of the most remarkable talents in chess today, conducted two short training sessions in the spring and trained together for a fortnight in Croatia in the summer. There followed sessions in Oslo and Marrakesh (Morocco), accompanied by real-time Internet conferences during major tournaments in which Magnus was participating.
The result of this cooperation was most satisfying: on January 1st, 2010, just a month after his 19th birthday, Magnus Carlsen was listed as the top-ranked player in the world by the International Chess Federation (FIDE), the youngest ever to achieve this distinction. On the March 1st list he remained in the number one position with a rating of 2813 and became the second highest rated player in history, exceeded only by his mentor Garry Kasparov.
Kasparov and Carlsen working together in 2009 in a summer camp in Croatia
With those achievements a major target has been met in the cooperation between these two chess players, even earlier than anticipated. Therefore it has been decided that their cooperation should take a different direction this year. Magnus will be responsible for all career decisions, without constant guidance, as this is the natural next stage in his chess development. For the time being there are no plans for chess camps or regular coaching during events. Garry Kasparov and Magnus Carlsen have agreed to remain in contact, and Carlsen will still have the opportunity to confer regularly with Kasparov.
Kasparov on Norwegian Nett-TV talk show
Garry Kasparov: “Magnus is one of the greatest natural talents I have encountered in chess, and his recent performance has exceeded even my very high expectations. Our time together – our training camp sessions – has been deeply invigorating for me as well. It was because of these sessions that I felt confident to play the anniversary match against Anatoly Karpov in Valencia last September – with good results, I might add. It was also very gratifying for me to see Magnus climb to the world’s number one position well ahead of our original schedule. Magnus has shown the deadly instincts of a great champion. During his tournaments, when we spoke about upcoming games, Magnus always wanted to play the sharpest and most dangerous continuations, an illustration of his increased confidence in his powers. Our work together during the past year in Croatia, Oslo and Marrakesh gave him a great deal of ‘ammunition’ which, even when it was not used, helped him go into battle with the indispensable belief that he should expect to win every time he comes to the board. I see a great future for this extraordinary player.”
Magnus Carlsen with his mentor on the TV show
Magnus Carlsen: “Working with Garry Kasparov over the last twelve months has been a unique experience. Not only because he was the strongest player in the world for more than two decades, but also because of his great and never-ending passion for chess. I’m very satisfied with our cooperation. Discussing the most topical openings with the one who invented a lot of the modern concepts of chess and getting advice on my particular opponents, most of whom he himself played against on numerous occasions, has been highly interesting and very helpful. Our work contributed significantly to my progression to the number one spot on the FIDE rating list this year.”